Tuesday, 1 July 2003

Archive Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

(Gamecube review)

Turtle soup, anyone?

For a sec there, I thought the game had crashed.

I'm hip, I'm happening, and that's why I know that the Turtles are now officially back! Yes that's right those 80's icons are now well and truly popular once more. And as soon as the money men get even the slightest hint of this type of thing they act! A game is made, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to be precise.

So with a new slap of paint and a tv show series on the air the green things seem to be running the show once more. TMNT stinks of something pretty damn obvious when played. I decided to give it a spin, you see I own a Gamecube and really am desperate for a "good" Gamecube game which doesn't boast monkeys, Mario, or strange silver things. Also, for the record, I kind of dig Ninja Turtles.

So what does TMNT smell of? It smells of that old chestnut... being rushed in order to meet a deadline which corresponds to the release of the new series. The thing is though this game does not just seem rushed in terms of ,"it could have been good if...", it is just a terrible game anyway. So let's begin. So some rat finds some turtles. This rat trains them up to Ninja status. This comes when they reach teenage years. It is clear their destined for hero status. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is born! And so is this outrageous game. It's a side scrolling beat-em-up Final Fight style. There are also two arcade games.

The graphics are stylised cel-shading. Enough said then. The sound is just a mix of striking punch impacts effects and Mr. Han on the Casio Keyboard. He really works overtime that guy. The levels consist of walking sideways. From left to right to be more precise. One day a game will go outlandish and go for a - from right to left style side scroller but not today. But in this game you can also move vertically downward and upward. Sad isn't it? Excuse me whilst I yawn and fail to smile in surprise at this one. So could you in Streets of Rage One and Golden Axe! 1985 kind of was the year this became a "feature" to a game. Deep breath... It's 2003! You don't advertise this as a game "feature" in a bullet point on the back of the box, you just don't do it, period.

The other thing is that the levels are as linear as Final Fight. Straight lines. Sometimes the action is cut up by a cartoon cutscene. These are actually pretty good though. There are also in-engine story scenes. Not quite so good, but still acceptable. The four turtles whose names I can't be bothered to remember each play uniquely. This is something other games based on multiple characters often forget. Charlie's Angels was comical. Each turtle has a different weapon and it all goes back to which one you like the best. They're armed with a very simplistic range of attacks, including sweeps, dashes, and the basic light attack so the actual weapon is the only true difference, and the color of the head band. I got annoyed when playing this because the block button wasn't obvious to suss. Like any true gamer I paused the game and resorted to the manual. On a side note I would like to see a section of this site devoted to the reviewing of "game manuals" since the standard has really got slacky nowadays. Don't think us gamers ain't noticed! Anyway after hunting for the control I discovered, to my horror, that this game actually does not have a block button. You can't block!

This meant one thing. As the enemy number builds up on screen you get mashed. The actual amount can build up in this game to a high number which would be cool... if you could actually prevail without button mashing to the point where your hands internally bleed and you can no longer feel your index fingers. Recieving too many cheap hits from being surrounded by enemies grows increasingly frustrating. So no block, only a few basic moves, and simple weapon attacks, is the sum of TMNT. Not quite. There are also ninja stars littered throughout the levels that the turtles can use directly on enemies, as well as barrels full of oil for explosions. I don’t quite understand the theory behind making every tin can you slash open a combustible bomb, but for some reason every button-masher sticks to this tried and true rule.

This really is a button mashers game. I am actually beginning to think that the Gamecube on a whole is the button mashers console, with titles like this, Super Smash Bros Melee, Super Monkey Ball 1 + 2, etc. The enemy you face has no A.I. They move towards you and once close enough they apply one or two differing punch/kick attacks. The difficultly in this game is not from this but from recieving cheap hits from this when the enemy number is vast. This game incorporates the typical foray of baddies. Your're encounter punks, punks, punks, punks, etc. Sometimes a big robot will appear which is odd since a) why would a big robot be in the vicinity (who put it there?) b) punks really make big robots? The enemies will actually randomly appear too. This is so tedious. They just appear from thin air like some crap game - TMNT appeared from nowhere too. Even in Final Fight you knew one thing; you could always rely on the knowledge that your enemy would approach from the right. Now in Streets of Rage things got a little more complicated. Enemies would actually come from the left too, which was strange since you'd just been there and killed everyone but hey. Sometimes they would even come from the.... top! But not bottom. This was obviously the result of overly ambitious programming.

The only argument this game has to justify it's existence is that it was actually going for the "dated, retro feel". There is a thin line between the stylised and the crap. This game is crap. Trust me. You do get a two player co-op mode though but no four player mode! Time to go to school Konami....

Day One: Lesson One

- There are four turtles...1...2...3...4. 4 is the number and the number is 4.

- 4 players can only be the number which control 4 turtles.

- 2 is way out, as is 5.

3 hit combo! Steaming.....

Why no four player? How annoying is that for turtles fans with more than 2 friends? I mean, Jesus. So the only other thing is the arcade modes. One is a versus battle. Player vs. Player. Shame that the games control system is completely unsuited for vs. style combat, with no block system, and button mashing tendencies. Apparently there is a second mini-game but I'm guessing it has to be unlocked since I personally couldn't find it.

The graphics may seem suitable for the game style but the "Pow", "Boof", and "Oomph" pop-up words really do not. It gives the game the 60's Batman show style which it downright shouldn't have. This was probably put in to hide the poor animation when enemies recieve a blow no doubt though.

So the game is bad, the graphics are just bog standard cel-shading, and the sound is... generic. Have fun, kids!



Apparently people like cel-shading? Some good cutscenes, two player.


I can't believe I put "two player" as a pro in 2003! Bad game, no block! Weak sound, no four player!


Teenage Generic Zero Turtles

by Mojo Jojo 2003

No comments: