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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
game: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
posted by: GF! Back Catalogue 10/2004 => 1995
date posted: 12:00 AM Mon May 26th, 2003
last revision: 12:00 AM Mon May 26th, 2003

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By Matt James

It's nostalgia time again and everybody's favorite heroes in a half shell are back. This pretty much wraps up my childhood, having already gone through a new He-man cartoon, a new Transformers cartoon and comic, and a horrible new run of GI-Joe comics. While many gamers will be turned off by the lack of innovation on this new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle game, I am optimistic. I got to sit down (Ok I was standing; there isn't a lot of sitting involved at E3) with the GameCube and the X-box version and I had myself a good ol' time.

The mixture of an old school License, fresh 3D, cel-shaded graphics, and old school gameplay got my blood pumping. I was a huge fan of TMNT II: The Arcade Game back in the day and this quite simply is a modern day update. It features the same side scrolling, overly exaggerated cartoony mayhem. Much of the old cast of characters are back. I was thrilled when the Mousers attacked and even more thrilled to beat them down with my Bo staff.

Surprise surprise, you get to choose from one of four characters: Leonardo, Donatello, Raphael, and Michelangelo ("is a party dude"). Also returning is the Turtle's arch-nemesis the Shredder, who has a whole cadre of wrongdoers to throw at them. In the level I got to play, I faced a small variety of street level thugs (who look a lot less like the Foot soldiers than my high school aged brothers), the previously mentioned Mousers, and a junkyard car construct (looking a lot like a Transformer).

The cel-shaded graphics enhance the cartoon aspect of the game along with appropriate sound effects. While we are on the subject of sound effects, each time you hit something or someone on screen the sound effect is accompanied by a word balloon. Just like the old live-action Batman television series, you should expect to see BAM, BOOM, and CRASH pop up on the screen. This may send some people running and screaming of cheesiness, but I thought it added to the fun. The same people who do their voices for the new animated series will provide the voices of the pizza loving heroes. The game will feature cut scenes from the series as well as all new ones made specifically for the game.

TMNT looks to have a pretty typical setup: six levels, thirty-five stages, each with a mini-boss and a big boss. In addition to the story mode, there is to be a vs. mode that was still unavailable at E3. Hopefully you will have the chance to unlock other characters for the vs. mode that you don't get to play in the story mode. It would be great to have the chance to pit Master Splinter up against the Shredder or have April O'Neil give Casey Jones a smackdown.

I am a little disappointed that the game is limited to two-player co-op mode. I understand that they probably have their reasons and I would hate to see the frame-rate take a hit, but how awesome would it have been to play as all four turtles with three friends? Especially now when most consoles have four controller ports built in. (In fact only one doesn't. I won't mention names, but you know who you are PlayStation 2.) Seems like missed potential, but I can deal with it.

My only other concern with the game comes from the difficulty. At E3 we played through the available level pretty easily. It was fun but I hope for a little more difficulty. This could just be the first level though and in that case I would expect the difficulty to increase throughout the game. Otherwise this may be the thing that keeps Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles being strictly a rental game instead of a game to treasure in your personal library.

Better stock up on Turtle Wax because Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is expected to be released in October of 2003.