Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Nickelodeon) The Video Game Review

     The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have had quite a long and full history of products attached to their franchise.  That's almost 25 years since the 1989 release of TMNT on the Nintendo's worth of accumulated video games knowledge to learn from.  With such a vast wealth of material to pillage, how did Magic Pockets (Activision) make a game so disappointing?  I'm not kidding, I'd still rather play the time-worn but still plenty entertaining Turtles in Time or The Hyperstone Heist, both hold the magic of true beat-em-up gaming that this new one lacks.

     Sure, they stick with the formula that works, a side scrolling beat-em-up, but they missing anything new or interesting.  That being said this particular game also forgets what made the old Turtle's games great- that ooze fueled brawler magic through a variety of levels and settings.  Everything is repetitious here.  The limited combat animations, the turtle's saying the same 3 lines over and over, and only a few enemies that arrive in hordes.  Even the levels are extremely similar to each other.

     The combat is terrible, in part due to awful AI, as fellow turtles will pretty much just stand around, which becomes a problem because the hit boxes will prevent you from getting around them and allow enemies to hit you.  Once you've been struck once like that it usually continues with a few cheap hits that can't be evaded or blocked because there isn't an option for either.
     That isn't too much of an issue since most of the enemies are just as stupid as computer controlled brother turtles.  Most just bumble around and swing at you halfheartedly.  Occasionally one will flash red and be momentarily invincible with an unblockable attack.  Not much there.
     I want to also note that the turtles really aren't differentiated- they all feel the same.  Mikey should be fast but weak, Don slow but has long reach, etc.  They are interchangeable and that doesn't work at all in a beat-em-up.  Even the upgrade system for them is boring.  It offers making attacks stronger, giving you a more durable shell, combo length upgrades, and adds rechargeable power attacks that don't really differ from character to character.

     What went wrong here?  The game can barely appeal to even fans of the show, as this is supposed to bridge the seasons 1 and 2 together but has scant story involved.  The only interesting thing that kept me going were the small amount of easy to find collectibles in scattered throughout the levels.  By the end I unlocked Time Attack and Survival modes as well as the Arcade mini game from the Turtle's sewer home.  Once I unlocked them I was quickly disappointed again, as only the Arcade offered any amount of fun, and even that lasted only about 5 minutes.

     The unreasonable amount of monotony may have been broken up a bit by being able to play co-op, but the 3DS version I played did not have the option.  The 3D is actually one of the things in the game I did like.  It was well handled and looks great.  Another thing I noted was Michelangelo yells "Cowabunga" but then hastily changes it to "Booyakasha!"  A nice touch for us old fans.

     I don't really know why the game companies continue to put out games that seem unfinished.  This Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game should've been have the length and a quarter of the price at most.  Like they strove to make the most basic game possible and didn't even meet that goal.  This feels like a game a 5 year old might play.  Emphasis on might.  That may have been their target demographic, but even then, the game feels half finished.

     As a life long TMNT die-hard fan I long for the day when a company makes a game worthy of their "Heroes in a Half Shell" legacy.  We need a 3rd person, 4-player co-op, open world game like a combination of Skyrim and Lego Marvel Super Heroes with a multitude of filler missions and guys to beat up.  And TONS of selectable or unlockable characters to play as.  That is the type of game that needs to be made.

     Until that happens here are some other Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle related sites to spurn a slew of nostalgia fueled memories:

[ The TMNT Collectionary ]

[ The TMNT Block on Yardsellr ]

...and other TMNT blog posts I've written [ Here ]

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