|It seems like Shredder has plenty of reasons to get revenge|
|Reviewed by:||Mark Goninon|
|Release Date:||16 Jun 2022|
|Time played:||6 hours|
Love Letter to the 1987 Ninja Turtles
There have been plenty of comics, cartoons, movies and video games based on the "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" franchise that it's managed to span multiple generations. It's rarer though, to find media based off the "Ninja Turtles" back in their heyday and I'm talking about the 1987 cartoon series along with everything else associated with it. The "Ninja Turtles" were really popular back when I was a kid. In fact, if you asked any millennial to sing the lyrics to the "Ninja Turtles" theme, they'd most likely know it. The series also spawned video games for the home console market and the arcades. I have fond memories of the 1989 "Ninja Turtles" arcade game which was a four-player affair meaning you and three of your mates could take on the roles of Leonardo, Raphael, Donatello and Michelangelo as you fought Shredder and his Foot Clan (being a nerd, I had a certain affinity with Donatello so he was always my pick).
I have a soft spot for the scrolling beat 'em ups of the 80s and 90s which is why I really got into the original Streets of Rage and why I was pleasantly surprised at how well done Streets of Rage 4 was (it received an 8/10 from Choicest Games). So when Dotemu, the publisher behind Streets of Rage 4, announced that they were working on a "Ninja Turtles" game based off the 1987 "Ninja Turtles" series and the games that followed, I wishlisted it and eventually purchased the game on release.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder's Revenge is a co-op, side-scrolling beat 'em up that allows up to six players to play at the same time. You can play as the Ninja Turtles as well as Splinter, April O'Neil and Casey Jones. The game has two modes: Arcade Mode and Story Mode. Both are very similar except in Arcade Mode you basically have to play the game in one sitting (as you do at the arcades) whereas progress is saved in Story Mode. The characters you play also level up in Story Mode meaning they will receive more health, lives and special moves. There are a total of 16 levels or "episodes" in the game that takes you across the whole of New York City as you battle against many foes found in the old TV show such as Bebop, Rocksteady, the Rat King, Krang, and of course, Shredder.
|You'll get to visit many familiar locations such as Channel 6 News|
Radical authenticity, dude
For fans of the 1987 series, there's a lot to like about this game. Although the game uses pixelart the characters are all based on how the they looked from the 1987 cartoon. And there are a whole bunch of characters here besides the usual allies mentioned above as well or your typical enemies such as Krang, Shredder, Bebop, Rocksteady and the Foot Clan. You'll also get to meet a whole bunch of minor characters, like April O'Neil's colleagues at Channel 6 News, the Neutrinos and the Punk Frogs. There are also other familiar enemies from the TV show like the Triceratons, Baxter Stockman, the Rat King, Leatherhead, Wingnut and Chrome Dome.
The retro aesthetic and many returning characters are not the only way this game feels authentic: the original voice actors for the Ninja Turtles from the 1987 cartoon reprise their roles with Cam Clarke voicing Leonardo, Townsend Coleman voicing Michelangelo, Rob Paulsen voicing Raphael and Barry Gordon voicing Donatello. Sure, they have nowhere near as many lines to say in this game compared to the show that spanned over 193 episodes, but hearing their voices again is welcome all the same.
The soundtrack composer, Tee Lopes, does a fantastic job of teleporting players back to the late 80s and 90s mixing rock, jazz, synthpop, reggae, hip hop and New Jack Swing with MIDI-style Video Game Music. There are even some celebrity guest artists on the soundtrack including Ghostface Killah and Raekwon (of Wu-Tang Clan fame) who perform an oldschool hip hop track called "We Ain't Came to Lose", and Mike Patton (of Faith No More fame) who lends his voice to a remake of the 1987 "Ninja Turtles" theme.
For anyone to enjoy
I enjoy scrolling beat 'em ups, but I'm by no means an expert in the genre. I think it's simply because the genre was so popular back in my youth that I've developed a certain nostalgia for them, not to mention it's fun playing co-operatively with friends. The easiest difficulty mode in this game called "Chill Mode" is probably a bit too easy for those that have a bit of experience in the genre (like myself) but it's perfect for those that are n00bs or for young kids. I've had heaps of fun playing this game couch co-op with my girls and provided you're able to recharge your focus every so often, you'll be able to unleash devastating super attacks that make short work of groups of enemies and even bosses. The game even works on the Steam Link using Logitech F710 controllers, at least most of the time since there were a couple of occasions where I experienced framerate drops and lag, but otherwise, it was a smooth experience.
|In Story Mode you'll receive side quests like collecting VHS tapes for Vernon|
Definitely best with friends
I find that whenever playing beat 'em ups on easiest difficulty, it doesn't take very long to finish the game. Shredder's Revenge is no exception as it only takes a few hours to complete the main campaign. On one hand, this is a good thing since the game never outstayed its welcome and it's quite possible to finish the game in one sitting, ideal if you have friends over for a short period of time. However, it does leave you wondering what to do with the game once you've finished it. Sure, the game is integrated well with Steam so you're able to work your way towards unlocking 30 Steam Achievements and earning 6 Steam Trading Cards, and there are little side quests you can complete along the way but the true value of this game will be dictated by how much fun you derive from playing it with friends and family. The game doesn't make it any easier to play with different groups of friends and family either since there is only one save game file for Story Mode as opposed to other games, such as Streets of Rage 4, where you have at least three.
Shredder's Revenge is a love letter to the 1987 "Ninja Turtles" which should appease fans of the franchise as well as fans of beat 'em up games from the late 80s and early 90s. Bright, colourful, retro artwork and a funky soundtrack that mimic the styles of yesteryear, transports players back in time and a voice cast that includes some of the original actors is just icing on the cake. The game is also a great introduction for younger audiences to scrolling beat 'em ups and the "Ninja Turtles" in general.
The only concerns I have with the game is its replay value, the occasional hiccups I experienced while playing it on the Steam Link and the fact the game has only one save file available. However, if you're able to find a few friends or family to play with who are as enthusiastic about "Ninja Turtles" as you, be sure to order some pizza, boot the game up and prepare for a gnarly time. COWABUNGA, dudes!
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