Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time Re-Shelled - 360 - Review
As one of the top franchises of the 80s, it should not be shocking to see that the Ninja Turtles have been making a recent comeback. After all, it’s far easier to let the grown-up fans of a beloved franchise flock to movie theaters for some grotesquely resurrected remake, than to work on developing a brand new intellectual property. Everyone’s favorite shell-backed protagonists are certainly no exception to this trend, and in their latest outing, they’ve been thrown back into the familiar video-game, “Turtles in Time”. For this revival, however, there’s a twist: the graphics engine has been completely overhauled, bringing the turtles into three dimensions.
Of course, this three-dimensional rebirth is like many others; it is essentially superficial, and has no bearing on the gameplay itself. Like the original “Turtles in Time,” the player still navigates the side-scrolling levels by pressing up, down, left, and right. Some might miss the original visual design, but after playing the previous Ninja Turtles game on XBLA, I can’t honestly say that those old pixilated characters are as charming as one might remember. That being said, the new “Turtles in Time” is not exactly a visual powerhouse. We are still talking about a casual XBLA game, one with graphics that could have easily been generated on the previous Xbox. The cumulative impression one may receive is that the graphics are not mind-blowing, but still much easier on the eyes than the original.
As indicated earlier, the gameplay is virtually identical to the original. Like any classic arcade side-scroller, you’ll guide your turtle across the screen, whacking baddies left and right until reaching a unique boss character. Sadly, the bosses still bring with them the familiar frustration. Very often, they can be defeated with the cheap hit-and-run strategy, which is made easier once you get a feel for their move set. Strangely, there are a few new problems that drag down the experience. There seems to be a substantial remixing of music, effects, and voice-overs in this updated version. Much of the new music, however, just comes across as annoying; it plays at virtually the same tempo and volume throughout a given level. The voice-overs can be similarly obnoxious when, for example, a turtle is repeatedly jamming his toes in an endless series of floating sewer mines.
The turtles themselves are nicely arranged on the character selection screen, not only aesthetically, but in a manner which reveals their technical stats. Most turtle-fans are already aware of the various strengths and weaknesses of each turtle, but it’s nice to have their attributes laid out plainly for quick reference – something that was not done in the first game. Beginners who learn that their beloved Leonardo doesn’t have quite the same attacking range as Donatello might find themselves reconsidering their selection, which I believe makes the experience more balanced. The mechanics for knocking around enemies still follows the basic rules of your typical button-masher. There are power attacks, aerial attacks, and a few maneuvers that weren’t in the previous game, such as double jumps and the cyclonic spinning attack, the latter of which is a side effect of consuming pizzas found lying on the street. This would probably explain some of the odd behavior I’ve seen when visiting the real streets of New York.
The enemies and bosses have not really changed substantially. Sure, they look better in 3-D, but you’re still going against the rainbow of foot soldiers, each one’s threat level being clearly indicated by the color of their uniform. It seems like after so many years, the developers might have taken a chance on introducing a new element or two, even if it was an optional feature that could be toggled to avoid irritating the purists. There have been a few more goodies added, such as a survival mode and the obligatory cooperative campaign, but these don’t offer anything startlingly fresh from the traditional single-player. The short story is not a surprising one: you should enjoy Turtles in Time: Re-Shelled if you like the original Ninja Turtle games. Otherwise, this game feels a tad too simple to hold the interest of the contemporary gamer.
Review Scoring Details for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time Re-Shelled
Simplistic and fun, but there’s not quite enough here to hold a player’s long term-interest.
An appealing color palette with simple, animated violence that will only upset the most prudish of parents. Good stuff.
The audio is cleaner now, but oddly annoying in some areas.
Familiar frustrations, but co-op makes this much more bearable.
Yes, it’s a remake, but some credit is deserved for the additional modes and visual upgrade.
All the fun of four-player co-op is back, but it seems difficult to find matches much of the time.
Turtles in Time definitely provides the primitively satisfying, thumb-numbing enjoyment of the original. However, its adherence to the original game doesn’t help with replayability, and newcomers may find its “hardcore” appeal somewhat befuddling.