Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - Shredder's Revenge Review. Is it any good?
It's been many years since the world has seen a TMNT game that wasn't hot garbage, which is unfortunate given the popularity and longevity of everyone's favorite lean, mean and green fighting machines. At the same time, it's also a rarity to encounter a game that could be considered as a "beatemup" title by today's standard. Dotemu is keeping tradition alive by resurrecting beloved titles of our past. Prior to Shredder's Revenge, they've also created Streets of Rage 4 which, I've throughly enjoyed just as much as the past Streets of Rage titles, but I felt as if it couldn't surpass the perfection known as Streets of Rage 2 - it was still an amazing game worth playing. Now we've run full circle here. Is Shredder's Revenge as good, or perhaps, better, than the beloved TMNT: Turtles in Time on the SNES? It very well could be.
The game begins with a lovely intro sequence featuring a remixed version of the original '87 turtles theme. It does a good job at making you feel like this game came straight out of the arcades and you can tell they put a lot of love in the franchise. Once you press start and greeted to "let's kick some shell" by the actual cast of the original cartoon, you'll get to the main menu, you're greeted with a nice menu where you're able to browse options and all that other jazz that nobody really cares about. What we want to do is go straight into the game! For that, there's two game modes. A story mode and an arcade mode. Arcade is your typical "here's stage one, and 3 lives, have at it and kick some shell!" style gamemode that everyone is familiar with and loves. It's important to note that you're able to choose your difficulty - "Chill" being the easiest, "Okay" being medium and "Gnarly" being hard. I played the game on the "Okay" difficulty.
The story mode is more of the same, but is presented within a pretty cool overworld map similar to the likes of Super Mario Bros 3. You'll get storyboard cutscenes in both arcade and story game modes, but what makes story mode stand out completely from arcade are these type of side-quests. On the overworld map, you'll come across various characters from the cartoon and they'll want you to collect an assortment of items for them from specific stages. These items can be scattered through different levels so you'll never find everything you're looking for in a single stage.
Finding these items and returning to the quest-giver will give you some extra points. Points, if you're given enough, as far as I know. will give you extra lives, give you more health, more bars for your special attack, etc. Each stage in Story mode will also give you challenges to complete, such as finishing a stage without getting hit. Completing these challenges will also reward you with points, and will ultimately make the game easier.
As far as difficulty goes, I really didn't struggle on the normal difficulty. Admittingly there's a few annoying bosses and some challenging obstacles in the game, but they likely won't hinder your progress too much. If I compare this game to Turtles in Time, I would say Turtles in Time was a much harder title. But I probably wouldn't be saying that if I played Shredder's Revenge on the hardest difficulty. This makes a great entry point into the genre however, and kids as well as adults will enjoy it alike.
Overall the game's design is amazing. All the colors, animations, and spritework are fantastic. You'll see familiar faces, familiar spaces, and familiar sounds. As mentioned, all of the voice actors retain their roles for every character, except for Shredder, who's original actor was taken from the earth far too early. The new voice of Shredder in this game is well, I don't want to be harsh so I'll let you all determine my thoughts about him. That being said, Shredder remains a fantastic villain nonetheless.
The music is all fantastic and may be the best gaming soundtrack I've heard in years. I would even go so far as to say it blows away many of the tunes from Turtles in Time. There's even a few tracks that have added vocals and I can see folks listening to them outside of the game. I'm not sure what else to add here. If you're not already sold on the game, if you're a fan of the turtles, 80's, or arcades, you owe it to yourself to play this game if only to experience the amazing soundtrack!
The game took me about 2 hours to beat, more or less. That's actually pretty good for a beatemup, as these games are meant to be played and enjoyed over and over. You'll experience an additional character=ending panel once you beat the game with a specific character, and you'll even unlock a character for beating the game for the first time and let me just say that the character you unlock is a blast to use. I wasn't fortunate enough to experience the game in co-op, but it supports up to 6 players. Playing solo, it became a little chaotic at times, so I imagine how much more chaotic it can be with more players. If you have 6 friends, or even an extra friend, you couldn't go wrong picking this title up. For $25, you could do a lot worse.
So, do I enjoy the game? Hell yes I do. I imagine it will be forgotten about when the next overhyped, open-world, realistic game comes out because nobody cares about gameplay anymore. However, It has game of the year potential in my eyes, and will live in harmony next to Turtles in Time; the two KINGS of TMNT games, and the total peak of the beatemup genre.