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At $29.99, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 3: Mutant Nightmare is not a bad deal. Four player co-op, a few pretty interesting modes, and a solid combat system equals a fair amount of fun. But for those that consider the “next-gen” quality of their current Xbox games paramount, you may want to reserve this one for a weekend rental. If you don’t need four player co-op in your-third person action title, and/or could care less about amphibians as player characters, then there are better alternatives already on the market. But for those that are big fans of these deadly mutants, you really can’t go wrong, as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 3: Mutant Nightmare relies on an already-proven combat system and general game format.
I grew up with the Ninja Turtles so there’s a little kid somewhere who deep down wants to love this title; which is why it’s sad to have to play this game. The only thing that would really make it worthwhile to me is playing through far enough to unlock Turtles in Time and then playing that. It’s sad when a game made ten years ago can out-perform one made today.
TMNT 3 is a step up from the previous entry to the series, offering up all four turtles onscreen at once and some new elements. Still, the gameplay is light-years behind where it should be, and this one stands as a rental at best, even for hardcore turtle fans.
TMNT: Mutant Nightmare plays too much like its flawed predecessors to warrant a look from anyone besides diehard fans. The action wasn't great the first time around, and while the third outing fixes a few problems, it's still largely the same game. It's a vapid action game without the refined control and visual flair required of a game with no soul.
Is TMNT 3: Mutant Nightmare better than the near-train wreck that was Battle Nexus? Certainly it is. The scarceness of the terrible platforming portions of that game, as well as the constant four-turtle action, is a definite improvement over what Battle Nexus had to offer. But even still, Mutant Nightmare lacks punch. There's just not much game here that's worth playing, and the few bits that are worth it are buried underneath a lot of overly simplistic and generally dull beatings of easy-to-kill bad guys. In the rare instance where the game gets challenging, it feels artificial and frustrating, rather than satisfying or rewarding. Turtles fan or not, just skip out on Mutant Nightmare.
As nightmares go, this one ranks right up there with the one about entering the schoolyard pantsless, and perhaps even on fire. The turtles deserve better, and its unfortunate this game extends their bad luck streak.