Sunday, December 7, 2014

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Danger of the Ooze (PS3, 360, 3DS) Review

There's a special announcement for SuperPhillip Central coming this week regarding the yearly award show, the SuperPhillip Central Best of... Awards, so please look forward to that. Nonetheless, time for the first of many reviews for this last month of 2014. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have been with me since birth, and I have been entertained by the four brothers and their wise sensei to this day. Here's my review of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Danger of the Ooze. The PlayStation 3 version was the one I played for this review. 

Boo to the yakasha!

Ever since I could talk, I've been a big fan of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The now insanely cheesy '80s cartoon and subsequent movies from when the turtles with 'tude were at the height of their popularity were highlights of my childhood. Now, a whole new generation is growing up with the Turtles with an awesome Nickelodeon cartoon, which Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Danger of the Ooze is based off of. Is the game a win for Turtles fans, or will those who play it l-ooze?

Danger of the Ooze would fit just fine as an episode of the cartoon. A container of mutagen has been found within New York City, and the Turtles are required to obtain it before it falls into the wrong hands (i.e. Shredder's). Starting off in Danger of the Ooze, you control Michaelangelo, the goofball of the four turtles. After a fairly brief training lesson with Splinter, the sensei and father figure, you're let loose in New York City's sewers, able to move around as you please. 

A chance to kick Shredder's butt?
You didn't even have to ask!
Danger of the Ooze is Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles meets Metroid. It's a 2D side-scroller where earning new abilities from special statues and conversations with characters from the cartoon like Casey Jones, April O'Neil, and Slash allows our heroes in a half-shell to reach and access new areas on the map. Wayforward emulated the style of Metroid games to a tee, even having different shuriken types act as the game's Metroid missile equivalent to open different colored doors.

They're named Foot Soldiers as a suggestion to what
part of Mikey's body he should hit them with.
At the beginning of Danger of the Ooze, the turtles are capable enough, but they are missing a number of moves and abilities that make traversing the expansive series of areas like New York City, the sewers, and Dimension X much easier and quicker. For instance, there are abilities like the always helpful yet scientifically impossible double jump, a speedy dash maneuver, or the simplistic skill to climb certain walls. 

Shoo fly, don't bother me! ...Even if you
were a human at another time.
Much like any Metroid-styled game of worth, there are a bevy of optional upgrades to acquire, not only to beef up each turtle's health and shuriken supply, but also to achieve 100% completion in the game. Many times you'll need to backtrack to previously ventured to locations on the map to utilize recently acquired abilities that open the way to once inaccessible areas. 

All four turtles can be switched out on the fly, as long as the current turtle isn't in mid-jump. Each has their own bar of health, so when one turtle is dangerously low on health, he can be exchanged for another. This showcases one of the most likely unintended design flaws with Danger of the Ooze. You see, each time you switch out one turtle for another, the turtle that enters into battle gets two or three seconds of invincibility. There's no cool down time to switch between turtles, meaning you can keep switching between turtles for complete invincibility. This exploit makes boss battles incredibly easy, and makes it so all attacks can be avoided by simply switching turtles at the right moment. 

You can easily cheese your way
through most boss fights.
If for some reason a turtle does lose all of his health-- which is hard to do considering how generous the game is with health-restoring pizza dropped by enemies-- he gets captured, placed in one of the many jail rooms around the game map. It's such an annoyance and inconvenience to track down a captured turtle that you might as well quit the game if a turtle's health hits zero. The map is large, tedious to travel back and forth through, backtracking in it to reach a turtle is a pain, and you'll save time just reloading your last save. 

Danger of the Ooze is a very short game, which makes the $29.99 MSRP less of a shock to the system than it would have been at full price. There is even a trophy/achievement for beating the game under one hour, showing that if you know what you're doing, where you need to go, and don't mind plowing through enemies, this game can be over before you blink. If your aim is to obtain every item and get a full completion percentage, especially the first time through the game, you'll most likely find Danger of the Ooze as a 4-6 hour experience.

I would have been just as happy
with a postcard from Dimension X.
Wayforward has done excellent work in the past with giving each of its products an impressive presentation package. Unfortunately, Danger of the Ooze is one of their weaker efforts. The visuals, backgrounds, and character models don't do much to excite, with many areas looking quite muddy and hard to fully see. Character mouths do not sync up with the dialogue whatsoever, and the actual music is ho-hum at best. The only really clever part of the presentation is when a collectible is acquired. A short jingle from the series plays; during it the controller rumbles rhythmically to the theme. 

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Danger of the Ooze isn't a poor game by any means, but if you're looking for something that shows off the heights of Metroid-style games, this ain't it. There are far better examples to be found, and many more well designed with less tedious backtracking and other gameplay mishaps. There is indeed some turtle power to be found with Wayforward's latest, but it's more of a whimper than a bang.

[SPC Says: 6.0/10]

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