Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time released as Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles: Turtles in Time in parts of Europe is an arcade video game produced by Konami. It is the sequel to the 1989 arcade hit. It is a side scrolling beat 'em up type game based mainly on the 1987 TMNT animated series, with improved gameplay, graphics and sound, it was released by Konami on September 18, 1991. Originally an arcade game, Turtles in Time was ported to the Super Nintendo Entertainment System in 1992. It was retitled to serve as a sequel to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III: The Manhattan Project. That same year, a game that borrowed many elements, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Hyperstone Heist was released for the Mega Drive/Sega Genesis.

Turtles in Time begins with the Turtles watching April O'Neil on a news report. Krang, in his gigantic android body, appears in the background and steals the Statue of Liberty. Shredder then appears on the TV screen, taunting the Turtles. After chasing down The Shredder, he sends the Turtles through a time warp, where they must fight through various time periods in order to return home and defeat Shredder and Krang once and for all.

Like the previous game, the system consist of jump and attack buttons, however, it features several combinations and attacks and adds a running feature. The special attack remains, only this time it's different from every turtle, Leonardo spins with his Katanas, Michaelangelo leaps forward attacking with his Nunchakus or grappling hook, Donatello thrust himself with his staff attacking with his feet and Raphael makes a spin kick.

It featured astonishing graphic effects for the time and a sample of the song Pizza Power from the Coming Out of Their Shells Tour.

It was ported to the SNES in 1992 under the tile Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time. Years later, the arcade version of Turtles in Time was revisited on newer consoles. A slightly altered version of the arcade game was included as an unlockable bonus in the GameCube, PS2 and Xbox versions of TMNT 3: Mutant Nightmare from 2005.[1] On 5 August 2009, Ubisoft released a downloadable 3D remake of the game, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time Re-Shelled, for Xbox Live Arcade. The remake was released onto the PS3 PlayStation Network on September 10, 2009.



Arcade version/Re-Shelled[]

Super NES Version[]


TMNT Turtles in Time screenshot

Leonardo in the first level of the arcade version.

Up to four players (two players in the SNES version) can take control of Leonardo, Donatello, Michaelangelo, and Raphael.[2] Each playable character has his own strengths and weaknesses.[2][3][4] New features in this game include the ability to execute a power attack by hitting an enemy several times in a row, and the ability to slam Foot Soldiers into surrounding enemies or to throw them out of the playing field, towards the camera.[2]

The game features the same control scheme of the previous arcade release. It uses a joystick for movement, an attack button and a jump button. Certain joystick/button combinations can make a Turtle run, perform a slide or dash attack, jump higher, perform a stationary or directed air attack, or perform a special attack.[2]

Players guide the Turtles through a series of levels, starting out in the streets of New York City before being transported to levels representing various historical eras. In each level, players face enemies from the 1987 cartoon, including Foot soldiers and Stone Warriors and the feature film Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze. Tokka and Rahzar serve as end-of-level bosses.[5]


The introductory cut scene of the game details the game's plot. It begins with the Turtles watching a TV newscast on a Sunday evening, with April O'Neil reporting from Liberty Island. Suddenly, Krang flies in using a giant exosuit (seen occasionally in the animated series[6][7][8]) and steals the Statue of Liberty, moments before Shredder hijacks the airwaves to laugh at the Turtles.

The Turtles jump into action in downtown New York and pursue the Foot to the streets and the city sewers (then to the Technodrome in the SNES version[5]), where Shredder sends them through a time warp. The Turtles must fight Shredder's army in both the past and the future in order to get home.[9]


The original music of the game's soundtrack was composed by Mutsuhiko Izumi a TMNT veteran who also composed the music for the previous arcade game in the series. It was arranged for the Super Famicom/SNES version by Kazuhiko Uehara and Harumi Ueko,[10] both of whom went on to produce several Konami games, including the following TMNT game, Tournament Fighters.[11][12]

In addition to an original musical score, the attract mode of the arcade game is noted for featuring the song "Pizza Power", which was taken from the TMNT live concert known as the Coming Out of Their Shells Tour.[13] The game's music was released as part of the compilation album Konami All-Stars 1993 ~ Music Station of Dreams, published by King Records in 1992.[14]

The 2005 version of the game included in Mutant Nightmare features new music and voices, updated to match the 2003 TMNT series.[15] This is also the case for Turtles In Time Re-Shelled.[16]


Super Famicom/SNES[]

While the Japanese Super Famicom version retained the original arcade title, the Super NES version was retitled Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time in North America and Australia. Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles IV: Turtles in Time was used in Europe in order in order to tie it to the first three Hero Turtles games for the NES, although the third NES game was never released in Europe.

Like the Famicom/NES version of the first arcade game, the Famicom/SNES version of Turtles in Time is not a direct port of the arcade original, as it did present some notable differences in presentation and gameplay.[5] While the SNES version is missing some animations and graphics effects from the arcade version, it made extensive use of the SNES's Mode 7 forward scrolling effect in the "Neon Night-Riders" level. It also featured the option to give unique skin tones to each Turtle based on their comics appearance and intentionally thrown Foot Soldiers directly at, and hitting, the screen. The first fight with Shredder in the Technodrome level was added and requires the player to hit a foreground Shredder with the throw enemy move.

Sounds also differ between the arcade and SNES versions. The SNES version is also missing certain voice samples for both the Turtles and boss characters. In addition, the arcade version's title theme song, "Pizza Power", was replaced with an instrumental version of the cartoon theme song[5] (although an instrumental version of the theme can be heard during the end credits).

Various alterations were made to the SNES version's gameplay. While the original arcade game was set in the year 1991, the SNES version opens in 1992. Gameplay difficulty has also drastically been toned down; while in the arcade version, up to nine enemies can be onscreen at once, in the SNES version, just a few can be onscreen at a given time (presumably due to the more limited hardware capabilities). Enemies also display a much simpler behavior (e.g.: they lack many attacks seen in the arcade version and are less aggressive overall). On the other hand, player character moves are much easier to perform in the SNES version (like the throw enemy to the foreground move, or grabbing it by an arm and slamming it left and right, instantly defeating any other enemies that are in the way). The Options screen also provides options to double tap the directional pad to run instead of holding it down in a direction, and to disable the automatic "Back Attack" move. "Sewer Surfin'" and "Neon Night-Riders" were changed to bonus levels and a new Technodrome stage was added. Five new bosses were added: Slash, who replaced Cement Man, the Rat King, Battletank Shredder, and the duo of Bebop and Rocksteady, who replaced Tokka and Rahzar, moved to the new Technodrome level. The game also replaces the final boss with Super Shredder from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze (who previously appeared in the NES game Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III: The Manhattan Project). It also added two regular enemies: Roadkill Rodneys, which replaced the boxing robots, and Mousers.

The SNES version also features a time-trial mode and a two-player versus fight mode. Like the arcade version, each Turtle was given unique attributes in areas such as speed and strength.[5]

Unlockable version in Mutant Nightmare[]

The original arcade version could be unlocked after completing the first batch of missions in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 3: Mutant Nightmare. The game is mostly the same as the arcade. Differences include the lack of a score counter, an entirely new soundtrack (likely due to rights issues with the original soundtrack), re-recorded voices, and a slightly choppy frame rate compared to the arcade. Additionally, this version requires the controller to be inserted into a particular slot to play as each character. This means that if one plays the game on a PS2 without a multitap, it is not possible to play as Donatello or Raphael, as the default PS2 only features two controller slots. The new soundtrack is a re-arranged version from the NDS version of Mutant Nightmare.


In 2019, Arcade1up released an officially licensed 3/4-scale home arcade cabinet featuring both the original arcade game and the Turtles in Time arcade game with four-player support. The cabinet marquee was modeled after the original arcade cabinet. A two-player "countercade" unit was also released using the same aesthetic. In 2021, a new 3/4-scale four-player cabinet was released using a Turtles in Time marquee design and was enabled with subscription-free Live WiFi.

Konami Quarter Arcade[]

In 2023, Konami's website offered exclusive pre-order sales for both the original arcade game and the arcade version of Turtles in Time in fully playable 1/4-scale replicas of the original cabinets using original ROM files; overall cabinet size of 17.5” (44.5 cm) x Width: 9.2” (23.4 cm) x Depth: 9.4” (24 cm). Noted features included light-up marquee, four-player simultaneous play, 4x front USB ports (hidden behind the coin doors) allow the use of USB gaming controllers (sold separately), 6” TFT screen with 4:3 ratio featuring a new CRT lens screen cover, original sound positioning via 3W built-in speaker with volume control, Top 10 high score saves, and internal rechargeable lithium battery powered via USB-C (cable included). The Turtles in Time cabinet was noted as being the eleventh entry in Konami's Quarter Arcade series.

Turtles in Time Re-Shelled[]

A remake, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time Re-Shelled, was developed by Ubisoft Singapore and released for the Xbox 360 in August 2009[17] and for the Playstation 3 on 1 October the same year.[18] This occurred as the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise observed its 25th Anniversary.


Following its release, Turtles in Time became Konami's bestselling arcade title. Although critics found that the second game was largely similar to the previous arcade game, they felt that it was a net improvement over its predecessor on all points, including graphics, music and gameplay.[3] Overall, the game was hailed for staying true to its source material.[13]

The SNES version was praised for its additional stages and gameplay modes. Like the arcade version, the SNES game has been lauded for its visuals, which replicate the cartoon's art style.[9] The game's music and sound effects have also been praised.[19] However, the game has been criticized for its repetitive gameplay and short length.[19] Despite these criticisms, Nintendojo called Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time the best Ninja Turtles game of all time, while ScrewAttack called it the best Beat Em' Up ever.

Following his Performance of the Night award-winning bout at UFC 173, fighter and Super Nintendo fan Mitch Clarke told reporters Turtles in Time is his favorite SNES game.[20]

The Re-shelled remake has been criticized for being a remake of the arcade version instead of the SNES version, which many regard as the better version.

Continuity Nods/References[]

  • The continue screen of the SNES version of this game homages the poster of the first movie.
  • The Re-Shelled version of the game is more or less set in the 80's Turtles continuity (or, at least a parallel of it), but uses the cast of the 2003 series.
  • Oddly enough, Splinter uses his 2003 character model, but has his 1987 counterpart's color scheme.
  • In his portrait artwork, Shredder has his trademark claws on only one hand, similar to his 2003 counterpart. In game, they're on both hands.
  • In Re-Shelled, Shredder is wearing his outfit from the second movie, but his helmet is from the first movie. Interestingly, the arcade version of the Shredder is based on the 1987 show, while the SNES version still has the 1987 variant, being replaced by Super Shredder in the finale battle.
  • The SNES version features an extra stage and two modified stages that work as bonus stages, it is rumored that Technodrome, Let's Kick Shell was planned for the original arcade game.
  • The opening of the arcade version has an error when playing the samples, when Leonardo says "you bloated bean bag", the name of the scene is shown before he finishes the phrase and the music keeps playing, this doesn't allow the game to play the sample, "Big Apple 3 A. M." which was recorded in the game. This was fixed in the SNES version.
  • The final scene Technodrome: The Final Shell Shock has a different date in the Arcade and SNES version, originally it's 1991, in the SNES it's 1992.
  • The TMNT 3: Mutant Nightmare port is slightly altered, it features a different soundtrack (most likely for music rights) and the opening title is skipped. It has some emulation errors, which probably is the reason for which the opening is skipped. The door at the middle of the 1st stage is not covered by the floor and Shredder's image at the time warp scene doesn't warp. The voices are either bad emulated as well or were remastered; some sounds aren't played either.

Production errors[]

  • In the Re-Shelled remake of the game, the announcer only says "Technodrome" when you reach the final stage, which should be "Technodrome: The Final Shell Shock".
  • Despite the previous game, The Manhattan Project was never released in PAL territories, this game still retains the Roman numeric 'IV' in the title in PAL releases of the game.


BIG APPLE, 3 AM ~ This level takes place on a girder wireframe. The hazards are wrecking balls and Krang, who has gotten bigger and tries to zap the Turtles with lasers that come out of his eyes (Additionally in the arcade version and its remake, he said "Prepare to die!" to the turtles). The boss is Baxter Stockman in his mutant fly form, armed with a ray gun.

ALLEYCAT BLUES ~ This level takes place in an alley. Depending on what version you play, either boxing robots or Roadkill Rodney will appear. The boss is Metalhead.

SEWER SURFIN' ~ This level takes place in the sewers. In the SNES version, it's a bonus stage. Pizza Monsters appear here. There is no boss in the arcade version, but in the SNES version, Rat King appears on the Footski.

TECHNODROME: LET'S KICK SHELL ~ This level takes place in the Technodrome and only appears in the SNES version. This stage was intended to be in the arcade version but was scrapped due to the arcade game being rushed. Mousers appear here. The bosses are Tokka, Rahzar, and Shredder in a Battletank.

PREHISTORIC TURTLESAURUS ~ This level takes place in the Stone Age. Stone Warriors and dinosaurs appear here. The hazard is a volcano that erupts and will burn the Turtles if they touch the lava. The boss is Cement Man in the arcade version and Slash in the SNES version.

SKULL AND CROSSBONES ~ This level takes place on a Pirate Ship. The hazards for this level are a ship firing cannonballs at the Turtles, and loose parts of the ship, which will hit the Turtles if they step on them. In the arcade version, Tokka and Rahzar are bosses while in SNES version, Bebop and Rocksteady replace them.

BURY MY SHELL AT WOUNDED KNEE ~ This level takes place on a train in the Wild West era. The boss is Leatherhead.

NEON NIGHT RIDERS ~ This level takes place in the Future. In the SNES version, it's a bonus stage. The boss is Krang's Android Body.

STARBASE: WHERE NO TURTLE HAS GONE BEFORE ~ This level takes place in a Space Station. Robot Walkers appear here. The boss is Krang in a UFO. During development, this stage was originally going to be a Technodrome level, which explains the similar layout to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III: The Manhattan Project, but was changed to show the Turtles going into outer space. It would later become a Technodrome level in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Hyperstone Heist. The stage's title is an homage to the Star Trek catchphrase "To boldly go where no man has gone before."

TECHNODROME: THE FINAL SHELL SHOCK ~ This level takes place in the Technodrome's hold with the Statue of Liberty in the background and is mainly a boss battle with Super Shredder on the SNES version and normal Shredder in the arcade/Re-Shelled version.

See also[]


  1. Craig Harris (10 November 2005). Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Nightmare (English). IGN. Retrieved on July 8, 2020.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Konami; Arcade machine manual for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Allgame review of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time. URL retrieved 30th October 2006.
  4. Instruction manual for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 X-Cult comparison of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time (2008). Retrieved on January 23, 2010. Previous version accessed Sept. 16, 2006.
  6. episode synopsis for "Heroes in a Half-Shell, Part 5 – Shredder and Splintered". URL retrieved 16th July 2006.
  7. episode synopsis for "Krangenstien Lives". URL retrieved 16th July 2006.
  8. episode synopsis for "Divide and Conquer". URL retrieved 16th July 2006.
  9. 9.0 9.1 Allgame review of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time. URL retrieved 22nd July 2006.
  10. IMDb review of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time. URL retrieved 22nd July 2006.
  11. Moby Games profile of Harumi Ueko. URL retrieved 22nd October 2006.
  12. Moby Games profile of Kazuhiko Uehara. URL retrieved 22nd October 2006.
  13. 13.0 13.1 Arcade History review of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time. URL retrieved 22nd July 2006.
  14. Game Music Revolution CD information for Konami All-Stars 1993 ~ Music Station of Dreams. URL retrieved 13th October 2006.
  15. Video Game Talk review of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 3: Mutant Nightmare. URL retrieved 15th October 2006.
  16. [1]
  17. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time Re-Shelled (English). Mobygames (5 August 2009). Retrieved on April 10, 2020.
  18. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time Re-Shelled (English). Mobygames (1 October 2009). Retrieved on April 10, 2020.
  19. 19.0 19.1 The Armchair Empire review of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time. URL retrieved 16 July 2006.
  20. "UFC 173: Mitch Clarke Calls D'Arce Choke 'Kill or Be Killed' Moment",, via YouTube

External links[]

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Konami Era 1
1989 home game · Arcade game · Fall of the Foot Clan · Manhattan Missions · The Manhattan Project · Back from the Sewers · Turtles in Time · The Hyperstone Heist · Radical Rescue · Tournament Fighters (NES, Super NES, Genesis) · The Cowabunga Collection
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