The side-scrolling beat ’em genre is seemingly going through a renaissance at the moment, and you won’t hear us complaining. Especially not when the results are as much fun to play as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge.
The ever-popular heroes in a half-shell aren’t alien to the side-scrolling beat ’em up genre, having been at the centre of many over the years. But just as with Streets of Rage 4 a couple of years ago, Dotemu has sought to create something new. Something that captures the magic of the old titles while also bringing the gameplay into the modern age. And with Tribute Games on development duties, by god they’ve done a bloody good job.
Unsurprisingly, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge finds the pizza-loving, sewer-dwelling crime-fighters once again facing off against their most troublesome foe. But standing in their path are a host of other familiar villains, too, including Krang, Bebop and Rocksteady, and more. Needless to say, old-school Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fans will be in their element here, awash with nostalgia.
Watch the video version of our Shredder’s Revenge review below:
Jump into the game’s story mode, and you’ll find you can take control of any one of the four ninja turtles – that’s Donatello, Michelangelo, Leonardo and Raphael – from the outset, as well their rat sensei Splinter and reporter friend April O’Neil. While they all share the same assortment of core abilities, they each do have their own parameters and gameplay nuances, making it worthwhile to try them all.
And there are plenty of opportunities to do so, what with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge having a whopping 16 stages. Encounters take place across numerous locations within New York and beyond, allowing for a pleasant range of backdrops for the action. Some locations present their own hazards, too, such as spikes or electrifying beams, giving you more to worry about than just Shredder’s cronies.
Most stages find the turtles and their allies travelling on foot, but there are some where they hurtle along on hoverboards, tweaking the gameplay ever so slightly. Ultimately though, this is side scrolling beat ’em up 101. One button can be hammered to perform a combo attack, another can be used when a meter is full to perform a range of special attacks, and moves such as dashing and jumping can also be combined with attacks for more versatility.
It’s the manoeuvres more unique to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge, however, along with the fast-paced nature of the action and the responsive controls, that make it such a joy to play. If you grab an enemy you can fling them comically at the camera, for example, or pound them from one side to another. And if you’re playing in co-op and an ally is low on health, you can cheer them up and pass on some of your health to get them through. A range of co-op attacks are available, too.
Playing by yourself, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge is an absolute joy as you move around the screen employing the appropriate tactics to overcome the enemies thrown your way. A handy dodge manoeuvre deepens the gameplay by allowing you to avoid attacks and counter as well. It’s when you play in co-op that Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge really impressed though, even it if leads to the action being obscenely chaotic.
Supporting up to six players, when playing in co-op Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge is sheer madness, but in a good way. The screen becomes awash with even more colour than normal, and enemies are flung left, right and centre. Co-op centric features such as those team attacks mentioned earlier become increasingly prominent when more players there are involved, too, giving playing with others a distinctive feel versus playing alone.
The bulk of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge is to be found in its story mode, which incorporates a map allowing for completed stages to be replayed, an experience system that allows you to power up each of the playable characters over time, and a range of side missions that require to find collectibles within missions. It has little else to offer except an additional unlockable character in the form of Casey Jones, and an arcade mode. There is a global leaderboard for arcade mode, however, so making your way through all 16 stages with limited lives and continues has its own allure.
We expected Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge to be good, but instead it’s absolutely outstanding. It’s got character, it’s got charm, and it’s got gameplay that puts up zero barriers. It’s just an absolute blast to play through from beginning to end, whether you’re alone or accompanied by friends. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fans will love it. Side-scrolling beat ’em fans will love it. And those who simply like fun will love it. Cowabunga indeed.