There are a few things that you might be surprised to learn about this well-timed movie tie-in. The first is that it isn’t two-player; quite astonishing given that co-op brawling was the main attraction of Konami’s Turtles titles. The second is that Shredder doesn’t feature – instead they’re out to stop an army of ancient monsters terrorizing the city. None of which are Bebob and Rocksteady. And why did they change the enemies in Biker Mice from Mars into cats? What was wrong with Greasepit and Lawrence Limburger?
The shelled teens need no introduction, although the first four levels involve the turtles on their lonesome in order explain the story and to show off their skills. Michelangelo can use his nunchucks like helicopter blades, Donatello can pole vault, Raphael can climb up walls, and Leonardo can pass through certain objects thanks to a special jewel. After this, most of the levels let you swap between turtles on the fly in order to use their skills as and when they’re needed.
They can also team up for an extra long throw over vast gaps or for a tag-team move during battles. Oddly though, fighting only makes up around fifteen percent of the game – the rest is following a cookie-crumb trail of shiny coins across rooftops, swinging on poles, climbing along ledges and running along Rayman Raving Rabbids billboards. It’s not long until each level becomes as predictable as the last, and the fact that there are infinite lives and frequent checkpoints should indicate the overall level of difficulty.
It’s a shame, as the fluid fighting system is backed by some fancy moves. At the end of a long combo Michelangelo starts spinning around on his back, knocking over everybody in his way, while Donatello sticks his pole in the ground and swings around it. Although you usually only see one or two enemy types during a battle, if you manage to kill ten enemies in a row a slow-motion effect kicks in and the camera closes in on the action. It’s quite swish – not a surprise considering it uses the Prince of Persia engine.
Visually it’s the poorest 360 game we’ve seen. Ubisoft managed to make King Kong on 360 look the part despite being a multiformat release, so it’s a bit of a swizz that they didn’t put the same effort in here. Raphael’s night time levels have a clean cut black and white Sin City-style vibe which is quite appealing, but the opening stage with its 2D undergrowth screams PlayStation 2 port. It’s very easy to earn Gamerpoints and unlock the achievements though, which might be a draw for some.
Speaking of unlocking – there aren’t any clips from the CGI movie, but instead some comedic CGI shorts featuring the turtles goofing around which can be unlocked with tokens earned from fighting with style and finishing levels quickly. Attempting to do so is the only real replay value on offer – with short levels and minimal challenge it’s a game that’s over all too quickly.