Friday, October 9, 2009

TMNT: Turtles in Time Re-Shelled

One of my very first cooperative gaming experiences was playing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Hyperstone Heist at my friend Nick’s house. During the winter months Nick and I spent many hours on the floor of his room with his Sega Genesis, perfecting our Turtles (he was always Leonardo and I was always Michaelangelo). And on the fateful day that we finally took down Super Shredder, we were so excited that we danced all the way through the closing credits of the game.

With that experience tucked away in my gamer-heart, I was pretty excited when I heard that Ubisoft was a TMNT beat-‘em-up. I was even more excited hear that they were remaking the Arcade version of the beloved Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time. And of course, my elation was fulfilled when the game finally arrived for PSN on September 10 for $9.99.

TMNT: Turtles in Time Re-Shelled offers an old school challenge in wading through waves of footsoldiers. And while this can be done alone, it really is meant to be played cooperatively. It’s just so much more fun to play with a close friend sitting right next to you. You’re going to need someone to high-five between stages. You can play with people by way of internet, but I had a difficult time finding a multiplayer session that would remain stable long enough to find partners. And when I would accomplish this tricky task, the other player would drop out of the game. Yet, on a couple of occasions I found that the stars had aligned, and the online multiplayer worked nicely. Fun ensues.

TMNT: Turtles in Time Re-Shelled is presented excellently in 1080p high definition. The Turtles and all of their enemies are all brightly colored and well animated using the new 3D implementation. The sound, however, is not great. Perhaps this is only a PS3 version issue, but I noticed that the amplitude of the games music and sound effects is much higher than other games… so much so that the audio sounds overdriven. However, the single biggest disappointment for me was the confusing omission of the game’s original music, which was just awesome. The new music is underwhelming. I was hoping that Ubisoft would do with this game what GRIN did with Bionic Commando Rearmed: kick ass remixes.

One of the things that I found so confounded me about TMNT: Turtles in Time Re-Shelled is how complicated it is. Nah… I’m just kidding. The controls are simple: one button punches, another button jumps, yet another button unleashes a slightly-more-powerful special attack, and the left analog stick controls your movement (or the D-pad if you like to kick it old school). With these abilities at your disposal, your mission is to beat the living daylight out of hundreds upon hundreds of Shredder’s robotic footsoldiers.

To sum up my thoughts on this Re-Shelled in one snarky paragraph, I must say that this game is simply good, which is better than just decent. Where two or more Turtles are gathered in the name of “kicking shell”, a good time is sure to be had by all. Yet, I find it disappointing that Ubisoft remade the least complete TMNT game. Even the SNES version of the game had an extra level in the Technodrome. Better yet, they could have remixed the Sega Genesis clone, which is my personal favorite. In any case, if you think either the Ninja Turtles or old-school side-scrolling beat-‘em-ups is worth $9.99, you should go download TMNT: Turtles in Time Re-Shelled.

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