Players: 1 to 4 Player Game | Release Date: 10/31/03 | Genre: Action
I don't know about you, but I have fond memories of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Just typing those words brings that classic theme song to memory. I also recall being a big fan of the cartoon and arcade game. On the console side, the last Turtles game I remember playing was TMNT 4 on the Super Nintendo. The only downside about it was that it was very short. It has taken Konami a long time, but they have finally decided to try and relaunch the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles with a title that is appearing on all 'big three' consoles.' The result is a fun but shallow action game.
The game is broken up into several stages. Within each stage, you will have to go through five or six different levels to progress to another stage. At certain points, a animated cinema will be shown to further develop the story. However, for the most part, the game continues on from level to level.
Each turtle can use a light attack, a heavy attack, jump, and a ninja star throw. As you progress through the game and go through dojo training, you can also learn new abilities from Master Splinter to help you in your mission. But even if you learn new abilities, they won't help you much. All you really need are your primary attacks and your jumping ability.
Enemies will come in big groups. The size depends on if you are playing alone or with a second player. As you defeat your enemies, you can move on further. There can be times when you must backtrack and locate an enemy you left behind in order to move forward. To help locate the enemy, a radar is at the bottom of the screen. While this isn't needed very often, it can come in handy when seeing how many enemies are around you. After going through several waves of enemies, you will come across a boss. Just like in the original Turtles the Arcade Game, the boss fights can be much more difficult than any of the other battles you face. This is when you will probably die the most and start yelling about how cheap the tactics of the boss are. However, you won't face a boss at the end of every level. Usually within a particular stage, you will face two or three bosses.
Visually, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles looks very nice. The cel-shaded graphics fit the game very well and are supposed to be similar to what the new TV show looks like. Also, the game uses the same voice actors from the new TV show. I haven't seen the show yet and don't know anything about it so I was unable to verify if this is true or not. And to be honest, I am not very interested in researching this aspect of the game to back it up. I outgrew my fascination with watching the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles a looooooooong time ago.
One area of concern I had with the graphics is slowdown. In the GameCube version, I found that if there were a lot of enemies on the screen and both myself and the second player were moving, slowdown would occur on certain levels. This is another example of what happens when publishers choose to port games to every console using RenderWare. This is a company that has made money making it easier for developers to port games without paying their developers to spend time to code for each specific platform. While it works for the most part, by using this method, gamers are cheated out of having titles developed to take advantage of what their respective console does well. And with the power the Cube has, there is no excuse for this title to slow down any.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is a title I have been looking forward to. Now that I have my hands on it, I am a bit disappointed in it. It isn't that it does anything wrong, it just is a bit boring to play after awhile. While there are some multiplayer options, the story mode is a bit on the short end and can be completed fairly quickly. Because of this and the repetitive nature of the gameplay, I suggest a rental before playing. Hopefully Konami will spend a bit more time fleshing out the gameplay and give us a longer and more innovated action title. However, until then, if you need some Turtle Power and don't mind an overall average adventure, give Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles a try.