Tapping into gamer nostalgia for the '80s comic and TV toon as well as WB and the Weinstein Co.'s new feature, Ubisoft's new "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" hits all the right notes, but fails to come together into anything more than an adequate gaming experience.

Tapping into gamer nostalgia for the ’80s comic and TV toon as well as WB and the Weinstein Co.’s new feature, Ubisoft’s new “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” hits all the right notes, but fails to come together into anything more than an adequate gaming experience. 

Story is told in the past tense, making it feel more cinematic but hard to follow in game form. The four ninja turtle brothers and their rat sensei Splinter provide running commentary from some mysterious place in the future. It’s an unusual approach for a videogame, producing mixed results because of the distance it creates between the story being told and the missions being played. However, much of the original humor translates to the game, and the distinct personalities of the turtles are intact.

Scenery is the strongest point of the game. Gotham is beautifully rendered, and the perspective of jumping across rooftops and scaling skyscrapers is thrilling, mirroring the visuals of the CGI-animated pic.

The turtles are easy to control as they jump, swing and climb their way around New York City. Fighting moves are straightforward with special tag-team motions available in later stages when the brothers band together. Ability to rotate between the turtles comes in handy, as each one has a different weapon and special move. It also helps to switch when one turtle’s energy is low.

That said, the enemies are only challenging to kids or gaming newbies. They are slow to react and are no match for the quick attacks of the turtles. Later levels are more challenging not because the enemies are more sophisticated or have better artificial intelligence, but simply because there are more of them.

The game’s biggest drawback, however, is the lack of a multiplayer option. In a game with four main characters, it’s a striking omission.

Still, compared with many other movie-to-game rush jobs, “Turtles” stands out a bit with sharp graphics, a decent length that justifies the purchase price, and just the right amount of ’80s ‘tude.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Rated E10+; $39.99

Production

An Ubisoft presentation of a game developed by Ubisoft Montreal and licensed by Mirage Studios for GameCube, PC, Playstation 2, Wii and Xbox 360. Reviewed on Playstation 2.
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