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Old 01-29-2010, 08:03 AM   #1
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Please rate this review: TMNT - Turtles in time ReShelled

High: All four turtles fighting together in local/online co-op.

Low: Waiting in the online lobby for ages to find anybody to play with.

WTF: "Wow, I got a trophy for being zapped by a laser!"

Attention: old-school turtles fans! Most of you will remember Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (IV): Turtles in Time. An iconic side-scrolling beat ‘em up which hit the arcades in 1991 and the SNES later in 1992. If you’ve missed the chance to play it since, rejoice, as you’ve now got a chance to in TMNT: Turtles in Time Re-Shelled, available over Playstation Network (and Xbox Live Arcade).

It’s a remake, therefore is in a nut-shell, the same game with flashier graphics. You’ll complete the same levels and (for the most part) the same bosses and enemies, all in a new stylized look that’s more in line with this era. For anyone not familiar, the random storyline tells that Shredder’s evil minion Krang has somehow managed to steal the Statue of Liberty from New York… or something. So it’s up to you to fight your way through 9 stages as Leonardo, Michelangelo, Donatello or good ol’ angry Raphael. Each has their own weapon and stats, and which turtle you choose does make a visible difference.

The graphics are pretty good for a PSN game as both character and level models alike have had a complete re-do; the retro sprites haven’t just been brushed over a bit in HD. Right off the bat, you’ll see that your favourite turtles are now in 3D, with cartoon captions like “BOOM!” appearing when you break explosive objects etc, to capture a comic-book feel. Personally with a view of moving forward, this is a good thing, but fans of the original may dislike the overall grittier look changing to a goofier one. The music has also been changed entirely, but you’ll still hear the infamous “shell-shock!” when you die (though not in such awesome fashion).

The controls are basic with the left stick being to move the turtle, X to jump, square for standard attacks and triangle for your turtle’s special move. Certain joystick and button combinations make your turtle perform slide or dash attacks, and directed or stationary jump attacks. As you’d expect, combat is a two-button affair. True, this is Turtles in time, which was about simple arcade game-play, but nonetheless the button-mashing quickly becomes repetitive. Being in 3D though, you can now fight in eight different directions and still pull off a couple of daft moves – picking up enemies and slamming them into others, or throwing them ‘out’ of the screen towards the camera. A bit gimmicky, sure, but funny to watch. You’ll face hoards of enemies like the original, but it doesn’t match the same pace. The speed seems to have slowed down enough to be noticeable; attacks don’t feel like they chain together as smoothly and the same fun factor isn’t achieved.

Without the need to eat up all of your coins, the difficulty curve of Reshelled is more gradual and balanced, and the single-player story can be beaten in just an hour or so, consisting of only 9 stages (as sadly one of the levels was SNES-exclusive). Unless you’re desperate to earn all of the (easy) trophies, it’s unlikely you’ll feel compelled to beat the story mode more than once. There’s not a lot to come back to. For the price drop to $9.99, Reshelled isn’t an expensive game, but should have offered more replay value than it does. It’s also disappointing that PS3 owners couldn’t have a chance to play the predecessor, like on Xbox Live Arcade. Even as an unlockable bonus for completing a certain difficulty, for example.

Along with single player campaign there’s a survival mode for hardcore players, you’re aim is to complete the whole game without dying a single time. You can also take up to four into online or local co-op, through either quick-play mode or the whole story itself. The idea that all four turtles can be brought back into the foray together like the arcade version is great, and gathering three mates together round your house is where the real fun of Reshelled comes out, as a classic arcade multiplayer. On the other hand, you’re likely to give up with the online multiplayer, because other players are so few and far between and often leave the game after just one level or so.

Judging a remake of a game is always hard, because if a game was successful back then, it can be tempting to let its successor bask in the former’s glory, and over-praise it. But the game should be judged by today’s standards; which say that Ubisoft should have done more to build upon the title than what is essentially a graphical overhaul. Re-Shelled is still a short-lived experience, and its roots shouldn’t excuse it from being pulled up for shortcomings like any other game. Fans of the ninja turtles and the original Turtles in Time will be prone to enjoy this title; the fond nostalgia of many hours whittled away at the SNES or arcade machines appears to be its main selling point. But everyone else, TMNT: Turtles in Time Re-Shelled remains a very average Playstation Network title.

Overall score: 5/10

Disclosures: This game was obtained via Playstation Network and reviewed on the PS3. Approximately 4 hours of play was devoted to single-player modes (completed 4 times) and 2 hours of play to multiplayer modes.

Parents: The game is rated ‘T’ by the ESRB. Features mild cartoon violence, but no adult language.

Deaf and Hard of Hearing: This game relies primarily on visual cues, so is perfectly suitable for the Deaf and hard of hearing.
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