Shredder’s Revenge proves that it’s more than a simple blast from the past, even if it is a tad under-polished.
Few characters are more synonymous with the word cowabunga than the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.These radioactive teens come from humble comic book beginnings and have found their way into decades of television, movies, video games, and the hearts of fans everywhere. Over the years they’ve developed a habit of reinventing themselves to return in a big way, and Shredder’s Revenge is no exception. After mutating from radioactive waste and years of ninja training under their master Splinter the Rat, Leonardo, Donatello, Raphael and Michelangelo have made mortal enemies of the Shredder and his Foot clan of ninjas. When Shredder’s plans for total domination wreak havoc on the city of New York, it’s once again time for the turtles to kick some shell.
Shredder’s Revenge takes the shape of a classic arcade beat ‘em up that recalls everything players loved about previous turtle games without being a direct remaster of something already released. Up to 6 players at once can play as the four turtles, master Splinter, or their human ally April O’Neil as the team challenges the foot clan across 16 stages in an all out ninja brawl. Combat controls are intuitive as any character can stack up combos against oncoming foot ninjas, robots, mutated monsters and minions. The complete moves list consists of attacks that can be performed alongside well timed double jumps and dodge rolls, that vary slightly depending on the chosen character. There are different types of grappling throws, as well as super moves that can be used by filling up a meter. Adding a lot of depth to combat are humorous taunts that can be used to fill up the super meter faster. Co-op Maneuvers for reviving fallen allies and sharing a few hit points with a friendly cheer also add a collaborative aspect to keeping fighters alive. In addition to the list of fighting moves, players can explore the subtle quirks of all six characters’ individual stats and fighting styles, with a seventh character being unlocked after completing the game.
There are two game modes with three difficulties, chill, okay, and gnarly. Story mode sprawls the levels across a world map and includes item gathering side quests from minor characters, as well as plenty of achievable challenges for each level. Story mode also grants characters a level progression where they individually unlock new moves with fighting experience. Arcade mode provides more old school gameplay where continues are restricted and a streamlined level progression includes all super moves without accumulating experience for each character. In both game modes players can conveniently co-opt into parties for online multiplayer mayhem.
Gameplay visuals ooze with cartoon style that meets fans expectations from classic turtle games with planen of recognizable easter eggs, yet holds up to modern standards for 2D games. The pixel artwork coats every environment with retro character as each frame of action carries with it the charismatic charm of every sprite on the screen.
Where the Shredder’s Revenge really gets radical is in the soundtrack that features multi-talented vocalist Mike Patton on the main turtles theme as well as lyrical verses from Wu-Tang’s Raekwon and Ghost Face Killah on the original song “We Ain’t Come to Lose.” Levels and boss fights are accompanied by shredding synthesizer melodies and driving beats that kick the action into overdrive with a sound palette that pays direct homage to songs that defined the turtles on previous consoles and arcades. The soundtrack makes for a top quality album worth listening to on its own, and pairs extremely well with the stylish 2D visuals.
There are a few setbacks that may contrast the overall gameplay experience. The most prevalent hiccup would be during online play, especially when using all 6 players. More connections can slow down gameplay depending on player regions, and a player disconnecting during has a tendency to bring gameplay to a halt when the disconnected character lingers on-screen. Even after release day there is a bug where jumping characters can land in a strange area and freeze in place leaving them open to attacks. While the effect can be humorous, it can also ruin the gameplay experience if an enemy doesn’t hit you back into play forcing you to fully reset. While the game caters heavily to existing fans through clever references, the challenge may not rate high enough for advanced players accustomed to games with more complicated timing and inputs. This goes as far as including options like turning off demands for fast button mashing, making game completion more accessible for any player.
While the Shredder’s Revenge can be completed in a few hours, the easy to digest experience is memorable and sure to keep turtle fans from any generation coming back for more. Story mode offers a greater sense of exploration and progression than expected, while partying up in arcade mode offers the replayable challenge of taking on all 16 stages with your turtle squad in one session. Intuitive fighting combos and the various enemy & boss strategies keep the action from getting repetitive with enough of a skill base to make for a unique challenge in a classic genre. Shredder’s Revenge is a must play for turtle fans and gives gamers a refreshing balance of nostalgic arcade action with a grand flare of modern mechanics and style.
Stylish 2D graphics
Deep combat controls make massive combos
Amazing soundtrack that features talented artists
Co-operative multiplayer and online matchmaking, up to 6 players
Online hiccups during multiple connections and disconnects
Occasional Movement bug can interrupt gameplay
Overall difficulty and digestible game length may not challenge advanced players