Published by Konami, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time is a side-scrolling beat ‘em up game featuring the pizza-loving Ninja Turtles. Released on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) in 1992, the game gives players the opportunity to embark on an exciting adventure through the ages – taking in the Jurassic era and the far-flung future – to help the Turtles defeat their greatest foes.
Taking inspiration from the 1987 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon, and borrowing one or two characters from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze (1991), Turtles in Time is considered a fan-favourite game and one of the best releases on the SNES. It is well-regarded by those who played it during the ’90s, and it continues to pick up new fans today.
As the game begins, an animated cut scene sets up the premise of Turtles in Time: Shredder and Krang steal the Statue of Liberty, and the Turtles must get the iconic landmark back. From here, players take control of the Turtles as they work their way through the streets of New York, into the Technodrome, and eventually through multiple time zones.
Levels range from a street brawl and a sewer surfing session, to a pirate ship showdown and a prehistoric punch-up! The levels are imaginative, outrageously colourful, filled with a constant stream of action, and are driven by a desire to bring Shredder and Krang to justice!
The beauty of Turtles in Time is the scale of the game – there is simply so much to see, and so many enemies to fight. Each level is as good as the next and at no point does the game become repetitive.
Turtles in Time is a lot of fun, and although beat ’em ups are ten-a-penny (especially true during the ‘90s), the game still stands out from the crowd. The characters are a joy to play, the backgrounds are incredibly detailed, and the controls are simple to master.
Perhaps most important of all, Turtles in Time is an all-ages game which has lost none of its charm over the years. Just look at the screen grabs in this post and tell me this isn’t a game you want to play!
There are good beat ’em ups, there are bad beat ’em ups, and then there is Turtles in Time – one of the best beat ’em ups around. The game did everything right back in ‘92, and for those of us who still play it, the game continues to entertain.
Two Turtles are better than one
While Turtles in Time works perfectly well as a one-player game, a two-player option is available. Players can choose from Leonardo, Donatello, Raphael or Michelangelo, and either in their ‘87 cartoon skins or their comic/toy colours.
My advice for picking characters? Always pick Donnie or Leo.
While Raphael might be your go-to Turtle, his weapons give him a shorter reach and that’s the same for Michelangelo. On the flip side, thanks to his bow staff, Donatello has the best reach in the game, followed by Leonardo.
Whether played in single-player mode or as part of a team, the villains are relentless. Players fight their way through a range of levels, taking on goon and after goon, with the aim of reaching the end of level boss.
These bosses are taken from both the ’87 TMNT cartoon and the live-action film, The Secret of the Ooze, and are both mean and resourceful adversaries. The bosses in Turtles in Time include:
- Baxter ‘The Fly’ Stockman
- Rat King
- Tokka & Rahzar
- Bebop & Rocksteady
- Android Body Krang
- Super Shredder
In addition to the bosses, Turtles in Time also features a seemingly never-ending onslaught of thugs, from Rock Soldiers, Mousers and Killer Pizza Monsters, to Roadkill Rodneys and Foot Soldiers. The Foot Soldiers come in various different colours (red, yellow, blue etc), with each offering their own individual quirks.
Most of the thugs can be defeated with a few punches or well-timed kicks, but should players want to clear their path quickly, they can throw their foes at the screen. Yep, at the screen!
Throwing villains at the screen is so much fun and it really helps to rapidly reduce the number of thugs – especially when things start to get a little overwhelming. Oh, and the move is certainly one to practice, as it is vital for an encounter with Shredder, midway through the game.
If this discussion of Turtles in Time has made you want to dust off your SNES and hunt down a cartridge, I should probably warn you this is a highly valued game amongst retro gamers and SNES enthusiasts. So, while the cartridge can be bought quite easily online or at gaming fairs, it does carry a decent price tag.
Now, we’re not talking thousands here, but a boxed copy of Turtles in Time could set you back around £150+ (sometimes considerably more). As for a loose edition, this can be anywhere from £20 to £50.
Is it worth it? Damn right it is.
Turtles in Time is Turtle-y awesome! It was one of my favourite SNES games back in ‘92 and it remains one of the best beat ‘em ups today.
However, if you want to re-play the game without breaking the bank, you will soon be able to revisit the title via the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Cowabunga Collection. The Cowabunga Collection will collect together various old TMNT games (including Turtles in Time) and will be made available on various consoles in late 2022.
Should you want to delve further into the old school era of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, you might like to know that all three ’90s TMNT movies are available on Blu-ray, as part of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Blu-ray collection.
The set – which is available from Amazon US – contains Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990), Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze (1991) and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III (1993).
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