TMNT: Out of the Shadows
This year and next will give many Turtle fans plenty of opportunities to satisfy their inner ninja. With Nickelodeon’s second season kicking off soon, another “TMNT side-scrolling action-brawler” developed by Magic Pockets out on October 25th (also based off the Nickelodeon TV series) and of course, the much talked about Michael Bay film next year. To start things off though, we have an arcade game to play – TMNT: Out of the Shadows from Red Fly Studio (Ghostbusters: The video game). It’s out now on Steam, Xbox Live and on the 24th September for PSN.
Firstly you will notice the Turtles appearance is a realistic one and kind of ugly looking too! The story loosely follows the Nickelodeon cartoon series. This is a throwback to the old 2D side scroller that any TMNT fan knows and loves. However, one difference here is the 3D upgrade with some RPG elements.
I’ll get the bad things out of the way first as there isn’t actually that many, this is a fairly enjoyable action game. One thing that will start to annoy you will be that camera is a bit slow and sometimes a bit too close. It’s not the worse camera work I have ever seen used in a video game but it takes some getting used to. The game is sometimes a bit too dark and drab in some places as well. Now, I understand this might be on purpose but it does get frustrating sometimes as you can lose where you are going as the game doesn’t offer directions. There are a few glitches to be seen, like floating enemies, your fellow turtles getting stuck or giving away your position and a few small technical glitches with textures or getting stuck on objects. The voices are not performed by any of the actors from the Nickelodeon series and sometimes it can be fairly bad during cut scenes but I found in game the voices work just fine. Now the bad is out of the way we can talk about the few things they got right!
You have of course our four hero’s in a half shell – Raphael, Michelago, Donatello and Leonardo. Donnie is the brains, Raph is the brawn, Leo is the leader and Mikey is the comedian. Early on, one conversation between Mike and Raph caught me by surprise, Mike says “I had a dream I spoke and your voice came out Raph”, Raph replies “That’s freaky Mikey” fairly simple and one of many jokes that will make you laugh. If you don’t understand that joke, I’m sure anyone familiar with the original 80’s cartoon would know that numerous times the voices or colours of the turtles were wrong in the show, it was a common goof that happened way too often and the subtle joke was a nice touch and made me laugh.
The core gameplay sees you beating up The Foot Clan, The Purple Dragons, The Krang and Baxter Stockman’s MOUSERS until meeting a boss which you then repeat until you reach The Shredder. The controls are what you would expect from a brawler – you have a dodge button (jump), counter button, attack button and kick button. It all feels a little Batman Arkham style but nowhere near as smooth or responsive, some what similar to the recent Spider-Man game.
The animations can be confusing sometimes . For example, it’s hard to tell if you have performed a counter or not, but eventually you get use to the combo animations. Once you’ve built up your combo meter, your ready to unleash a finishing blow or unlock new team finishers where the turtles can combine together to defeat an enemy! To complete your mission of defeating the Shredder you can play solo, two player local co-op or four player online co-op. In my opinion the four player online is definitely the best way to go as the computers AI isn’t up to scratch. If you play solo you can switch between Turtles on the fly! This can be useful as they all have their own abilities and skills to upgrade. To unlock more moves and upgrade your turtles you must earn XP by defeating enemies and then you can use this via a skill tree to be the best Ninja you can be. You can also practice your new moves in the dojo and have Splinter give you instructions with his usual monologue that is very hard to leave! You just want to keep hearing him taunt you!
The turtles as mentioned before are realistic looking and not cartoon animated, this is a good and bad thing as they do look fairly ugly but they are animated quite nicely, as are most enemies. Visually they look good and most of the time so does the environments, but you will see a few ugly textures here and there with a bit of screen tearing. When you boot up the game, MC hammer gets you in the mood straight away with the ‘Turtle Power’ chorus as the main theme! Also a track produced by Just Blaze with a big hip-hop feel to it plays throughout the game which fits very well. Along with some very good voice acting, it makes this a nice treat for anyone ears. In the end the visuals and audio are what you expect from an arcade title, which runs about four to five hours long. Also add in the 2D-ish arcade mode for another hour. It would have been nice to get the voice actors from the Nickelodeon show for some polish and authenticity though.
TMNT is best enjoyed with four players online if you can, if not you will still have a lot of fun in single plater mode. None of the technical issues noted make the experience an issue to play, expect maybe the difficult spike with a certain boss. The upgrading system, tongue in cheek jokes, presentation (and other goodies to unlock make this a very enjoyable experience. For only $15, its one I would recommend for any TMNT fan. Some parts might be too hard for younger kids, though the nostalgia factor is very hard not to play this game as long as you can find some friends willing to overlook the technical mishaps.
- Four player co-op TMNT style!
- RPG upgrade system
- Nostalgia feel to original SNES/Arcade game
- Very funny dialogue
- No Nickelodeon series voice actors
- Technical glitches
- Sometimes unresponsive controls
- Too hard for younger audience
Written by Nick Pearce