Saturday, July 25, 2009

TMNT (GBA) Retro Review

It appears we're having a TMNT weekend! I might as well post an old review of the console TMNT games tomorrow to wrap everything up! This is a very short review for a very short game, so there's no need to be so verbose (like I usually am). Here's my retro review of TMNT for the GBA!

Tonight I Dine On Turtle Soup

With the upcoming release of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Re-Shelled for Xbox Live Arcade, I thought it’d be a perfect time to look at a game that many have overlooked. I’m guilty of this, too. It’s the Game Boy Advance version of the TMNT movie video game. I picked it up recently, and here’s my quick thoughts on the game. Does the Ubisoft connection make this a poor effort or not?

TMNT for Game Boy Advance is completely different from the console and DS versions of the game. While its big brothers are trying new game mechanics out, the Game Boy Advance version sticks with what's tried and true-- pure, side-scrolling beat 'em up action. Some levels will require you to play as a certain turtle, but for the most part all four turtles, Leonardo, Michaelangelo, Donatello, and Raphael are available to play as. There's weapons and breakables that each turtle can use to beat up bad guys with or feel the blunt side of instead. Enemy AI is smart as enemies will happily attempt to surround you or pin you to a corner of the screen. Each of the four turtles has their own stats from power to speed, defense to stamina. These stats can be increased via items that can be purchased in between acts.

There are seven levels, or acts, in total. Each level spans about 5-10 minutes. It all adds up to a short game for many. While you're in between missions you can browse your lair, look at the trophies you've earned (collected by performing certain actions in-game just like achievements. e.g. beating 100 foot soldiers, earning over $1000), use the gold you've accumulated to purchase character upgrades, extra credits, and more, and meet up with April O'Neil or Casey Jones for some combat-related mini-games.

Boss battles vary from Turtles in Time and games of its ilk as you can’t just pummel on the boss to damage him/her/it. Instead, you have to wait until the enemy is open for attack, smack with your weapon, and then go back to waiting for another opening. Each act ends with a different boss to battle, some easier than others, but all with predictable patterns. It's needed variety from just bashing baddies to and fro.

Visually, TMNT is quite a good looker with beautiful 2D sprites and backgrounds, and while the music is forgettable, it fits the action nonetheless. Each act is prefaced by still frames of the 3D turtles as seen below. There are some graphical glitches here and there like certain items flickering when they shouldn't be. Otherwise, everything is satisfying and sound.

All in all, TMNT on the Game Boy Advance is a great, mindless beat 'em up that will last players a day to complete with two more difficulties to plow through and trophies to unlock. For those just wanting a fun, pick-up-and-play game, TMNT will be perfect for you. Those wanting something resembling the good old days of Turtles games, something more akin to Turtles in Time, you have a competent game here, too. Cowabunga and all that jazz.

[SuperPhillip Says: 7.0/10]

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