Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is perhaps one of the only licensed properties to run the full gamut of videogame adaptations without coming out of the other like it had just passed through a diseased colon.
As far back as 1989, TMNT was making solid videogame inroads for the Nintendo Entertainment System. The game, which featured side-scrolling action and the ability to switch between turtles mid-game, was dramatically under-appreciated mostly due to the fact that nobody seemed to be able to get past the underwater dam segment of level 2. This is pretty-much equivalent to smashing the controller against the wall for “not working” because your character just died.
Nevertheless, the NES followed up with the beat-em up styled TMNT: the Arcade Game, which is widely acclaimed for being incredibly rad.
Most recently, the Kung-Fu foursome returned to the digital world in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Smash-Up for the Nintendo Wii.
TMNT: Smash-Up takes the formula made popular in Super Smash Bros while leaving out the shameful eventuality of being defeated by your half-wit little brother who chose Pikachu and endlessly chants the character’s name as he mashes the buttons.
Although the game is not the typical action/adventure game that fans of TMNT have grown accustomed to, the fighting game style is not quite a departure for the turtles, who have previously clashed in the TMNT: Tournament Fighters and TMNT: Mutant Melee.
While the game is fun and provides a variety of play options through Battle Royals, Mission Modes and Arcade Mode, it does not quite have enough diversity of play to sustain more than about 30-minutes to an hour’s worth of playtime, making the game decent among a larger collection of games, but not strong enough to stand alone as a singular purchase. This is especially true if players do not have a second person with which to enjoy multi-player mode.
The game developers did not necessarily do a bad job, they just half-assed it. I didn’t notice any glitches, but I also noticed a lack of anything to set it apart from any other fighting game.
Perhaps I’m being a stickler for the classics, but I also have trouble getting behind an adaptation of the more recent TMNT cartoons, considering that the Wii is having success reviving old classics such as Punch-Out! and A Boy and His Blob.
We get none of the great characters from the original cartoon and I don’t think I can ever grow to accept April O’ Neill as a ninja rather than as an intrepid news reporter.
Despite the unexceptional nature of the game, I find it difficult to write too negatively about it, primarily because I did not have to pay my own money for the game. So I’m not concerned with getting my money’s worth.
If you subscribe to a game rental service such as GameFly, or if you have a dumb younger sibling, or some other avenue to get access to the game for free, then give it a try. Otherwise, you should probably not waste your time.