Without a doubt, in the minds of anyone around the ages of 30 to 40, one of the best Arcade games ever made was the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game by Konami, featuring a rare 4-player cabinet that kept our childhood minds captured for hours, and many quarters, at a time. With Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge, Tribute Games attempts to do something that only fans with programming knowledge, or a copy of OpenBOR, have been able to do since the early 1990s.
Name: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge Platform(s): Microsoft Windows, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One Developer: Tribute Games Publisher: Dotemu Game Type: Beat ’em up Mode(s): Single-player, multiplayer Release Date: June 16, 2022
Big Apple… 3:00 AM (Story)
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revengeisn’t exactly a huge narrative-based game. It isn’t going to take hours to work out the story, nor will there be any twists and turns leading to the final battle. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge is very simple in the story department: Shredder is back, and he, along with Krang, Bebop, Rocksteady, some other villains, and a whole army of Foot Soldiers, have started doing something to the Statue of Liberty. It’s up to the Turtles: Leonardo, Donatello, Michelangelo, and Raphael; as well as Master Splinter, April O’Neil, and Casey Jones… to fight their way from the Lobby of the Channel 6 building to the far reaches of Dimension X in order to defeat the bad guys and save New York from falling into their clutches… and that’s it. Nothing more to it.
Modern Age Retro (Graphics)
Tribute Games really went all out to capture not only the look and feel of the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles arcade games, but they went out of their way to make sure that the original series of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was recaptured too. The opening intro comes to life with animation that looks like it came from the original cartoon, with everyone looking exactly like you thought they would in the new animation.
Once the game starts, you can tell from the look and movement of all the characters that this is an homage to the original cartoon and video games with the 16-bit style of animation but with a lot more detail than the SNES or Genesis was ever capable of pulling off back in the day. Even the backgrounds, which are usually ignored with retro-style games like this, invoke a cartoon style to them that mixes in well with the 16-bit style sprites and creates that great mix of cartoon and video game nostalgia.
One of the more interesting things to be involved in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge is the selection of characters, which I won’t give too much away here with the bosses of each of the game’s 16 stages, but I’ll say that they are a very interesting bunch of characters to use. They fit in very well with each level with what Tribute Games wanted to do with the world that Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles resides in.
On top of the boss selection, you have 10 cameo characters that you need to find for an achievement (I got 9 of them on the first play-through), not to mention all the funny little moments involving Foot Soldiers in either the background or in the middle of a stage that you’ll notice. Then, there are the other villain grunts that come from a variety of other media like the cartoons, GameBoy games, NES games and SNES/Genesis games, along with the locations too… It is so much that it’s hard to put into words all the amazing things you’re going to see and find in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge.
Let’s Kick Shell! (Gameplay)
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge is an old-school Beat’em Up at heart. While the “How to Play” section is a must-watch for anyone playing this game for the first time, thing are still pretty simple. You have one attack button, one jump button, one dodge button, a taunt button (That increases your power gage), and a super move button. While it is very easy to beat Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge without knowing all the buttons and what they do, you’ll find over time that you will be using more combination and timing buttons than you thought you would in such a game.
To help you along with the fight is the super meter, which is a small gage above your health that will fill as you defeat enemies (or pull off a taunt successfully) and cause be used in one of two ways: One as a powerful attack that can either take out a lot of foes like Leonardo’s Katana Cyclone, or enemies in a row like Raphael’s Sai Dive; the other is as a super mode known as “Radical Mode” where your normal attacks are powered up until 3 levels of gage have been depleted. I often found a way to cheese bosses with the Radical Mode once I unlocked it in story mode to make the last few fights a lot less challenging.
Speaking of multiplayer, you might have noticed from the screenshots in this review that you can have 4 players on screen at the same time, much like the arcade games of old, which is awesome as this will make Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge a lot more challenging… and better yet, PC players can have up to 6 players in their games, making the chaos a whole lot more exciting!
There are advantages to playing multiplayer in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge, which allows you to do things like reviving fallen friends and team up for special two-person attacks just like you see in the TV shows and movies. Also, from what I could find in the options, it looks like you can link your Epic account for Steam and Epic store crossplay too… Shame it’s not like that with console and PC together because that would be awesome.
I will recommend that you play Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge with a controller, as that is the way the game was made. If you have an arcade stick, then even better, go out and recapture the arcade feel of the game in the right way!
Turtle Tracks (Sound)
From the opening intro animation and music (They didn’t use the original theme due to legal issues which prevent it from being used in any form of media) you get that original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles vibe. A big part of this was that Tribute Games was able to get the original cast of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to reprise their roles. So you have Cam Clarke (Leonardo), Rob Paulsen (Raphael), Townsend Coleman (Michelangelo) & Barry Gordon (Donatello) returning to the roles that we know them for, and as an added bonus, since some of them did the villain voices, we get the original Rocksteady, Bebop, Rahzar & Rat King (Cam Clark, Barry Gordon & Townsend Coleman respectively) back too.
Outside of those characters, most of the other roles were recast, which might feel like a bit of a shame. It’s just too bad we couldn’t get archived audio of James Avery as Shredder (RIP Big Guy), but they do a really good job with those roles, to the point where I had to go hunting in the game’s credits to find out who did what and compare it to a list of the voice actors from back in the day.
Another great thing that helped Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge get things just right was the use of new and old tracks that relate to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles from other video games and media. The remixed version of the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles theme isn’t too bad, but the rest of the soundtrack is awesome! A lot of the time, you will be hearing renditions of music from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time arcade games mixed in with tracks from the original cartoon.
Even some new tracks like “We Ain’t Come to Lose” by Wu-Tang Clan members Raekwon The Chef & Ghostface Killah work really well with the game. I can’t wait till Limited Edition releases the chance to buy the soundtrack because I want that one for my own collection.
Let’s Party, Dudes (Multiplayer)
One of the best things about Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge is that you can play with up to six people in either local and/or online co-op. Prior to our review going up, we managed to get a five-player session going, and it was complete chaos but also lots of fun. Thanks to Steam’s Remote Play, we were able to get in several of our The Outerhaven buddies in on the action, and it worked without a hitch — mostly. The screen was fun of foot soldiers and other baddies, while we sliced it up, with tons of stuff happening on screen. It was easily the best fun I’ve had in a long time in a video game.
PC, Xbox, and Switch can do 6-player local and co-op, or a mixture of the two modes. While PS4 only supports 4-players local due to a limitation of the console.
The game also supports crossplay, but it varies from platform to platform. For example, the PC versions (Steam, Windows Store) can crossplay with the Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S, and vice versa. But that’s it. Leaving the Epic Games Store version, PlayStation, and Switch players outside of the Party Wagon. Dotemu has stated they’ll revisit this at a later date.
Worth Watching in Reruns? (Replayability)
There are two main modes in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge, one being the Story mode, which takes you around an NES-era style map fighting your way through legions of Foot Soldiers as you make your way to defeat Shredder. This mode is one that I will recommend everyone play at least 7 times just to unlock each character’s ending. Length-wise, the main story mode clocks in at around 2 hours (or slightly more). After that, though, you can jump into Arcade mode, which features no save points, a credit system, and is perfect for multiplayer sessions.
However, Arcade mode is going to be the highlight here, with the challenge of playing like the old days ringing in my head for ages to come. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge is a great game to sit down with when you want to just chill and smash something up while waiting for something else to happen with your day. Four players can join up and play the game online together, or if you have five other friends, you can play up to six players locally. Yes, this game has convinced me to go and play with randoms on the internet, and that’s not to mention that I am going to buy some more Xbox controllers so my friends and I can play up to four or six player games all night.
A Totally Awesome Good Time (Closing)
Man, as a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fan, playing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge was like going to the old bowling alley where I first played Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and started falling in love with video games all over again. From the music to the graphics, the use of the original cast, and so much more that I don’t want to spoil for anyone, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge is an absolute faithful and great recreation of the style of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game thatthe fans have wanted for a LONG TIME.
While it’s not a Konami game, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge does recapture that feeling and gameplay like it was made back in the glory days of arcade games.
While Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge does pack a LOT of nostalgia into it, there is still one game out there that took the same concept and run the full football field with it, whereas Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge does a lot of the same. It just feels like it could have done a lot more with the franchise, and I walked away after 2 hours, having finished the game, wondering if there would be more because I really want more.
Big thanks to Dotemu and Tinsley PR for providing us with early access to the game. And a more enormous thanks to Tribute Games for crafting the game that TMNT fans have been asking for. It’s been 30 years in the making, but worth it.
Review Disclosure Statement: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge was provided to us by Dotemu for review purposes. For more information on how we conduct and handle reviews here, please visit our Review Guideline/Scoring Policy for more info. Thank you.
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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge is a really good game in its own right, capturing the look and feel of the Konami-era arcade games that fans have wanted to see come back for decades. However, when compared to other fan-made efforts (You know the one I’m talking about), Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge feels like it was just the same exact concept done with a bigger budget yet more limitations.
Recaptures the look and feel of the original arcade classics
A great cast of heroes and villains
The return of the original cast for the main 4 characters
Can experience slowdown when playing larger groups in a single game online
A few bosses were reused when others could have been used
Feels like “that” fan-made game but with a bigger budget and only half of the love