Aaaah, kids these days don’t know how good they have it. Back in my time, you have to play video games at the arcade and every run was a microtransaction. Coin after coin. A few lives, one chance, and if you messed up that nickel was lost for good. But those days had their charm. Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat, Contra, Pitfall, and so on. So why am I reminiscing about these ancient times? It’s simple – right now I have a game in front of me that perfectly carries a charm from such an era, along with that difficulty, art style, and a signature “just one more go and I’m done” mark.
The whole story campaign of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge is a simple nostalgia flashback. For a game with such a moderate length, they manage to cram in almost every character from TMNT cartoons. The story is pretty straightforward and it starts with Rocksteady and Bebop attacking Channel 6 news station and trying to reassemble Krang’s android body part by part. Chasing that duo and tackling Krang & Shredder will have you going from the streets of Manhattan to city rooftops and sewers – all the way to Dimension X.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge managed to impress me plenty of times during my playthrough and one of the first was on the character selection screen. Besides the obvious selection of all Turtles, the game also gives you a choice of playing as Splinter and April O’Neil – including one secret unlockable character with a hockey mask (fans of TMNT will undoubtedly know who I’m talking about). The other thing that surprised me is the fluidity of gameplay, the game doesn’t have those usual flaws of arcade beat ’em ups where enemies can easily corner your character(s) or gang up on you. Each of the playable characters will have different stats in terms of weapon range, speed and power although eventually once you master a character, those stats will be far from game-changing.
What else, hm? Ah yes, skills and levels. As you go through the game, you will level up by defeating enemies, finishing levels, and completing side quests. That way you will unlock HP increase, special meter increase, and variations of your special attack. The levels are replayable if you feel the need to complete challenges, do some level-specific achievements, or finish side quests. Speaking of those, they usually boil down to finding a specific set of collectibles for a certain cameo character. You have to find those characters hidden somewhere in the levels and only then you can find them on the world map so they can give you a quest. Sounds too complicated? Not really if you follow my super special exploit. And that is…….wait for it…..wreck everything! Almost every breakable object in the level will have either a pizza to boost your health, a cameo character a collectible, or a special attack powerup. In any case, if it looks like one part of the scenery in the level can be destroyed, it’s better not to think too much. Do it just to be sure.
There are just not enough words to describe how it is when playing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge. It is everything. Gorgeous. Fluid. Colorful. Detailed. Chaotic. Fun. Engaging. Pretty much every other positive adjective that you can think of. And a big part of that is thanks to the specific arcade retro visuals that are more finely tuned than one might expect. Retro but not “I guess that looks like something” retro. Colorful but not “my eyes are bleeding” colorful. A joy to look at as it is to play.
The soundtrack of the game is on par with the quality of the gameplay and visuals although this segment of the game had some aces up its sleeve. Like two members of the Wu-Tang Clan contributing to the soundtrack of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge and even Tee Lopes leaving its mark here. In any case, one thing that will not leave you indifferent is hearing that TMNT theme and opening intro every time you start up the game.
The hardest thing about writing this review for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge is trying to find something bad about it. A flaw or a defect, anything. I hold the opinion that no game is perfect and that perfection is something that’s rarely accomplished in art – and yes, that includes video games. But damn if this game doesn’t come close to perfection. Even if I would want to single out the average length of it, it is still debatable since the replay value is enormous considering all the challenges, achievements, and characters the game throws at you. Even if arcade beat ’em ups aren’t your usual cup of tea, I’d still say to give this a go since the amount of love and details that went into this game is nothing short of impressive.
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