TMNT / Ubisoft / GBA

Ubisoft went on some confusing tear of releasing Ninja Turtles games for the GBA back around 2006-2007. They released a game called "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" and a sequel for it, which I guess were based on a license for some revival of the cartoon. Before those, though, they released this game, entitled simply "TMNT", based on the license for some CGI movie I never even knew existed until now.

This one is more of a "pure" beat-em-up in the vein of the original Ninja Turtles arcade game. You go through linear levels, but you can take a break in between levels to hit up a shop with the coins you find, and buy some equippable upgrade gear for your ninjers. Unfortunately the designers also seem to have gone to the school of Devil May Cry design, as enemy mooks take 11ty jillion hits to kill, and like to turtle alot (OH THE IRONY), so the game revolves around combo-whoring endlessly.

It's a surprisingly hard game, but I feel that's mostly due to a sloppy engine. The hit boxes for the enemies seem ridiculously narrow sometimes, you'll be right next to them flailing away and still doing nothing. Meanwhile, your own hit box seems overly generous. Enemies also get away with some insane shit regularly. The big guys with the bats that like to turtle slide back like a million miles automatically whenever you hit them while blocking (which is what they spend the majority of their time doing.) The most common generic mooks not only take a shit ton of hits, but can also bounce garbage cans off their faces with no ill effects? Between the amazing resilliency of even common enemies and the sloppy hit-boxes you often feel like you got cheesed or just don't know what to expect. The game gives you 6 lives at the outset, which seems generous, until you realise that's to be spread through the *entire game*, and you can easily lose three or four in the very first level at normal difficulty. There's this one particular bullshit part in the first level where you have to dodge an oncoming train, but it's a miracle to actually be able to get your turtle far enough over to actually jump to safety thanks to their unresponsiveness and sludgy animation, burning at least one of your precious lives cheaply right there.

The aesthetic doesn't really help the case either. I guess there's some decent sprite art but that's about it. The story is developed between levels by some of the worst compressed screenshots I've ever seen of the movie and text, and it's one of those things that's dumb and juvenile yet needlessly weighed down with details and characters to the point of confusion. The music is roundly awful too. It sounds like an half-competent attempt to ape Yuzo Koshiro's work on the Streets of Rage games.

Videos :

* Gameplay Video