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Game Review: “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time”

   Since arriving in the early-80s, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is a franchise that has amassed a significant following, as well as mainstream appeal, bolstering a plethora of successful animated series’ and theatrically released films, including a feature-film debut in 1990 that brought in over 200 million dollars and a 2014 reboot that attained nearly 500 million dollars at the worldwide box-office, the series is clearly one that has endured. In September this year, Nickelodeon will make another go at a TMNT-animated series with Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and, in-anticipation, here on, I decided I would spend this week’s Retro Thursday sharing my opinion on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time, released in 1992 on the Super NES.

   Although, Turtles in Time is labeled as the fourth installment in the Ninja Turtles series, continuing the numbering of where the NES games left off, I opted to skip straight to this installment, because they’re stand-alone entries and Turtles in Time is the one I had always heard about as a kid, but never played. A remastered version called Turtles in Time Reshelledis also available on the Xbox Arcade and PlayStation 3’s PlayStation network, but I will be sharing my thoughts, specifically, on the original release.

   Developed and distributed by Konami, Turtles in Time is straight-to-the-point, throwing you shell-first into the action, and although, it is light on-narrative, the button-mashing, arcade action is plentiful. Something I was afraid of when I started Turtles in Time was in-regards to its overtly simplistic nature. Because, while I am considerate with my perspectives, opting to look at things from a rational, light-heart perspective more than a cut-throat critic, I knew I wouldn’t bite my tongue on any criticisms I had.

   In Turtles in Time, the player can choose from any of the Turtles, as they traverse through ten-stages of beat’em up action, that comprises itself of familiar antagonists, and, soon after, unique, time-traveling terrains, such as a level where dinosaurs once walked the Earth. The story-line itself is better off checked at the door, Krang steals the Statue of Liberty and Shredder sends you into a Time Warp, it’s all a wrap-around for the game itself.

   The game-play is simplistic and superficial, as I feared, but, fortunately, at the same time, it bolsters animations and maneuverings that create the aesthetic of variety, with only two attack buttons to choose from, but a range of attacks they can afflict. More importantly than that though, while its repetitive nature might be a turn-off for some, I found myself immersed and entertained by the constant flow of enemies and the boss-battles that end each stage on a high-note. In short, while simpleTurtles in Time game-play feels fun.

   The graphics and music also benefit. The original sound-track gives the entry a uniqueness and sets the mood, whereas the graphics themselves, not only are colorful and vibrant, today, they provide an arcade-like novelty that is detailed enough to benefit more than detriment. For instance, I prefer them to the updated-graphics of the remastered version, partially because it better depicts the aesthetic of the original animated series. Unfortunately, my second-controller has been having connectivity trouble, and, because of that, I wasn’t able to experience it in two-player mode, I do see how that could add a lot to the appeal as well.

   The ten-stages themselves are short, and, back during its release, that, and it’s easy-difficulty were some criticisms I heard about. I can understand the argument about the ten-stages as too short, for instance, on Easy Mode, I was able to clear it in less than an hour. However, it took me more than a couple hours to be able to complete it on Normal, and, to that, I say, it has the appeal of mastery being the main-draw, rather than completion. I wish they would have incorporated a password function, in-particular, if I wanted to try my hand at the Hard difficulty setting, as it’s one of the worst feelings dying when you reach some of the later stages, and the one part you don’t know how to get past, you have to go a great ways to even reach. As far as the difficulty itself, I think it’s everything it needs to be, and, as suggested, the Hard difficulty should be enough to satiate that criticism, I think.

Rating: – 3.5 out of 5.0

Written by Nicholas "Nick" McConnaughay

Nicholas McConnaughay is a writer of books and a connoisseur in the fine art of storytelling. He spent his formative years binging slasher films like Child's Play and A Nightmare on Elm Street, and blames that for some of his quirkier tendencies.

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