Top 100 SNES Review: #25 – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles In Time (1992)

Time Travel Made Easy

Ignoring difficult to explain paradoxes, four turtles get thrown into a beat-em-up style adventure that spans 250,000,000 years but only takes an hour or so to complete: I guess time is relative!

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Donatello’s David – a landmark in Western sculpture.

Sydlexia’s Ranking: #5/100
Developer: Konami
My Rating: smooth-starsmooth-starsmooth-starsmooth-star

Before we had to concentrate on an eight-hour day of physical therapy lectures, I plugged my computer into the big screen and had a romp through NYC at 3am with someone who had never played video games in her life.

She giggled as I was electrocuted. She bubbled over when a wrecking ball flattened me. She rejoiced when we defeated the boss at the end of the level.

Games have just gotten too damn complicated today. There is something fully hedonistic of the classic beat-em up, and TMNT 4: Turtles and Time does it better than anyone else. Not only is it fun, but educational: history, evolution and art history all combined in one.

Story: Shredder steals the Liberty Statue, and this just doesn’t sit well with Splinter or the Turtles. In true east-coast-biased fashion, the Turtles go to recover what they believe to be a vital piece of Americana and take to the streets of NYC. After arriving at Shredder’s hideout, the Turtles are thrown back in history via a time warp. They then fight their way back to present day to confront Shedder again to restore the Liberty Statue for all future immigrants to feel welcome again upon arrival in the USA (I hope that sentence ages well).

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Leonardo’s Mona Lisa – an optical illusion of a smile, much like presented here.

This is one of those games where having another person is the only appropriate way to play. This game is a good case study on team work. Its conclusion would show that frantic and non-directed tasks can still lead to good outcomes, obviating the need to pay for anymore organizational consultants. Each person you play with provides another opportunity to break and form unspoken concepts to defeat the bad guys, revealing new solutions to old problems.

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Rapheal’s School of Athens – a return to reason and away from dogma.

Outside of the psychology of teamwork, the game provides plenty of variety in attack patterns. Probably one of the coolest (and at the same time overhyped) moves is being able to throw an enemy at the screen — meaning you actually throw the enemy towards you, the player, as a final way to kill them. There is an entire boss dedicated to showing off this high graphical achievement, and there is something instantly gratifying about pulling off that move.

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Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel – a study in getting others to do your work for you.

The time travel piece is also a nice touch. Not only do you get a sense of how life was in the early 90s, you get to travel to prehistory, the age of sea warfare, and the rise of train travel to the west. As an added bonus, you even get to see what Konami’s vision of the future was going to be like. In typical disappointing fashion, I realize that the year 2020 is not going to live up to the expectations of the 90s (if the internet can come in every cereal box, we felt that anything was possible back then).

TMNT 4 is a return to the simple and cooky — hang out for a bit in various time periods while having four, renaissance artists beat up innumerable enemies. Enjoy it!

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