[TMNT IV Logo]


[Neon Night Riders!]


System: Super NES
Publisher & Designer: Konami
Release Date: August 1992
Genre: Arcade/Action
Players: 1 or 2
Save Feature? No save capabilities here dude!

Now this is genuine arcade action! The fourth game in the ultra-popular TMNT series and the first installment for the Super NES was truly a masterpiece! With graphics seemingly ripped out of the cartoons, a groovy soundtrack, and some of the best gameplay yet, Turtles in Time was quite the swan song for the classic series...and remains one of the finest beat 'em up games ever made.

Overview: 1992 was truly a banner year for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise. In February, a real gem of a game in TMNT III: The Manhattan Project was released and a mere six months later, the fourth Turtles game was showcased on the 16-bit Super Nintendo console! If I recall correctly, even a Game Boy TMNT game pak came out in '92 so the Turtles truly did achieve the trifecta and made their presence known throughout all three Nintendo platforms. That is quite the accomplishment indeed!

What I found truly amazing is that, despite being released so soon after TMNT 3, Turtles in Time is another outstanding, polished fighting game and does not have the appearance of being rushed whatsoever. And unlike TMNT II: The Arcade Game, Turtles in Time really is an arcade perfect conversion and retains everything (with the exception of a four-player mode) without having to tone down the graphics or gameplay. This fact alone is enough of a reason to pick up this game without a second thought but since this is a review, let's delve into the game a bit shall we?

I have already spoken at length about the gameplay and fighting system in my earlier TMNT game reviews so I will only touch on aspects of the gameplay that are new in Turtles in Time. Essentially, TMNT IV is in the same mold as the second and third TMNT games for the NES in that it is a side-scrolling fighting game. If you have played the Final Fight or Streets of Rage games, then you have a good idea of what to expect in Turtles in Time. However, where the fourth Turtles game differentiates itself from the pack (and the beat 'em up genre was quite the pack with tons of "clone games" back in the 90's) is in the little things like the controls and overall gameplay. While you can slash with your weapons or jump kick enemies into oblivion, you can actually get a running start and bash, slide, execute a flying jump kick, or even sidestep (or is it sideflip?) enemy attacks! The ability to execute these moves is very important too as certain enemies can only be stunned by bashing or sliding into them...hard. The "fling" move is a lot of fun to execute as well! By hitting an enemy then suddenly moving in and pressing the reverse direction along with the B button, you can literally throw an enemy through your television screen! While this is a fun move to show off to your friends, it is actually vital during one particular fight with the Shredder (I can see those of you who have tackled Hard Mode nodding your heads in agreement.)

Other than a few nuances in terms of the controls and fighting system, TMNT IV is very much like its predecessors. You still have your special moves which cause tons of damage (but also cost you a healthy amount of your life bar), there are special bomb pizza boxes that enable you to pretty much wipe the floor with any enemies on screen over a 5 second span, and you can interact with certain objects in the foreground like oil drums and construction cones. This game doesn't try to revolutionize the beat 'em up genre. It simply attempts to be the very best of the genre which is admirable.

[New York City...3 AM]
[Ha, ha, ha, ha!!]
[Sewer Surfing!]

Graphics: As great as the NES conversion of The Arcade Game was, this was what it truly meant to bring an arcade game home! If you found yourself playing Turtles in Time at a local arcade or possibly even a Pizza Hut restaurant while waiting for your favorite Meat Lovers pizza to get cooked, then you know exactly what to expect regarding the visuals in the SNES version. This is one colorful video game too with its cartoony characters and eye-popping scenary. Everything from fighting Pizza Monsters in the sewers to gliding along in the Neon Night Riders stage and dueling with Super Krang just looks fantastic. The opening and ending scenes (if you can beat the game on Hard Mode) really showed what the Super NES could do too. These scenes look incredible and make you feel like you are watching the Saturday morning cartoon.

The various animated character/enemy actions come across as seamless and only enhance the experience as well. This game has so much more personality than previous games in the series which can probably be attributed to the power of 16-bits visuals. Honestly, I don't think that Konami could have done anything more regarding the graphics in this game. Cowabunga indeed!

Music: Although nothing outside of the main TMNT theme really sticks with you, the TMNT IV soundtrack is still very good. If I had to describe the game's music in one word, "hip" would come to mind. The tunes just carry a groovy vibe and give the game the feel of a Saturday morning cartoon (back when we had Saturday morning cartoons. Sigh...) There are a few nice tunes like Alleycat Blues, Bury My Shell at Wounded Knee (I love the play on words in the stage titles by the way.), and the game's ending/credits themes. Most of the music just has a generally pleasant vibe and doesn't distract from the gameplay which is what you want in a game of this nature. This probably isn't Konami best soundtrack but for what it was designed to do, it works just fine.

Despite the music being very good overall, the voice/sound effects might actually stick with you longer than the soundtrack! I love some of the voice clips like "Pizza Time!" and "My Toe! My Toe!" and you have got to love hearing the Turtles yell "Cowabunga!" at the end of each stage as well. It is also really cool hearing a voice speaking the name of each stage. This was quite foreign in video games back in 1992 but it should come as no surprise that Konami would lead the way since they somehow integrated voice clips into 8-bit NES games like Blades of Steel and Track & Field 2.

Play Control: Although the game engine itself is very similar to the second and third TMNT games, the new dash and "fling" abilities give this game more depth in terms of its controls. Beat 'em up games in particular need more than simple punching and jumping buttons; Otherwise, the gameplay will become very stale very quickly. Thankfully, TMNT IV was able to avoid this problem due to its plentiful amount of attack/jump combinations. The newfound ability to charge towards enemies and have 3-4 attacks/abilities at your disposal was a welcome addition indeed. Turtles in Time essentially took the smooth controls from earlier TMNT games and fine-tuned them ever so slightly. What you end up with is probably the best TMNT game from a gameplay standpoint.

[Tokka and Rahzar having...fun]
[The Fling Toss!]
[The Hardest Boss in the game???]

Challenge: Turtles in Time is probably slightly above average in difficulty...if you play it on Hard Mode and with only three lives in reserve. I can't quite put my finger on it but, for whatever reason, Turtles in Time might be the easiest game in the series. Now granted, Hard Mode can be quite challenging at times with its "shield" foot soldiers and generally tougher bosses. It is also worth noting that if you happen to play this game with a second player, you share continues so both players being able to play well is a must. It is certainly a rewarding game and you do feel satisfied once you beat the game on Hard Mode but still...I would have liked to have been pushed just a bit further.

On another note, while this is a standard beat 'em up game with no real secrets or incentives to replay it, you will almost surely find yourself playing this game over and over. Especially with two players, Turtles in Time is a blast!

Storyline: Despite it being based off of a fairly cheesy Saturday morning cartoon show, the TMNT games have always had at least serviceable background stories. Perhaps it is because of its memorable villains like Shredder and Krang or the connection that the games have to the immortal cartoons. Turtles in Time doesn't disappoint in this regard either. It may seem a bit far-fetched, but it sure makes for an intriguing game!

TMNT IV starts out like pretty much every other game...with the exception of Krang stealing the Statue of Liberty (how Krang accomplishes that I would love to know). This makes you wonder...what do Shreddar and Krang have against New York City? First, they steal the entire city in The Manhattan Project and now its greatest icon in TMNT IV? What gives? In any case, the lean green fighting machine (i.e. the Turtles) takes on the Foot Clan and fights their way into the Technodrome. Pretty standard stuff, right? Yes...until you manage to defeat the Shreddar for the gazillionth time. At this point, you naturally think that you have beaten the game but suddenly, you get sucked into a portal of Shreddar's creation and get thrown back in time! This leads to some very interesting stages too. You find yourself in the distant past (verrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrry distant past), a pirate ship, a train in the Old West, and even in the distant future (or as the game puts it, "Where No Turtle Has Gone Before"). The time-travel element was done about as well as you would hope for in an arcade game and certainly gives this game a different feel than previous TMNT games. The finale is pretty cool too.

Funfactor: This game is very similar to Battletoads: Double Dragon for the NES in that, while it is a fun one-player quest, it becomes legendary with a second player. There is just something special about the classic two-player co-op games and sharing the whole gaming experience with a friend. And while this game is probably not as nostalgic to me as the classic NES TMNT trilogy, that does not take away from the fact that this is probably the best overall TMNT game at least in terms of graphics and controls/gameplay. TMNT IV truly is arcade perfect and can lighten up any living room! What is ironic is that, some 22+ years after the fact, Turtles in Time has yet to be topped by any TMNT sequels. Someone needs to change that and make a great TMNT game instead of the mediocrity that surrounds the franchise these days. Oh well...at least we still have the wonderful TMNT 1-4 set to enjoy!

Negatives: Honestly, there are no real glaring flaws in this game. It does feel a bit on the short side (you can literally finish it in less than 30 minutes) and the challenge level is a little low by Konami standards at least. Also, the story is just a bit above average but then again, that is more than adequate for a game that does not depend on a great story. Now granted, the gameplay, as great as it is, does tend to get a little stale if you play TMNT IV to death and beyond but that is probably true for all games.

[Cowabunga!]

Ratings: Graphics: 4.7 Music: 4.5 Play Control: 4.5 Challenge: 4.1 Storyline: 4.0 Funfactor: 4.8 (with two players!) Overall Score: 26.6 out of 30.0 Overall Rating: Silver Stud!

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Last Updated: March 10, 2015
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