Sunday, August 09, 2009

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time - Re-Shelled (Xbox 360) Review

You've heard me say that Ghostbusters: The Video Game is my childhood in HD, well Ubisoft's latest Xbox LIVE Arcade offering, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time - Re-Shelled, is literally a game from my childhood, now in HD.

The last time I played this game in an arcade, I was a kid visiting Marineland, and I only got to play it a few times. Its predecessor, however I played to death and loved both in the arcade, on the Nintendo Entertainment System, and a few years back, on Xbox LIVE Arcade (reviewed here). Needless to say, I wanted to see Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time follow suit, and just over two years later, my prayers were answered.

While watching the evening news reported by their favourite lady, April O'Neil, Super Krang steals the Statue of Liberty and Shredder immediately hijacks the airwaves to taunt the turtles. Splinter, naturally, sends the heroes in a half shell into action, and the turtles set out to get the Statue back. So, why did Shredder and Super Krang steal the Statue of Liberty? How was Shredder able to send the turtles back in time? Um, yeah. Like the original Arcade game, not really big on plot here, but great on fun and classic arcade action!

First things first though, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time - Re-Shelled is a port of the arcade game, and not a port of the port of the arcade game for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. Still following me? No? What this means in English is there's no Technodrome level about midway through the game, some of the bosses are different (No Slash or Bebop and Rocksteady), and a few other things as well. So if you're looking forward to the same game you played back on your Super Nintendo Entertainment System, you're going to be disappointed, as this port is a little shorter with less content, but if you're looking for the arcade classic itself, well, here it is, but with an upgrade.

Ubisoft Singapore, the developers of the game, redid all the graphics in HD, so these turtles are brought to you in full 1080p wide screen if your TV supports it, and I must say I really enjoyed the game's updated visuals. The other change from yester-year is that instead of simply being able to attack enemies on the same 2D line like in most classic beat 'em ups, you can now attack, and be attacked, diagonally. This adds a somewhat different dimension to the game play, particularly boss battles, but this isn't a drastic change and the gameplay is pretty much as you remember it.

All four turtles play very similar to one another, but there are a few more differences than last time around, and you can compare their strengths and weaknesses prior to selecting which turtle to play as. You can also execute each turtle's special move by pressing "Y" instead of pressing jump and attack together, which is a handy plus, and if you lose sight of your turtle in the melee, you can press Left Trigger to bring up a bubble to locate him.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time - Re-Shelled features full 4-player Co-Op either from your couch or via Xbox LIVE, and the game's a blast to play with a bunch of buddies. Overall, the game is not very difficult, nor is it very long (took me about an hour on my own), but it is more fun when you have friends to chat with. The gameplay itself is generally repetitive, seeing you battle more or less the same enemies throughout the entire game, so once you get their patterns down, you won't have much trouble. I personally found the "surfing" levels to be the hardest, simply because of the traps and stuff zipping by so fast, but these levels also annoyed me in the arcade as well, so I knew what I was in for.

There are the standard fair of difficulty settings, which dictates how many lives each turtle gets before he needs to continue, and there's also a new Survival Mode which sees you having one and only one life. This is challenging, especially on the harder difficulties, and completing this mode is something I have not yet been able to accomplish.

One minor gripe that I have is while I did greatly enjoy the new HD graphics, I do wish there was an option to play with the classic, 80's cartoon graphical style simply for nostalgia's sake. Sure, it wouldn't look as good, but it would've been a nice added bonus, though I suppose the diagonal attacking wouldn't have been possible then.

Originally slotted to sell for 1200 Microsoft Points ($17.40), thankfully, Ubisoft lowered the cost prior to launch and you can purchase the game for 800 Microsoft Points ($11.60). That's significantly more reasonable for a linear, short arcade brawler that's been given a great face-lift, and kudos to Ubisoft for not milking us so hard.

So is Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time - Re-Shelled worth your hard earned coin? I'd say yes, it sure is. It offers more than the first arcade game did, and is a great and simple game to play with friends. It was the focus of my housewarming yesterday, and was intuitive and enjoyable enough for anyone at any skill level to jump in and kick some shell.

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