One of my best video game memories is as a child I used to go to my friend’s house, and his Dad would fix arcade machines, and we’d spend hours in his garage, sitting on stools in front of various arcade machines. One time he had Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Arcade and we did little else. Tribute Games clearly have the same love for the classic arcade game, like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge feels like a fan’s love letter to that game, and it’s available now across pretty much all platforms.
I was big into the Turtles when I was a kid. I still have photos of me from Christmas morning with Turtles action figures. I remember playing the Turtles arcade, Turtles on the NES (which was surprisingly hard) and then getting Turtles in Time on the SNES, which used Mode Seven when it came to throwing enemies at the screen. Shredder’s Revenge has been up there on my list of most anticipated games since it was announced by the same team that successfully launched Streets of Rage 4 back in 2020.
Shredder’s Revenge has all the characters and then some. They have Leonardo, Donatello, Michelangelo and Rafael, plus they have April, Splinter and Casey Jones as playable characters to support our heroes-in-a-half-shell. What’s more, you can play up to six players in co-op mode, which is something I haven’t seen before. The four-player co-op was common in arcade side-scrolling brawlers like The Simpsons, X-men and the original Turtles arcade, but six players are above and beyond, and it feels very good.
This new iteration of the Turtles scrolling beat ’em up adds some new features into the mix too. It still buttons mashy as all scrolling beat ’em ups are, but you have combos and challenges to keep things fresh, which adds a modern take on the combat. As well to the simple attack and jump, you have a special attack which can deal a load of damage, plus you have the dodge move, so you can quickly get out of the way of attacks, and throw players into the screen, much like my beloved Turtles in Time.
Each player has an attack meter, which you fill up by attacking and dishing out combos to the Foot Clan. The aim is to fill the meter to the top, and then you can unleash your super attack, however, if you take damage then the meter will reset. The super move added to the range of attacks you’re able to dish out really helps, especially when you come up against bosses. Tribute Games don’t mess with the successful formula too much, they are clearly fans of the original games. But there are nice new additions like the super attacks and interactive environments which can really help you out when you are in a tight spot.
There are 16 levels in Shredder’s Revenge and a nice array of environments. You have the classic New York streets and sewers, plus jump to the past much like Turtles in Time. Tribute Games have crafted some brand new levels too, for example, one that takes place in a zoo, and you have to contend with escaped animals as environmental factors. There are the classic levels when you are on a skateboard and you have to dodge cars. Each level has different environment items you can damage and use to your advantage, I spent way too much time hitting all the cones on the street level, plus you have your fire hydrants too. Broadly speak you have two types of level design; one where you are going from left to fight, fighting a bunch of the Foot Clan and ending up at a boss, then the other is when your travelling on a skateboard or hoverboard fighting enemies while trying to avoid cars or other projectiles. It may not new, but the levels are crafted and put together brilliantly in this package.
The soundtrack is one of the best that will release in 2022 and includes remixes of classic songs from the original game plus new tracks too. Artists like Ghostface Killa and Mega Ran have created original tracks for the game including a new classic called “Mutants Over Broadway”. The music feels right out of the 90s and is perfectly placed in Shredders Revenge.
The Turtles are the star of the show and the developers have done a good job to make them feel like they have unique characteristics. Leo has his twin katanas, Donny has his bo staff, Mikey has the nunchucks and Rapheal has the twin sais. My favourite in the old Turtles game was Donatello. He’s the scientist, the computer lovin’ nerd, but also he had an advantage over the others because of the bo staff… it had longer reach than the rest of the weapons. Here in Shredders Revenge they have other distinguishing features too; Leo for example has a flipping summersault, Mikey can bounce off enemies with dive kicks, Raphael has a Brock Lesnar Style suplex, and Donny still has super long reach with a weapon. Splinter, April and Casey Jones are great additions to the cast if you want to take a break from the Turtles. Splinter is a martial arts expert, April uses her TV camera equipment, and Casey Jones has a range of weapons like a hockey stick and golf club.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge can be played solo or as a group of players in local co-op or online. When you play solo you’ll have a few extra AI players thrown in there for good measure to help you out, and you will probably need it. The game scales the difficulty depending on how many players you have in the game, and it does feel oppressive at all, the difficulty works well, plus you have the choice of easy, medium and hard difficulty. There are a couple of ways to play the game, there is the main campaign mode where you play through each of the levels and select them from an overworld much like Super Mario 3 or World. There’s also the classic arcade mode where you only have a certain number of lives, making it feel like the classic arcade days. The game isn’t too long, it can be completed in roughly two hours, and if you have any sense of nostalgia for the classic arcade titles I recommend playing through it.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge is a fantastic trip down memory lane for fans of scrolling beat ’em ups and mid-90s Turtles culture. Playing through the game took me back to playing the arcade games with friends when I was a kid, plus getting the Turtles in Time and other classic Turtles games on the NES and SNES. I don’t know what it would be like playing these games without the nostalgia, however, they are modern touches here like the combos and challenges, plus one of the best soundtracks you are going to hear in 2022. It’s also available on Game Pass on Xbox and PC, so if you have that service you can jump in right away.
Developer: Tribute Games
Platforms: Xbox, PC, Switch, PlayStation (reviewed on PC)
Release date: 16th June 2022