‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge’ is an excellent beat-’em-up revival

In case you visited arcades within the late ’80s or early’ 90s, you absolutely bear in mind the golden age of beat-em-up video games. Cupboards like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, The Simpsons, X-Males and extra adopted a reasonably easy system: take a well-liked franchise and have its characters lower by way of swaths of dangerous guys, throw in some environmental challenges to maintain the degrees from getting too repetitive, and high it off with an enormous boss battle on the finish. However the true draw was multiplayer – these video games let 4 and even six mates (or strangers) play concurrently, a completely chaotic however thrilling shared expertise.

Given the recognition of the TMNT franchise, it is no shock that each the unique arcade sport and its sequel Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time have been each ported to the NES and SNES, respectively. As a pre-teen, my finest buddy and I spent untold hours enjoying these ports, in addition to the arcade video games on the too-rare events that we may get to the mall.

I clearly have a number of nostalgia for these video games, and I’m not alone. Final yr, developer Tribute Video games introduced Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge, a brand-new beat-em-up title impressed by the arcade video games of yesteryear. The sport options retro pixel-art, two completely different sport modes, on-line and native multiplayer (as much as six gamers on-line), and 7 playable characters, together with the 4 turtles, Grasp Splinter, April O’Neil and Casey Jones. On the floor, it appears to have all the things you can ask for in a contemporary model of an arcade basic, and Tribute’s feedback previous to the sport’s launch confirmed a deep love for the supply materials.

After per week enjoying Shredder’s Revenge on the Xbox Sequence S, PlayStation 5 and Nintendo Change, I can verify that Tribute completely nailed its mission of bringing the basic TMNT expertise into the fashionable period. All of it begins with the artwork type and music, each of that are spot-on for this franchise; it appears like a pure evolution of the unique two arcade video games, each of which have been largely based mostly on the 1987 cartoon (moderately than the comedian books, live-action movies, or newer animated exhibits). The music instantly units the tone – the rating by Tee Lopes instantly brings to thoughts basic 16-bit tunes, Mike Patton performs the opening theme, and Raekwon and Ghostface Killah contribute as properly. Whereas the music is not fairly as compelling because the soundtrack from Turtles in Time (which is ), it evokes the important temper of enjoying in an arcade with your folks within the early ’90s.

The gameplay necessities from earlier video games are all intact right here – every playable character has completely different strengths and weaknesses like vary and pace, however they don’t seem to be so completely different that you will really feel thrown by switching gamers. The core gameplay continues to be largely achieved with two buttons: assault and leap.


However, there are much more strikes than in earlier video games, together with a wide range of throws, slides, aerial assaults and dodges. Dashing enables you to pull off completely different slide and cost assaults, you possibly can seize enemies and throw them proper in direction of the TV display (identical to you do in Turtles in Time), there is a dodge button that allows you to dance out of bother and there are a bunch of various aerial strikes. And in contrast to older video games, Shredder’s Revenge has distinctive animations for each transfer every character within the sport can pull off. Regardless that gameplay between every character is not radically completely different, the distinct visuals for all 4 turtles and their mates retains issues wanting contemporary.

As with every good beat-’em-up, every character has their very own particular transfer, too. In contrast to in outdated arcade video games, the place utilizing a particular would normally take a bit out of your well being, these strikes are tied to an influence bar that fills up as you string collectively longer and longer hit combos. When it is full, you possibly can unleash a particular transfer or reserve it for later use. It is a great way to make it so gamers cannot simply use particular assaults continuously and add a little bit of technique to the in any other case chaotic melee.

One other means Tribute makes Shredder’s Revenge really feel extra trendy is the sport’s story mode. You can degree up your character over time, which unlocks extra well being, additional lives and new particular assaults. You may additionally ultimately get the flexibility to stack a number of particular strikes – once you refill your bar and financial institution one transfer, you possibly can maintain filling it up and maintain two and ultimately three in reserve – or you possibly can blow all three directly in a frenzied super-attack. Story mode additionally enables you to re-enter ranges to seek out hidden gadgets or meet the achievement targets for every stage (issues like take out 10 enemies with a particular assault, or make it by way of with out taking harm). And you’ll change your character between ranges, moderately than keep locked to at least one turtle for your entire sport.

Arcade mode, alternatively, is for old-school followers who need a harder problem. The sport is straightforward: choose a personality, and struggle by way of all the sport’s dozen-plus ranges earlier than you run out of lives and continues. You get the benefit of getting your well being bar prolonged to its max capability and all of your particular strikes are unlocked – however given the variety of phases on this sport, it will not be straightforward, particularly on the extraordinary “gnarly” problem degree.

TMNT: Shredder's Revenge


This all makes for a enjoyable single-player expertise, however – identical to the arcade video games from the ’90s – Shredder’s Revenge actually shines in multiplayer mode. You possibly can have as much as 4 gamers on native co-op, or an insane six-player on-line. It is a superb quantity of chaos, but it surely’s managed surprisingly properly. The sport scales up in problem relying on how many individuals you are enjoying with; that normally simply quantities to extra enemies and executives that may take extra harm.

Sadly, cross-play is not supported for now – Xbox and PC gamers can group up, however PlayStation and Change gamers might want to play the identical model as their mates in the event that they need to work collectively. The excellent news is that it is also not arduous to get a sport going with strangers. It isn’t fairly as a lot enjoyable as enjoying with individuals you understand, however the sport positively feels extra alive when you will have not less than a pair taking over Shredder and the Foot clan.

This all provides as much as a sport that is much more enjoyable to play than even I anticipated. Nostalgia goes a great distance, however Shredder’s Revenge manages to work as a love letter to video games of the previous whereas nonetheless feeling contemporary. There’s simply one thing extremely satisfying about teaming up with just a few mates and mowing down a unending swarm of enemies; that was true within the ’90s, and it is nonetheless true immediately.

In fact, it helps when you’ve got some affection for the TMNT franchise, however even in the event you do not, the tight gameplay, addictive soundtrack and nice co-op options ought to be sufficient to get pleasure from Shredder’s Revenge. And in the event you grew up enjoying the arcade video games or their house console counterparts, this new journey is a must-play. That is very true when you’ve got mates to play it with, both IRL or on-line.

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