TMNT: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

TMNT: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

What we liked:

+ Ummmm….they don’t say “cowabunga”

What we didn't like:

- Game is too simple
- Controls are over simplified
- Graphics are not Next-Gen

DEVELOPER: Ubisoft Montreal   |   PUBLISHER: Ubisoft   |   RELEASE: 03/20/2007

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, heroes in a half shell-Turtle Power!! These are the lyrics that united thousands of fans in front of their televisions back in the 80’s. That’s right ladies and gentleman, our pizza eating, skate board thrashing, foot clan bashing, heroes in a half shell are BACK!

This revival to the TMNT is set to coincide with the new movie that debuts on the 23rd. This game plays out the movie’s story line, but also adds a little back story to what each turtle has been up to since their victory over Super Shredder. At the onset you take control of the turtle’s leader, Leonardo. We find him in search of an ancient temple that was discovered by Master Splinter. When the game begins, like most games that have comic roots, you will be treated to a cut scene that is mostly comprised of a comic book. After Splinter’s brief definition of a ninja family, you get to control your turtle.

I hate to say this, I really, really do. I am very disappointed in this game. I know-. I had high hopes for it too, even though I knew it was just a video game tie-in to a blockbuster movie release. My geek side just would not let me push aside my excitement. Sadly, just as when you get excited about anything else in life, once you find out that it does not meet up to your expectations, you find yourself crashing back to reality. One would think that this would be a winning combination.

UbiSoft, the developer of the awesome Prince of Persia series decided to mix the acrobatics, and vertical level designs of the PoP games, with the awesome ninja skills of TMNT. I know, it sounds awesome – on paper! After you play the first level, you do get the feeling that you are controlling the prince, as you run up walls, and across them, but what you soon discover is that you have literally spent the entire level jumping. Oh, sure there is combat sprinkled in, but the majority of this game is JUMPING!

Please tell me how someone makes a Ninja Turtles game, and not only doesn’t include ANY co-op or multiplayer to speak of, but also puts the combat in the backseat to the running and jumping across a level. Not only are the enemies few and far between, but the game announces when you are about to fight. They also appear out of thin air, and all look as though they were all cloned. So as you run from rooftop to generic rooftop, the camera will zoom in close to your turtle and FIGHT will appear. It is then that you get to kick some foot soldier butt. It is nowhere near as cool as you would think. You have two attack buttons; X is your weapon where Y is your foot.

That’s it! You can’t mix em up and pull off any cool combos. Don’t get me wrong the game has combos, but I will go more into those in a second. The fighting in this game was made for a ten year old. This is sad, because a lot of people my age (which is 23) are all hyped about the return of the turtles because we remember watching it on Saturday mornings while we were eating our bowl of cereal. What sucks for us is, that we would have had a blast playing this back in the day, but now our gaming palette just expects better.

The main theme in this game is family, which is also the theme of the movie. We all saw the first three TMNT movies from the 90’s so we know going in that Splinter was always trying to teach them how to work together and depend on each other because he would not always be there, which is really what every real family is all about. So after you clear everyone’s story missions up until this point, Splinter is talking with Leo, about his brothers. He decides that they should play a game of Ninja Tag.

Ninja Tag sounds cool, like you run up to someone flip in the air three times and then kick em. Then you run and it starts all over again. HAHAHA this is not the case in TMNT. Ninja Tag is essentially you running and jumping from rooftop to rooftop. While on this boring journey, Splinter teaches you about family, and how every time you accomplish some great feat of skill you will become closer to uniting your brothers. What this means is, every time you pull off some sort of acrobatic skill, or kill an enemy you fill up this meter, each meter corresponds with one of your brothers.

So the first time you fill it up Mikey joins you, the next time Don joins, etc., etc. So once you unite all your brothers, you are taught how to pull off the combination moves that I spoke about earlier. Essentially, you hold the X button, and depending on which turtle you have selected you will pull off a really cool looking combo. Adding to the theme of family, when you are unable to make a jump on your own, you can call one of your brothers in to throw you across the chasm. I really want to give this game high praise, I really do. This game just doesn’t do much for the older crowds; it caters to the younger generation.

The visuals in this game aren’t anything to write home about. You can tell that this game was made for the original Xbox, and then ported to the 360. The heroes of the game are very well detailed, and have some awesome animations. Besides that everything else is bland, and very unattractive. This is a shame since you are in New York City. The cut scenes are all comic book panels as I said before. This should be a dead give away that this is a port. If you can’t produce real CGI for next gen that is just lazy. The sound in the game is passable. The voices are the same actors that portray our heroes in the movie. Weapon effects sound really generic, and you will more than likely get tired of hearing the same one liner over and over again as your turtles jump from place to place.

This game is not meant for true TMNT fans. If you have kids, or maybe a little cousin this would be a great gift for them, but not you. It’s really only saving grace for us true fans is that you can get all 1000 gamer score points in about 4 hours or so. If you are trying to beef up your score for the Old Spice Challenge, then you should rent this game. Hopefully the movie will provide us fans, the glorious return of our favorite sewer dwelling heroes that we so desperately desire.

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