Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge – Review
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge is pure, unadulterated nostalgia, it is just an all-around awesome video game, all told. It’s available now, and we got a brand new trailer to celebrate its launch.
Based on the original 1987 cartoon series which I was brought up with, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge is a sidescrolling beat’ em up in the style of 1991’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time which will bring back childhood memories or for those that are not old enough will definitely love and enjoy this sidestepping arcade style beat em up. Oooo and don’t forget it can be also played solo, or cooperatively with up to 6 players, local or online.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge is fueled by the power of nostalgia and (presumably) dozens upon dozens of slices of New York pizza. 1992’s Turtles in Time is one of the most beloved Super Nintendo games of all time, arriving at a time when the Heroes in a Half-Shell were at the peak of their popularity. It’s clear that the beat-’em-up connoisseurs at developer Tribute Games have a deep reverence for both that game and the Turtles of the late ’80s and early ’90s, because Shredder’s Revenge is essentially a sequel 30 years in the making. It faithfully re-captures what made Turtles in Time such a cherished brawler, all while introducing a few new ideas to freshen up the classic 16-bit gameplay for a modern audience.
If you’re a fan of Turtles in Time, you’ll feel right at home as soon as Shredder’s Revenge begins. The opening cutscene sees the anthropomorphic brothers gathered around an old CRT TV watching a news report that’s interrupted when a few of their notorious adversaries attack the Statue of Liberty. It’s not exactly the same as Turtles in Time’s opening, but it’s very close. Once you hop into the first level, this feeling of familiarity doesn’t wear off.
The real deep turtle fans will get something out of this,
The story in Shredder’s Revenge is your typical Turtles fare. Things kick off at broadcast station Channel 6, where henchmen Bebop and Rocksteady steal tech to support villains Krang and Shredder. The heroic turtles — Leonardo, Michelangelo, Donatello, and Raphael — plus their wise master Splinter and clever ally April O’Neil spring into action, fighting their way across Manhattan and places beyond. They’ll fight Foot Soldiers on Coney Island, mousers in New York City sewers, and even Triceraton Warriors in Dimension X.
I have such amazing memories of that ‘90s TMNT game. But when you play it now, it just feels old,
Fans of beat-’em-up gameplay will get something out of Shredder’s Revenge as well. Thanks to its compelling action, seven playable characters, multiple modes, six-player co-op, and deep replay value, it’s safe to call it one of the better games in the genre from the last few years. It’s also arguably the best Turtles game ever, which is saying something.
Anyone familiar with earlier Turtles titles like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (arcade) or Turtles in Time will eat up Shredder’s Revenge like Michelangelo would a peanut butter and clam pizza. This is the same addictive brawling from those earlier beat-’em-ups, with a few new bells and whistles. Each player moves through over a dozen scrolling levels, performing dodges, jumps, four-hit combos, charged attacks, and other special moves.
Some of the more interesting maneuvers use “ninja power”, gained from beating enemies in succession and/or taunting. Consume one ninja power bar to deploy one of three super attacks: a standing attack, a mid-air diver attack, and a super flying attack during a backflip or roundoff.
Shredder’s Revenge is a Dotemu-published game, so there are high expectations when it comes to graphics. While it isn’t nearly as visually-sumptuous as Streets of Rage 4 or Wonder Boy: The Dragon’s Trap, it still looks great and does what it was intended to do. The pixelated cartoon graphics are perfect for the old-school feel of the title, and the animations are slick.
Music and sound design are strong also. The majority of the soundtrack comes courtesy of Tee Lopes (Sonic Mania), and it’s solid all around. There aren’t many standout tracks, but the bouncy, high-energy music certainly elevates the mood of each level. Perhaps the most interesting individual song is “We Ain’t Came to Lose” a hip-hop tune performed by Raekwon The Chef and Ghostface Killah of Wu-Tang Clan. Finally, the voice acting, boosted by several original voice actors from the 1987 cartoon, hits all the right nostalgic notes.
With Shredder’s Revenge, Tribute Games has a lot to live up to: an adored cartoon, highly-acclaimed video games, and untold childhood memories. Fortunately, the studio lived up to and surpassed expectations. The game is both a love letter to the TMNT universe and a worthy successor to Turtles in Time, which is generally considered one of the industry’s finest beat-’em-ups. Indeed, thanks to its many playable characters, multiple modes, addictive action, fetching graphics, and support for up to six players both online and offline, it’s arguably the best sides scrolling beat em up we have had in a long time.