Sunday 11 July 2021

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

Developer: Konami
Publisher: Konami
Released: 1992

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time is a beat-em-up that was first released in the Arcades in 1991.

Your objective across the game's ten levels is to locate the missing Statue of Liberty that's been stolen by a flying android. It supports 1-2 players and the four playable turtles have their own attributes in terms of attacks, speed, etc. The controls are fluid and responsive, and grabbing hold of an enemy before repeatedly slamming them into the ground never gets old (while also being great for wiping out multiple foes when you're overwhelmed). The sprite scaling when you throw a bad guy towards the screen is impressive too, as is the animation which gives you the nice option of choosing between two different styles (Anime or Comic). The level design is daring, as while it offers typical locales such as sewers and city streets, it also takes you on a journey throughout time and before you know it you'll be fighting prehistoric creatures and battling on pirate ships! There's also an auto-scrolling water section to break things up, as well as an awesome Mode-7 battle area where the camera is positioned behind your character. Each level is the perfect length to avoid outstaying its welcome and tying everything together are some neat cut-scenes to progress the story. A minor criticism is that you're stuck playing as your chosen turtle until you reach the Continue screen; this is a step-back from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III: The Manhattan Project (1992, NES) where strategy was greatly afforded by being able to select a new turtle after each lost life. The catchy music is outstanding, but while the bosses are enjoyable (with some large sprites) their attack patterns are a little basic and easily exploitable. 

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time is a terrific beat-em-up that shines in pretty much every department, and its unusual stage locales manage to both surprise and delight throughout. Add to this the rock-solid controls and cool attacks, and you have one of the best examples of the genre on any system.

Random trivia: In 2009, a 3D remake called Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time Re-Shelled was released on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.

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