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

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


"When I was a kid, I knew Turtles in Time as the game where you could throw bad guys into the screen. Yes, that’s right. Into the screen. It’s the one unique twist in this otherwise typical beat-‘em-up. The game is about as brainless as it gets; beat up a bunch of foot soldiers, battle some big bad bosses, listen to the incredibly cheesy digitized voice samples along the way (“STARBASE: WHERE NO TURTLE HAS GONE BEFORE”), and generally have a good time. A monkey could have fun with this gam..."



When I was a kid, I knew Turtles in Time as the game where you could throw bad guys into the screen. Yes, that’s right. Into the screen. It’s the one unique twist in this otherwise typical beat-‘em-up. The game is about as brainless as it gets; beat up a bunch of foot soldiers, battle some big bad bosses, listen to the incredibly cheesy digitized voice samples along the way (“STARBASE: WHERE NO TURTLE HAS GONE BEFORE”), and generally have a good time. A monkey could have fun with this game.

Perhaps you didn’t quite understand me back there. I reiterate: you can throw bad guys into the screen. Hit a foot soldier, walk up to him while he’s stunned, and if you’re in just the right position...BAM. Over the shoulder and smack, right onto your TV in a dazzling display of the SNES’ zooming ability.

“Come now," you think. “Does this one move really deserve its own paragraph?”

When you play Turtles in Time, the answer becomes an obvious “yes”. The problem with Turtles in Time is that it’s exactly like every other beat-‘em-up, except with turtles...and there were even three of those before this game. Little things like the screen-throw become gigantic things. If not for that move, if someone mentioned Turtles in Time, I’d be thinking, “Turtles in Time...Turtles in Time...there’s too many damn TMNT games. It’s like trying to keep track of every World War II shooter. They all kinda meld together. Except Wolfenstein 3D, because that one had a zombie Hitler at the end and had that boss that said ‘IT’S SHOOTIN’ TIME!”.

The screen throw is Turtles in Time’s zombie Hitler. Otherwise, I guarantee you’ve played this game a million times before. You pick between four highly-similar turtles, you button-mash and jump-kick your way through nine radically 16-bit levels, and you fight about four types of enemies along the way. Every now and then, a foreign object like a rolling barrel, or a rolling steel ball, or a rolling, uh, foot soldier, will pop up and you’ll have to jump out of the way. That’s about it.

The “Turtles in Time” of the game’s subtitle refers to the somewhat half-hearted attempt by the developers to inject some variety into the game. At the end of the fourth level, there’s a cool fight against Shredder, in which the whole battle is from his point view, so you have to screen throw foot soldiers at him (it’s awesome just because it involves the screen throw.) At the end of said fight, he delivers one of the greatest one-liners in video game history: “MY PATIENCE IS WEARING THIN.” You know you’re in deep **** with Shredder now. He sends you back in time, presumably using the inherent time-warping abilities that being an evil badass gives a guy, and the turtles need to fight their way from the age of the dinosaurs all the way to a futuristic space station in 2100AD. You’d think that this would involve some drastically different level designs from the norm, but all of them just have you walking in a straight line and beating up the foot soldiers along the way. And the fact that time travel took precedence over the screen throw for subtitle billing is a slap in the face.

The bosses are still pretty fun, though. You’ve got the usual assortment of Baxter Stockman, Krang, and Leatherhead, along with some more obscure choices like that tortoise and wolf from the second movie that were kind of like Bebop and Rocksteady except they weren’t. Like in other games, they start blinking when they’re low on HP; that always gets the blood pumping. At the end, you face off against Shredder. There are really no surprises here.

See, that’s why beat-‘em-ups aren’t popular anymore. They stagnated. Big time. Turtles in Time is a fun game, but it’s also a very monotonous one--just like every other beat-‘em-up. None of the games in this genre were ever able to escape the trap of fighting the same few enemies with the same few attacks in the same few level designs, and Turtles in Time does nothing to be the exception. You’ll fight the same few palette-swapped foot soldiers as you walk down straight corridors and spam your jump kick. The game’s not brainless; it’s braindead.

But at least it’s braindead fun. Screen Throw is a decent game, and the fact that it includes the Ninja Turtles is a major plus. You’ll probably find it a good time-waster, ‘cause dude, while the game’s not radical, it’s not a total bummer, so cowabunga. In short, it’s like the Technodrome; sure, the brains driving it may not be too swift, but in the right hands, it can kick some ass. Ahem. Whatever. The music’s catchy. Screen throw. April’s hot.

Rating: 6/10

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Community review by phediuk (March 29, 2007)

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