Villordsutch reviews Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge…
Words cannot explain the mixed emotions I felt with the announcement of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge from Dotemu, developer Tribute Games and Nickelodeon. The spiritual successor to the original arcade classic, the machine I ploughed numerous £1 coins into back in Southport as a lonely nerd of a teenager, was soon to be arriving on our home consoles by the team behind Streets of Rage 4. This was either going to be just amazing and I was going to love it, or it was going to be a travesty and I was going to be truly crushed. I had hopes for the former when I fired it up on the Switch and…well.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge — apparently we can say Ninja in the UK now, though it will always be Hero to myself — brings with it the scent of both love and nostalgia. Granted I still occasionally see a resurgence for the half-shelled heroes, but I don’t think it will ever capture what it had back in the 1980s and early 1990s, which makes the near-as-dammit arcade sequel an odd choice to release. The original TMNT arcade machine landed in 1989, so we’re looking at 33 years here. Dotemu and Tribute Games have decided to tackle a sequel to a game, which is over three decades old!? How did they manage to convince the moneylenders to support this? Clearly these moneylenders grew up around the right arcade machines.
From the off TMNT: Shredder’s Revenge lays its heart firmly on its sleeve. Opening with an almost cartoon cell perfect intro and the Turtles OST, nothing is wrong. I’m young again. I want there to be a replay intro button when it ends, there isn’t, and I’m a tad disappointed. This is just perfect. We’re then onto our menus, big, bright, Turtle fonts and even the level select options to reflect the style of play. There’s no Easy, Medium or Hard here, not when you’ve got pizza-eating, skateboarding turtles around. So I’m “chilling” as I enter my first run through.
Selecting you Turtle (Leonardo) as per arcade style, and you’re thrown in. Though not straight away, as you’re given a brief “loading screen” of moves. There’s around twenty or so and with the Switch these can be skipped holding down the + button. Then, if you know the original, it’s like you never left. For those who aren’t familiar with the original, think Streets of Rage, but with the Foot Clan, mad chomping robots, Triceraton Warriors, lasers, mutant beasts that want to end you and four mutant Turtles as the main heroes. That is the major difference. The whole game just goes straight into action as the Foot Clan piles on, and hopefully you paid attention on the “brief loading screen” as those moves are going to be needed fast.
Dotemu and Tribute Games have made something wonderful here. If you had told me this was actually a secret unreleased Turtles arcade game from 1991, I’d believe you. Everything feels just right! The look obviously has been tweaked ever so slightly – welcome to the 21st century – but it’s not glaring, nor obnoxious. It’s a minor evolution that looks like it belongs. However, when it comes to fighting you’ll find classic moves are still there, you’ll grin stupid when you throw a Foot Clan member at the screen, but new moves can be unlocked as you work you way through the game too. The team behind TMNT: Shredder’s Revenge clearly could have been lazy and gone the fan-service route, but it doesn’t feel like that. With hidden extras, challenges, moves to unlock etc. It’s not just about crunching someone who looks at you the wrong way. You’ll be looking out around the screen for objects to kickover and doors to smash open. If you just play the game with left-to-right and punch’n’kick, you’re going to be missing out. Add to this you’ve got up to six-player online & local multiplayer team up, you’ll be yelling, “Cowabunga!” every five minutes – at friends – as you lob another one of Shredder’s forces at the screen.
However, there are a few minor issues within the Turtles world that I stumbled through which slightly upset my flow of play and enjoyment. You may play the game and see these differently, but I would have appreciated a bit of tweaking in certain areas of design. One of my biggest bugbears came in the levels that involved the hoverboard – not only was it difficult to line-up hits with some of the floating enemies but whilst attempting to dodge obstacles at the same time became somewhat impossible. I’d gone from having fun to stumbling and failing to land hits in one level change. Another issue, apart from the screen occasionally getting a bit too busy – I’m looking at you flying robots – is the placement of damaging objects (e.g. electric fences) that stay in a awkward place due to screen transition. You’ll find a large portion of the play area out of action, for both you and the Foot Clan, due to the screen not scrolling on. If the screen could just have moved on a little bit more, it would have been resolved.
Again these are just minor things here, I stumbled across as I was loving the absolute riot of returning to a fantastic Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game. I don’t think I’ve played a side-scrolling fighting game – that is so much fun – for such a long-time. Certainly I haven’t played one where I grinned like a Cheshire Cat at one moment and laughed like an idiot the next, especially when I’m being punched by giant boss fists. Do you have to be a TMNT fan to like this game? It’d help. The humour, bad-guys, leaving your logic & reasoning at the door, really does come into play when you load it up, however this really is a frantic side-scrolling beat-em-up that you don’t want to miss. So no, you don’t need to be a fan. Let’s be honest, how often do we have to keep our logic & reasoning with us when playing most great games? Heck, I seem to recall even Mario’s hat was alive in his last game!
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredders Revenge is just amazing. You need this. I needed this! I just hope that Dotemu and Tribute Games don’t take 33 years to knock out another Turtles game, for I’m unsure I’ll have the gaming skills I do now at 79.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge is set for release on June 16th across PC, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One and Game Pass.