Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge (PS4, Switch, Xbox One, PC)

When the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles came out in the late 80s, I was a little too old by then to get into it fully.  I didn’t get any of the toys, and I only watched the cartoon casually, and in secret, or else I wouldn’t look cool in front of the other guys.  Of course I still probably wasn’t cool so it wouldn’t have mattered.  Glad those days are over.  But there was one aspect of TMNT that I could really get into and not have to hide it.  And that was the video games, especially the four player arcade ones.  EVERYONE was playing them, and aside from Pac-Man, I probably put more quarters into the TMNT arcade game than anything else.  Years later when my little brothers were born, they got into the TMNT games, too.  In fact, my brother Ben owns one of those TMNT Arcade1up cabinets.  And my brother Jeff and I still joke about how when he was little and would whine to our mom every time I accidentally got the pizza in Turtles in Time.  That story is also how we named our podcast.  So with all those great memories of the TMNT games with me, I was super excited to have the opportunity to review TMNT: Shredder’s Revenge.  Over the years, many have tried to emulate the feel of the classic arcade games and failed.  But does Shredder’s Revenge do it right?  SPOILER ALERT: HECK YEAH IT DOES!!!  It’s available on most current consoles and PC, but reviewed on PS4 here.

This new game comes from the folks who made the Scott Pilgrim beat ‘em up and published by the same company who did Streets of Rage 4.  Good start right there.  All the characters are based off their original cartoon design and they even got some of the voice cast, too.  Like Rob Paulsen for Raphael (the best turtle).  Gameplay is super accessible and will feel natural if you’re a beat ‘em up fan or not.  One button jumps and one attacks.  When you attack enough baddies, you get to unleash a special attack.  You can play as all four turtles, as well as newcomers Master Splinter and April O’Neil.  You can even unlock Casey Jones.  Pick up healing pizzas and you can high five each other to give another player a bit of your health.  And if you are quick enough, you can even revive other players when they lose all their energy so you can keep them from losing a life.  Another cool thing is that now six players can fight at the same time, so it’s like the old X-Men arcade game.  I don’t know how playing online works, though, because I don’t have PlayStation Plus.  Sorry.

There are two modes of play.  In Story Mode, you’ll travel around a New York City world map by Party Wagon or Turtle Blimp, stopping at levels along the way.  There are 16 levels in all, so it’s a more lengthy adventure than most games in this genre.  In Story Mode you can gain experience points and level up your characters to learn new moves and add life points.  There are also lots of hidden characters and secret items you can find and collect, and they’ll give you experience point boosts, too.  Different endings, too.  The other mode is Arcade Mode, where you skip the world map and just go level through level trying to beat the game on one credit.

I had to be real nitpicky to pinpoint any problems with this game.  I guess I like the gameplay in Streets of Rage 4 a little more, as the combat in that was just so buttery smooth.  Shredder’s Revenge feels slightly stiffer.  It can be a little chaotic when you have a bunch of things going on the screen, and it can be hard to see your character.  And since most of the stages are in New York, the levels don’t have as much variety as say, Turtles in Time.  But that’s really about it.  The rest of the game is spectacular.  If you enjoy classic TMNT beat ‘em ups, you’ll definitely want to get this.  This really feels like the old arcade games.  I’d like to thank my brother Jeff for playing this game with me for my review.  And this time, I finally got the pizza!

Kid Factor:

TMNT: Shredder’s Revenge is rated E-10 with an ESRB descriptor of Fantasy Violence.  You can punch and kick cartoony bad guys that just either explode if they’re mechanical or run away when defeated.  If you’re OK with your kids watching the TMNT cartoons and movies, they’ll be OK with this game.  Me and my brothers grew up playing these games and we all turned out OK.  Reading skill is helpful for some of the text, but not necessary just to play.  Six player co-op means the whole family can have fun together!

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