Let me just come out and say it: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge is the best throwback of 2022.
Shredder’s Revenge is basically a modern reimagining of the classic arcade beat ’em ups complete with couch co-op to share the fun with friends. And let’s be real: TMNT is meant to be played with friends. This game is perfect for it; the Xbox and Nintendo Switch console versions allow for six players on one console while the PlayStation version supports four-player couch co-op.
First, you’ll want to select between Leonardo, Michaelangelo, Donatello, Raphael, Master Splinter, and April O’Neil. Each character has their own unique attributes. (You can also unlock Casey Jones.) The game starts off in New York City with stills and text to tell the story just like the classic games. Bebop and Rocksteady are assaulting Channel 6, so the Turtles head to the station to confront the Foot Clan.
“I love being a turtle.”
The game takes place across New York City with locations including the Channel 6 studio, city rooftops, and sewers. Dotemu cleverly used an overworld map of Manhattan, so you can travel the city via the Party Wagon as you are in between levels. You’ll also make it all the way to Dimension X in a fitting tribute to the original cartoon series.
To be honest, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge plays like the greatest hits of the classic TMNT games. Although there are new areas, retro levels are also at least partially reimagined (such as the rooftops from The Manhattan Project) as are the game’s bosses. There are boss fights at the end of each level including villains that you probably forgot about.
In addition to the previously mentioned Bebop and Rocksteady – who remain as incompetent as ever – you’ll also fight Slash, Metalhead, Leatherhead, Baxter, and more. And, yes, of course, there are Shredder (it’s called Shredder’s Revenge, people!) and Krang as well as a few surprises.
The best modern beat ’em up
Dotemu brought us the much-anticipated and positively received Streets of Rage 4. So it is no real surprise that they managed to pull off something special with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge. The bigger surprise is that – after decades of underwhelming TMNT games – it took this long for someone to finally get it right.
The gameplay here is fast and the action is constant. You’ll slash and kick your way through hordes of Foot Soldiers, Mousers, and Robotic Unicycles. The environments are destructible as well, so expect plenty of explosive barrels, traffic cones, and fire hydrants. Oh, and did we mention that there’s pizza? Lots of pizza!
Smooth as butter
The combat has never felt smoother. You can effortlessly switch between an attack on opponents on your right and left. The number of moves is bigger than ever before too, and you can power up each character for their own unique special attack. If you’re new to the game, no worries. Before the start of each game, there is a list of moves, combos, and special attacks.
The graphics are just as smooth as the controls. I did not experience any slowdown during my time playing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge. That should not be terribly surprising since we’re talking about playing a 2D game on next-gen hardware. Dotemu faithfully recreated the spirit of the original cartoons in a way that the NES and SNES hardware would not allow.
The story mode runs only a couple of hours long, but there are collectibles to find throughout each level. Plus, these games are designed for multiple playthroughs. Hardcore fans will easily get 10+ hours from this game. For an extra challenge, you can up the difficulty in story mode. You can also play Arcade Mode, which provides you with a limited number of lives.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge is the TMNT game that I’ve wanted for 30 years. The game picks up the baton where Konami left off in the early 1990s with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time on the SNES. Simply put, it’s brilliantly done.
Game Freaks 365 received a free review copy.