Tuesday, March 7, 2023

Arcade Beat 'em Up Mega Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - Turtles in Time

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time was the second, and arguably, the best, arcade game by Konami to feature the pizza-eating ninja turtles.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles features a wacky plot that fits right into the 80s iteration of the franchise. The mutant from Dimension-X, Krang, stole the Statue of Liberty and the nemesis of the turtles, Shredder, mocked them on live television to get them to come after them. Once the turtles get there, they are sent through a time vortex. The turtles get flung back and forth through time as they fight their way through the past, present, and future until they get back to their own time and stop Shredder's crazy plot.

The turtles have to go through nine levels, or ten in the Super Nintendo Entertainment System version since the first visit to the Technodrome was omitted in the other versions. The levels range from the sewers, alleys, and New York City streets in the present, to prehistoric times with stone warriors and dinosaurs, to a pirate ship in the golden age of piracy, to the western United States in the Wild West era, to hover transport areas in the future, and then finally to a space station and the Technodrome for the final fight.

Konami was the leader when it came to arcade beat 'em ups in the 1990s, and this game shows that in spades. The game has satisfying kicking, punching, and jumping moves and items that can be interacted with in the environment. It has excellent animation, from the turtles, to the foot soldiers, to all of the enemies throughout time. The backgrounds are probably the best two-dimensional art that Konami has ever produced, which is saying something for a company that was so prolific in the golden age of arcade games. The art really gets you invested in the game, as each location is highly detailed and makes you feel like you are really in those time periods.

The arcade version of Konami's original arcade game was the best version with the Nintendo Entertainment System version being only for those who were interested in the extra levels. It's harder to say this time around. The Super Nintendo Entertainment System version only supported two players rather than four, and lacked some animations and voice samples compared to the arcade version. The SNES version also has an exclusive Technodrome level and a fun battle where the object is to chuck foot soldiers toward the screen. Both versions have the Neon Night Riders level, but the arcade version has a straight-forward horizontal battle on hovercraft whereas the SNES version makes extensive use of the mode 7 effects of the system to make the level an over-the-shoulder battle. The arcade version has nine bosses. The SNES version has those bosses as well, with the exception of Cement Man who is replaced with the Rat King. However, the SNES version also has Slash, fan favorites Bebop and Rocksteady, and a stronger iteration of their main foe that goes by the name Super Shredder.

There are also no-longer-available variations of the arcade version of the game through emulation as a stripped-down bonus in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 3: Mutant Nightmare for the GameCube, PlayStation 2, and Xbox, as well as a remake titled Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - Turtles in Time Reshelled. The remake isn't worth tracking down, as it lacks the SNES extras and the three-dimensional graphics don't bring across the fun animations as well as the original two-dimensional pixel graphics. 

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time is a seminal arcade game. Great, responsive combat, excellent animation, fun enemies, and enjoyable boss levels make the game still fun to play thirty years after its original release. Both the SNES and arcade versions have their own qualities that make which version to play a matter of personal preference. Personally, I'd pick the SNES version for the extra bosses, the replacement of Cement Man with the more recognizable Rat King, the great use of mode 7 effects, the extra level, and especially the fun boss fight that has turtles chucking foot soldiers towards the screen. The best way to play this game is in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Cowabunga Collection as it has both the arcade and SNES versions of the game so you can decide for yourself which is your preferred version to play.

Final Verdict:
5 out of 5

Fall of the Foot Clan ReviewTeenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II Review Coming Soon

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