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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time


tmnt4-2.jpg (44219 bytes)          


Does anyone remember Turtles II and III?  The first Turtles game showed up on the powerhouse NES as the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (TNMT) phenomenon was just gaining steam.  Three years later Turtles in Time (TT) appeared on the SNES and although the Turtles premise was starting to wear thin, they were still going strong with toy lines, movies, and games. [Insert sound effect of Eastman and Laird diving into a Scrooge McDuck-type money bin.]


TT allows one or two players to battle the forces of the Foot and many boss characters pulled directly from the cartoon.  As one of the Turtles, you’ll face off against Baxter, Rocksteady & Bebop, and that scheming Krang – you remember, the disembodied brain that got around in the belly of that big robot.  Ultimately you face off against Shredder under the watchful eye of the Statue of Liberty.




Everything is consistent with the cartoon (and influenced a little from the movie).  The graphics are outstanding (by 1992 standards) and the characters are big and bright enough that you know who is who.  The SNES hardware is used to it’s potential, with lots of scaling and rotating going on.  One of the moves allows you to fling Foot Clan regulars into the screen and the move never gets old.  But it’s also good to see that it actually has a use (at 


least for one section) – a page taken from the Battletoads play book.  There are many comic touches to enhance the feel of playing a cartoon such as the way Turtles get slammed against walls or get a hot foot or flattened by cannonballs.  The sound has actually held up quite well over the years.  Ten years since it was released, the music is still highly recognizable.  The sampled voice work was still a novelty in a cartridge game but it’s also put to good use.  I challenge you not to remember the exact way the Turtles say, “Ohhh, shellshock,” when they lose their last life or their annoying but somehow catchy catch phrase, “Cowabunga!” after defeating a boss.


The game play has all the tried and true side scrolling punch ‘em up features: lots of different moves, wave after wave of bad guys, temporary power-ups to grab, and pizza to regain health.  Some sections deviate a little – such as the first meeting with Shredder and the sewerboard bonus level – but overall, monotony can set in.  Since the Turtles are sent through time, you get to see different settings but the strategies to advance remain the same.  You’ve basically got two buttons: jump and attack.  The two are combined to illicit more moves that you might need, but they all have a use.  For example there are four jump attacks – which one is executed depends on where you are in your jump when you hit attack.  When you’re playing with a buddy, fighting some of the end bosses is made easier – with the exception of Shredder – but the regular guys provide enough challenge across the many levels, especially those nasty capture robots with whips used to electrocute you.


After taking this stroll down memory lane, I wonder what a Turtles game would look like on today’s technology.  Of course it probably won’t happen -- there's no cartoon tie-in and demand is probably zero, but it might be one of those “If you build it, they will come” situations.  If anything, TMNT certainly has a nostalgia factor that not many other licenses have.  Turtles in Time is a harmless game and possibly worth another look.  And if you remember the arcade version better, don’t fret because the SNES is a terrific port – it’s got everything the arcade version has, minus the annoying fool who doesn’t know how to play but has a bulging pocket of quarters.


- Omni


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