Yes, we’re reviewing another Turtles game. The third this year, if you’re keeping count; as well as the home console versions based on the recent movie, Ubisoft and Konami collaborated to bring the legendary Turtles arcade scrolling brawler onto Xbox Live Arcade. Even though it’s still perfectly playable, it’s really starting to show its age. The number of attacks available is laughable, largely because the arcade cabinet only had two buttons.

TMNTNow, imagine if that game was dragged from 1989 into the present era. We’re talking slick animation and detailed backdrops, anime styling, experience points, air-combos and a central hub. Like its console counterparts you can tag in a fellow Turtle for some tag-team action too.

Being on Game Boy Advance and all, Ubisoft could have easily knocked out a turgid effort because, let’s face it, that’s what all the other publishers do with their GBA movie tie-ins. But no: this is the best scrolling beat ’em up we’ve played since… well, ages. It’s a genre that’s been on the way out for years, after all. The biggest surprise – although it’s the animation that really impresses – is that it’s tough, too.

But it doesn’t have to be tough. Every thug, foot solider, mutant and monster you kill drops a small amount of money. Once a level has finished you can stroll along a high street to stock up before the next level. If you visit the health store, additional lives can be bought, which makes things easier. Buying an aluminium baseball bat or a huge sword instead can be a bit too tempting at times though.

Another thing that makes it a challenge is that if you reach a boss and get knocked for six, you have to start the whole level again. It’s pretty annoying, actually, but it’s the only major gripe we have. The enemies put up a good fight – some block certain attacks, so you need to counter – while in other cases you have to learn by your mistakes. On the first level bikers ride across the screen, and they can only be kicked off if they ride past while sitting down. Took us a few goes to work that one out, embarrassingly.

Whatever you look for in a scrolling beat ’em up, you’ll find it here – even discarded croissants that can be picked up to restore health. Those crazy French!

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