1987 was a special year for me. It was the year that my childhood pretty much began. 1987 was the year my uncle bought an 8-bit Nintendo for me and my brother. It was also the year I discovered Godzilla and professional wrestling. And of course, you know where this is going, it was 30 years ago today (TO THE DAY) that the first cartoon episode of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles aired. I still remember watching the premier and being completely blown away. The Ninja Turtles became a huge part of my childhood, and I can’t think of a better way to close out 2017 here on RVGFanatic than to honor the franchise that began (in cartoon form) 30 years ago today.
Any child who grew up in the late ’80s remembers the above all too well. It was a staple of many childhoods, and had kids glued to their television sets on Saturday mornings all across the world. Who could ever forget that classic first episode? We learned about how the turtles came to be and the challenges that lay before them. The original series ran from 1987-1996 and spawned a whopping 193 episodes.
The Turtles became a massive hit. Not only was a cartoon series flourishing but soon came the toys and video games.
The Turtles became a cultural phenomenon by the early ’90s. They were everywhere you looked. It was a great time to be a kid.
The design on Season Four was my personal favorite thanks to Raph’s gorgeous face protruding out of the cover. Not to mention the set contained a whopping 39 episodes.
About a week ago, my girlfriend took me to this arcade pub in her hometown. They had a bunch of old arcade cabs. I almost fell over when we spotted the original Ninja Turtles arcade game. I hadn’t played it in well over 25 years. Too bad they didn’t have Turtles in Time as well but this definitely brought back memories.
THE BOYS ARE BACK IN TOWN
HEROES IN A HALF SHELL
NA: Normal Attack
RA: Rush Attack
ST: Special Technique
Konami’s faithful and awesome intro never gets old, especially when you factor in the steller Ninja Turtles theme.
Mikey was always my guy.
Konami did such a great job porting the arcade game over. They even threw in some bonus features, such as a Time Trial and Versus mode. Options were plentiful and you could customize it to your liking. It doesn’t make up for losing the four player mode (the SNES probably couldn’t handle it properly) but it’s better than nothing.
Channel 6 News is on the scene with April O’Neil. Wherever April goes, trouble usually isn’t too far behind.
Shredder does his evil laughter and the Turtles spring into action.
Silhouette of the stage’s boss is shown at the beginning of each level. I always thought that was a nice touch. The Foot Soldiers make for the perfect beat ‘em up cannon fodder.
Watch out for the wrecking ball! I love how the Foot Soldiers explode into oblivion.
Avoid Krang’s laser eye beams. What a brilliant way to incorporate Krang’s exosuit early on. I love it when games use a bit of foreshadowing. The first boss is good ol’ Baxter Stockman. Eat yer heart out, Jeff Goldblum.
Things can get sticky fast. Time to put this pest down!
Alleycat Blues, what a great friggin’ name. Can’t have a beat ‘em up without some back alley brawling, can we?
Interact with the environment and use it to your advantage. You can also deflect manhole covers back at the Foot Soldiers. Nice!
DON’T try this at home, kids.
Roadkill Rodneys may well become the bane of your existence. Foot Soldiers can fill the screen quick.
Become a tornado of destruction by touching the pizza box with the bomb symbol.
MechaGodzilla, I mean, MechaTurtle, I mean, Metalhead… damnit.
Scrapheap that ass!
Totally tubular! Sorry. But yeah, this is a nice break from the norm.
Careful or you’ll be doing the Turtle Dance.
Yellow Pizza Monsters… ah, my childhood. The Rat King gives a little speech at the end. Oh my foolish child. You had to do the whole bad guy exposition spiel, didn’t ‘cha?
Firepower game is on point, admittedly. But Donatello spots a weak point and exploits it for all it’s worth. See ya in hell, Rat King!
Technodrome! What a nostalgic sight.
Turtles leap into action like only they can. The silhouette reveals Tokka from the second TMNT movie. Nice.
Mobile Offensive Underground Search Excavation and Retrieval Sentries, or Mousers for short (thank goodness), are introduced here. They’re as annoying as Mousers.
These two were featured in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze.
Tokka and Rahzar can freeze or grill you.
AWWW! How stinkin’ cute. But the level continues.
Never gets old tossing Foot Soldiers at the screen
Shredder has an obsession with turtle soup. This boss fight was not in the arcade. Konami made this exclusively for the SNES to further utilize their Mode 7 Foot Soldier tossing, which was also new to the SNES port. Bless those Konami lads.
Maybe I’m operating on a hunch here but ya know something… I think Shredder might have some anger management issues.
Traveling back in time… way back!
Dinosaurs AND TMNT? TAKE MY MONEY!
Revenge of the Foot Clan: they certainly are a lot tougher now. And to make matters even worse, the Rock Soldiers join the fray.
Break out your special move in a pinch. It’ll damage nearby enemies from both sides. Of course, this comes at the expense of some health. And hey, beat ‘em up trope #87: bad guys throwing explosives and running away.
Flattened like a pancake. Blue Foot Soldiers fly at the screen butt first.
Slash… AKA one tough son of a bitch.
Metalhead this ain’t. I can never beat him on just one life.
Finally. GAWD DAMN.
Marty McFly would be proud.
Announcer reading the title of each stage always takes me to a happy place. Ouch — I felt that one too, Mikey.
Archery lessons. Lucky me. Careful where you step!
These Rock Soldiers are giving Michelangelo one hell of a hard time. Sorry.
Rocksteady and Bebop… it just wouldn’t be a proper TMNT game without these two buffoons.
Another awesome stage name — Bury My Shell At Wounded Knee. I can’t help but smile each time I see that title. The Foot Soldiers keep learning new tricks, don’t they?
Riding horses and playing hide and seek, even!
Keeping up with the (Casey) Joneses, the Rock Soldiers reveal a few new tricks of their own.
Leaping over rolling barrels is always a good time, especially when said barrels knock over a few Foot Soldiers in the process. Leatherhead (no relation to Leatherface) is still pissed at that little kid who flushed him down the toilet…
Animations are incredibly detailed and, at times, hilarious.
2020… it’s crazy that we’re just about two years away. TWO! 2020 back in 1992 felt like it would never come. Neon Night-Riders was truly mind-blowing back in 1992.
Mousers and flying Foot Soldiers can really put a damper on your night.
Details help make a game more memorable. I love being able to see Super Krang flying in the background. It builds up the anticipation of the eventual showdown.
Bosses flash like crazy as they weaken. Classic.
Welcome to the year 2100, Where No Turtle Has Gone Before. The sliding attack works well so be sure to use it.
Flinging Foot Soldiers at the screen never gets old.
Nothing beats karate kicking a Foot Soldier upside its head. Beware of the futuristic traps that lie ahead.
Watch out for the Rock Soldiers who have some new toys to play with.
Krang is back. Time to pop his bubble!
Krang’s beautiful demise leads our heroes to the portal back home. Quick, don’t miss it!
Prepare to meet the Super Shredder. There are no Foot Soldiers, Mousers or Rock Soldiers to fight beforehand. You’re taken straight to the final boss. No boss gauntlet. Super Shredder wants you all to himself…
Somebody really wants their turtle soup. Save the Statue of Liberty!
Versus Mode pits you against a friend. Pick from any of the four Turtles. It’s not the greatest mode in the world, but at least it’s something extra. There is also a Time Trial Mode.
Select from either the classic animation look or the 1984 comic book look, which is darker and grittier. Doesn’t really make much of a difference but it’s a neat little bonus for diehard TMNT fans.
WHAT THE CRITICS SAID
Turtles in Time was well received by the press. EGM gave it scores of 9, 9, 9 and 9. Super Play rated it 84%. Most people call this game the best beat ‘em up on the SNES. I certainly don’t disagree, although I would rank Super Double Dragon (in its Japanese form) a close second place. You know a game is special when people are still talking fondly about it more than 25 years later.
The Ninja Turtles celebrate 30 years today. Although they made their first appearance in May of 1984 through the comic book medium, they are perhaps most well known for their 1987 cartoon iteration. I know that’s how I was exposed to TMNT as well as countless other kids who grew up in the late ’80s. They’ve given us so many memories over the years. My girlfriend and I recently played Turtles in Time and it still holds up extremely well. Of course, some animations and speech samples had to be sacrificed. Not to mention the epic four player mode is nowhere to be found, but at its core still lies an awesome and fast moving beat ‘em up. The visuals are well animated and cartoony; it feels like a Saturday morning cartoon come to life. The sound and music are memorable as well and complements the onscreen mayhem nicely. Hearing the TMNT theme blare during the opening intro never gets old. Best of all, the game is fast, smooth and a joy to play alongside a friend. Many SNES beat ‘em ups capped out at three enemies simultaneously appearing on the screen, but Turtles in Time pulls off four enemies without a hitch. Sometimes there is even more. This leads to a more frenetic experience that truly feels like a slice (pardon the pun) of its arcade original.
My fondest memory with this game took place seven years ago (Christmas 2010). My cousins flew in from Texas and that night the lot of us rotated turns playing Teenage Mutant Ninjas Turtles IV: Turtles in Time. We had a blast and my cousin was drunk with nostalgia, saying how this was her favorite arcade game from her childhood. Ironically, it wasn’t just the Ninja Turtles who went back in time that night. It’s one of my fondest gaming memories. TMNT was born to be a beat ‘em up. Four heroes to pick from, a ton of Foot Soldier variants and a badass end boss in Super Shredder. It was a match made in Heaven. I had a great time playing this game 25 years ago in 1992 and it’s just as fun to play 25 years later in 2017. Along with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Tournament Fighters, Konami gave SNES owners two of the best TMNT games of all time. Speaking of time, that’s my exit cue. See y’all in 2018! I hope 2017 treated you well. Here’s to a kickass new year — “COWABUNGA!”