Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are back thanks to a newly released Activision title based on the Nickelodeon series. It’ll perhaps come as no surprise that the game is pretty terrible, however try prising the two Xbox 360 controllers away from the hands of my children and they’ll show you a few ninja moves of their own.
There have been plenty of fantastic TMNT titles over the years, however the mediocre have now taken their place, with this latest title in particular showering us with poor graphics, a thin plot and very basic combat. It’s enough to turn bring a tear to your eyes, although asking my children what they think gives an entirely different story.
From what I can gather, what they love about it is that you have to kill ninjas using the likes of Michelangelo, Donatello, Leonardo and Raphael, characters which are particularly popular in this household. Another big bonus is that they can play together, given that the game has the ability for 2-4 player local and online co-op. The game is also fairly simple, allowing players to seamlessly switch between the four ninja’s should they be available and perform all manner of TMNT style moves on the enemies.
Given that TMNT provides space for 2-4 players, taking the side-scrolling ‘Street of Rage’ style was probably a no brainer. In fact you’d be forgiven for thinking that this is just a re-skinned side-scroller as the combat feels like its came straight out of the 1980's. Having fond memories of previous Turtles games I really wanted to like this game, but I really don’t. The only saving grace for me is that the children love it, although I’m not entirely sure that it’s meant to be aimed at children given that it’s rated ’12.’ So just who are Activision hoping to sell this game too?
The combat in TMNT is just so frustrating, with only one attack button and a rechargeable special attack. There is also no fun at all to the combat, thanks to the AI of the enemies being simply thick. There is no skill involved in defeating these enemies, instead they are a pushover, coming at you in droves but falling just as quickly. If only there was some skill involved in defeating them, at least then the game might have had something going for it. Although it’s not only the combat which disappoints, thanks to terrible lip-synching in the cutscenes, jaggies appearing all over the place and textures which wouldn’t look out of place on PS2. On the bright side at least the characters do have the same looks and in most instances the same voices from the cartoon series, but that’s not enough to turn this into a game that anyone would seriously enjoy. The most positive point about the whole experience is that it does have the original theme tune from the Nickelodeon series, but that is about the only good thing going for it.
I hate being harsh about games, you rarely see it from me, but a lemon is a lemon. I have to emphasis that my children do love this game, I’m presuming this is purely for the fact that it has ninja turtles in it. My children also don’t really care if a game has a terrible story, poor AI and basic combat. I’m sure when they learn to appreciate games then Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles will never make it out of the case again.
The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series has already proven in the past that it can be part of something special, but what we have here is far from it. Activision’s retail effort has no redeeming qualities whatsoever to make it worth your consideration. Do yourself a favour and give this a miss.
Words by Joe Anderson.
(Version Tested: Xbox 360)
+ Includes Original Soundtrack
+ Includes some of he original actors from the TV series
- Terrible AI
- Terrible Combat
- The disc works