It’s quite evident that the creators at Tribute Games have a similar affection for the 90s TMNT beat-em-ups. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge pays homage to the iconic Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Arcade game from 1989, as well as the 1991 film Turtles in Time. Most importantly, it turns the arcade quarter-munching battle concept into something far more skill-based while retaining the same button-mashing appeal. Simply said, Shredder’s Revenge is an excellent example of how to give a classic arcade beat-em-up fresh life.
When I was a kid in the 1990s, I would usually take a tour around an arcade to examine what they offered before putting my quarters into any machines. This didn’t generally last long since as soon as I saw a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cabinet, I’d exclaim to my buddies, “They got Turtles!” and we’d run there.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge Review
Shredder’s Revenge contains several winks and references to the arcade games that inspired it, but it wisely avoids becoming enslaved to them. Arcade beat-em-ups were created with the goal of sucking as much money as possible from players’ pockets, therefore they have a propensity to limit your ability to dodge attacks or increase the challenge without increasing your own power.
All of that changes in Shredder’s Revenge, as the turtles and their comrades may now freely dodge roll left and right. They can charge up attacks by holding down the attack button, which also allows them to take damage without flinching; they each have a Shoryuken-style rising attack that makes hitting aerial enemies a breeze; and, most importantly, they each have a metre that when full allows them to use a screen clearing super attack.
Shredder’s Revenge is littered with references to the arcade games that inspired it.
The metre fills up when you land strikes and resets when you take damage, but the kicker is that if you can entirely fill it up, the super charge is saved until you use it. This offers a good added motivation to play wisely and avoid taking damage, because those super moves are quite useful, especially as the game progresses and foes become more tanky and aggressive.
Apart from those modifications, this is still the same style of game that aficionados of vintage arcade cabinets are familiar with and enjoy. It’s straightforward beat-em-up action at its best, with a strong emphasis on crowd-clearing AOE strikes, power-ups, and ambient interactables that can help you win a fight.
Shredder’s Revenge has a total of 16 levels, several of which are structured like a remixed “Greatest Hits” of prior games. You’ve got TMNT: The Arcade Game’s streets and highways, The Manhattan Project’s sewers and subways, and Turtles in Time’s ancient surroundings. However, there are a few stages that are completely unique, such as one set in a zoo where I had to deal with frequent stampedes, Foot ninjas, and vexing tiny monkeys in cages that flung bananas at both me and my foes.
The levels are all entertaining in their own way, with lots of easter eggs and puns thrown in for good measure, though I do wish there was a bit more variation in the mix. There are only two sorts of levels: standard stages, in which you just walk from left to right, beating up all the enemies in your path, and high speed hoverboard stages, in which you simply move from left to right, beating up all the nasties in your path, but quicker and on a hoverboard. With its level design, Tribute Games plays it safe, resulting in a pretty consistent experience that, towards the end, began to feel a little samey.
Many of the levels are structured in the style of a remixed “Greatest Hits” compilation of prior games.
An excellent music is used to bring each of the levels to life. It’s high-octane, perfectly captures the 90s nostalgic mood, and includes a diverse mix of remixes of well-known songs from the original games as well as brand-new tracks that are just as popular. This features tunes by renowned artists like Ghostface Killa and Mega Ran, as well as a rap about the Turtles “rollin’ on broadway” in the level “Mutants Over Broadway” and an extremely corny rock song that sounds like it belongs in a Sonic Adventure game. It’s without a doubt one of my favourite soundtracks of the year.
Heroes in a Half Shell
Of course, a big part of the fun of Shredder’s Revenge is playing as the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Tribute Games has done an excellent job of making each character seem unique and true to their personality while yet having essentially the same set of moves. Obviously, they each have their own attack animations and weaponry, but it’s the tiny details that make a big difference. Mikey’s goofy running, Raph’s persistent frown and menacing sneer, or Donny’s funny taunt when he takes out a gameboy might all be contributing factors.
The Turtles aren’t the only ones who can be controlled. Splinter and April O’Neil both get in on the action, with Splinter utilising his claws, martial arts, and walking stick, and April utilising TV cameras, microphones, and a variety of punches and kicks. Six characters are available straight away, while Shredder’s Revenge allows up to six people to play at the same time. I haven’t tried it yet, but even with only three players, it’s complete pandemonium in the best possible manner.
Even with just three players, the game is chaotic in the best possible manner.
With each extra player, Tribute Games does an excellent job of suitably adjusting the difficulty by both introducing more monsters and increasing their ferocity. There are also a few interesting team-based attacks that are a little tricky to organise but feel amazing when you pull them off, such as the ability for one player to dive kick into another, who can grab them and fling them like a projectile to inflict massive damage to everything in your way.
In Shredder’s Revenge, there are only two modes of play: a campaign mode in which you choose stages from an overworld, and an arcade mode in which you play the whole game from the beginning with a limited amount of lives and continues, with no checkpoints or storing your progress. The game can be completed in around two hours, so arcade mode isn’t as difficult as it may appear at first, and it ended up being my favourite form of play after completing the story.
Campaign mode, on the other hand, may appeal to completionists since it includes hidden items, a range of objectives to accomplish every level, and ongoing character advancement with new attributes and skills unlocked as you level up. Arcade mode provides you all of these skills right now.
Shredder’s Revenge is exactly what it sounds like: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Shredder’s Revenge is the sequel of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge. From one of the top beat-em-up developers in the market today, a meticulously constructed remake of the TMNT arcade beat-em-ups. It’s the ideal game to have in your library for when you have a bunch of friends around and want to play something that’s simple, enjoyable, and can be completed in one sitting.
It does, admittedly, play it safe with its level design, and as a result, there is some tedium towards the end of the campaign or during a single sitting arcade mode run, but these flaws are mostly hidden behind fun combat, a charming and nostalgic pixel aesthetic, and one of the year’s best soundtracks.
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- June 16, 2022