Since their debut in arcades and home consoles in the late 1980’s and early 90’s, “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” has become synonymous with the glory days of arcade brawlers. With “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows,” launching tomorrow (Aug. 28) on Xbox Live, Red Fly Studio and Activision Publishing, Inc. look to deliver a new chapter in the “Turtles'” legacy designed for both franchise newcomers, and long-time fans of the fearsome foursome.
Balancing these two imperatives is seldom an easy task, but if our preview with “TMNT: OOTS” is any indication, Red Fly Studio and Activision Publishing is taking the right approach. The gameplay implements modern mechanics while still maintaining the classic beat ‘em up feel of its predecessor, and the entire experience is underlined by small touches that illustrate the developers’ unmistakable love and respect for the franchise.
For example, the Turtles love to wisecrack and shoot one-liners back and forth in the heat of combat – a clear nod to their cartoon adaptations – but the game’s art direction is gritty and realistic, echoing the themes found more prevalently in Mike Eastman and Peter Laird’s graphic novels. However, “TMNT: OOTS” is set in the world established by Nickelodeon’s “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” so realistic interpretation of the cartoon’s characters also appear throughout the game.
One of the stages we played has the Turtles fighting their way through a back alley crawling with members of the Purple Dragons– regular enemies found in the Nickelodeon cartoon. However, everything about the level design rekindles memories of the arcade game, namely “TMNT IV: Turtles in Time’s” Alleycat Blues. It’s an interesting and nostalgic combination of elements taken from almost 30 years of “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” history.
Even the gameplay is a unique marriage of old and new. Fans of beat ‘em ups will feel right at home button-mashing their way to victory, but “TMNT: OOTS’” combat is also endowed with a level of depth that requires practice and experimentation to master which the dojo is perfect for perfecting these moves.
Each Turtle has their strengths and weaknesses. Michelangelo is the fastest of the bunch, allowing him to build up his combo meter quickly, but his attacks are a little weaker. Whereas Donatello packs the biggest punch and has the most range, but he’s also the slowest as he analyzes his every move. You can also perform brutal counters and special attack, and switch between the Turtles on the fly in order to set up powerful team attacks. On top of that, abilities and weapon upgrades can be unlocked, allowing you to customize your play style.
In addition, you can truly play as Team TMNT in seamless 4-player online multiplayer and execute team combo moves in relentless combat! Play in multiple modes such as Campaign, Arcade and Challenge.
“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows” is available on Aug. 28 for 1200 Microsoft Points as part of Xbox Live’s Summer of Arcade. For more details, visit Xbox.com.