Let’s be honest, there are few series that have been through as many changes as the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. These amphibians have changed their look, their foes and their plots more times than most people change dentists. This has led to the property having a massive fan base, but no one can agree on their favourite version of the turtles.
Those of us born before an ‘and’ was added to our year of birth remember the first turtles. We remember the song, we remember the rants and the arguments about which turtle is best, and why it is Raphael. It seems Tribute games remember as well because they recently gave us Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredders Revenge.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredders Revenge styles itself as a side-scrolling beat 'em up in the same vein as the original games based on the franchise. For those who aren’t aware of this kind of game, it’s surprisingly simple to understand. The basic premise is to move to the left of the screen as either an individual or as a party. As the player progresses they will be attacked by enemies who need to be taken out using a basic combo. They also have access to environmental damage and special attacks to help them against the superior numbers of enemies.
Mechanically Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredders Revenge works perfectly…well, almost perfectly. The main combat is fun and addicting, it doesn’t get dull and the game is the perfect length for its gameplay. The opponents and the majority of the bosses are fun and give a good mix of challenge and entertainment. This kind of game works by having the skills and tactics of the opponents be clear at a glance, but still hard to counter.
However, I say mostly perfect because there is one major weakness to the game. The issue arises when dealing with any of the flying enemies, especially when they are a boss or attack in large numbers. The problem is that the air-based combat is lacking and it can be a real slog to get through when dealing with the flying foot clan members. Thankfully this doesn’t occur much, but the Baxter Stockman game can get lost frankly.
I also want to mention that, when it comes to gameplay, they nailed one of the most important parts. One of the biggest issues this kind of game can have is that the simplistic control scheme and limited attacks mean that the playable characters all feel similar. However, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredders Revenge avoided this hurdle spectacularly. The Turtles, and their companions, all feel different to each other even though they all function in the same basic sense.
The fan service is also well done to the point where it won’t overwhelm a new player. There isn’t a plot here, or at least not one that requires any prior knowledge and it's easy to play through just for the fun of it. Characters are also introduced from nearly all the versions of the Turtle's history and have been designed to fit with the world they now inhabit. This has been done to the point where I honestly couldn’t remember where each character came from and if they were even in the original series.
Now, it is possible to play this game as a single-player and it's fun enough, but this isn’t the way the game should be played. This is the kind of game you play with your friends and it’s designed to be played that way. The pure chaos that comes from a full team battling the forces of Shredder is a sight to behold and is one everyone should experience. It is just good old arcade-style fun that brings back the memories of sticky-floored arcades that always smelt of something indescribable.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredders Revenge is a love letter in every sense of the word. There’s something here for everyone and even the weak bits add to the character. If you love the turtles or 90’s style arcade games, then this is one for you. Play it on Xbox, play it on the Switch, play it wherever you can. Just do it. TURTLE POWER.
Also, don’t forget to watch our playthrough where I PROVE that Raph is the best! Watch it here:
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