Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder's Revenge REVIEW (PS5)
''Shredder Hates Music''
Developed: Tribute Games
Genre: Beat em up
Release Date: June 16th, 2022
Platforms: PS5/PS4/XBOX FAMILY/PC/Switch
*Review copy provided to me by Tribute Games*
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Shredder's Revenge is a classic beat em up title that is developed by Tribute Games and published by Dotemu. With the gaming market currently thriving off nostalgia, Tribute Games attempts to feed into our hunger for more by bringing the good ol green boys back into the mix with another beat em up adventure to rekindle those fond memories of old. But do they succeed in awakening that feeling inside of us? or is it one of those franchises that should've been kept to just that, our memories. Only one way to find out, so Go Ninja, Go Ninja, Go!
With Bebop and Rocksteady assaulting Channel 6 and stealing super gnarly devices to support Krang and Shredder’s latest twisted plan, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge sees the Turtles battling across a righteous range of timeless TMNT locations. From Manhattan and Coney Island, to city rooftops and dank sewers, help the fearsome foursome trounce Foot Soldiers, Triceraton Warriors, and Rock Troops all the way to Dimension X!
Oh man. Where do we even start with this bad boy. There's so much to cover. So much even that I actually got surprised during my initial playthrough of the game. I was thinking to myself ''Oh this one should be a short and fast one to cover, no biggie'', but oh pizza lords, was I wrong. Between trying to explain my own personal history with the Ninja Turtles and trying to describe this title in ways that both makes sense, but also at the same time, try to list off all the reasons why this game ended up the way it did. While at the SAME time write about any homages to past Turtle shows or movies, It wound up more difficult than I expected. So I know I know, I need to stop rambling and just get on it with it so I don't annoy you guys like Mikey was annoyed when he was waiting for the pizza delivery man. So we'll bask in all this nostalgia glory later and reflect some other time, because it's time to finally dive into the action.
Upon booting up your game, you will be given multiple options, one of those options being Story mode, which is.. self explanatory really. Its your story mode that you get to play through that is complete with small cutscenes that harken back to the days of TMNT 2 Arcade. If you're new to beat em ups or just want a way more chill time, then this would be the best option to start with. The reason is because in Story mode, the game is way more lenient on you with more lives at your disposal, down time between levels as you explore the overworld map, that to me seems to be an homage to the original TMNT game on NES with its top down perspective, as well as side content to take part in for cameo characters. Which I will get into in my extra stuff section here in a bit. If the easiness of Story mode isn't really your thing and you're more of a veteran of beat em ups, then Arcade mode is YOUR way to go due to less hand holding, more chances of game over, stingier with extra lives and all the filler cut out with no overworld map and just straight to the point, level after level after level. It's a bit of a challenge that's for sure, but beating it will make you feel like Mikey showing off his Nunchuck skills to the Foot and then looking down on myself and others who prefer story mode and yell to us, ''THEY'RE BABIES!''. We are sorry we let you down. But.. watch your back or we'll put you to the streets... or roof, like Raphael. Were watching you. So I know you're over there wondering ''ok fine, we get it , the two modes differ, but how does it play? how many levels, how long is it''. Ok ok. Were getting to it.
When you hop into the story mode and as you progress through the game, you will be able to take part in 16 different levels, with each level in the game being awesome in their own variety. No one level feels the same in an art, design or function stand point, with each level's distinction from one another varying between fighting in the Channel 6 building, fighting in the backstreets and alleyways of New York, speeding down the highway on your skateboard when the game changes from straight up beat em up to a fast paced racing level on the ground and in the air, nasty sewer area that just makes me think the meatball pizza monsters are gonna come out and jump at me, take on Foot in the Mall without having to save stupid face Keno's butt again - and even travel to Dimension X where you partake in a battle to stop the Technodrome. There's just so many different levels and designs to name that it would take me forever just to name them all and fall in the line of being a huge spoiler, so we should refrain from that. Fighting your way through each of these levels is also an extremely entertaining treat with the great selection of baddies you will come across that you have either seen in past games from TMNT 2 Arcade, Turtles In Time, or even brand new ones not seen before. As you complete each level, pushing through each wave of enemies in your roughly 2- 2 1/2 hour playthrough on both Arcade and Story, you will encounter purple classic foot soldiers who routinely attack you with melee attacks and occasionally will use shields to block your attacks, ninja's in black suits that throw kunai at you, who are REALLY freaking annoying, so annoying in fact that I want slam them upside their head with a cricket bat or give them the Master Tatsu treatment and show them how I play ''Golf''. Ok I'll stop rambling about them, even if they're little turds, because dwelling on them would also be a disservice to other enemy types like motorcycle riding foot soldiers, Mouser bots that range in size that start off really small and ultimately end up becoming human sized, flying bee and ant like bots that shoot lasers at you and later on, even drop bombs on you. Heck, there's even super classic enemy types like Rock soldiers from Dimension X and the Triceratons. Talk about awesome! .. no? ok then... umm, righteous!. Still no? Bosanova?.
Even though the game has great level design, variety and a good mix of enemies, were still missing one important factor here aren't we? Yes. The actual dang gameplay. Oh boy, this is when this title starts to get really addicting. This game is more in depth than previous turtles games, yes, even with it being a routine beat em up with melee and your usual jump kicking, however now you can grapple and either go into a melee combo, slam an enemy back and forth like Hulk did to Loki, or toss them into screen like in turtles in time, by using directional buttons, up, down or right, while pressing Square. Alongside your offensive capabilities, you also have more combination of attacks and defensive moves at your disposal as well. These being your dive attack when jumping, holding square for a charged attacked, use Roll when hit or knocked back for a quick recovery roll, use cheer up ability with L1 on your friend to give them some of your energy, hold L1 to revive a downed ally before their pizza meter runs out, R1 to taunt so you can gain energy back to use for super attacks, activate Radical at 3 power meters when power level of your character reaches level 8, to make all your attacks more powerful. Just be wise on when you use your Radical mode though because if you use it when no one is around, you just waste it like the ugly lump of dung you are. Hey wait a minute, don't get mad at me for saying that because you know in some cultures, dung is used as an alternative fuel source. But you don't want to hear about the fuel source now do you. Ya I didn't think so. Well now that you know about the level design, fighting mechanics, enemy varieties, game length, I say its time to actually talk about the characters themselves, before we finish this puppy up with boss fights, end game content and my dislikes I had with my time with this game, because yes, duh, it's not perfect.
Whether you choose story mode or arcade mode, you will be able to choose up to 7 different characters to play as with each character having their own specific move set and abilities based off their personality or weapon of choice. The no brainers are of course Mikey, Leo, Raph and Donny, while newcomers that are finally playable are Splinter, April and Casey Jones. Casey being the only character you can unlock after finishing your first playthrough of the game. He's basically just left overs at this point. Each of these seven playable characters all have their own special move available to them that is activated by pressing Triangle when you have at least one point on your ninja meter, with up to 4 meters that you are able to stack and create a power boost called Radical that heightens your attack power when your character reaches the correct power level. Leveling up your character isn't actually as useless as Danny in the first TMNT movie or Zack, the wannabe trash kid who thinks he's a ninja turtle from the 80's cartoon, yeah, its definitely not THAT useless. For each level you grind out with your character by obtaining new points, up to 10 levels to be exact, gives you new character attacks such as Mikey being able to have a special jumping ground slam and a bicycle kick attack like Liu Kang from Mortal Kombat, whereas someone like Raph will attack by spinning around like a top, Leo slices in a short burst circle at enemies around him and characters like Casey Jones powers up like Broly in Dragon Ball and attacks whatever is in the vicinity around him. This holds true for the remaining characters too, with everyone feeling unique and worth playing as. No one is the weak link this go around and this is what makes Shredder's Revenge on the level of addicting as TMNT 2 Arcade, Manhattan Project and Turtles In Time. Not only is the combat just as good as those titles and in some cases, it might actually be better in a way due to the nostalgia that plays a factor in each stage or specific aspects that went into the creation of this love letter of a game. Because let's face it, the developers of this title are just as much of a fanboy and fangirl of TMNT as the Turtles are of April.
But what makes my statement true? at least in my opinion?. Well for me its because that with nearly every stage you play on, its paying homage to one form of media for the Ninja Turtles - whether it be the 80's cartoon or the 1990's movies. For example, each chapter screen you see between levels is being narrated and animated like Turtles in Time level screens, Baxter stockman using a hand cannon attack like turtles in time, level homages like the New York area being called Big Apple 3pm, which is a reference to Big Apple 3am in Turtles in time. Another cool reference and throwback is the main hub map in story mode, where you can control which level you go to and complete side quests if you wish - which the overall layout to me, looks like the top down sections from TMNT on NES, complete even with driving car around, the map, which was pretty awesome. Dojo section of the game, where you go to check out completed challenges and things you've unlocked in the game, literally plays the theme song of the Turtle Lair from the 80's cartoon too. There are also the returning enemy hazards like the lasers and machines that shoot ice mist at you and turn you into an ice cube that's seem in previous games. This could go on forever because there's so much substance to the work that was put into it, so much in fact that when you're trying sit and think of it all, you get as ticked off as Raph after losing to Casey Jones. ''DAMN!''. He's truly a poet. If the enemies, homages and game mechanics weren't enough to win you over, then sit back because were about dive into a GameNChick first and dedicate one section of my review entirely to the boss fights. Yup. You heard me right. So if you don't want to know of some of the boss fights, then I suggest moving on to the Extra Stuff section because thing's will get a little bit... spoilery. Don't worry though, I won't spoil any of the MAJOR boss fights, so I don't want to hear your squeaky little Krang voice saying ''AhHhh GameNChick, you imbecile! You ruined it, you ruined everything, RaHhHhOhhh''. You got that?
Like in most games I play from beat em ups, action games and shooters, everything for me always comes down to boss fights. I love me some good boss fights - and Shredder's Revenge has these in droves, with each one you encounter either increasing in difficulty, offering a cool throwback or being more hectic than the last. In Shredder's Revenge you have classic boss fights against characters like Bebop and Rocksteady who's attack patterns change with every interaction with them, with some of the fights actually being pretty hard - well either that or I'm just trash like Donny's jokes in the third TMNT movie. But they aren't the only one's who have great boss fights, oh heck no, you also have characters like Baxter Stockman in fly form who uses attacks from Turtles In Time with his gun that shoots in the shape of a hand, Wingnut, who you fight in the air that uses fast dashing attacks, Tempestra from the 80's cartoon that summons movie villains Tokka and Rahzar, with Rahzar actually burping and leaving a green nasty cloud, which actually made me fan girl out a bit. What? you find that weird? Ok I can kind of see how it would be weird, stinky burping making me happy, but the reason it does is because its in reference to Secret Of The Ooze where the turtles give Tokka and Rahzar upset stomachs in order to weaken them and they burp and get sick, its an awesome throw back. Other cool moments that are nods to previous games includes your fight against Shredder where he duplicates himself into fake copies like in TMNT 2 arcade and fights against Chromedome that is a call back to the Shredder boss fight from Turtles In Time that has you throw your enemy into the screen. But ok ok. I can gush forever on this, but I don't want to ruin all the boss fights in the game because they're all just so damn good. Especially the boss fights near the end of the game which ill just say uhhh.. if you've seen Ghostbusters 2, you'll get a kick out of it.
When you're done with the games main story or arcade mode, you can partake in extra content that will surely give you a bit more time with the game. As you play through each mission in story mode, there will be objects like doors, trash cans or other things that are in your way to destroy - and each one of these potentially giving you a chance to unlock characters like Punk Frogs, who I thought were The Battletoads growing up, The Neutrinos, Irma, Vernon, Channel 6 boss Burne Thompson, etc. Finding these characters will unlock special side missions such as collecting 5 of Irma's secret diaries, 3 newspapers for Burne, 5 VHS tapes for Vernon, 8 bugs for the Punk Frogs, 3 crystal shards for the Neutrinos and so on. With each of their completed missions rewarding you anywhere from 75 to 100+ points towards your characters level. ''Points? that's it?'' you say. Um what? you were expecting maybe the uhh.. Addams Family?. Ha ha ha. Dang it Donny, why are your worst jokes the main ones I remember?
But back on topic, that's not all either, should you even complete all their requests, your fun is still not over. Each level in the game, yes all 16, all have their individual challenges to partake in and none of them are the same. These challenges ranging from defeat 4 foot soldiers using traps, defeat 3 enemies using super attacks, perform a specific amount of throw attacks and even extremely harder ones like wanting you to try taking no damage in a level at all and never using a special attack. With all of these spread throughout 16 levels, it boosts your play time immensely. But were STILL. NOT. DONE. with all the content. Holy crap right? Rest in peace to my free time while making this because were still going.
Even when you've completed your challenges and found all collectibles, you still can take on the task of leveling your favorite character to their max level of 10. That's 7 potential characters to max out. But why would you do this exactly? well simple, each level you unlock, will also grant you either a new attack, access to a new ninja meter, add extra hit points, an extra life and access to radical mode making your attacks stronger. To be able to max everyone out, you're guaranteed to have to do multiple playthroughs, but its so worth it. By the time you complete that task, you will be so good at the game that even you too, can be called a Radical Rat, just like Master Splinter.
Uh oh. The dreaded dislikes and downside section. You knew it was coming, but don't worry, my gripes aren't as nitpicky or cringe as Irma when she simps for the robot named Rex. We won't be that bad of course, but truthful.
My first gripe has to do with the boss fights. While the boss fights are really fun, I feel we could've done with more variety. Instead of fighting Bebop and Rocksteady roughly 4 times, with some of them being the same attack patterns, but just switched up with a double team, you could've replaced a few fights with other baddies like Mutagen Man or even an alternate version of the pizza monsters. Sure we had pizza monsters variations that come from the sand with pizza slices on their head, but I would've liked a cool boss fight. Heck, where was Screw Loose? We had Wingnut, but no partner Screw Loose, even though we have duo fights in the game like Ground Chuck and Dirt Bag and Tokka and Rahzar. Missed opportunity for sure. You could've even thrown in Muckman in the sewer area while you're at it. The 80's cartoon has SO many character's that it was just a shame not to see more of them.
Another gripe I had was in relation to connection issues. Now disclaimer, this was on a review copy before the official game went live, so obviously there's kinks without a day one update, so keep that in mind. However, several times on the Mall level, myself and my boyfriend ran into connection issues where the game would either freeze, lag or boot him from the room, causing him to have to restart multiple times and then be re-invited.
Finally my last gripe is that rewards for completing tasks could be better. They usually just give you points for your character, but I wish there could've been a little more to it like concept art either for this game, 80's tv show or even from the original movie trilogy. Like for instance, they could've done digital comic rewards from the original run series of the TMNT comics to read like other games have done as unlockables in the past. But I realize all that sort of stuff takes more money for the licensing, but I just wish there was just a tiny bit more incentive.
At the end of the day Shredder's Revenge turned out even better than I thought it would. I fully expected it to be an enjoyable experience, sure, but I was not expecting the game play mechanics to be as in depth as they were, the amount of details and animations to each character model and the environments, the massive amount of homages sprinkled in the game, the original voice actors for every original turtle from the 80's series, man, it had me grinning to the point where I looked like the crappy suit design from TMNT 3. Guess that means I was nightmare inducing? oops. Sure it has some downsides with boss variety, game length of 2 1/2hrs or a few connection issues, but it still does not stop Tribute Games and the four turtle brothers from Coming Out Of Their Shells and giving us the best turtle experience we have had since the days of Turtles In Time. So with that having been said, my verdict is clear GameNChick says BUY NOW.