Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time (SNES) Review

We now begin a fairly long run of licensed games, mostly made by Konami (like this) and CAPCOM. Funnily enough, despite being a fan of the Hero Turtles, as I sadly knew them as back in the day, I didn’t really play this often, mostly because my brother had the SNES and I had the Mega Drive as I’ve mentioned previously, and he never had the game. I played it a few times around a couple of different friend’s houses though and had a great time. What’s it like now? Well, let’s find out!

Background:

Leo narrowly avoids an eye-lasering by… well, being in the middle of another animation, if I’m honest…

Turtles in Time started life as an Arcade Game, as most Scrolling Beat ‘em Ups do, and was released worldwide in March 1991. The SNES port was released in Japan in July 92, with the US release coming the following month and PAL territories getting it November that same year, so a surprisingly short time between releases given the time period.

The SNES version was quite a bit different from the Arcade original, not just the home port lacking in a lot of the Arcade game’s cutscenes and have scaled down sprites, but the Nintendo version added an extra level, used Mode 7 to have enemies fly towards the screen (as well as jazz up some of the surfing levels) and swapped or created entirely new bosses. So it’s not a case of the home port being different because the Arcade version had more power, it was different because each machine’s plus points were used to create different but often good changes.

Gameplay:

Even now the “enemy being thrown towards the camera” effect is a lot of fun.

The gameplay is a bit more advanced than a lot of the games I’ve covered the last few weeks. At its core you still have an attack button and a jump button, the ability to grapple foes by walking into them (and then either hit them or throw them from the grapple) and use a Special Attack, though in this case its via d-pad and button inputs rather than just pressing attack and jump at the same time. It also has some of the more advanced moves we haven’t seen since I covered the Streets of Rage series, like the ability to dash, do a dashing strike and even more original things like a higher jump and a sweeping attack, all done by different controller inputs. Combined with the previously mentioned Mode 7 effects of enemies not only being flung left and right but backwards and towards the camera it makes for an overall fun and varied experience.

There are also the standard health pick-ups and two “bonus levels” (that were actually just regular levels in the Arcade game) where you’re on surfboards moving forward uncontrollably and you have to… well, hit enemies who also happen to be on surfboards or similar. There is a great variety of levels and bosses, the latter thanks to being so far into the cartoon’s run giving them a nice big rogues gallery to pick from.

As for genre clichés… well, it has lots of ninja enemies, that’s for sure! That’s pretty much it for non-bosses, mind you, just Foot Clan members with different colours and different weapons and a more muscular robot enemy… thing, no female fighters or overweight enemies. Thanks to the SNES adding a new Technodrome level we do have a lift stage, but that’s about your lot.

Graphics and Sound:

Sadly Orange Foot Soldier’s board wasn’t radical enough.

While not quite on the same level, the SNES version of Turtles in Time is pretty damn close, and the little Mode 7 tricks do give it some extra layers that generally make a really bright and colourful presentation.

The soundtrack is good, full of catchy tunes and a 16-bit lyricless version of the cartoon intro. The soundeffects are nice and satisfying as well, the overall presentation scores top marks, that’s for sure.

Story:

“Bloated Bean Bag”? It’s not like Shredder’s fat or anything…

Krang and Shredder have stolen the entire statue of liberty (yes, really) and then goaded the Turtles into fighting them, only to use a special portal to send them through time. The Turtles battle various Foot Soldiers and other villains across different time periods in the past and future before returning home, defeating Shredder and returning the Statue of Liberty to its rightful place.

A simple, and somewhat crazy plot that allows the game to have a great variety of levels.

Thoughts Then:

Every boss in this game makes you go “Oh yeah! Him!”

This was one of those games that I’d play around a friend’s house and then feel annoyed that I don’t have it when I got home. It was smooth, fun and varied to play, with lots of different levels and bosses from the cartoon to boot. It got a jealousy-riddled top mark from me! (even if I sadly didn’t play it again much, let alone many times. I wanted to though!)

Thoughts Now:

“Weird Krang Robots on a Train” beats “Snakes on a Plane” any day of the week!

Now? The game still stands out as a top example of the genre, with lots of different moves to vary up the gameplay, colourful and fun graphics, a catchy soundtrack and some good level and boss variety. While the Mega Drive had Streets of Rage 2, the SNES had Turtles in Time.

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