Unreal Game Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time Re-Shelled


This is the summer of Arcade, according to Microsoft, and lots of new games are available on XBox Live Arcade.  Perhaps Shadow Complex is the most anticipated of the upcoming releases, but as far as appealing to the sense of nostalgia goes, few games can compete with Ubisoft’s “re-shelling” of TMNT: Turtles in Time.  We’ve come to a point where the graphics of console games are far superior to the graphics of 1990s arcade games, so if you were a fan of TMNT: Turtles in Time back then, you should be impressed with the game’s new look.  As for everything else?  Well, that’s a different story.  Keep reading for the full review.


First off, the game looks gorgeous.  It’s great to see all the TMNT characters with a new, high-definition look.  The animation is smooth, objects are bright and colorful, and the settings serve as eye-candy.  Aside from this new look, though, TMNT: Turtles in Time Re-shelled doesn’t sport any new features.  As much fun as a side-scrolling beat ’em up can be, this game becomes somewhat repetitive early on in the gameplay.  You’re limited to basic, simple attacks for the most part, and there’s no way to change or upgrade your character.

When you begin the game, you choose between Leonardo, Raphael, Donatello, or Michelangelo as your character.  Each turtle has his own “stats,” for example, Michelangelo has the best “special attack,” and Donatello has the best “range.”  Unfortunately, picking a specific turtle doesn’t seem to matter much, as all you’ll be doing is mashing the attack button as generic Foot Clan soldiers attack you.  You can’t improve your turtle’s defense, range, or other attributes, and you’re stuck with what you’ve chosen.


The enemies become incredibly repetitive, too.  Over 90% of the enemies you face are variations of Foot Clan soldiers, which essentially means Foot Clan soldiers wearing a different color and wielding a different weapon.  There’s some robots with boxing gloves, and some dudes made out of stone, but really, that’s about it.  Between the limited attacks, static characters, and cookie-cutter adversaries, TMNT: Turtles in Time is painstakingly redundant.  The game offers four levels of difficulty, but aside from smarter enemies and fewer lives for your turtle, it’s nearly impossible to differentiate.


In sum, the game’s look is pretty impressive, but TMNT: Turtles in Time was a lot more fun when playing it with your buddies at the arcade.  It takes a lot more than updated graphics to improve an old game, and there’s a reason that generic side-scrollers are a thing of the past.  There needs to be more to it than just button mashing – Castle Crashers is a great example of how a game with a “retro style” can be fun and addictive today.  If you’re looking for something to download during this Summer of Arcade, I’d pass on Turtles in Time.  After all, Shadow Complex is just a week away.

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