Remember when the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were kings?"Of course you do. It's a shared experience as memorable to the late 80's as "reading lips" and "no new taxes."
Over a decade has passed, and with another Bush comes the return of the guys in green. A new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon on the airwaves demands that it's high time for a new Turtles video game."
Unfortunately, this game hits an all-time not-so-radical low with its endless repetition and uninteresting enemies.
I think we all know the story, but here's the lowdown in case your missed it the first time. Four baby turtles fell into a pool of radioactive ooze. Trained by a giant rat, the four turtles became heroic ninjas."The game picks up from there, with a traditional button-masher beat "em up like Final Fight and, of course, the two Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles arcade games.
The levels aren't just straight left to right scrolling affairs, but allow you to move in vertical directions as well." Nonetheless, the flow is still strictly linear featuring a continual progression of battles."There are breaks in between for some video clips from the cartoon and some simple in-engine story bits, both of which look good.
Each Turtle wields a different weapon, but they all pretty much play the same way. They're armed with a very simplistic range of attacks, including sweeps, dashes, and the basic light attack."Everything you'd expect'except for a BLOCK! Worst oversight ever? Note to the developers: if you are trying to expand the number of buttons we are mashing on, at least provide a way to defend ourselves."Too many cheap hits from being surrounded by enemies grow increasingly frustrating.
There are also ninja stars littered throughout the levels that the turtles can use directly on enemies, as well as barrels full of oil for explosions."I don't quite understand the theory behind making every tin can you slash open a combustible bomb, but for some reason every button-masher sticks to this tried and true rule.
TMNT also sticks to the formula of endless waves of enemies, which spontaneously appear throughout the game.You would think that only ninjas have that mystical ability, but regardless, repetitive enemies like street punks and mechanical death bots poof into combat round after round. It's nonsensical and doesn't help ground the game at all. Even in Double Dragon, street thugs would be kind enough to approach from the right.
But still, the simplicity does work on a certain level in much the same way as the better arcade games. It isn't bad so much as outdated, and that's the gist of the game. At least there is a requisite two-player simultaneous option to wrench some fun out of an otherwise lonely and mundane experience, yet the game sorely misses out on fulfilling the manifest destiny of a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game: four players! Last I checked, there were still four turtles. It would only make sense to deliver the goods, but sadly, nope.
TMNT tries to add more flavor by including a Versus mode, which hearken back to the 16-bit Turtle fighting games by allowing to go mano a mano (or turtle a turtle) in a classic fighting game match. Too bad they didn't change the control though, which is far better suited for a button-masher than a brawler.
Visually, the game utilizes the now standardized cel-shading, mirroring the look of the new cartoon series. While the character redesigns of the new show are striking, the neon color palette doesn't translate well into the game." I don't feel that it's enough to just transport the superficial feel of the cartoon; there definitely could have been more animation and object detail. All three versions look roughly the same.
Strangely enough, the game has fighting word effects ala the old Batman TV series. POW! BAM! WHAMMO!"These simply don't fit the nature of the game and would have been better left out, particularly since they just clutter up the screen and obstruct the combat.
Out of the speakers rolls an endless repetition of the same loudmouth wisecracks. Sound bytes like this do not equal character; they equal annoyance." Even young kids will quickly tire of the Turtle talk." The music and sound effects are the standard issue that feels pulled from some jar labeled "generic' back at Konami.
It's sad to think that with all its high-tech fanciness of the new console generation, TMNT can't even muster up the personality and gameplay of the old arcade games." Spend your money on a field trip to an arcade with a lonely TMNT 2 machine in the back." That's real Turtle Power.