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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time Package Art
  Action Brawler
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time

Many look back on the days of the NES and SNES with fond memories of one game in particular: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time. Widely considered to be the definitive Turtles game, Turtles in Time brought the addictive brawling action of the arcade game straight into the home of the gamer. Previous iterations had attempted this feat with TMNT II and TMNT III, but the graphical limitations of the NES left much to be desired. The SNES was finally able to deliver exactly what console gamers wanted: a faithfully recreated arcade experience with a uniquely Turtles twist.


Turtles in Time was an early SNES game offering players a visual experience nearly identical to the arcade versions of TMNT. The turtles look cartoonish and good enough to please the fans. Their weapons have nice animations, as do their special moves and movements. All the enemies mirror the Turtles great animations, and the bosses usually have some sort of special move or vehicle depicted nicely in the game. The game also seems reminiscent of a comic book, which, incidentally, is where the Turtles had their origins. As you travel through different eras of time, the backgrounds change appropriately. The Wild West has horses, desert, cacti, and trains, and space has stars and futuristic metallic environments. It all works perfectly. The great animations and style make the graphics fit perfectly for the crazy environment of the Turtles.


The audio doesn’t offer a whole lot of variety, but what it does have is just right for the characters. The cartoon’s theme is there at the title screen and in various remixes throughout the game. Many areas have their own original themes, which you’ll be replaying in your head for hours after hearing them. For example, think of the boss music; anybody who has ever played the game can probably recall it immediately. It’s catchy and memorable. The sound effects work well too. Weapons make the appropriate slashing and contact noises. The minimal voice samples, such as Shredder’s laugh, are memorable. Just say, “My toe! My toe!” to any old school gamer who has played this game and they’ll know exactly what you’re talking about.


Turtles in Time is a phenomenon of gaming. It sold hundreds of thousands of copies when it released in 1992 and still sits firmly in many SNES owners’ systems more than a decade later—-including mine. It’s a short game—-it only takes about 40-60 minutes to play through most of the time; yet, it has managed to capture gamers continuously all these years. The reason is simple: Konami created the most perfect, brilliantly laid out action brawler in the history of video games. No matter how many times you play through this relatively small collection of levels, you will always have a blast and will always come back.

Everything works as you might expect. You can play as Michaelangelo, Donatello, Leonardo, and Raphael each with their respective weapons-—Nunchukas, Bow, Katanas, and Sais. Each has their on special move as well, which inflicts more damage than standard combos. All characters can jump-kick, dash, slam villains over their shoulder from side to side, and toss foot soldiers at the TV screen. The goal is simple: get from point A to point B and fight a boss. However, the game handles it better than any other game ever has.

The charm of the game comes from the environments, and, of course, from the characters in the game. The storyline follows the Turtles through various eras searching for Shredder, who has stolen the Statue of Liberty. In each era, the Turtles face a new challenge and a different villain. Usually the change in environment also offers new dynamic. For example, when the Turtles head to space, there is a level where they surf on hover-boards through an F-Zero-like track full of obstacles and villains flying by. The racing is on rails so players can concentrate on dodging and fighting enemies. Another level takes players aboard a train in the Wild West where they must dodge rolling barrels and dynamite. Players venture to prehistoric times, a pirate ship, and Shredder’s Technodrome. There is a large variety of levels in the short amount of play time. Each level is perfectly laid out and full of new kinds of foot soldiers and other types of enemies to challenge the Turtles. Boss battles offer a different hazard for the Turtles depending on the boss character. All in all, perfect.

These days, Turtles in Time won’t run you up , but even at that price tag it’s worth it. If you don’t own this game and you have an SNES, go buy it right now.


This is another reason why this game shined. Two players could have at Shredder’s hoards with the Turtle of their choice. The co-op multiplayer is some of the best I’ve seen, and my friends and I frequently revisit the gameplay even though the game is 13 years old now. Simple two player co-op, thanks to the ingenious level design, makes the game even more worthy of your dollars.


Turtles in Time is the definitive Ninja Turtles games. The latest entries from Konami on the GameCube have been a far cry from the SNES days despite their cel-shaded graphics and 3D environments. Hopefully Konami will wise up and return to the spirit of its classic level designs with the Turtles' games they currently have in development. It’s unfortunate that Konami hasn’t been able to beat its own effort. Until they finally do, this game will keep you satisfied. This title tosses Golden Axe and all the rest straight at the TV screen. It is the greatest side scrolling action brawler ever made because of its charm, wit, and excellent level design. Did I mention you should buy this game now?

final score 9.4/10

Staff Avatar Patrick Ross
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"Reggie kicked my ass and took my quote."

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