TMNT 2: BATTLE NEXUS / Konami / Gameboy Advance

To be fair, it looks like Konami tried to address the major complaints with the first GBA game here. There's more levels, a little more depth and replayability, the "talking head" cutscenes are kept to a minimum, and there's a couple of bonus modes to extend play value. However, the game gets hamstrung by sloppy play control, even worse than the rather marginal control in the first title.

What's mostly different about the levels here - aside from the removal of the special "vehicle levels" - is that there's an infusion of "stealth" gameplay wherein most levels begin with the Turtles disarmed for some reason. You have only a really pathetic shuriken until you find your weapons, which usually involves getting past a few guards first. Fortunately these are the dumbest guards in the world, and hiding in an alcove right in front of them makes them forget about your existence. The "stealth" is kept to a relative minimum, but more off-putting is the new emphasis on ledge climbing and dangling like a clumsily designed Prince of Persia. These sequences are usually where the levels break down and cease to become any fun at all.

60 levels doesn't help all that much when the levels are all pretty samey and repetitive. The two bonus modes don't help either - there's a "racing" mode on surfboards that's sorta like simplified Sonic the Hedgehog, which is some braindead fun but nothing exciting, and then there's a "battle" mode which actually has more to do with clambering about on platforms collecting as many crystals as possible before time runs out. Though, if you have multiple players hooked up via link cable, I think you can smack each other around to knock the opponents crystal stash loose.

Battle Nexus is at once polished and seemingly responsive to fan concerns, and yet still tedious and uninspired. The repetitive levels aren't worth putting up with the janky bits where the ill-advised attempts to ape Prince of Persia and Metal Gear Solid make the gameplay painful, really.

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