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Perhaps it's us getting old; however the 'new' Turtles just aren't as much fun as the originals...
When Konami first announced that they would be developing a new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles videogame, the TVG office suddenly changed from a bunch of twenty-somethingâ??s into a rabid collection of excitable youths â?“ the amount of time and money we invested in the 1989 4-Player arcade cabinet just doesnâ??t bear thinking about.
However something has gone wrong; perhaps itâ??s the fact that weâ??re older, but these Turtles just arenâ??t as good as they used to be. Based upon the recent resurgence of the TMNT thanks to a new animated show from 4Kids Entertainment, weâ??ve got to say that these â??newâ?? turtles are quite simple pathetic â?“ April isnâ??t half as foxy as she used to be, the theme tune is rubbish, the charisma is gone and is sure as hell ainâ??t funny anymore.
But on to the actual game; perhaps the first major disappointment comes from the fact that thereâ??s no ability to pick up four pads and play in a 4P mode. Perhaps itâ??s just us being petty, but this game was crying out for a 4P mode, imagine the surprise when you boot up the game and realise that a pathetically weak 2P co-op is your only option â?“ they could have ported the 1989 arcade classic and weâ??d have found ourselves enjoying it more then this.
Sadly itâ??s not just the fact that Konami have missed out on many opportunities, as the actual game is extremely weak and unlikely to sustain anyoneâ??s interest for longer then a couple of days.
Styled completely around the original beat-em-up titles of the past, TMNT attempts to re-tell the story of how four unassuming turtles ended up mutated into humanlike form by a mysterious ooze. With the assistance of their mentor Splinter, the story focuses around a mystical sword that is being sought after by the evil Shredder and his loyal foot clan; whilst a number of familiar (yet strangely different) faces show up as you progress through the game.
The actual game is split up into a variety of missions, each of which are broken down into six or seven stages with a climatic boss battle at the end of each mission and the typical plot progression towards the end â?“ so no surprises here. Sadly there are very few surprises to be found in the actual gameplay either, as the game utilises such a simple combat system that it would likely have been derided back in 80s.
There are barely any recognisable differences between the characters, something that even the 1989 arcade original managed to incorporate to better effect. The combat system features two different types of attack, a jump, and the ability to throw weapons such as shurikens. The majority of the game is spent clearing an area of all the thugs and then progressing to the next to do exactly the same thing; sadly youâ??ll often find yourself having to backtrack because you missed out on one little Mouser robot and canâ??t pass by the invisible borders until youâ??ve found and destroyed him, whilst the intolerable camera angles make this a complete pain whenever this occurs.
Although the actual fighting is fast and responsive, thereâ??s just no depth and it just gets too old too quickly; forgive us if weâ??re wrong, but in this day-and-age we were expecting lots of dynamic camera angles to give a cinematic style to the proceedings, and perhaps such tricks as linked attacks between the Turtles â?“ Donatello flinging a thug with his staff towards Michelangelo who can juggle him in the air with his Nunchucks â?“ thereâ??s simply none of this to be found, itâ??s just like being back in the 90â??s, run around and mash those buttons as fast as possible.
In an effort to give the game some variety, certain stages will see you learning new moves from Splinter in the Dojo. These grant you new moves and increased abilities, but to be fair it has very little impact on the actual game.
As with so many failed attempts at recapturing the side-scroller beat-em-up in the next-gen, TMNT prefers to throw increasing amounts of mindless opponents at you instead of smaller yet smarter groups. You can literally use one type of move on all opponents youâ??ll face within the game, resulting in a tired experience that gets far too repetitive too quickly. Thankfully the Boss stages add a degree of required skill to beat them, as youâ??ll have to work out the correct strategies and tactics; but sadly there are just not enough of these to improve the rest of the game.
It has to be said that the cell-shaded visuals do a good job of capturing the look and feel of the new animated show; however our personal opinion is that the darker, manga-esque look just isnâ??t as charismatic as the original, whilst having none of the qualities of manga classics. The environments also suffer from an over-simplistic style, featuring very little detail and suffering from too much repetition.
Everything looks bizarrely familiar, yet strangely different – it’s just not the Turtles that we all grew up with and loved.