Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time is a side-scrolling beat-em-up similar to Double Dragon. The Super Nintendo version of the game changes perspective during one level in which the SNES' Mode 7 graphics capabilities are used to give the appearance that the player is traveling forwards on a z-axis plane; although movement is still basically restricted to left and right.
All four turtles are playable characters: Michelangelo, Leonardo, Donatello and Raphael. The game pans out in a linear fashion and each stage involves lots of battles with Foot Soldiers and other enemies. A boss is usually at the end of each level.
Fans of Turtles in Time praise a variety of moves that are easy to master while remaining fresh. These moves include slide tackles, grabs that send enemies rocketing towards the foreground and off the map and other useful attacks. Furthermore, the four-player co-op (two-player on SNES) serves as a natural fit for the four turtles. Super Nintendo owners are likely to include TMNT IV in a list of the best games of all-time on the console.
The game begins as Krang, in a massive exosuit, swoops in and steals the Statue of Liberty during April O'Neil's newscast. Just as this happens, the Turtles' arch-enemy Shredder hijacks the broadcast in order to laugh at and taunt our heroes, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The city is in a dire situation, and the turtles rush to the rescue. The turtles pursue the foot clan through New York City and through the sewers, until the Shredder sends them all through a time warp. Through both past and future time periods, the heroes must fight Shredder's henchmen to save history.
In the Arcade version, up to four players can play simultaneous as each of the turtles, while in the SNES version, only two players can play cooperatively. Each character has a different playing style to go along with their differing weapons. Donatello is the slow yet ranged character, Michelangelo and Raphael are the fast short ranged characters, and Leonardo is the all-around character. Similar to previous TMNT games on the NES, each turtle is equipped with their own special attack. If a player stuns an enemy by hitting them enough, special actions can result. These special actions include using the enemy as a weapon against other enemies, and throwing the enemy towards the screen.
As with many other beat-em-up style games, Turtles in Time has a relatively simple control scheme. The player controls their turtle of choice using the arcade joystick (or the SNES D-pad) and has two buttons which command the turtle to jump and attack. Players can hold the joystick in a direction to make their character run. Players can also attack while jumping, and have different attacks that happen when the player attacks during a run. There are two air attacks, a basic slash, and a forward moving attack. Using other combinations, players can mix up their tactics, and finally, perform special attacks.
In addition to the main story sequence, the SNES version of Turtles in Time offers versus and time trial modes. In the versus mode, players select the turtle of choice, and go head to head in arena combat. The versus mode plays out as the regular game, but rather then battling opponents, players battle each other. The stage is limited, and the controls remain unchanged. In the time trial mode, players can select from a menu the stage of their choice. They then will play through the selected level, and be timed while doing it. Players can run through each level multiple times, trying to beat their own scores, or those of friends, family, and lovers.
- Big Apple, 3 A.M. - The first level, takes place in New York City at a high-rise construction site. Players fight Baxter on this level.
- Alleycat Blues - Takes place on the streets of New York. Metal Head is the boss of this level.
- Sewer Surfin' - A level that takes involves surfing in the sewer, where players fight the Rat King.
- Technodrome: Let's Kick Shell! - (SNES version only) The turtles enter the Technodrome and take on Tokka and Rahzar, before taking on Shredder in a battletank.
- Prehistoric Turtlesaurus - A level that takes place far in the past, in the age of dinosaurs. Players will engage Cement Man (Slash in SNES version) at the end of this level.
- Skull and Crossbones - This level takes place on a pirate ship, and pits players against Tokka and Rahzar (Bebop and Rocksteady in SNES version).
- Bury my Shell at Wounded Knee - The final level in the past, which takes place on a train. The boss of this level is Leather Head.
- Neon Night-Riders - The first level that takes place in the future, this level takes place on a highway in 2020 and is the second 'surfing' level. Super Krang awaits the turtles at the end of this level.
- Where No Turtles Have Gone Before - The final level in the future, set in a space colony in 2100. Krang appears in a space ship to fight the turtles.
- Technodrome: The Final Shell Shock - The turtles take on Shredder's final form, known as Super Shredder. This level is a boss fight only.
Differences Between Arcade and SNES Versions
Due to the weaker hardware of the SNES, the graphics had to be toned down for the port. Character animations are essentially the same in both versions of the game. The major visual difference comes in the game's backgrounds, which are noticeably more detailed in the arcade version. Boss fights in the SNES version were also less detailed, with each boss exploding upon defeat, whereas in the Arcade version they would each do something different. Actual bosses were replaced, added or moved in the game as well. The SNES version adds Rat King, an initial encounter with Shredder before opening the time warp, Slash, the tandem of Bebop and Rocksteady. Cement Man was removed from Prehistoric Turtlesaurus and Tokka and Rahzar were shuffled to a sub-boss position in the first Technodrome level. Each game also had different light and weather effects in the arcade version. The arcade version of 'Skull and Crossbones' has rain, but it is all clear skies in the SNES game.
While the arcade version was graphically superior in most cases, SNES Mode 7 allowed for other graphical enhancements. The arcade version of 'Neon Night-Riders' was simply another surfing level, the SNES version utilized Mode-7 to give it a unique behind the back viewpoint. Players could also choose the appearance of the turtles, making them look like the cartoon or the comic versions of the characters. Neon Night-Riders, along with Sewer Surfin', were altered to become bonus levels in the SNES version.
While the soundtracks are nearly identical, one song was replaced in the SNES version. The SNES game also lacked the bosses' voices which were heard in the arcade, as well as any turtle voices. Due to the switch from voice to text, the SNES version also contained some typos.
For the SNES port, Konami tightened the gameplay mechanics. Combos were streamlined, and throw moves were changed to allow the player to intentionally perform a certain throw move. The game was also balanced, with character attacks chaining, and making the turtles' special attacks take away some of their health when performed. Character distinction was boosted, giving them all more distinctive attack and movement speed, and different traits to their special attacks.
There were also a number of changes to enemies' AI in the SNES version. Many Foot soldier attacks were changed and/or removed, making their array of moves much less varied. The Foot soldiers also used their more effective moves, such as the grab, less frequently compared to the Arcade version.
A Turtles in Time arcade remake was released on August 5, 2009 on the Xbox Live Marketplace. The game is remade in 3D graphics, but still retains the classic beat-em up gameplay of the original. The official title of this game is "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time Re-Shelled." It was available for 800 Microsoft points ($10). It was also released for the PS3 on September 12, 2009 as a downloadable title through the PSN for $9.99.
As of July 1, 2011, the title is no longer available on XBLM or PSN in the US due to an expired license.