Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Posted 04 Jun 2004 at 22:34 by Bas Oosterveld
It was one of the hottest cartoons at one time, with merchandise sales flourishing and videogames that were in much demand. I'm talking about those green walking and talking amphibians, the teenage mutant ninja turtles. Reruns of cartoons are not uncommon, but a total revival is, and this videogame, released by Konami, is a sure sign of that. The new television series is doing great; let's see if we can say the same thing of this game.
It has been a while since we saw these guys on a console. Back then the TMNT games were fun beat 'em up games in the same style as Double Dragon or Final Fight. So what happens if you release a similar title in 2004 without any big changes? What you get is a big disappointment.
It all starts well without a wonderful presentation of our green marshal arts experts, all in cell shading of course, which is nothing but logical for cartoon based games. After you go through the various movie sequences and select one of the four characters in the nicely stylized menus, it will go downhill from there.
Your ninja moves like a crippled, well, turtle with only a handful skills. You can deal a couple of kicks and hits and you can throw the accompanying shuriken stars that a ninja is supposed to have and you can try to set a record in combo's. There isn't one attack, however, that deals more damage or looks spectacular so you might as well hit the basic attack button all the way through a level. There is some interaction with the environment such as cars that will explode if you damage it enough, or ignitable oil cans that can ease your elimination process.
Whether you play with Donatello, Raphael or Michelangelo it doesn't influence the game's difficulty or story. Of course they have different moves and can learn new moves from the wise rat sensei Splinter, but you will learn that it's all the same. A repetitive button mashing experience with a couple of platform elements here and there to try to create some alternation, unsuccessfully I might add.
The game's difficulty is a little frustrating at the later levels, especially with the bosses and the stiff, basic control system isn't much of a help. You can't even block an enemies attack for crying out loud. The cooperative mode can makes things a little easier on you, if you can find someone to play with.
And a big 'if' it is because after two or three short sessions you will most likely have seen enough. If it isn't the repetitive gameplay that is boring you, then it will be the same one-liners that you hear over and over again. The same goes for versus mode, playing one on one seems a fun idea if there is some kind of Streetfighter engine behind it, but instead you get the same action as in story mode so it is just as monotonous and limited.
Rarely have I seen such uninspired awkward gameplay for a GameCube game, well nurtured visuals yes, but the game has not one interesting or surprising moment. It seems just another fast cash inn before the hype runs out. My advice is to stay as far as possible away from this title because it has nothing special to offer. Not even for the fans.
N-Europe Final Verdict
Hold on to your horses cause a sequel is underway.. whether you want one or not