Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time Re-Shelled
There was a lot of excitement leading up the release of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time Re-Shelled. The original “Un-Shelled” edition was a big hit in the arcades back in ’91, and later on for the SNES in ‘92. For a long time I shared this excitement, but a few levels into this remake I came to the realisation that this was purely because I hadn’t played the original in so long. Games have come a long way since the early 1990s and Turtles in Time is the perfect example of this if there ever was one.
The arcade classic was never a particularly complex game. Following the likes of Double Dragon and Streets of Rage, it was a simple brawler designed to eat up quarters down at the local arcade. Sadly that style of gameplay doesn’t translate well to current-gen systems, and you’ll find yourself bored stiff within minutes of booting up Re-Shelled. There are a limited number of attacks available, with basic and special attacks, and jump and throw moves. These moves can be mixed together to kill the same enemies over and over again, but it’s easy enough to mash your way through the game’s relatively short run-time by hammering on the X button, even if it requires a breather after each level.
It’s an archaic approach that could have easily looked to recent brawlers like Castle Crashers for inspiration. Instead, the only new addition to the gameplay is the ability to attack diagonally – a minor enhancement. A game like The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition can afford to be re-released with no gameplay changes because the classic gameplay remains relevant today. Turtles in Time isn’t in the same boat and has nothing going for it other than nostalgia, which probably won’t be enough for most people. It can still be fun, getting together a party of four and playing through the story, but after two or three levels the repetition will become too much. Back in the day it was a blast, but it’s just not up to today’s standards.
Luckily the visuals have received a brand new face-lift – Re-Shelled had to mean something, right? The new character models do a competent job and the animations are impressive; however, the backgrounds are generally poor with some muddy and low quality textures throughout. On the whole it’s not a bad package, but there’s one glaring omission. While other recently released re-makes include the ability to switch back to the original game on-the-fly, Turtles in Time misses out. It’s always a fantastic experience transitioning between the jazzed up new visuals and the old retro style, so it’s a severe disappointment that it’s left out here. For 400 Microsoft Points you could easily sell bucket loads of the original arcade game, so the extra 800 for this Re-Shelled edition doesn’t seem worth it.
If you’re a massive fan of the original Turtles in Time then those fond memories should remain as memories. Re-Shelled doesn’t bring enough of the nostalgia factor to the table and the gameplay is in a similar predicament. It may have been fun back in the 1990s but now there’s just not enough depth to gain any sort of prolonged enjoyment out of it. Short bursts in multiplayer can be mildly enjoyable, but for 800 points it’s simply not worth it. It’s crazy to think they were originally going to charge 1200 for what is a bare-bone remake. The Turtles should stay in their shells for this one.