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TMNT IV: Turtles in Time – SNES

TMNT IV: Turtles in Time – SNES

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in TimePlatform:  Super NES

Release Date (NA):  August 1992

Developer:  Konami

Publisher:  Konami

Genre:  Beat ’em up

Nerd Rating:  8.5 out of 10

Trekking through old Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles games has brought me to one of the most acclaimed of the bunch, Turtles in Time.  The original arcade version was a huge hit for Konami, and it gained even greater popularity once ported to the Super Nintendo.  Even today, used copies have landed at a respectable but affordable price point in the SNES’ increasingly valuable library and it’s also been hailed by some outlets as the best beat ’em up and/or the best TMNT video game.  Sounds like a lot to live up to, right?Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time

Well, I haven’t quite played every TMNT game, and I’ve certainly not come close to playing every beat ’em up, but Turtles in Time does a great job of expanding upon the brainless bashing set forth on the series’ NES installments.  Like the second and third games, the player assumes the role of one of the Turtles and sets off to foil Shredder and Krang’s plans to rule the world or just kidnap April.  Co-op mode is the ideal way to go, where two people can take on a colorful variety of foot soldiers.  Though TMNT IV remains fundamentally connected to its predecessors, a few new innovations and upgrades help to propel it into distinguishable waters.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time

The player must throw Foot Soldiers at Shredder (occupying the fourth wall) in order to defeat him.

First of all, the characters’ movesets have been extended drastically, to something almost resembling a simplistic fighting game.  There are still only two buttons that matter – jump and attack – but by pressing the D-pad and timing jumps appropriately several other moves can be performed such as grabs, throws, and mid-air spins.  These aren’t necessarily major elements of the game, though one stage does require throwing Foot Soldiers at the fourth wall.  The fighting is still somewhat repetitive by nature, but having more options within the fight helps alleviate monotony.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time

Visually this is a great game; it feels like it came straight from the cartoon.

Perhaps the greatest improvement is the somewhat retooled visual style that most closely resembles the animation from the cartoon series.  Turtles in Time really looks like it took its inspiration from the animated series rather than the other games that seemed to borrow both from the comics and TV show liberally.  The NES games contained a great level of detail, but it was almost too much detail for the low resolution.  TMNT IV has dropped some of these heavy outlines and thus produced cleaner images.  Of special note are the 2 auto-scrolling bonus levels, one of which makes use of the famous Mode 7 graphics.

If I had one serious criticism of Turtles in Time, it would be its relatively short length.  With some well placed Game Genie codes, I can move through the game in under 25 minutes without even making an effort to do so.  I wish the time travel aspect was fleshed out a little more as well – as it is we get to experience a prehistoric level, a pirate ship, the Wild West, the future, and a more distant future.  I would’ve really loved for the developers to milk the idea for even more sets, scenery, and baddies with levels set in Medieval times, Ancient Egypt, feudal Japan, and a few other relatively recognizable eras.  Still, the times that we do travel to are more than sufficient to provide backgrounds outside of the usual street/sewer/Technodrome trifecta.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time

Like all beat ’em ups, Turtles in Time is best enjoyed with another human player, tearing through one screen of enemies and then the next.  The bosses in this game are particularly difficult, especially those that spend their time in the air or those that repeatedly block, forcing the player to put some of those “special moves” to good use.  Besides the single and double player modes, one can also race against the clock in Time Trial mode as well as match wits with an opponent (like a fighting game) in Versus mode.  These extra features help pad out the relatively short game time.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time

Super Shredder always looks awesome. I still have an action figure of this guy!

Aside from wishing there was more to play, Turtles in Time is an excellent beat ’em up.  It takes what works from previous games and adds a few new features for a fresher, updated feel.  The true-to-the-TV series animation style really makes TMNT IV feel like a continuation of the Turtles that most of us grew up with and remember; so far, it’s the best “translation” of the series I’ve seen in video game form.  This might be one of the tougher (or at least pricier) TMNT games to hunt down, but it definitely belongs in every retro fan’s collection.

Reviewed by The Cubist

Written by The Cubist

The Cubist


Co-founder, Head Author, & Site Technician

Find out what these ratings mean and how I rate video games.

I collect as much video gaming paraphernalia as I can get my hands on, especially when it comes to hardware. With over 40 systems including oldies like the ColecoVision and Intellivision, obscurities like the CD-i and 3DO, and the latest and greatest including the Wii U, PS4, Xbox One, 3DS, and PS Vita, I get easily overwhelmed. Most of the time you can find me firmly nestled sometime between 1985 and 1995 when it comes to my games of choice, but I’m also having a great time seeing what the 8th generation has to offer.

Currently in love with: Mortal Kombat

Email me anytime, about anything: thecubist@nerdbacon.com

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