Something smells like a rotting sewer.
When Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Smash Up arrived in the office, Nick and Duke rolled their eyes. They both had hands on time with it before the release and were, shall we say, reluctant to take a crack at the review. Being the cheerfully naïve optimist, I figured I’d give it a whirl. It’s a mistake I’ll have to live with for the rest of my life.
[image1]TMNT: Smash Up has to be one of the most appropriately named games ever. Because it’s going to take you less than five minutes of playing it to make you want to grab a hammer and smash this CD into tiny little pieces. But you won’t want to stop there. You may go as far as lighting your house on fire to cleanse it of unholy impurities after bringing such a godforsaken game into it.
Am I sounding a bit harsh? Is this overkill? I’ll tell you what. Let me crap all over the nostalgia that was your childhood and see how you react. Smash Up is nothing more than a blatant attempt at making some quick cash off of a dwindling franchise and it shows in its complete broke-ness.
Graphically everything is sub-par. Cut-scenes are little more than crudely flash-animated 2-D drawings that are disproportionate and disfigured, especially when they move. In fact, most of the art is lifted directly from the comic book that’s included with the game. Although they may be drawn by Mirage artists, it doesn’t seem like they put in much effort at all.
[image2]Levels are cheap knock-off versions of the levels from the Super Smash Brothers series. The rooftop level looks eerily similar to the one from Melee, and the environmental hazards are cheap and not thoroughly thought-out. Falling down on the moving train level, not being able to get back up in time, then being bounced around the screen until you end up god knows where, only to then die because you’re stuck behind a train car, is just bad design.
In a fighting game, there is no greater sin than unresponsive controls. As you may have guessed, Smash-Up commits it. You turn around just about as fast as a real turtle would, and don’t even try turning if you’re in the middle of an attack. Combat ends up being sporadic and weary. Fortunately, the arcade mode does not take much time to get through, so if you do decide to punish yourself by playing through it, you won’t suffer long.
The additional content is confusing and weak. All the mini-games are dramatically affected by the sloppy controls, notably one that makes you leap around disappearing platforms to avoid being eaten by sharks. That’s right, this game literally jumps the shark, or at least it tries to. I actually ended up falling straight through a platform into the waiting jaws of a crudely rendered fish.
[image3]You can also play a shooting gallery game using pizzas while avoiding water and other such ricockulous tasks. Each target you hit will unlock a piece of an action figure. Let me tell you, nothing is more thrilling than unlocking “Shredder’s left leg”. The worst part is they’re not even replicas of the classic figures; they’re just trophies of the crudely rendered in-game models. As someone who owned just about every Ninja Turtle collectible growing up (I still have my punk-rock Donatello with Mohawk), it’s a drag they didn’t include them instead.
TMNT: Smash Up is the kind of game that may end up buried in an Arizona desert one day. It’s the worst thing to happen to a TMNT game since that one platform in the NES game that you couldn’t jump over. Truly, there’s nothing redeeming; you’re just going to waste your time playing it. If you have the self-control, please don’t let morbid curiosity get the best of you.