Bits & Bytes: Turtle Power

Cowabunga dudes and dudettes—Robert talks Shredder’s Revenge and Turtles in Time for this week’s Bits & Bytes!

By Robert Marrujo. Posted 08/29/2021 17:48 Comment on this     ShareThis

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge is coming to Switch later this year. I’m incredibly excited to play it. I grew up at the zeitgeist of the TMNT craze and was wholly sucked into the vortex of cartoons, toys, and movies that came out from the late ’80s into the ’90s. While I loved the show, I know that the games were equally as engaging to me as a kid. The NES original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was brutal, but the two sequels, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Arcade Game and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III: The Manhattan Project were easier to play. I spent many an hour lost in the worlds of those two games… until Turtles in Time.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time dropped on SNES in 1992, a year after the game had debuted in arcades. It is a rare example of a home conversion of that era topping the arcade counterpart, at least in terms of gameplay. Many a TMNT fan, as well as video game player, will point to Turtles in Time on SNES as the king of turtles games. After nearly 30 years, there hasn’t been a TMNT game yet to combine the incredible cast of characters, epic boss fights, and blistering combat that Turtles in Time brought to the table. The combat in particular is where that game shines. Konami put on a masterclass with the development of Turtles IV; the sheer variety of attacks is mind-blowing. Learning to combine all of the brothers’ various moves into an elegant ballet of kicks and throws and slams and stabs is some of the best brawler design work ever put into a video game.

Which brings us to Shredder’s Revenge. I want to love it. The trailer, which I embedded above, definitely started pulling me in the moment I watched it. It’s the combat, though, that will make or break this game. The fighting looks fun so far, but it also doesn’t look as frenzied, fast, or nuanced as Turtles in Time. Yes, we can hurl Foot Soldiers at the screen, but that’s not going to be enough. Not even close. Turtles in Time brought so much fluidity to the action. It was also very challenging. If Tribute Games and Dotemu can manage to equal or top Konami’s efforts, I’m going to be very impressed.

And if they don’t manage to reach the heights of Turtles in Time, well, that’s okay too. I’m more than happy to play good and even great TMNT brawlers. Konami’s own 2D TMNT Game Boy Advance entries were solid and remain fun to play despite not being quite at the level of Turtles in Time. Still, I want Shredder’s Revenge to at least equal Turtles in Time. I’ve felt like that game has sat as a challenge to developers for years, begging someone to come along and try to snatch the crown from its hands. Will Shredder’s Revenge manage the unthinkable?

The shell if I know, but I’m anxious to find out!

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