Shredder’s Revenge — Model Design – GAMING TREND

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If Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge is meant to mix old arcade games with modern cartoon iterations, then I’m too out of touch with modern cartoon elements to notice. And I’m not happy with the arcade game benchmarks. Shredder’s Revenge is a competent and addictive beat ’em up that’s meant to pay homage to the Ninja Turtles’ beat ’em up past, with combat concepts pioneered by Streets of Rage 4. But it builds on its well-honed reference material. that it makes me feel like I’ve played this before. His creativity substitutes for following a pattern that only reminded me of the past instead of creating an appreciation for how the past influenced what we have now.

In each episode, beautifully drawn art displays the story within a frame, foot soldiers appear from different locations throughout each level, and bosses and characters exchange garbled digitized voice lines as they encounter each other. After they are defeated, a short “cutscene” occurs in-game, which took me to the next level. I’m like, “I remember arcade games doing these things. That was cool.” But it’s so familiar it’s predictable. Part of the charm of arcade games was the surprises – enemies springing from billboards on the wall, jumping out of windows, and so on. Because Tribute Games sticks strictly to the formula, I saw what would happen before it happened, which spoiled the surprise. I remember walking on a roof. I ran into four enemies trying to surround me, and there was a giant billboard. Sure enough, two other enemies knocked over the billboard, hoping to crush me. Very predictable. Shredder still wants to eat turtle soup. Someone turned off the lights after falling into a manhole. I understand. It is intended to mimic old games. But the sacrifice of making it feel old is that it hardly feels new.

Its predictability is not helped when loud warning signals flash on the screen to make the design fairer. Yet other times, enemies would charge onto the screen without warning. What makes bikers warrant an alarm when the only triceratops that charges from the screen doesn’t? It’s not that either solution is bad, but if the result is that I’m going to take damage if I’m hit, then off-screen surprises should be consistent. Inconsistency creates frustration.

What Shredder’s Revenge is all about is combat. It’s fast, and it’s exciting. Hitting enemies after they are dead is addictive. I love using April and combining my dash attack into her putt kick, for example. The way enemies bounce off the ground and the sides of the screen prompts me to keep hitting them and increasing my combo meter. But there are some really annoying quirks, and the most annoying is the perfect counters the enemies have. We know that arcade games have times when you attack and the enemy responds perfectly. Fighting Krang and his ridiculous Spartan kick is a prime example in Ninja Turtles II: The Arcade Game. Shredder’s Revenge continues this design, and it’s most frustrating when trying to complete the challenges that come with each level, especially completing a level without getting hit. When knocking down an enemy most of the time I can attack them when they get up. But sometimes when they get up, no matter what I do, they’re going to hit, and once the code decides they’re going to hit, they’re invincible. My attacks pass through their bodies and I take damage. The obvious solution is to not attack enemies when they get up. It’s a good option, but if the attack works most of the time and then doesn’t work anymore, it’s not nice. This hurts speedruns – each level tracks how fast you beat it – and it makes no-hit runs unnecessarily more difficult.

Each character has a fighting style which is measured by speed, range, and power, as well as their attack animations. Some characters share similar attacks, but the three traits change how each character feels to the point that I have to alter how I play with individual characters. Some characters also excel at different things. Leonardo’s super jump attack is great for hitting multiple people simultaneously, while Donatello’s range helps keep enemies away, even though he’s much slower. Activating supers is very good at dealing with enemies and making me smile as I watch enemies being devastated. I have favorite characters – April and Raphael – but if I was playing online and someone picked one up, I’d have no problem picking someone else.

Unfortunately I couldn’t find anyone online with a review copy, so I couldn’t test online multiplayer, but from how it feels I can imagine playing with 4-6 players would be unbelievable. But I don’t know if the connections would work well.

Even if I could find people, there are only two modes. You can join a story mode that takes you from level to level and allows replays to complete challenges, faster times, or play them with a different character. This is where I found the most satisfaction and fury. Arcade mode lets you play through all 16 levels without the ability to save or modify your character. It’s intimidating only because it takes about 2 hours to complete, and if you get any interruptions, you’re stuck leaving your game running on the PC like it used to with an NES. 16 episodes also feels like a grind. It would have been nice to skip a few levels for a shorter arcade experience.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge feels like it was designed from a Ninja Turtles arcade beat ’em up template, which robs it of creativity and originality and makes it predictable and familiar. But the fluid combat continually sucks me in, even if it also suffers from combat designs that should have been left in the past.

—Anthony Shelton

Anthony Shelton is a YouTube columnist, reviewer and content producer for Gaming Trend. You can follow him on Twitter @iamashelton.

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