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

Click here to view the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time (SNES) description page for screenshots, guides, and more information.

Quick Review

~Review by tankMage (September 2020)

Here’s a short breakdown of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV’s strengths and weaknesses, scroll down if you wish to read the full review.

Score: A-

Pros

-High quality graphics and animations

-All four turtles are playable and have their own abilities 

-Extra stages that did not appear in the arcade game

-Multiple difficulty modes

-Decent music…if you like orchestra hits and the TMNT cartoon theme

Cons

-Repetitive enemies 

-Uneven difficulty curve

Full Review

A Licensed Game that Doesn’t Suck

Konami doesn’t exactly have a great reputation these days and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are yesteryear’s super heroes, but there was once a time when the combination of the two brands stirred up quite a bit of hype in the hearts of gamers. Konami made several Beat ’em Ups starring the heroes in a half shell and all of them were very good. In fact, game developers should take notes on Konami’s design choices, because they did just about everything right with these games and put most other licensed franchises to shame.

Anyway, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time (could they make the title any longer?) is one of the best licensed games I’ve played and a great Beat ’em Up for the Super Nintendo. Konami even added stages to the SNES port that did not appear in the arcade original, which is a nice bonus. 

Remember this monstrosity?

Graphics

Is Turtles in Time the best looking SNES game? Ehh.. probably not, nor does it rival the arcade version, but it’s nothing to shake a stick at. The turtles were translated into 16-Bit graphics quite well and feature a wide array of animations. There’s also a cool Mode 7 stage… speaking of stages, every level has its own unique design based on various periods in time as the title of the game implies. Players familiar with the franchise will also recognize many of the areas, enemies, and bosses, so Konami did a good job of staying true to the spirit of the cartoon. It’s even possible to switch between cartoon and comic book style color palettes.

I guess I’ll nitpick at the game’s visuals a bit, after all it didn’t exactly push the SNES to its limits, though that also means players won’t encounter a lot of slow down. As one can imagine, the enemies are very repetitive, since players mostly fight different types of Foot Soldiers and the occasional robot. Explosion animations, which appear constantly, were also lacking, but overall it’s hard to really complain about the way this game looks.

Story 

I can’t imagine anyone playing a TMNT game for the story. As a matter of fact, I’m not really sure what this game is supposed to be about aside from Shredder stealing the Statue of Liberty and somehow sending the turtles into a time warp. Come to think of it, the story is pretty bad. They don’t explain why Krang stole the Statue of Liberty, though it was likely a ploy to lure the turtles into Shredder’s time warp trap. Then there’s the whole time travel thing, which really doesn’t add up; after all, Shredder could have just sent the turtles to the past and forgotten about them, instead of sending his minions to fight them.

So yeah, the plot sucks and the devs didn’t really make an effort to tell a compelling story. Things just kind of happen and there are a lot of troupes from the show thrown in for good measure… and I’m ok with this. It’s not like the cartoon was well written, so the game at least keeps up the tradition.

Music and Sound Effects

Do you like orchestra hits and slap bass? If so, you’ll love this game, because that’s basically what the soundtrack is composed of. Overall, the musician that wrote the themes for this game did a great job and it’s impossible to imagine Turtles in Time sounding any different. There are also a slew of voice clips. Every stage is announced by a narrator, all of the turtles shout as they pummel their opponents, and players are treated to a “Cowabunga!” after defeating a boss. Years ago, all of the voice acting was really impressive, but it kind of falls flat in today’s world, so just try to pretend it’s 1992 and you’ve never heard a video game character speak if you want to appreciate this game fully.

User Interface

The controls are great and well laid out. However, there is one problem: The ninja turtles auto-run if you hold the D-Pad in the same direction long enough. You need to do this to pull off certain moves, so it’s pretty helpful. It’s also possible to map run to one of the buttons, but I had no luck getting it to work, so that kind of sucks.

Gameplay

Turtles in Time is a really solid Beat ’em Up, which is good, because the SNES is fairly weak in this department despite having a few noteworthy titles under its belt. Konami put a good deal of effort into making an entertaining game and succeeded. Players get to explore a Manhattan construction site, the Technodrome, a pirate ship, and a prehistoric jungle just to name a few stages. They also tried to spice up the Foot Soldiers from the cartoon by giving them a variety of weapons. However, when all is said and done, it’s the boss fights that really top each stage off. Bosses aren’t hard (for the most part), but they add a sense of tension to every stage and each boss feels different from the rest.

The turtles themselves have varied movesets and mastering all of their attacks is part of the fun. Even better, each turtle has his own strengths and weaknesses. For example, Donatello has a lot of reach, but doesn’t deal much damage, while Michelangelo sacrifices range for sheer power. Two player mode greatly builds on this dynamic, since players can experiment with party combinations and work together to defeat enemies.

It’s kind of ironic that Baxter’s weapon looks like a giant fly swatter.

Players can expect a pretty gentle difficulty curve from this game; in fact, normal mode is not very hard at all. That said, there are a few difficulty spikes. The worst of them is the prehistoric stage, which features a number of new threats and a boss that can be tricky to defeat. Ironically, many of the later stages and bosses are comparatively easy to defeat. For those looking for more challenge, there’s a hard mode. Unfortunately, the difficulty of hard mode is inconsistent. Some bosses and stages got a boost, while others seem to be the same as normal mode, which makes hard mode feel like an afterthought.

Final Thoughts

I didn’t have a lot to say about this game. In some cases that’s a bad thing, because it means the game was really dull, while in other cases it’s because the game was good. Turtles in Time certainly falls into the latter category, because it’s a fun, casual Beat ’em Up that just about anyone can enjoy. Personally, I have a lot of great memories of this game and consider it one of the reasons to play SNES games.

Recommendations

Die hard Beat ‘ em Up enthusiasts may find this game a bit lacking, but it’s great if you’re looking for a fun brawl.

This review is property of RetroMaggedon.com ©2020

Leave a Comment