The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are back in a 2D fighting game, thanks to their recent addition to Injustice 2. The excellent new execution of Leonardo, Michelangelo, Donatello and Raphael shows it’s been too long since these turtles mixed it up.
The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles made their Injustice 2 debut for Ultimate Pack and Fighter Pass owners last week, and today they’re available to everyone else. The four brothers share a single character slot in the Injustice 2 menu, with players able to select which they’d like to play by equipping their signature weapons in the character customization menu. Items like masks, shells and elbow and knee pads are shared between the four. It’s what brothers do.
NetherRealm Studios took an interesting route in adding the heroes in a half-shell to Injustice 2. Though the character customization options beyond weapons are basically just palette swaps, in action each of the four turtles feels a little different than the others. Katana-wielding Leonardo is faster and a little more graceful. Raphael hits slower and harder. Donatello uses his extended range to set up opponents for high-impact attacks, though leaves himself wide open if they don’t land. And Michelangelo is a party dude.
They could be further defined. Donatello only does machines as part of his meter burn, certainly not enough machine doing to justify his line in the original cartoon theme song. And while they all have their own opening and winning dialogue, all four brothers celebrate winning matches by hurling a pizza at the screen—I wish just one of them would think of the toppings.
On the whole, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are a joy to play in this DC super hero fighting game. They were also a joy to play in 1993's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Tournament Fighters from Konami, the last time we saw the ninja teens in a 2D fighting game. It was a great time, even if it only featured 10 playable characters in the Super Nintendo version.
The Turtles have come along way since 1993. Many new characters have been introduced across the various animated series and movies. Certainly enough faces to fill out the roster of a modern fighting game. As much fun as it is to watch Leo, Raph, Mikey and Don take on DC’s iconic heroes and villains, I’d love to see them take on some of their own.