Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Kids are easy to please. Whether itís something shiny, cute, really fluffy or all of the above, itís almost sure to entertain them. So it seems rather odd that children from all over the world have taken quite a liking to a bunch of teenage mutant ninja turtles (you heard that right, ninjas). They appear to have taken a wrong turn at the evolutionary corridor, and these overgrown freaks of nature certainly donít fit any of the aforementioned criteria, to instantly endear themselves to the children. But somehow, the love of the teenage mutant ninja turtles knows no bounds. Possibly because they spend their free time eating obscene amounts of pizza (why, Iíll never understand), beating up brain people and other funny looking creatures.
Itís pretty hard to tell you about how the ball gets rolling in TMNT, because the story is rather confusing at the best of times. Cut scenes are handled in comic book style slides, where the mutant freaks attempt to tell a story to the gamer, encouraging essential life skills such as working as a team or something to that fruity effect. But hey, a piss poor story shouldnít spoil the experience, because TMNT more than makes up for it in the departments that matter, right? Wrong. The game relies on a thick spread of platforming and fighting, and with regards to the former, there was heaps of potential here. For those unaware Ubisoft Montreal were the creative geniuses behind the Prince of Persia games, so one would assume this would be the gameís strongest point. Well, it is, but thatís not necessarily a good thing.
Itís a simple case of jump when thereís a gap, grab onto a ledge when you need to get to higher ground and scaling walls when they make themselves painfully known. This soon becomes a tiring endeavour mainly because of the fixed camera. It makes for jumping around to be extremely cumbersome, and youíll fall to your death many a time before the ending credits (which isnít long at all). As flashy as it may all look, one button press will have your turtle flipping, hopping and running across walls, leaving the player thinking, ďI didnít do thatĒ. The platforming on the whole is riddled with unrewarding flukes that even children will find hard to appreciate. And I swear if I had to hear Michelangelo say ďBO YEAHĒ after every jump one more time, I may have had to go out and kill a few turtles.
Some way, somehow, the combat manages to pip the platforming to the Ďelements in TMNT so bad you want to rip your eyeballs outí award. Itís all painfully basic, and just like platforming, there is zero satisfaction in disposing of a large number of enemies on screen. For one, itís way too easy. You enter a battle arena of sorts and the game throws out just enough generic thugs your way to make it incredibly dull. They seem reluctant to actually attack you, and mashing on the B button is all it takes to rid yourself of these annoyances. In fact, players arenít even required to wear out their B button to progress through each of the 16 levels. Holding the attack button for a short while will unleash an unstoppable 5 hit attack, which can be repeated immediately after. The combat is just too broken to be any sort of fun after your very first ruckus, and coupled with terrible hit detection and repetitive enemy design, there isnít much point in experimenting with each turtles Ďdifferentí fighting styles, because theyíre just more trouble than theyíre worth.
All this is poorly sellotaped together with very poor, unimaginative level design. TMNT is painfully linear and on the odd occasion where you find yourself lost, just look for the trail of coins scattered in front of you to know where to go next. This over protective handholding really isnít needed, and it just strips away any kind of challenge. Playersí surroundings are all too familiar as well, and youíll swear that towards the end of the game, Ubisoft Montreal have just recycled sections from the earlier stages. Scandalous.
Since kids like things shiny and pretty it would have made sense to give the little nippers and gamers in general something to drool over. That isnít case here, what we do get however, is a barely passable visual experience. The environments have their moments but itís all too often sullied by poor frame rates, and for some ungodly reason, the developers thought itíd be funny to render a handful of the levels completely in black and white. Maybe they were trying to be artsy - I couldnít tell you, all I know is that I wasnít laughing.
TMNT feels like a really, really early build of Prince of Persia: Sands of Time, stripped to its bare bones and given a movie license to shift copies. When the developers manage to balls up two of the gameís most important parts, then you know there is nothing here that can save this abomination of a game. The only people that will find anything of use in TMNT are those with a crack-like addiction to achievement points, and even then, you should feel ashamed to have this game on your gamercard. I know I do.
Three out of ten
- It's all over rather quickly
- Easiest 1000 achievement points you'll ever 'earn'
- Broken combat
- Extremely linear
- Last gen visuals