Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge: Ninja Turtles are back in a 90s video game.
Remember when video games were just fun? No emotional hooks, no complex characters, just cool good dudes punching cool bad dudes. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge remembers it. When you think of the cheeky and bold nature of Saturday morning cartoons, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are undoubtedly some of the first to come to mind. Their bright colors and cool attitude are cornerstones of 90s nostalgia.
Do you know what else is a cornerstone of 90s nostalgia? I beat ’em up scrolling, so it’s no surprise that this isn’t the first time the two have teamed up. NES and SNES classics like Turtles in Time are beloved games, and they were clearly the pattern followed for TMNT: Shredder’s Revenge.
If Dotemu did one good thing, it was capturing the feel of these retro games. Rather than copying the 1: 1 style, Shredder’s Revenge takes from the school of thought of Sonic Mania and Shovel Knight which keeps the retro style but makes it look so much better than was ever possible on the NES. It’s nostalgia done right, respecting the memories of those games rather than what they really look like.
The soundtrack is also magnificent. Like the graphics, it pays homage to the 8-bit and 16-bit music but takes full advantage of modern technology. What once would have been a fully synthesized beat now blows you away with bold trumpets, loud beats and rocking guitars. Then there are the boss themes, especially those towards the end of the game, where the game completely throws away the claim of nostalgia and starts rocking as hard as it can.
Like in the 90s –
When it comes to pure brawling action, TMNT: Shredder’s Revenge hits the spot the feeling of the fights. Each attack is so satisfying when it hits, the sounds land with big impact, and the on-screen effects keep everything so lively. It’s very simple to pick up and play on the fly, even with little experience in the genre, but the more advanced moves are there for anyone who wants to learn how to put together great combos.
There are two main modes: history and arcade. The story gives you a permanent save with limited lives for each level, but overall they are infinite; arcade challenges you to tackle all 16 levels in one go with no rescues and limited lives. You can play both from the first moment, so you can choose the style you prefer and the challenge you think is right for you.
Difficulty is a problem –
Speaking of challenges, one of the biggest problems in the game is difficulty. If you are experienced with beat ’em ups, then you will want to play on the higher difficulty level right away because normal mode is a bit of a breeze. Arcade mode helps, but if you are someone who has played a lot of these titles then this one will not particularly put you in the corner. The hardest aspects are the optional lenses in each level of the story mode, which require specific tasks such as completing the level without taking damage.
There are six characters unlocked when you first start the game, and the story mode allows you to switch between them at will. When it comes to the characterization of the main crew of the Ninja Turtles, the game hits the target; even if in a video game, these are in all respects the characters you know and love from your childhood. However, on the gameplay side, not enough is done to differentiate them. They all use different weapons with slightly different speed, range and power, but it all seems irrelevant in the heart of a fight. Each input does the same thing regardless of which character you are using, which means that encounters will feel the same with everyone.
Good level design –
That said, when the fights are this much fun, it doesn’t necessarily matter that all the characters return the same feeling. The levels are well designed to slowly pick up the challenge, and there’s always something new to keep you on your toes. There are tons of different types of enemies with unique abilities, and the game knows exactly how to combine them for good challenge and enjoyable combat.
The main enemy type that you will fight with most of the time are the generic ninjas. That’s okay, but they have a big accessibility problem. Similar to classic games, the best way to decipher what kind of ninja you are facing is by the color of their clothes but some of the colors are similar, to the point where color blind people would not have a chance to tell them apart. There are other visual indicators, such as the weapon they are holding, but this doesn’t apply to everyone, and weapons aren’t always obvious. There is no color blind mode, and it is desperately needed.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge, the verdict
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge is certainly one of the best beat ’em ups in recent history, but it must be said that the bar was not set too high. If you’ve been craving for a good dose of nostalgia and been disappointed with the recent beat ’em ups, then you will have a great time with this game – we sure did. Just don’t expect too much of a challenge.
Written by Ryan Woodrow for GLHF
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