I won’t get into how big of a Ninja Turtles fan I am. I just did that in my review of the previous TMNT game that came out, Out of the Shadows. Needless to say, I’m a fan. It saddened me to no end how bad Out of the Shadows turned out, but it left me hopeful for the next TMNT game that was scheduled for later on in the year. Based on the new Nickelodeon show, Teenaged Mutant Ninja Turtles releases, and I hate to say it, but it’s only slightly better than Out of the Shadows, which means it’s not very good.
TMNT focuses on the storyline and usage of the characters from the Nickelodeon show. All the familiar faces make an appearance. The game plays out much like any side scrolling beat ‘em up would. Run left to right bashing foot clan’s heads in. Players can switch to any turtle brother on the fly using the d-pad. Attacking and combos are performed with X, while throws are executed with Y. The B button activates a special attack that can deliver heavy damage and hit multiple enemies. Players can also pick up special items and weapons like throwing stars and stun bombs that can be used with the right trigger.
Readers may have noticed I said attacks and combos are performed with the X button. Practically all attacks are done by mashing away on a single button. In fact, I will go as far as to say anyone can win at this game by moving forward and mashing X. The game is that mindless. Every once in a while, a big yellow Y will appear above enemies’ heads which means players can grab and throw them. They don’t have to, they can just keep mashing away at the X button, but it does offer some kind of diversity. Even the boss fights don’t put up much of a challenge. Sure, I died once or twice but never ran out of lives completely.
During the levels, players can find secrets using Donatello’s tracking sensor. There are also random mutagen canisters to collect that unlock new combos to be purchased as well as a survival mode and mini game. Enemies and certain destructible objects contain experience points that can be collected. These points can be used to purchase the new combos that are unlocked with mutagen canisters.
The problem isn’t just that the game is mindless, it’s not implemented well either. Boss fights take way too long to finish, the partner AI does almost nothing when I wasn’t controlling them and the movement and hit detection is hit or miss, usually miss most of the time. It seemed like every time I would want to move to hit an enemy; my AI partners would just stand there doing nothing except block my way. Honestly, after about two hours with this game, I didn’t want to play anymore.
The visuals stay true to the look of the TV show but are still rough around the edges. Animations are stiff, and character models look about as detailed as an early PS2 game.
The game offers local co-op play, but if players can find another person to play a game with them, they more than likely will play one level of this and move on. There is no online play which may be a good thing. I would hate to see what kind of net code would come out of it.
The one thing I’ll give it is the fact that they did get all the voice actors from the show to reprise their roles, but even that is not done well. Some actors sound like they’re in a tunnel while others sound like they’re standing way too close to the microphone. It just comes off as sloppy.
So, there you have it, yet another TMNT experience that can’t break the curse of being a bad game. Yes, I know it may be marketed towards kids, but even a kid’s game should be fun and entertaining. This is a mindless beat ‘em up that anyone that has played a video game before can tell was a rush job. Even great voice actors can’t save it because the sound is so messed up. This really feels like a game that should be ten dollars on XBLA but they’re charging $39.99 for your trouble. Seriously, even if you’re a die hard TMNT fan, stay away from this. I said it before, I’ll say it again until it changes, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time on the SNES is STILL the last great TMNT game.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.