Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles In Time Re-Shelled review
Revamping an already awesome game? uhh...
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles In Time was originally released for the arcades and SNES. On both, this was regarded as a classic, and while people spent their millions of quarters to get to the end, Konami got rich, and thankfully, they actually deserve it. I, myself, might have spent at least a thousand dollars on the arcade version, and I loved every minute, playing either alone or with up to three complete strangers. The game was a fair bit primitive, but fantastic regardless - which is typical for Konami, as their arcade games are usually quick to eat up quarters, while taking names and kicking ass. So let's follow suit from a repackaging of the original arcade game... by repackaging this one, adding some HD graphics and change the soundtrack. Generally speaking, it's a good port, but only really likable if you're into beat em ups at the genre's more primitive moments.
The basic plot is that Krang, under the order of much more famous villain Shredder, steals the Statue Of Liberty, and it's up to the turtles to get it back. Throughout the game, they'll be thrown all over different periods in time, though thankfully, there's no history lesson to learn, so keep those pads and pens for later. The story is primitive and with very little to no development, which makes sense for arcade games, as back in those days, all that mattered was gameplay. It gives a sensible excuse to get out there and kick shell.
Three modes of play exist - story, survival and quick play. Quick play, as the name may imply, allows you to quickly play through a level previously completed in story mode. Story mode is basically going through all nine levels, and survival is that, but with only one life. Survival is a test to see how far you can get, and usually the one you'll spend more of your time doing, because story mode seems like a one or two time thing, due to little-to-no forced strategy changes. Some moments are worth replaying, but that's what quick play seems to be for, while survival is the test to see how freaking hardcore you are!
Mostly all you do in this game is kick shell. Yeah, once in a while, the game mixes it up a little with some traps and whatnot, but not much. For the most part, it suffers from "what you see is what you get" syndrome, as each level consists of beating the shit out of ninjas and robots. Using A to jump, X to attack and Y to bugger up enemies, you rip enemies a new one while trying not to get yourself gang-*bleep*, for you will be molested by many ninjas at once, especially when you get further in the game... not that it'd be a big issue if you're quick to knock them all over or time your strikes to get through the mob. This may get worse than in the arcade version as you can attack in eight directions as opposed to just left and right, though so can the enemies, allowing orgies to commence, unless you do something about it.
Much like an arcade beat em up, you earn points as you kill enemies. Earning enough warrants a free life, and more of enough eventually earns an achievement (more later). Amongst score is a health bar, and (obviously) if you run out, you're dead and you'll lose lives. If you lose them all, you're brown bread... At least, you would think you are, but you simply continue from the beginning of the level. This is what I call "pussying your way through stuff". Give us some continues. The game isn't that hard and having continues may actually force some strategy out of you, since you can't then just mash X and Y in hopes of winning.
My major beef is that there isn't much content. I'm aware it's an arcade game, but with a retro revival, I was kind of hoping for at least some fanservice or unlockable content. Hell, a few levels as downloadable content would keep most of us entertained, especially those of us who would've played the arcade original to death years ago. Other than story and survival, not much else will keep you playing... Oh, wait; there is! You can host online co-op lines as well! You and up to three other strangers across the entire universe can blow half an hour or so on beating the story mode together. You could also have a few friends over at your place and hook up wirelessly and do the same thing. This will increase replay value by a fair bit, though since you're basically doing the same shit, you'll most likely only keep playing this because you're really big on button mashing beat em ups. But once it gets old, you start wishing for more content. I know I am...
This is starting to feel more like Pac Man: Championship Edition; mostly in it for the achievements. However, the achievements are nothing to write home about. Beat story and survival modes at difficulty levels of normal or higher as a turtle, then beat story with the other three turtles (which is kind of redundant if you do it with just yourself... each of the four turtles are different only by range and the color of their headbands), gain points, avoid traps... get hit by certain traps? Two achievements... that SUPPORT GETTING HIT BY TRAPS!? They, my fellow readers, are not achievements. They are just filler because nobody over at Ubisoft (developers of this port) could think of anything after the tenth LOGICAL achievement. They must have been off their tits with these two. They may only accumulate 10 points, but as you can get 200 here, 10 is kind of a big deal. Though with that said, it's a small problem and something that can be overcome, but I'd love to know what they were thinking here...
But seriously, the whole point of THIS one is the damn graphics. Yeah, a game that's a bit too worried about the graphics. Not to worry; they look good, at least. The art direction is more like that of the 2003 show, which kind of disrespects the source material (Turtles In Time was made using the art direction that the original 1980's cartoon did), but still looks pleasing enough to the eye... much more pleasing than the PS2 games, anyway. THOSE wrecked my eyesight more than normal, whereas here, it looks cartoony to the point where it respects its source material somewhat AND is appealing to the eye. Special effects are about the same, but the comic book setting for the cutscenes sold the graphics for me, as it really went out of its way to feel more like the TMNT of yesteryear than that of today... a fusion of old and new, let's just say...
The audio department is below average at best. The soundtrack either consists of original or remixed tracks, all of which are forgettable and nothing grand. Doesn't make me feel like kicking shell; more like getting herpes. Sound effects are nothing remarkable, but at least they are feasible and suiting to their timing... just nothing amazing or anything. The voice overs, however, is at least something to marvel at. The guys from the 2003 show and beyond still got it as far as voice acting goes; still delivering some good performances here and there.
This port of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles In Time is a good port, if inferior to the SNES version. Simplicity is the key with beat em ups, even if this is a bit oversimplified at times. Utilization of strategy is only needed later on in the game, while good timing gets you through everything else. If the whole point was to glorify the graphics, then congratulations, Ubisoft, you just won the bloody game. If not... while an admirable effort, if you already have the SNES version, don't blow 800 Microsoft Points on this, as this port doesn't quite match that version's greatness. If you're without an SNES, don't want to wait for this to come on Virtual Console (or lack a Wii) and have 800 Microsoft Points to blow, then by all means... give it a shot if you like slightly antagonizingly simple beat em up games.
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