Together Retro Game Club: Turtles in Time


Presented by Noiseredux

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Obligatory ‘Cowabunga!’ as this month the Together Retro game club will travel all the way back to the year punk broke so we can play the second of Konami’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles beat-em-ups – the masterpiece known as Turtles in Time.

This was a period where Konami would rule the arcade beat-em-up genre with a string of excellent arcade games including the first Turtles game in 1989, The Simpsons in 1991 and X-Men in 1992. These licensed properties served as a loose series of quality. And like most classic beat-em-ups, this game only gets more fun with the inclusion of four-player co-op.

Although sharing a title with the third Ninja Turtles live action film, the game has little in common with that script. Instead, it incorporated lots of bits and pieces from the previous films, animated TV show and comic books. The result is a tour-de-force of TMNT fan-service that remains a high water mark in the series today.



Turtles in Time was originally ported to the SNES. Although it is not arcade perfect and a number of changes were made to accomodate the hardware, it is still widely considered a classic beat-em-up on that console.

A sort of remix of Turtles in Time was published on the Sega Genesis as The Hyperstone Heist. It combines parts of the SNES game with new levels to be not-quite-original Genesis exclusive. While Hyperstone Heist strays even further from the arcade game than the SNES version did, it may be a fun alternative to veterans.

The arcade version of Turtles in Time was included as an unlockable bonus in the game Mutant Nightmare on GameCube, PlayStation 2 and Xbox. Although the original arcade music was removed from this port, it is otherwise the closest you can get to the arcade game via console ports.

And finally, Turtles in Time Re-Shelled was an HD remake on PSN and XBLA using 3D graphics rather than sprites. However, this version is no longer available to purchase due to an expired license.


The TMNT license has continually been used in video games in the years following Turtles in Time, although not all of them would be beat-em-up’s, it seems clear that throughout the years its hard to deny the perfect-fit that the Turtles are for such a genre.

Konami would eventually publish a trilogy of 3D beat-em-ups on GameCube, PlayStation 2 and Xbox in the early 2000’s, although their quality was not nearly as universally acclaimed as the original arcade game or Turtles in Time. Interestingly enough the second (Battle Nexus) and third (Mutant Nightmare) would contain ‘the arcade game’ and Turtles in Time respectively as unlockables.

Though the 2007 Ubisoft game TMNT for GameCube PlayStation 2, Wii and Xbox 360 played similarly to Prince of Persia: Sands of Time, the Game Boy Advance title of the same name was a completely original game that had far more in common with the Konami arcade games.

The 2009 title Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Arcade Attack also seems to owe quite a bit to Turtles in Time as well.

And even the two titles announced for 2013: Out of the Shadows in August and yet another game simply called ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ in October both seem to at least partially in-debt to the perfection of Turtles in Time.


If you’re participating in this months stroll down memory lane, the Racketboy community wants to hear about it. Join us on the Together Retro forums to let us know if this game has aged well for you or if it only serves as a reminder of how far the genre has come.

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Chris says:

Love this game. I actually remember the episode that Alien in your screenshot was from. I actually caught an episode of the new cartoon the other day. I’m glad to see that the turtles are living on but of course I have my opinions on their interpretation.

I’ll start playing this game this weekend.

nick says:

this still gets played by me weekly on MAME, and is often requested first when friends first come over and see my joystick setup.

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