Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge returns back to the formula fans loved 29 years after The Hyperstone Heist last released on the Sega Genesis in 1992…
No redesigned, reimagined turtles no one asked for, no 3D experimental gameplay. An arcade style 2D Beat ’em up with hand drawn sprites based on the cartoon we grew up with in the 80s/90s. Can you believe it took this long?
31 years after the iconic “Big Apple 3 AM” in Turtles in Time we look at “Big Apple 3 PM” in TMNT:Shredder’s Revenge.
This early impressions TMNT: Shredder’s Revenge review spotlights the second level “Big Apple 3 PM” and contains spoilers.
Astounding level of artwork detail
From the moment you find Irma hidden in “Big Apple 3 AM” you know people who adore Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles made this game. The backgrounds are gorgeous and full of life, there’s always something happening. Boss characters look hyper detailed to the last drop of ink. There’s no shortage of attack animations for the turtles, Splinter or April O’Neil.
TMNT: Shredder’s Revenge is simply an inviting game, it’s attractive, any passer by will immediatley want to pick up a controller and join you. It’s as arcade as it gets, instant fun gameplay, difficulty is fair and can be turned down if necessary, and most importantly…
Character attacks are enjoyable. The collision/attack detection fight system is close to perfect because the Foot Soldiers are not hit sponges. The way brawlers used to be.
The Foot Soldiers explode after what feels like the right amount of hits. Considering how often brawlers have gotten this aspect wrong in the last 20 years, it’s a rare thing to achieve.
You’ll find familiar moves available, like picking up a pizza and doing a spin attack, slamming a foot solider back and forth, throwing them at the screen. All the good stuff. You also have power bars for character specific moves but it doesn’t hurt you to utilize them. There’s story mode bonuses for finding all level secrets like news headline clippings, not taking damage and so on.
The instantly familiar Roadkill Rodney robots that grab you are back and there’s Foot Soldiers on motorcycles in “Big Apple 3 PM”. Jump kicking them off the motorcycles is great fun. You half expect to take damage for doing it but no, again the collision detection system here is a thing of beauty.
Little details like a Pawn Shop spray painted to Foot Shop with Bebop on the televisions or the turtle van make all the difference. You already notice this in the first level with Foot Soldiers working at the office or at the kitchen with Chef’s hats. It’s cartoon goodness and takes you back to a more innocent time. The world map by the way, looks like a modern take on the first NES game.
Fighting Rocksteady (who steals the head from Krang’s robotic body at the end of the first level) is just right. There’s a sequence of attacks you have to avoid and know when to attack, like the old days sans Dark Souls level difficulty.
Tribute Games/ Dotemu really went for making this a true work of passion and TMNT fandom. Vernon Fenwick in level 1 did not go unnoticed…
When compared to TMNT 4: Turtles in Time
No sugarcoating or overhype here. TMNT: Turtles in Time is still a better game 31 years later. Shredder’s Revenge feels more akin to the fan centered Sonic Mania.
Which is a great game by the way… But we’re comparing the remix titles to legendary originals that changed the industry.
The music in Turtles in Time for one is objectively superior to the soundtrack in Shredder’s Revenge. TMNT: Shredder’s Revenge definitely has enjoyable remixes like the boss fight compositions. Or when you first enter the Dojo and hear Splinter’s recognizable theme from the cartoons… But it seems to be missing an iconic original like “Sewer Surfin”, “Starbase”, “Alleycat Blues”, or “Big Apple 3 AM” and so forth.
This makes a massive difference, the music in the Konami arcade originals always got you hyped up. It’s a major reason why people remember Turtles in Time decades later. You couldn’t stop humming the tunes.
Also the turtles, Splinter, and April O’Neil (Casey Jones wasn’t available yet) are kind of chibi size compared to their taller forms in Turtles in Time and The Hyperstone Heist. And a bit shorter than the original TMNT arcade game.
The same for the Foot Soldiers you encounter. It seems the characters were designed more for those who sit close to PC monitors than those playing with controllers on their couch. The turtles seem a bit small for players not sitting fairly close to their TVs.
The bosses in comparison like Bebop and Rocksteady look the right size, and are hyper detailed.
* Third level specific, the background shifts extremely rapidly compared to levels like “Neon Night Riders” and “Sewer Surfin” in Turtles in Time. It might pose trouble for those with accessibility issues. If it can’t be slowed down in a future patch than a level skip on the world map would assist those who need it.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder s Revenge Review: “Big Apple 3PM” Conclusion
Though Turtles in Time‘s “Big Apple 3 AM” is still better in this reviewer’s opinion, Big Apple 3PM and TMNT: Shredder’s Revenge as a whole is a return to form. It can’t be understated how beautiful the cartoon artwork is in Shredder’s Revenge. With Konami’s Cowabunga Collection soon to be upon us, this is rounding up to be a fantastic year for all TMNT fans.
Review Score: 8.8
Disclosure: A review copy of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge for the PlayStation 4 console was provided to The Natural Aristocrat® from Tribute Games / Dotemu.
TMNT: Shredder’s Revenge Gameplay Trailer
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