PAX East: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder's Revenge
By: Roberto Nieves
One of the most highly anticipated debuts at PAX East was TMNT: Shredders Revenge from the team that made Streets of Rage 4, DotEmu. A lot has been riding on TMNT, following the announcement trailer from some time ago and the fact there hasn't been a new TMNT game for more than half a decade. At PAX East, a playable demo was available, and TMNT: Shredder's Revenge is shaping to be everything you wanted and everything you needed.
The demo took me through the first two levels of the game, facing off against Bebop and Rocksteady. My demo started with just myself, as there were no other players at the moment. Visually, TMNT: Shredders Revenge was stunning, with this extremely sublime and polished visual presentation reminding players of TMNT: Turtles In Time. Everything looked thick, clean, and authentic. But, visuals can only go so far, and for TMNT: Shredders Revenge, the gameplay is where it shines.
I played for myself for about three minutes as Leonardo. Controls were instantly reachable and tight, and Leonardo's move set felt great, with his two katanas, jumps, and kicks. Fighting the foot soldiers felt right, and I even did the infamous throw at the screen.
One nice and important discovery was the hit counter. The higher the counter, the higher the special attack meter builds. Unlike previous arcade brawlers, using the attack does not use health. I kept fighting hard to ensure the multiplier stayed high and used the attack. Enemies were dangerous, and I did lose a life. Fortunately, there were scattered pizza boxes to fill health.
Another player joined shortly, choosing Donatello. Together, we smashed our way through the newsroom, bashing ninjas before eventually facing Bebop. The boss fight was the expected flair. More enemies were summoned while he tried to fight and shoot, but eventually, we were successful.
As we made our way into level 2, we were out on the city streets. Things got crazier as Krang's robots were introduced; they were fast, mobile, and hard to hit. Me and Player 2 were doing good but needed help. Soon enough, two more players hopped on, one being Raphael and the other being Master Splinter. At that moment, TMNT Shredders Revenge became everything I wanted and everything I needed.
A rock and rolling soundtrack. Bad guys flying left and right. Shouts and one-liners for the turtles and Splinter, and having a great time with total strangers. That's everything I could have ever wanted in a TMNT, and here I was, in level 2, having the time of my life.
To add even more to the excitement, it was announced shortly before the show that the original voice cast from the hit TV show would reprise their roles. I can confirm that indeed happened. It was a thrill to hear their voices on screen. Perhaps, in one way, bittersweet as we will never hear James Avery return as Shredder as he passed in 2013. I am sure who is chosen to voice Shredder will do the character justice.
As we approached the end of the level, I noticed a few gameplay features. One was the ability to heal oneself. Though I couldn't do it as Leonardo, it looks like Splinter, at least, can heal themselves for a brief moment. Additionally, the player playing as Splinter figured out how to high-five other players and gave others a quick slap. We came across pizza that gave infinite energy for the special attack for a short time and another power that put the turtles into an invincibility mode that wrecked enemies.
The demo concluded with us fighting Rocksteady, with him using more ranged attacks than Bebop, but nonetheless, he was taken down in less than two minutes, much to the delight of all that I played with.
TMNT: Shredder's Revenge is everything you wanted and everything you needed, and even as the rest of the game is under wraps, it's easily a Day One purchase for sure. The presentation that combines the old with the new is staggering, and the attention to fan service is impeccable. Playing as the turtles feels just right. Not too loose and not too stiff. Finally, the action, music, and overall gameplay coalesce into a sublime action arcade experience that will warm even the hardiest of hearts into the days of coin-operated arcade cabinets and greatly excite those looking for the next big exhilarating arcade experience.
This Summer, whether you are 14 or 54, be prepared to kick some shell and have a shell of a time.
TMNT: Shredder's Revenge launches for PC and all consoles in Summer 2022.