When originally announced, this title had a lot of buzz behind it. After the massive success of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles re-released on the Xbox Live Arcade as a $5.00 download, everyone began asking when Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time would come out.
Hoping it would get the same treatment as the original players were rewarded when they found out it would be getting a “Re-Shelled” treatment with new 3D graphics. But then came the bad news. The game was going to be priced at $15.00.
Immediately, this lead to a massive outcry from fans who did not want to pay $10.00 more than they did for the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles just because it was getting updated graphics. Before the game was released, the price was lowered to the more reasonable 800 Microsoft Points ($10.00) price tag. Part of the love for retro games is keeping the original graphics as games like Gauntlet, Robotron and Smash TV have shown.
And unlike R-Type Dimensions or The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition, players would not be given the option to switch back to the classic retro arcade graphics. They would be forced to play the entire game in the new 3D mode. The 3D visual effects do look great however and can be compared to the most recent TMNT retail release that came out alongside the feature length CGI movie.
Switching to 3D has brought the title some positives and negatives. Now, being in 3D, the turtles can attack up, down and diagonally instead of only left and right like they could in the Arcade or on the SNES. While this gives a much more realistic combat perspective by adding a 360 degree range of attack motions, it ends up faulting the game as it becomes so much easier. Players can now do their charge attacks in any direction, often leading to taking out massive groups of enemies in a single blow.
Dodging and counterattacking becomes too easy as the player has no real threat of dying through any of the early levels of the game. Also, like the first game, there are unlimited continues which means that no matter what, even the worst player can beat the game in a single sitting, on their first try. While this “no fail” mode might be great for younger players, it leaves no challenge at all to more traditional gamers who grew up pumping their arcade machines full of quarters to beat the original title. A good solution could have been letting a player set the amount of continues available to them at the start of a game so there was at least some incentive on trying to become better players and not just stand still taking damage during boss battles. Because of this ease of play, the game loses most replay value and can often be beaten in under an hour by most players, especially with co-op enabled.
One of the strange lacking features was the exclusion of drop in, drop out gameplay for the four-player co-op. Instead of being able to just plug in a controller and hit start to join a game in progress, all players must exit out to the main menu in order to play multiplayer together. This could have been a fantastic feature for XBox Live, allowing players to jump in with friends who had already begun a game in progress. Another interesting aspect of the designers’ choices comes with some of the achievements. Some games have the occasional joke achievement for 0 Gamer Points for failing a level enough times or watching a game’s credits, but Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time Re-Shelled instead rewards incompetent players. Two examples of this come from achievements for being flattened by an environmental trap or being shot by a laser trap.
With the higher price, low replay value, quick story mode and strange multiplayer design choices, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time Re-Shelled is unlikely to achieve the same success and adoration of its $5.00 classic predecessor. While parts are still enjoyable, it is hardly worth the extra money. But, because of its classic reputation, hardcore Turtles fans are still likely to pick up it. But don’t say we didn’t warn you that after an hour of playing and the game is beaten you look around for something else to do.
Score: 5.0 – XBox Live Arcade – 800 Microsoft Points ($10.00)