Forward notes: This is for the disc based game, TMNT, not the arcade based game, TMNT 1989 Arcade. It should also be noted that I am an avid Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fan – it was my favorite show growing up – not to mention all the sweet action figures I own. If you’re wondering, Michaelangelo is my favorite – he’s a party dude.
The single player is what is going to take up all of your time, because, well, there is no multiplayer. Here’s how the gameplay works. On each level you will be one of the four turtles. During the level you may be switched, but this won’t be of your choice. You basically have to move forward along the screen to get to the area you want to go to. Simple enough right? You’ll be pressing the “Y” button to jump forward, “B” button to jump right, etc. You’ll be informed of when to do these button presses by some small flashes of light on the bottom of your screen, along with some common sense.
Along with this jumping each turtle also has some special ability. Raphael can dig each of his sai into some cement walls to climb upwards (but only at certain designated areas when the game feels like it). Michaelangelo can spin his nunchucks in circles to “fly” a little bit. And so on, and so forth.
During these jumping and special use episodes, you’ll also have to fight bad guys, though this is pretty much a sidenote. You can basically smash the basic attack buttons over and over and you’ll be fine, but if you’re really into it you can charge up attacks and what not. I never lost a life in combat until the last level boss. You’ll also learn some “special brother moves” that require two turtles. Basically it means that they will fling you forward after spinning you in a circle. Oh boy!
That is seriously all this game is. It’s a bunch of levels over and over again of you jumping to move forward in the level, fighting a few foot clan bad guys along the way. You cannot choose the difficulty you play on, so the game, which was probably designed for around 9 year olds, will hold no problem to anyone with an IQ. There is also a storyline that tries to loosely follow what happened in the most recent of the movies. I emphasize loosely, since the game is basically a jumping game, it had to throw in some extra stuff. For some reason you like being on roofs with broken electrical wiring, you like jumping on top of floats in a parade, and really like to skateboard in the sewers. I don’t know, I didn’t write the plot.
The levels get progressively more difficult as you advance – this means not very much – the enemies will stay about the same difficulty except for the random bosses you’ll fight. If you die at any point you will be moved back to a checkpoint, which is basically a place where you are standing still before some difficult jumps. In this they do it right – the checkpoints are usually quite often and after some difficult maneuvers. Even as simple as the game is, at some point you’re bound to screw up either because you’re bored or because you fell asleep and dropped your controller.
If you can’t tell by now, I was severely bored with this game. This isn’t no teenage mutant ninja turtles 1989 arcade game that you played with your buddies. This is a slaughter of an excellent franchise. And no, don’t say I didn’t give the game a fair chance – I played it through twice, once on my xbox and once on my Nintendo DS, which, is the same game essentially if you are curious (some minor control differences).
You’ll get bored quickly, you’ll get upset easily, and you’ll be constantly wondering when the game is going to start. You’ll think to yourself “why” everytime you press continue to the next level. I honestly don’t think I’ve played through a more boring game. It was a chore.
Single Player Score: 3/10
There is no multiplayer. This was a shame because a co-op might have made the game slightly more bearable. I emphasize slightly.
Multiplayer Score: N/a
The graphics are actually a very large disappointment as well. Although I understand that the turtles basically have to look like they did in the movie or television shows to be recognizable and not get a bunch of fan hate mail, but they just used the same basic model for each turtle and then threw on the identifiable bandanna. Sometimes it is hard to even see their weapons, which makes it even more of a disappointment. Most of the time you’ll be seeing basic brick walls, cement ground, or simple flat surfaces. I do not lie to you when I say that most of the game looks like it could have easily been produced on a Sega Genesis. The saving grace of the graphics is some of the cutscenes, which are taken basically straight out of the movie and placed into the video game. Although it is obvious that it didn’t take much skill to copy and paste, they still look good. That saves the graphics score from being a zero, I kid you not.
Graphics Score: 4/10
During the cutscenes the sound is acceptable and interesting – only because it was copied and pasted out of the movie – but nonetheless, acceptable. During the basic gameplay though I often felt awkward due to the lack of any good music playing. A lot of the time you’ll hear some random “hazards” going around you – if there is a electrical wire that is flying around you’ll hear the “buzz” of the sparks, or you’ll hear the people below you cheering while you are jumping around on the floats during the parade. Basic sounds like that.
It’s nothing special. It’s nothing great. It’s barely acceptable.
Sound Score: 4/10
Here’s the reason almost everyone is playing this game, beyond the TMNT fans, like me. But it was the reason I continued to suffer throughout the entire gameplay. The achievements are extremely simple and you get them all by beating the game. You cannot miss any if you beat the game. You will have 1000/1000 by the end of this game, if you played every level. Therefore this game has become the epitome of “easy gamerscore” increases.
You get points for each level you complete. For some reason the creators thought that you required more points as you went along because you’ve suffered through the game more, so the points will be odd numbered (17 GP). Towards the end you’ll get up to some ridiculous numbers for beating a level (90 points?!). You’ll also get achievements for doing the new moves of each of the turtles! You are forced to try it when you learn it, so you’ll g et those mid-level. I assure you, if you play the game straight through, you cannot miss an achievement. There is nothing that is timed, no collectibles, no difficulty based achievements, nothing. Free points.
When I say all this, I don’t mean it as a good thing. Yes, it convinced me to continue to play through the game because I’m an achievement junkie, when I normally would have turned it off, but it’s a big disappointment. This basically ensures that this game is a pure rental or cheap five dollar purchase, because you’ll only be playing through it once. They basically ensured that this would be this way when they didn’t create any difficulties, any multiplayer, or bother to put any time into collectibles or even a simple timer. But there could have been some basic ones that you see in jumping games – like don’t die on ____ level, or beat level ____ in less than 10 minutes, something, anything. The good news is that there are no achievements that glitch and no impossible achievements that would make you play the game a thousand times to beat (Beat level 1 thirty times!)
Achievement Score: 4/10
There is no DLC for this game. I guess they could have added on some new playable characters (like using splinter), but considering how much I never want to play this game again, I couldn’t see others buying it to play through again.
DLC Score: N/a
Final Score: 5.5/10
• It’s a free 1000/1000 gamerpoints to those of you looking to quickly boost your gamerscore in a single night.
• The cutscenes aren’t bad
• If you have a nine year old, he’ll be able to understand the controls.
• If you haven’t seen the movie yet, it will for sure ruin it for you. But at the same time you’ll wonder where some parts that are in the game appear are in the movie.
• Repetitive beyond belief – you jump to the left, to the right, forward, special move. Jump to the left, right, and forward, grind a bar! Jump to the left, to the right, forward, brother help!
• Pathetic achievements means you won’t be playing through this more than once to accomplish anything more
• No difficulties, poor graphics beyond the cutscenes, lackluster sound
• For some reason nothing really makes sense, and everything is extremely unsafe, but for some reason you must walk past it. There really is no explanation as to why you need to be on a roof with dangerous electrical wires, and why you don’t try to fix them.
I cannot stress enough how much I think you should avoid this game, unless you are an achievement fanatic. Repetitive gameplay, lackluster sound and graphics, boring achievements, and a confusing story really place this in the epitome of bad movie based games. You may be saying to yourself “it isn’t as bad as he says it is, I love the turtles, I’ll pick this up.” I kid you not when I say I used to go down to Disney World twice a year just to go to MGM to see the turtles come out in their truck and sign my autograph book. But if you want a quick way to fill your gamerscore, this is the game for you…