Today, we’re going to look back at the 1991 Konami arcade video game Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles; Turtles in Time.
My first ever exposure to Turtles in Time was when I saw it in the arcade at The Center at Salisbury, Maryland (The Center is the name of the main mall there). I saw it there, but I wouldn’t actually play the game until my younger brother Chaz (aka, CJP on The Otaku Gamer Spot) rented and later purchased the home version of the game for the SNES. He was a major TMNT fan at the time, while I myself was mostly a casual fan. being a child of the ancient 1970s, I was 18 when Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles debuted in syndication in 1987, so most of what I knew about TMNT, I knew from Chaz. Apart from the TMNT arcade game, which was never released to any home consoles, I’ve played Turtles in Time more than any other TMNT title. I’ve only played TMNT III: The Manhattan Project once when Chaz borrowed the game from a friend of his, and we rented The Hyperstone Heist of couple of times from Blockbuster Video (remember when Blockbuster stores were around?).
TMNT: Turtles in Time is probably the closest you’ll ever get to playing the arcade classic. Like the arcade game, you can play as all 4 Turtles (Leonardo, Donatello, Raphael and Michelangelo). Of course, in the SNES version, you only get 2 controllers, so you can only play as 2 Turtles at a time, but Chaz later streamed a PC version of the game where all 3 of us could play at once. Both Damon and myself have played as Leonardo, Raphael and Michelangelo, but neither of us has ever played as Donatello. Donatello was always Chaz’s favorite Turtle, and still is to this very day, so whenever we would play Turtles in Time, Chaz would always play as Donatello, no matter what, and we respected that.
Anyway, the story of the game is pretty basic: Shredder kidnaps April and the Turtles go to her rescue. After the first couple of levels which are very reminiscent of the arcade game, Shredder sends the Turtles “…through a time portal from which you will never return!”, and the Turtles play through different periods of history as levels before the final confrontation with Krang and then with Shredder (at least until the next game) in the Technodrome. The time levels were an interesting mix; ranging from prehistoric times, the old West and not 1 but 2 future levels. The background music for “Bury My Shell at Wounded Knee” and “Neon Night Riders” is, in my opinion, the best music in the game. I have both tracks on my mp3 player.
Give a listen:
My only complaint is that there were some other time periods that I would have liked to have seen used in the game. a Medieval Europe level, an ancient Rome level or a Colonial America level would have been nice to see.
I’ve played through Turtles in Time many times. If you know the cheat code which gives your characters 99 lives, you can easily go through the game without having to continue. What I liked most about Turtles in Time is the afternoons that I’ve spent playing the game with my brothers. It was actually a bonding experience for us and it helped me and my kid brother become closer as people.
Yeah, I know it’s corny, but too bad. This is how I’m ending this. Here’s to you, TMNT: Turtles in Time.