Cowabunga, It’s A Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge Review

Turtles In Time, the arcade game, and arguably the NES one - TMNT might have found the best version yet in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder's Revenge.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge is radical, and that’s a fact, Jack. Dotemu, or should I say Donatemu – eh, eh? are pretty damn good at backing the right retro horse (previously of Streets of Rage 4 fame) as this side-scrolling arcade beat ’em up is like vaporwave: unadulterated nostalgia for something that’s essentially a brand new experience.

Before we begin, here are some pointers if you’re just looking for a summary:

  • Yes, you can play as all the turtles, as well as other favourites include Splinter, Casey and <ahem> April. Phwoar!
  • Don’t be deceived: up to six players can play simultaneously.
  • While a fantastic experience, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge is a side-scrolling beat ’em up and doesn’t reinvent the wheel.
  • Seriously, get Game Pass.

If you’ve never heard of Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird’s heroes in half shells, you might have missed out. It’s not solely for us crusties who remember when it was banned in playgrounds in schools, and that we Brits had to endure Teenage Mutant HERO Turtles, as ‘Ninja’ was bad. It’s likely you’ve seen the renewed Michael Bay visions, or perhaps you’re also old school and hold Turtles In Time as one of the best games in the series?

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Shredder's Revenge
Source: Steam

Some Words In Your Shell-Like

As stated, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge is a new venture. Shredder’s up to his old tricks again, and no, it’s not clickbait – he’s in it, as is Krang, Bebop and Rocksteady, the awesome Foot Soldiers, and plenty of classic locations. Fans of the original arcade game from the late 80s (or have ‘a friend’ who has the MAME version) will be in awe at how much like the original arcade game this is, without actually being the arcade game. Tribute Games, the developers, have done the perfect fan service.

Each of the turtles have their quirks – both in character and their movesets. The animation differs for each one and it genuinely feels different when you switch them up. I was always a Mikey fan, though secretly liked Leo’s weapons best (and thought he was overall the best, despite his do-gooder ways). Regardless of your favourite, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge is superb both as a solo game and with friends. I’m unable to get three other players, let alone five, but I’d imagine the latter is absolute carnage.

There are two modes in the game: campaign and arcade. In the campaign, you can play each of the levels at your own pace, with an incentive to not only explore them for nostalgic purposes but for all the collectables along the way. And, like any good beat ’em up, completing the game with a different character offers different endings. Not your thing? Try getting through the arcade mode as there are limited continues and no checkpoints. That’s when you need a friend for co-op. At least you don’t have to ask your folks for extra pocket money. Oh, those were the days…

Arcade Perfect

I don’t doubt for a second that Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge will resonate with anyone growing up in the late 80s/90s and the arcade era – it’s what we would have called ‘arcade perfect’ back in the day, but the devs have done such a stellar job with this game that it deserves all the accolades it’s received. It would have been nice to have covered this early for a few bragging rights with my fellow 90s chums, but that’s why Game Pass is so good. There’s no incentive for me to say this other than being a fellow gamer: if you have a PC, get this subscription service – it’s utterly worth it.

Anyway, back to the game. Hitting every cylinder, this is one of the best side-scrolling beat ’em ups currently available for PC and console. Yes, it has those hallmarks of the genre where repetition kicks in and not having to pump all those coins in means all 15-something levels feel quite lengthy. If this was in the arcades, I reckon I’d only get a third of the way through until out of shrapnel. Oh, did I mention that Mike Patton (my fav singer of all-time, not that it matters) lends his vocal talents, as do members of Wu-Tang. Really? This will cater to so many fans, and not just TMNT, but beat ’em up fans, too.

Now Dotemu needs to work on a revitalised The Simpsons arcade game, and that’s it – retirement.