People say you can't put a price on nostalgia, but that's exactly what Ubisoft seems to be doing with its remake of Super Nintendo/Arcade classic, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time.
The year was 1991 and the second Ninja Turtles movie was already out of theaters and still a ways away from a VHS release. The SNES had just come to live in my bedroom that summer there was no better way to relive the glory of the films, the action of the cartoon or the savagery of the comic books (which my dad wouldn't let me read), than to brawl alongside my brother all the way through the 2D beat down.
Now, 18 years after that summer I've got the chance to go back and do it all again. Will memory serve me well or lead me astray toward unrealistic expectations?
Everything Old Is Still Old: The nostalgia factor is definitely there. Each level in Turtles in Time felt new enough to surprise me with enemy spawn points, but at the same time familiar enough to evoke friendly smiles when I recognized enemies that have so far been left out of the new TMNT incarnation. It was like revisiting an old friend that looks exactly the same… except for a bunch of new and fancy tattoos in places you weren't expecting.
Newcomers Are Welcome: The controls are easy enough and the storytelling simple enough so as not to lock out potential new players who want to get in on the ninja-smackdown action. The various difficulty settings make it even more flexible, though you'll still want to keep an eye on your little siblings during the later levels in Easy. They might need more pizza power-ups than you do.
You Can Play With All Four Turtles: This was a major sore point in my youth when my brother or I would bring friends over. What's the point of being able to play all four turtles if you've only got two controllers? Thank goodness for modern innovations.
Nothing New To See Here: The graphics aren't great enough, the gameplay not complex enough and the music not special enough to attract any attention beyond a nostalgic interest. That suits me just fine, but for those looking for something new, better or different, you're going to be disappointed.
My only other gripes about this game doesn't quite seem worthy of hates. For example, Bebop and Rocksteady have been off the TMNT scene for a while and I've given up hope of ever seeing them again. And while it might seem silly to have a single-player mode that doesn't allow drop-in, drop-out local co-op, it's not really something I "hate" – just something I ignore in favor of multiplayer. Besides, that's the real fun of any Turtles arcade game: fighting over who gets to be Raphael.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time Re-Shelled was developed by Ubisoft Singapore and published for Xbox Live Arcade by Ubisoft on August 5. It retails for 800 Microsoft Points. Played through story mode on multiplayer and played through two levels of story mode in singleplayer. Poked at survival mode, ordered pizza, re-watched original movie.
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