Everyone knows I\’m a pretty big TMNT fan. While I grew up on the 80\’s cartoon I actually think the current incarnation on Nickelodeon is my favorite. It melds the goofiness of the the original cartoon with some of the darkness of the original Laird and Eastman comics. TMNT Danger of the Ooze is the latest title in a deal with Activision having Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, TMNT: Out of the Shadows, and my least favorite TMNT movie tie-in game releasing before it. You can read the other reviews by clicking on the link of the title. Every one of the games lacked soul and polish. It\’s seems like Activision is giving developers a minuscule budget to work with as this TMNT game was made by the very talented folks at WayForward, a developer who\’s games overflow with charm, wit, and polish. This latest game simply doesn\’t any of those things.
Let\’s start with what I don\’t like. The game is about as mediocre as it gets. The voice acting is pretty poor even though it\’s performed by the cast from the cartoon and the lip syncing is off with abysmal animations during cutscenes. Again this isn\’t representative of a lack of talent at WayForward but likely a sign of time/budget constraints. And that\’s a shame because I can\’t recall a truly good Turtles game since Turtles in Time although the TMNT movie game on PS2 was pretty good. Hell even the PSN/XBLA Turtles in Time Reshelled is better than anything Activision has put out so far. The environments are also uninspired and pretty bare. You\’ll encounter a handful of enemy types that are easy to take down individually but in groups can be a little annoying. This may lead to you dying rather quickly which brings me to one of my biggest gripes with this game and that\’s the save system. It sucks. I understand this is a Metroidvania style game and it\’s all about exploring and backtracking but the backtracking in this game coupled with the sparse number of checkpoints is infuriating. Another big issue I have is when you pull up the map it\’s so fucking small that I can\’t make out anything on the PS3 version of the game. Thankfully the 3DS version displays the map on the lower screen making it easier to read.
It\’s not all bad however. The idle animations are a throwback to the NES and SNES days and are pretty comical. I had stopped playing for a moment to check something on my phone and Raphael quipped \”Are you gonna play or keep looking at your phone?\” which caught me off guard and made me chuckle. The turtles also have an upgrade and XP based system that unlocks more powerful moves. This allows you to string combos with a few weaker moves and a more powerful move to finish off your foes. One trick I would use was switching to another turtles if my current one was about to die, then when I ran into pizza I\’d switch back to the turtle that needed it until his health was full. Doing this would cut back on the backtracking considerably. You can also fill and store pizzas in reserve slots for emergencies. Even though the backtracking can be annoying the game never becomes difficult to play with pizza slices popping up at a pretty regular interval. I had each turtle maxed out with all upgradable moves unlocked about halfway through the game. It\’s a shame because I liked the XP system and would have loved to see it extend to weapons like it did in TMNT Movie based game.
All things considered this probably isn\’t the Ninja Turtles game you were looking for. It is, however, a very mediocre Metroidvania style game based in the TMNT universe. You can buy it for PS3, Xbox 360, and 3DS.
UPDATE: After playing through both the PS3 and 3DS versions I’d suggest getting the 3DS one if you own that console. The gameplay simply lends itself better to a mobile system. The portable version is also identical to it’s bigger console counterparts with no missing features or gameplay.