"Some members of the Foot simply use their fists — others use swords, throwing stars, whips and other weapons. They all look the same, they all seem very stupid and, by about midway through the first stage, they all have worn out their welcome. Every once in a while, a handful of other foes will pop up to add a bit of diversity, but they tend to be followed by another dozen or two Foot fodder."
Back in the day, I remember watching the crap out of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon show. Those were some good times. The show had pretty much anything a teenage kid needed from 30 minutes of non-Cinemax TV. You had four heroes who said things like “Cowabunga”, presumably because using words like that made you cool. They were always saving a hottie reporter with a sweet rack from the clutches of evil. Speaking of their adversaries, the main ones were Shredder, the megalomaniac serving as leader; Bebop and Rocksteady, the half-wit sidekicks and Krang, the proof the creaters were on some really good drugs. I mean, look at that little freak! A talking brain inside of some weird Ai Choaniki-reject kind of body! Pass the bong, dudes....
Since the show was popular, the Turtles soon started popping up in other mediums of entertainment. A number of movies featuring them that I never lowered myself to watch appeared, as did a few video games, which I DID lower myself to play. The first of these, which appeared on the NES, was an absolute piece of crap, but things would soon get better....to a degree.
Konami made the decision to go for a pure action approach and wound up creating a series of Final Fight clones utilizing characters from the animated series and movies. Playing the first of those games in the arcade, I remember being amazed at the bright, cartoonish appearances given to characters, enemies and background graphics. It seemed just like I was playing an episode of the cartoon! While the NES version had inferior graphics, it did have a couple of bonus stages, so I was satisfied....for a little while. Unfortunately, as time went on and I picked up the next TMNT game, The Manhatten Project, I started to get the impression there really wasn’t anything else to these games beyond their name, as the fighting was simple and extremely repetitive.
Well, fast-forward a couple of years to the era of the SNES.....and find out Konami was unable to solve that problem.... Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time is essentially the same as the previous two NES games -- it just looks better.
Players still get to choose from Leo, Raph, Don and Mike and they’re still fighting Shredder, Krang and company. Most of said company is still composed of the generic members of the Foot Clan. Let me tell you, nothing says “generic” more than a game having roughly 95 percent of its adversaries being the EXACT SAME sprite, only with a handful of different colors and a few different weapons.
Some members of the Foot simply use their fists -- others use swords, throwing stars, whips and other weapons. They all look the same (with the exception of their color), they all seem grossly stupid and, by about midway through the first stage, they all have worn out their welcome....even the variations that haven't appeared yet. Every once in a while, a handful of other foes will pop up to add a bit of diversity, but they tend to be followed by another dozen or two Foot fodder. Imagine playing a Star Wars action game where nearly all the foes were Stormtroopers. That’s Turtles in Time in a nutshell -- a game that drowns players in the mundane until they no longer care about anything good.
And the only aspect of this game that ever impressed me was a handful of the boss fights. No, I don’t mean the lame ones like the pitifully easy confrontation with Baxter Stockman or the “good idea, horrible execution” fight against the Rat King while speeding through the sewers on a hard-to-control surfboard. I’m talking about the fun stuff like the two-on-one confrontation with the mutated Tokka and Rahzar, the brutal battle with evil doppleganger Slash and the late-game tussles with Krang and Shredder. Take Shredder for example. Midway through the game, he appears in a tank which can only be damaged by throwing a number of his Foot lackies at it. Best him there and advance through a number of other levels and he makes his big return -- this time with a number of powerful attacks, including his old stand-by of instantly taking a life by morphing his turtle foe back into his original, non-mutated form.
That wasn’t enough for me. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Arcade Game had cool bosses. So did The Manhattan Project. I initially liked both of those games, but eventually tired of them. With Turtles in Time not really offering anything new, it didn’t take long at all for me to lose interest. It has the Turtles and their foes and it looks good. Other that that, there isn’t much to this title. Just another case of a company taking a popular license and quickly crafting a bland game around it because they know it will sell solely because of its name.
Staff review by Rob Hamilton (March 30, 2007)
Rob Hamilton is the official drunken master of review writing for Honestgamers.
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