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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge Review (Switch eShop)

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge Review (Switch eShop)

The energy to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, one of the greatest ways of the 80’s, has lasted for 35 years. Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird’s originally dark comic creations – later given a child-friendly transformation – spearheaded Turtlemania: a fusion of toxic waste of martial arts and mutant teenage reptiles that swept the world. Leonardo, Raphael, Michelangelo and Donatello, their names are taken from history’s most legendary Renaissance artists, featured shirts, shorts, lunch boxes and of course video games.

Konami’s arcade release from 1989, a rolling four-player beat-em-up designed for bankrupt unscrupulous parents, was a dream come true for children tall enough to reach the bulky, shelf-like control panel. It was hardly the fairest game, but the sound effects, the introductory sequence and “Cowa-Cowa-Cowabunga!” coin-drop jingle has since matured into dizzying nostalgia.

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Captured on Nintendo Switch (handheld / disconnected)

Despite Konami’s superior sequel from 1991, Turtles in Time, and variations on the theme on NES, SNES, Mega Drive, PlayStation 2 and Game Boy Advance, few have achieved the same kind of legacy – until now. Tribute Games, which is responsible for Scott Pilgrim and Panzer Paladin, among others, has certainly not half-shelled it: TMNT: Shredder’s Revenge is the best Turtles-rolling beat-em-up ever.

In some places, there are such strong echoes of Konami’s titles that it flies dangerously close to potential copyright infringement. At the same time, Tribute and Dotemu have gone to town with the license, stuffing the huge sixteen-stage fight with a wide compendium of villains – many lesser-known ones taken from the depths of the cartoon series Archie.

Graphically, it’s a party. There are no CRT filters for this pixel party, which some may find disappointing, but it is so beautifully and accurately designed that it’s hard to complain. Every inch is crammed with detail, beginning inside the April Channel 5 TV station before moving through the back streets and sewers of New York. Famous locations are rendered with fresh, loving attention to detail, beautiful colors and an authentic comic book taste, all with great visual storytelling.

The zoo has incredibly cute, annoying monkeys and lovely animals; Turtles blimp follows you as you hoverboard over sunny city roofs and avoid incoming missiles; and certain parts feel like you ‘re fighting it in the 1989 Playmates sewer set. It’s crammed with comic elements as well. Idle Foot Soldiers steal the wheels of the Turtle van, rattle with Game Boys and lick ice sticks, all before disturbing their recreation with a nunchaku upside down. The Sprite designs are intentionally squat, but adorable with it, superbly animated and full of character, and the turtles boast a lot of individual personality. Splinter’s elastic, varied, but powerful repertoire is presented just as it should be, and April O’Neil is simply superb, taking pictures of downtrodden enemies and hammering through crowds with a boom microphone. Fans favorite Casey Jones, who does major damage with his golf clubs, makes the playable list a full seven when unlocked.

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Captured on Nintendo Switch (docked)

The stages have a lot of variety, although little is new. Bosses where you need to throw enemies in the foreground and obstacle-filled “Cheapskate” skateboard rides are cherry-picked from previous titles. However, where it works well is the large number of enemies and how they attack, forcing you to continuously use different approaches. The bosses are also brilliantly designed and executed, with fun, engaging patterns and windows of opportunity to get into them with a superman.

Just as much effort has been put into the sound, with Tee Lopes from Sonic Mania fame mustering a fantastic soundtrack. The Turtle’s vocal jokes are recorded by the original cartoon crew, and occasional song tracks ranging from rap style to cheesy rock cement the tone appropriately. The chords and motifs are related to the original show’s distinctive sound, as are the one-liners that are spilled while beating Shredder’s Foot Clan.

Although the aesthetics are assured, it would not be worth much if the gameplay was not at the bottom. This is clearly where Shredder’s Revenge comes into its own. The control form is a marvel of accuracy, and squeezes everything necessary out of the pillow without becoming too complicated. You can charge-attack, dash, slip, double jump, drop-kick, ascending tackle, dodge, grab and slam in two different ways, and perform three types of destructive super-attacks, all in addition to your standard loss combinations. At the same time, this is going like a dream. You quickly get used to the movement set, which is cleverly adjusted for each character’s strengths and weaknesses, and then blends it furiously together. Only when you slip into a foot soldier, start a tackle that rises and kicks down again, followed by a dash barge and extra juggling, do you realize how flawlessly tight the fight is. It can be combo and juggling heavy, but it’s all very easy to get started. The result is a flamboyant, hoarse Turtle scrum, where you fearlessly push into the enemy’s hordes, dodge explosives and out of clinches, and dominate the screen at a ninja pace.

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Captured on Nintendo Switch (docked)

The formula works excellently for several important reasons. The Dodge is a maneuver without escaping from prison, its abundant invincible framework makes it integrated into avoiding telegraphed weapon swings and projectiles, while closing distances with its optional snap-back attack. In addition, extended combinations and chipping build almost dead soldiers before hitting the asphalt quickly your supermeter, so you can start into a dazzling proximity-based whirlwind of death that cuts out pieces of the boss’s health bars. If you take a hit at any time before the supermeter is filled, it resets to zero (in all modes except Light) and requires you to combine like crazy, charge it in seconds, and let go of the race to buy a moment of respite.

This economy works brilliantly, but at the same time presents the game’s biggest mystery. For this review, we took April O’Neil on a single credit all the way to Step 13, and loved the risk-reward combination and pressure involved in avoiding hits. The adrenaline simmers as you enter later stages, forcing you to act sharp with dodges and take advantage of the generous iframes that come with increasing attacks. But during an extra replay, we discovered that the shoulder button immediately fills the supermeter with a comically animated ‘meditation’. This partially neutralizes the need for harder skill-based play, since you can find places all too quickly to recharge – and once you know the option is there, it’s impossible to ignore.

Still, while this softens things up, it does not diminish the quality of the experience. There’s an arcade mode on board, our favorite way to play, it’s as simple as it sounds. You get an extra life for every 200 enemies sent, and it’s a nicely balanced, very engaging playback of standards. Take the difficulty level up to Hard – the best setting for beat ’em up enthusiasts – and the challenge is really underway.

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Story Mode enhances the game with a city map of the world, where stages can be revisited to complete challenges, uncover hidden objects and reveal characters. The system here has a smart peripheral RPG element, where you convert earned points into extra health, upgraded supers, improved ‘Radical Mode’ abilities and even extra life. The goal is to gradually strengthen the entire team as you work through the collectathon goals.

Multiplayer is insanely fun, with up to six players battling it with a series of cool team-up attacks and the ability to revive defeated allies. And although we were not able to test it online during the review period, you can party with internet-ready boys and girls almost anytime in the game.

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Captured on Nintendo Switch (docked)

Tribute Games is aware of a directory of bugs and errors, ready to be fixed day one. However, we met a few who were not on their pre-launch list. Sound jumps occurred from time to time, and certain sound effects, such as broken windows, did not appear to work properly. There are sporadic frame strains even in single player, but these are so volatile that they do not really affect the action. Once, during a two-player game, we were left waiting for up to three minutes between stages on a black screen, and then, during a boss fight with Groundchuck and Dirtbag, the game slowed down to 1 FPS before one of the bosses left. underground never comes back and ends the game. Our worst fate was to get to the penultimate stage, only for an error to occur, the game to end, and no way to return to progress.

Despite these performance issues, we are confident that Tribute Games will smooth it all out and it should not deter you from making a purchase. Interestingly enough, these hiccups did not affect our general perception in the least.

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