• The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are back and back with a bang… bursting onto our cinema screens and a console near you. Ubisoft not wanting to miss out on a movie-game tie in have produced TMNT for the Xbox 360 with Leonardo, Michelangelo, Raphael and Donatello being set to kick butt once more in an all new, next generation adventure.

    Before I launch into what’s hot and what’s not it’s, time for a bit of a rewind. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were bought to life back in 1984 and made it onto our TV’s in 1987 with the animated cartoon series. Led by a Rat called Splinter the TMNT fought battles against their main enemy Shredder and his foot clan of soldiers. TMNT hit the big screen with three movies and through a number of continuous changes have pretty much remained a popular cartoon choice even with today’s standards. Fast-forward to where we are today and we currently have the new CGI TMNT movie backed by Warner Bros and as above the movie game licence secured by Ubisoft.

    History lesson over TMNT on the Xbox 360 allows the gamers to play through the movie plot controlling the four half shell heroes. The game / movie plot has seen the turtles drift apart since the defeat of Shredder and now with a new evil force lurking in New York City, our heroes must reunite and combine their strengths if they are to take down Max Winters and his sibling ‘Stone Generals’. Gameplay modes in TMNT come in three flavours, with your main mode consisting of the story or campaign if you will. A secondary run through also exists with the campaign playing through each level again only this time having the additional gold coins to seek out. And finally when your campaign experience is over… and that will be all too quickly… then you also have a set of challenges to run through with computer simulated assault courses to test your speed skills.

    Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

    Physical gameplay is based on a semi platform base, action/fighting game crossover genre and your characters are viewed from the third person perspective with movement controlled by the thumbsticks and the face buttons controlling the likes of jumping, attacking, co-op attacks and switching to another TMNT member. The RB shoulder button is used for performing each turtles special move with Mike being able to use his nunchaku as helicopter and keep himself afloat longer, Raph using his twin sai to scale large walls, Don utilising his bo staff to pole vault across large distances and Leo having the ability to warp through certain objects. Camera control in the game is a on a semi follow me approach and will be outside of your control with you needing to move in a direction to get the camera to pan for you, and whilst nine time out of ten not causing any issues it does however remove the ability to scan the horizon yourself and only leads to frustrate you at many points in the game.

    Your tutorial and initial introduction into TMNT is based with you controlling Leo the boss of the bunch and putting you through a jungle assault course and teaching you each of the moves, or at least as many as it can show you with a single controlled turtle (more on co-op later). Having made your journey through the tutorial the game then throws you through a comic book entrance into each level and at the beginning of the game putting you into the shell of each of the characters, which includes another Leo level as they tell their individual tales of what they have been up to since Shredders defeat and gives you a flavour of why they have drifted apart. It is in this piece that you also get to meet and play as Raphs’ alter ego that being the Night Watcher and these moments are of a darker affair and as such has the majority of the colour drained from the playing field and as such creates the right atmosphere for his Night Watcher vigilante.

    These character introductions are very cool and great fun to play through but it is only at around the half way mark that the game finally hits the spot and becomes very, very cool and allows you to pull of some very slick co-op attacks and co-op moves. Once the brothers have united under one banner and during game play each character is now able to pull of a co-op attack using another of his turtle buddies. The attacks are different dependant on who you are controlling all very cool to watch and later on in the game important that you choose the right attack if you are to stand a chance at beating your boss or bosses. The other ability with co-op is what I will just call a co-op fling where if you need to jump across a huge gap half way through the jump you can press the co-op button to have a turtle appear grab you and fling you that extra distance needed to make it safely to the other side.

    Graphically TMNT looks rushed and only on certain occasions looks like any effort has been made. I am also reviewing this title on the Nintendo Wii and graphically they are pretty much identical pushing this towards a quick console, to console port. The turtles themselves look colourful and as you would remember them (if you are old enough of course) but backdrops are shabby and quickly forgettable, and lets just say Ubisoft won’t win any next generation awards in the looks department. Audio presentation is good and the voice over work superb and taking you back through memory lane… especially with Michelangelo’s “cowabunga”. So all in all looking rushed but sounding pretty good all the same.

    TMNT is a very good game to play through but this highlights the main problem with the fun being cut short extremely quickly. Now whilst I understand that this game will be levied against the younger gamers the fact remained that my two seven year old, boys still managed to repeat levels I had completed with no problem what so ever. The entire game took me just shy of four and a half hours to complete and makes this the second fastest Xbox 360 title that I have completed to date with NBA LIVE ‘06 being my fastest at a very poor show of two hours. Therefore TMNT is very, very easy and is a thousand points for very little effort. The other problem with the game is that the majority of the achievements are simply based across playing the story mode/campaign with only two out of the twenty-three available achievements requiring any effort or replay… simply said, twenty-one of the achievements are gained by simply playing the game as you should. The two achievements outside the norm fall into (a) getting through a level unharmed and as such can be done with playing through level one and (b) for collecting your first gold coin which only requires you to replay level one until you have found your first gold coin and then choosing to quit – job done! My point here is pretty simple in that unless you are really bothered then you will not even touch the challenge mode playing through the computer simulated assault course, as you don’t get a single achievement for having attempted these courses, and only leaves me to think “why not”?

    In summing up without any shadow of doubt, TMNT is a damn fine game to play through and took me back down memory lane… but my fun was short lived with little desire to play through again and is much more fun to play on the Nintendo Wii. This is most certainly in the rent category and for the gamer score whores a very easy ride indeed.

    Score: 6/10

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