Approximate Release Date: August 15, 1992
It’s impressive how Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time nails the ’90s cartoon experience.
This doesn’t feel like a cash-in, which is rare for licensed games. The graphics are great, the music is catchy and fits the franchise, and the series’ humor is present throughout. It’s very impressive in those regards, and the game holds up so well today partly because it is able to ape so much of the cartoon. The fact that Turtles in Time is fun to play is even more of a miracle.
Turtles in Time doesn’t stray too much from established brawlers like Final Fight or the other Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles games. You move through the levels and beat up any bad guys you see along the way. Obviously, there are four characters to choose from – Donatello, Raphael, Leonardo, and Michelangelo – and they have marginal differences between them, mostly as a tradeoff between attack power and attack range. Every person who survived the 1990s has a favorite turtle, and they’re all worth using here.
One addition to the game I really like is the ability to grab foot ninjas and throw them into the screen. Not only does it look cool, but it’s also the most effective way of dealing with some stronger foes. One boss fight even centers around nothing but tossing baddies into the screen!
It is hard to reliably throw enemies, though. I had a lot of trouble as a kid doing so on command. Sometimes you’ll just smash the bad guy into the ground a couple of times instead, or worse, hit him with your weapon and not take him out. Konami has assigned too many actions to the Y button when there are plenty of buttons that aren’t used at all in the game. I assume it’s because of Turtles in Time‘s arcade heritage because Final Fight had the same problem, but it’s annoying and leads to mistakes.
You’ll also find there are enemies that will attack you from off-screen or are able to essentially stunlock a turtle and prevent a counter attack. This can be alleviated by playing with a friend, which I recommend, but it’s annoying to take damage without recourse. Turtles in Time does manage to dodge the common brawler problem of having terrible boss battles, though. Bosses are tough but fair and usually have more to them than just being overpowered grunts.
All told, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time is not only a great Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game, but it also is a great game and one of my favorites in the genre. It doesn’t overstay its welcome and has enough variety in levels and enemies to keep interest levels high.
Tomorrow: Will I be blown away by Ka-Blooey or will it fizzle out?
15 thoughts on “SNES A Day 72: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time”
This was (and still is) a favorite SNES game of mine!
Holy crap I loved this game! I think this is the last good Turtles game. I’m hard pressed to think of another since then that’s been decent.
Some people swear by TMNT Tournament Fighters for the SNES.
Tournament Fighters is interesting. I wouldn’t take it over Turtles In Time though.
TMNT fit best as a Beat’em Up. I dare you to beat the original NES game.
I don’t hate myself enough to even try to beat that game.
I’m having terrible flashbacks of electric seaweed right now …
I’ve never gotten past the Dam level.
Christ, I got past the dam level recently, it gets even worse. Pin point, blind jumps into bad guys, that send you backwards to your death!
Why are you playing so much of that awful game? Did you lose a bet??
Haha, yeah. I watched the Angry Video Game Nerd, and I didn’t like his ranting. It is a deeply flawed game, but not one of the worst NES games. It is the worst Turtle game.
I actually wanted to try and complete it, but I spent a good day, and sucked too much ass.
I just watched a walk through, and I only got 30ish percent of the way through. The Dam is about 15%
CW – thanks for the write-up and the walk down memory lane. The TMNT games have always been fantastic, at least for a fan boy like me.
What other game could have four characters who play exactly the same seem like variety? Great stuff!
There really were a number of great TMNT games. The franchise certainly seems to have a better batting average than most.
I think the Power Rangers could have every character be similar but yet different. And I don’t want to spoil too much about upcoming games, but those games aren’t nearly as successful.
I learned that only years later, as an adult. You throw the bad guys after they flinch because of a hit. So, basic jab, walk up to the guy and press attack again. If you hold forward, you throw them at the screen. If you hold any diagonal, you smash them around.