Way past Pizza Time.
As any person who grew up in the '80s or early '90s can attest, one of the biggest brands from that period was Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. They were everywhere - on cartoons, comics, toys, children's clothing, lunchboxes, and even a touring music show. So it's no wonder they got their own videogames to boot, starting with a couple of arcade beat 'em ups, which were the craze at the time. We've already got a taste of the 1989 TMNT game on Xbox Live a couple of years ago, and now it's time to get re-acquainted with its sequel, Turtles in Time.
[image1]Turtles in Time: Re-Shelled takes the original arcade version of Turtles in Time and pretties it up, while retaining the same mechanics that bring back images of a late-'80s arcade game; that is, cheap enemies, traps, and situations designed to munch up your quarters. Deep inside - but not that deep - Re-Shelled is nothing more than a modest looking short arcade game. The graphical touch-up that Ubisoft gave it is a mixed bag - while it's sort of exciting to see so much work going into a Turtles game, it falls flat in a lot of areas, with character models that look bland up close and far away, and levels that make it confusing as to which items can or cannot be used due to the plane of view. There are also some serious instances of screen tearing that I managed to get with my modest TV.
Besides the facelift, the other new features come in form of an eight-way attack range that expands upon the original's four-way attack range, making the game a wee more flexible, and a couple of extra game modes. You can choose to play individual levels as you complete them in story mode through a quickplay feature from the main menu, which is useful if you are going after specific level achievements. There's also a survival mode, aptly named as you are only given one life. On the whole, however, none of these modes change the fact that Turtles in Time is a thirty-minute long game, especially when nothing significant is added in any of these modes. How many times you can bear to kill the same bosses time and time again?
[image2]This lifespan is not helped by the added difficulty setting option either, which only changes how many lives you have and the number of enemies on the screen, who are pretty much brain-dead and cheap regardless of the difficulty setting. And even if you happen to die, you can retry any level at any point in the main game mode, anyway.
You can still choose from any of the four turtles (no "other" turtles, thank you) each with their own strengths and weaknesses, with Leonardo and Donatello more range-focused but slower than Michelangelo and Raphael who focus on quick, close quarter combat. These differences hardly impact the gameplay - most of the time you are better off with Leonardo and Donatello, as it has always been since the arcade game. I'll admit right here, I hate using Raphael, he stinks. Even if he has a badass attitude.
On the flip side, there are local and online multiplayer options, which work brilliantly all around, giving you the chance to drag... I mean, invite up to three friends to join you in any of the game modes. Online is practically lag-free and enjoyably hectic if you are playing with the right people. Multiplayer is still a matter of power-up sharing and cooperation, so if your pal hogged all the food in Gauntlet in the past, you can expect to run into the same problem here, as the number of power-ups found in multiplayer levels is no different from the number in single-player.
[image3]It's worth noting that this remake of Turtles in Time from the arcades, so it doesn't share the additions that were made in the home ports of the game back in the day. Some might argue that the arcade version is inferior, since the Super Nintendo version of Turtles in Time sported extra levels and bosses, but honestly, their presence or lack thereof doesn't change my feelings about this game much.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time Re-Shelled was originally stated for 1200 Microsoft Points (or fifteen dollars) but was thankfully marked down to 800 Microsoft Points, which was a sage decision, since the game is nowhere near that price range in terms of content or even quality. Whether you are a child of the '80s or a Naruto-watching kid of the 2000's, playing Re-Shelled will hold you for a very short span of time, but it is surely better than the recent Gak-faced, Hose-brained attempts at re-igniting the Turtle Power love.