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Written by  :  kbmb (435)
Written on  :  Jan 11, 2004
Platform  :  Windows
Rating  :  2.67 Stars2.67 Stars2.67 Stars2.67 Stars2.67 Stars

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A great game. Fantastic art direction with gameplay reminiscent of SNES beat'em-ups.

The Good

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2 for the NES was one of the first (and sadly, only) games I owned, and somehow, I never ever got bored of it. Whether I played it alone or had a friend with me, I knew the ins-and-outs of every single level, I had it down to a math. I knew just when to smack that fire hydrant that would blow the cap off it, knocking down a row of foot clan ninja dudes, I could deflect Krang's blows way before he knew what was going on, and Shredder never stood a chance. I was a true Ninja Turtle, baby.

And while I think this latest addition falls a little short of the "fun factor" that I felt when playing TMNT2, it's still a great beat'em-up, true to the series and complete with multiplayer coop!

First of all, the art direction is wonderful. A cell-shaded game that looks and plays like it's coming right out of the cartoon or comic book, with "krash!!" and "slash!" and "kapow!" appearing in comicy letters over various cartoony explosions and fights. With tons of levels to play through and a story that unfolds as you play a long, four characters to choose from with their own combat styles, this game is hours of great fun.

The Bad

Unfortunately, I have a few gripes about the game. I'm not certain, but I heard somewhere that this game is based off a new cartoon of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles that is supposedly more true to the comic book series. I've never read the comic, and the only 'Turtles I know are from that old Saturday-morning cartoon, so the change in characteristics in this game is a bit awkward for me. Between stages, you're treated to animated cutscenes that may or may not have been taken from this new cartoon version. They're...okay...but they're not nearly the level of quality of the old version. April O'Neil looks like a ditsy valley-girl, Casey Jones is just a dumbass, and the Turtles all seem to be way too similar. In the old cartoon, Raph had a temper (and made terrible jokes), Leonardo was the wise leader type guy, Donatello tinkered, and Michaelangelo partied and stuff. Now, it's still there in these cutscenes, but it's been very, very dulled. If it weren't for Donatello mentioning "technology" every now and then, or Leonardo saying "I don't think that's a good idea" once or twice, the only way you would be able to tell the Turtles apart would be by the color of their headbands. And the animation hasn't improved after all these years, either. It just doesn't look like as much effort has been put into this one, aside from some 3D post-production effects. It looks more like an anime than my favorite Saturday morning cartoon.

I wish there had been more varied, or interesting levels in this game. One level is played on the back of a semi truck racing down the street, another level takes you into some underground cavern, and one level you're in some sort of Tron-esque world, but other than that all the levels are pretty boring and hard to tell apart. They're just boring and uninteresting. Why couldn't there have been more levels like the truck one? That one rocked, but it was far too short.

The game saves your place after every stage completed, but it doesn't save your spot after every level, meaning, if you play through seven levels within a certain stage, die at the end-boss, you've gotta play through the entire thing again. I suppose this beats having to play through the entire game from the start like in my old TMNT2, but I've been spoiled by mordern games and I EXPECT a savegame feature, if not a better checkpoint system. The fact is, I haven't even beaten the game. I'm on the very last stage, and I cannot beat the end-boss. He's a pain in the ass, and it takes almost an hour to play through the stages to get to him, and it's aggrivating when you've done it five times only to fail each time.

Levels could have moved along a bit faster. Fighting the bad guys is loads of fun, but there's nothing more to it than rapping on the attack button until they all die, and some levels, they just don't stop coming at you. One wave after the other after the other after the other...and then you move up a few feet, fight a hundred more bad guys...move a few feet, and so on. It's fun for a while, but it just goes too slow.

The Bottom Line

If you're a fan of beat'em-up games, I would really recommend this one. The great graphics alone almost makes up for its faults. And any game is fun with coop!