In the 1990s, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles became ubiquitous in the side-scrolling screen beat. Whether you’re talking about 1989’s arcade game, 1991’s Turtles in Time, or countless other battles starring everyone’s favorite Half-Shell heroes, Konami’s creations of the past few years. 80’s and 90’s are both legendary.
However, as the beat-’em-up genre moves across the fading screen, so does the slickness of Turtle’s legacy. After the IP boom of the late 80s/early 90s, TMNT’s fanbase shrank considerably and like movies, TV shows, and merchandise, the brand’s game output This slows down. After 1992’s Hyperstone Heist and 1993’s Tournament Fighters, Turtles still starred in games, but few achieved any level of acclaim. Even Ubisoft’s 2009 remake of Turtles in Time was met with fierce criticism.
Now, with the talent that has worked on games like Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, Streets of Rage 4, and 2007 TMNT were much-loved for the Game Boy Advance, and Dotemu and Tribute Games hoped to restore the cowabunga kings to their former gaming glory. We met with the companies behind Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge to see the game in action and chat with the developers about how they hope to create the video game Turtles fans have been dreaming of in the past 30 years.
When the Evil Shredder attacked…
Notice via a the trailer features Mike Patton of Faith No More singing the 1987 cartoon theme song, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge is designed to appeal to fans from an earlier era. So much information about the game – aesthetics, character design, enemies, and more – pulled heavily from that period, including the beloved TV series and accompanying toy lines .
In my demo, I watched members of Dotemu and Tribute Games play through three full stages. The first stage, “Jaws Breakthrough News,” took place inside the Channel 6 News studio. Here, Shredder begins his plot for revenge, which in part includes re-assembling the Krang. In keeping with the animation inspiration, each level plays out like a single episode of a TV show, telling a story through environments, enemies, boss battles, and short cutscenes between levels. The track, composed by Tee Lopes of the famous Sonic Mania, also feels ripped out of the 80s and 90s.
That era’s inspiration is infused in the gameplay, with its fast-paced, arcade-style action. Enemies appear on the screen and are quickly defeated as they appear. Just like in Turtles in Time, the player can hit enemies back and forth and even throw them towards the camera.
This game may be all about nostalgia, but Tribute wants to offer more than just a huge hit package for fans. Game designer Frédéric Gémus said: “What we wanted to do mainly with the game was to try to visit places that we hadn’t seen before in 2D games before, as well as things from the 1987 TMNT universe in the cartoon,” said game designer Frédéric Gémus. “It is a love letter not only to the TMNT franchise but to the whole era.”
Despite its nostalgic nature, Shredder’s Revenge makes many quality-of-life improvements. For example, chaining attacks together is more flexible than in classic games, and in co-op, players have a window where they can respawn downed teammates.
Shredder’s Revenge also offers two game modes: standard arcade and story mode. Arcade mode is meant to recreate the experience of classic games, where you start with a limited number of lives and you need to beat the game in one sitting. The story mode reverses the scenario, allowing your character to grow by redeeming your stacks for upgrades to HP, extra lives, new moves, and special Progressive Mode abilities that give temporary boosts for your character. The story mode also allows you to complete optional challenges in stages, offering replayability and the option to return to each stage.
Hero in Half-Shell
While the first level was filled with Easter eggs, the next level I saw (the sixth level in the game), “Mall Meltdown,” continued to show nostalgia. Fighting through the mall, players are treated with a lot of nods to the mall culture of the time. In the end, Donatello and April O’Neil battle through the food court and shopping promenade to reach the arcade.
While the first level features Bebop, a familiar face to anyone who’s played through the Turtles’ previous games, as a boss battle, this level offers the player an unseen enemy. appeared in a game before. Tempestra is a character who escaped from the video game Leonardo was haunted by in an episode of the 1990s cartoon, so her appearance in the shopping district of Shredder’s Revenge makes sense.
In this boss battle, the virtual witch summons Tokka and Rahzar’s digital projections from Ooze’s Secret. Once you defeat the mutant turtle and wolf, Tempestra becomes vulnerable. After repeating this cycle a few times, Tempestra is defeated, and the mall is safe.
The final stage that I see is the 10th level in the game, called “A few loose screws”. Here, players battle through a back alley and into an electronics store full of tube TVs and mousers. This time, Raphael went alone. Co-op is drop-in/drop-out, and whenever the number of players changes, the game adjusts in real-time, adjusting the opponent’s layout instantly if you suddenly decide to invite three you into the mix.
In one memorable episode, Raph confronts several enemies on an opposing carousel. Dynamic footsteps and the fact that new tapable items are constantly appearing on the screen add new layers to the encounter. While the vandalism of the forger might lead you to believe that the boss battle is against their inventor, Baxter Stockman, the culmination of this electronics exploration is against a human impersonator. Additional machine: Metalhead.
Shredder’s technical turtle has a similar set of moves to the version the player faces in Turtles in Time, complete with arms that can be extended across the screen and flying kicks. He is also joined by a group of engines and can shield himself while launching rockets your way. Metalhead’s moves don’t pose much of a threat to the player, and before long the robot is out of mission, and Raph is eating a slice of his errant pizza when my demo ends.
Everything I’ve seen and known about Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge suggests that it aims to be the franchise’s major re-entry into the gaming arena. It’s clear that the teams at Dotemu and Tribute Games have an abundant love for both the Turtles franchise and the side-scrolling brawler genre.
After watching the team play through the three stages, I immediately felt an itch when I played back my favorite videos, like Turtles in Time. Thankfully, through Recently announced Cowabunga collectionI’ll have a chance to refresh my memory and hone my skills as I get ready for the launch of Shredder’s Revenge later this year.