Let’s kick shell!
Scrolling beat ’em ups have been experiencing an incredible renaissance over the last half decade or so. Whether that is in the form of re-releases like Scott Pilgrim or Capcom’s Beat ‘Em Up bundle, new games like Fight’N Rage and Young Souls or direct sequels like Double Dragon Neon and the amazing Streets of Rage 4. All of which find their own way to recapture the nostalgia of the genre, put their own spin on it, modernise it or all of the above.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge is definitely all of the above. It’s a game that finds a way to tap directly into the best nostalgia vein possible and does so while still feeling fresh, new and fun.
Dotemu is a publisher that definitely has a knack for picking projects that expertly modernise nostalgia and with the pairing of Tribute Games and Shredder’s Revenge, they’ve done it again.
Lean, mean and green
Tribute Games has done an absolutely incredible job in realising the sprite based visuals of the classic Ninja Turtles arcade titles of days gone by, but have – in my opinion, captured a better level of detail and achieved a level of animation quality that the older games could only imagine. Even the backgrounds benefit from the extra detail and each one has more interactivity than previous titles.
It’s funny what nostalgia can do to your memories of a how an older game looked because seeing Shredder’s Revenge side by side with the Arcade original or even Hyperstone Heist really highlights the increase in detail, quality and animation on display here. Even the inclusion of hit effects really adds to both the look and feel of the game and even helps with hit detection.
Even subtleties like like the darker outlines on characters really help the clarity of everything (as the action on screen can get very chaotic) and the sprites are bold and bright. Bosses carry on the tradition of being intimidatingly larger than your own character and all animate beautifully.
In terms of sound design, Tribute seems to have done a great job in recreating the same style of sound from the original games, including clever quips, corny puns and excited exclamations! I must admit I intentionally fell down a manhole hoping to hear “Who turned out the lights?” and I wasn’t disappointed.
The music does the job it needs to do. Most of it isn’t overly memorable, while some can be catchy, but it’s neither bad nor overly great. But this was never a series known for it’s musical splendour and therefore wasn’t really needing to live up to any nostalgia tainted unattainable standards. Like previous games, the music is mostly geared towards channeling the feeling of the cartoon and making you feel like you’re really part of this ride and in that it more than does its job.
I can’t keep fighting alien technology with a six foot staff
Much like 2021’s Streets of Rage 4, Shredder’s Revenge plays beautifully. Hit detection is near spot on and the entire combat system has been modernised just enough for the game to feel fresh but without feeling too foreign to fans of the older games.
I will say though, some of that…”cheapness” that tends to plague scrolling beat ’em ups still appears on occasion here. Which can be frustrating when going for challenges like completing a level without getting hit, but it’s a truly minor inconvenience in the grand scheme of things.
Tribute has infused a fairly simplistic combo/juggle system as well as including special moves which manage to keep the combat varied, satisfying and really adds to the on-screen chaos when playing with 4-6 players.
Fans of the genre should have no issue with the combat in Shredder’s Revenge and newer players shouldn’t feel overwhelmed at the options available to them.
Gotham is bonkers, yo!
But what really separates Shredder’s Revenge from previous games in this “series” is the re-playability that’s been invested into here. Each level has challenges and collectibles within them, for example – Completing a level without getting hit, or killing two enemies with traps. Collectibles include things like newspapers and finding hidden friends in certain levels that unlock other challenges which can be found and referred back to via the new world map.
Much like Super Mario Bros. 3’s world map, Shredder’s Revenge allows you to replay levels, get an overview of your challenges and collectibles, find co-op partners and party up all from the map. This is obviously something new to the series but as a console first game in 2022, makes a tonne of sense to include.
The “Turtle Lair” is also a really nice touch. Within your Turtle Lair, you can access areas where you can keep track of your progress within the game on a more detailed level. You have the “Fitness Tracker” where you can check on progress towards unlocks like a 1UP, extra HP and increased Special meter. You have the “Lounge” where you can check on your challenge progress within each Episode and the “Library” is where you can check your Collectibles. It’s really well implemented and encourages the player to replay episodes to go for 100% completion.
The enemy of my enemy is my bro!
While local co-op has been a staple of the series since the first game released in the arcades (as it naturally would be), Shredder’s Revenge cranks it up by allowing up to 6 players locally as well as online, which as you can imagine, gets as hectic as it sounds but in the best possible way. I didn’t get a chance to try co-op online, but traditionally, these games tend to have lag issues.
Overall, Shredder’s Revenge is an exquisitely executed example of modernising a classic genre and making you feel like this is how you remember the older games looking and feeling, despite being so much better.
Between the co-op, collectibles, challenges, achievements and upgrades, there’s more reasons to keep going back to Shredder’s Revenge than probably any other game in the genre has ever provided. This is all on top of fun and fantastic combat and a nostalgia overload that most should love. But even those who weren’t necessarily fans of the Ninja Turtles, still have a great scrolling beat ’em up to make their way through.
If you have a Game Pass subscription, it’s a part of your sub so there’s no excuse not to check it out!
|Reviewed on||Windows PC/Steam|
|Available on||Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, Game Pass, Windows PC, PS4|PS5, Switch|
|Release Date||June 16th, 2022|