Turtles in Time: Re-shelled XBLA
- Xbox 360
Time always makes the heart grow fonder, it’s a tried and tested claim and one that certainly applies to the raft of old school titles receiving the modern treatment as of late. Ask any gamer who played the original 1992 home version of Konami’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time and it is likely they will reminisce about how much fun it was in four-player mode and get into a conversation about the cartoon and how cool it would be to buy the original series again on DVD. Speaking of which, someone make this happen please!
But everyone grows up and as gamers mature, our tastes change and we become more cynical and harder to please. Time hasn’t been kind to this lean, green relic, but before you write this off, there may still be plenty to get excited about. Ubisoft Singapore has the remake honours this time round and they have done their very best to take this classic game kicking and screaming into the current generation.
Once again the notorious and impractically dressed Shredder and his foot clan minions are up to no good. They’ve only gone and stolen the statue of liberty and cast the turtles back in time to get rid of them once and for all. Cheeky buggers! What follows is stage after stage of scrolling beat-em-up nostalgia. Players can choose one of the four turtles, Leonardo, Donatello, Michelangelo and Raphael [like you needed reminding – Ed] and even take the fight online with a group of other players.
Sure, in four player mode this is a short-lived riot, but solo this is less the fast-paced romp you may remember, with things descending into button-bashing territory as you fight wave after wave of enemies, using a variety of light and heavy attacks to string together small combos. You can also throw enemies around and launch them into the screen, which is still a good laugh today. Difficulty levels remain unbalanced however, with some bosses being stupidly powerful compared to others, but they shouldn’t pose too much of a problem once you figure out their attack patterns.
What little depth this game could have had is diluted by the inclusion of infinite continues. It’s a daft move and one that many downloadable game developers are adhering to more and more. This not only removes all sense of challenge and threat of failure from the game, but results in the whole thing feeling a tad pointless. Games are there to played and to test our skills, not act as a mild distraction, that is the realm of cheap mobile games, not something we ‘shell’ [oh God – Ed] out almost a tenner for.
If you really love the franchise then you will enjoy this game and kudos must go to Ubisoft Singapore for the top notch visuals, with a high-definition veneer that still manages to retain the style of the original game. The slick animation is also a vast improvement as each turtle leaps and bounds across the screen battering foot clan goons into smithereens. Also, the appearance of some familiar baddies from the series will raise a smile, including Bebop, Rocksteady, Krang and wet blanket scientist-turned fly mutant Baxter Stockman.
While this game received top billing on Xbox Live Arcade as part of its ‘Summer of Arcade’ season, can you really get excited about a game that you actually can’t lose at? Call it cashing in on the nostalgia of the cartoon fans, who must all be in their 20’s and 30’s now, or perhaps the developer trying to appeal to a new, younger Turtles audience, but this is a missed chance to make something complimentary to the original game that adds its own spin on the core template.