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Turtles in Time is not just an exceptional Turtles game, it is both one of the greatest side scrolling beat em ups, arcade cabinets and SNES releases.

Turtle Power

Character select

To understand the importance of this game, you have to go back and look at the time frame in which it was released. The late eighties and early nineties were the time of the Turtles. Growing from a comic book to animated series, the mutant foursome were everywhere. You name it, their face was on it.

Shredder in the final fight

Which makes Turtles in Time so much of an anomaly. By 1992, so much of the Turtles output was becoming style over substance. Look for instance at the poor quality movies that were quickly churned out. Yet in this climate Konami took the time and effort to develop an outstanding game that paid homage to both fans and the animated series.

Arcade Release

First released in arcades in a two and four player version, the Turtles in Time cabinet was eye catching to say the least. Having a four player option, so you and friends could play as the group, was a guaranteed coin guzzler. Cleverly, Konami placed a well known boss at the end of each stage so the drive to carry on and see your favourite characters was even stronger. For instance, cartoon favourites Metalhead, Baxter Stockman and Leatherhead all make an appearance.

Turtles in Time T-Shirt
Turtles in Time Arcade Flyer T Shirt. Click to view/buy on affiliate link.

The game centres around a plot by Krang and Shredder to steal the Statue of Liberty. Fighting firstly in New York, they are sent across time to face Shredder and his goons to reclaim the statue. This takes you through Pirate infested seas, prehistoric battlegrounds and even into the future. The SNES version even had extra stages added from its arcade counterpart such as the battle in the technodrome.


The soundtrack to the arcade game is notable for its inclusion of the song ‘Pizza Power’ that was written for the 1990 ‘Coming of Their Shell’ live TMNT tour. Remember when we said that the Turtles were on everything at this point? By this time they had a number of hit songs under their belt. Vanilla Ice, riding a wave of popularity, had starred in the previous years movie ‘Secret of the Ooze’. Rap Duo ‘Partners in Kryme’ had also had a smash hit with ‘Turtle Power’ from the soundtrack to the original motion picture. Why wouldn’t they do a live music tour? Oddly, this was replaced in the SNES version for the theme from the cartoon.

Turtles vinyl soundtrack
Record Store Day Vinyl featuring Pizza Power and Tubin from the ‘Coming Out of Their Shells’ tour and the Turtles in Time soundtrack. Click to follow affiliate link.

Other differences in the SNES version included the addition of new boss characters. Classics such as Be-Bop and Rocksteady were brought in along with comic book and animated series favourite Slash.

Legacy of Turtles in Time

Turtles in Time ended up being Konami’s biggest selling arcade release. It was also one of the Super Nintendo Entertainment Systems most remembered games. In fact, so much so it had an X Box 360 remake in 2009 titled ‘Turtles in Time Re-Shelled’.

Prehistoric Stage

To celebrate the 28th anniversary of Turtles in Time, top action figure manufacturer NECO have released wave one of a special Turtles in Time action figure set. The wave includes Donatello, Leonardo, a Foot Solider and Slash. Each figure comes with a hoverboard display stand and individual weapons.

Figures are fully articulated to recreate your favourite game poses and come in a Turtles in Time box that re creates the classic arcade cabinet. The decoration on the figures gives them a pixelated look, making them really stand out from other figures in your collection.

Above are the Turtles in Time 28th anniversary action figures including Leo, Donny, Slash and a Foot Solider. Click affiliate link to buy or have a closer look.

Was Turtles in Time one of the best beat em ups of the day? Was it even the best Turtles game? Let us know in the comments below.