Just like most other 80s kids, I was completely obsessed with the Turtles.
Between the Sewer Play Sets, Lunchboxes, and Comics, I had it all and when it popped up on TV I would never miss an episode. So, suffice it to say, every holiday I’d beg to go to an arcade just so I could plunge coins in Konami’s arcade classic.
To this day, it’s still one of my all-time favourite side-scrollers, and off the back of that, it’s fair to say most Turtles games, at least up to the early 90s, had a real standard of quality about them. Yes, even Tournament Fighters!
While more recent offerings have fallen short of the mark, I’m absolutely relieved and delighted to say DotEmu have done it again along with Tribute Games. With Streets of Rage 4, they showed they can work with an iconic franchise and make it shine in today’s market.
With Shredder’s Revenge, they’ve not only proven they are incredibly respectful of licenses but they should be given the pick of working on whatever they like, whenever they want because they care.
Shredder’s Revenge is the absolute best of the Turtles. From your favourite villains, to infamous locations, quirky humor, and an absolutely killer soundtrack. I may be biased, but I think everything about it, from top to bottom, is perfect.
From the flashy, familiar introduction, I felt the goosebumps rolling up and down my arms and was on a complete retro kick. For the three hours that followed, I was 7 years old again, immersed in this offbeat world, bashing buttons, smacking footsoldiers upside the head with Donatello’s Bo Staff, eating pizza and trying desperately not to fall down sewers.
There’s a good pace to the game as well, with its double digit chapters, fresh scenarios, side missions/collectables, and carefully introduced enemy variety. The Foot Soldiers all have very different ways of attacking you with different weapon types and over the course of the game you will have to get used to increasingly difficult patterns.
There’s even some boss repetition here but it’s done in smart ways that mean the action doesn’t get stale or predictable. I won’t go deeply into who you’ll come across here, but it should be no surprise to anyone Shredder is back in the game, as well as some of his infamous cronies like Bebop and Rocksteady.
While of course Shredder’s Revenge is a love letter to Turtles in Time and the Arcade original, the map screen also pays homage to the NES classic with its navigatable map screen using the Party Wagon. There’s even a nod and a wink to the old Simpsons Konami Arcade game and a bunch of other easter eggs. This is clearly a developer having the absolute best time working on this game, making sure to give something back to fans old and new.
Control wise, the game also has enough in its tank that you don’t just feel like you’re spamming the same moves over and over, with plenty of focus on drop and slide attacks, as well as unique special moves. Not to mention you’ve got seven playable characters to choose from, including the recently revealed Casey Jones!
Each character has different properties, such as improved speed and strength, and as you continue to play as a character over the course of the game, they’ll earn boosts to their existing stats, which encourages replayability and helps give you a little bit of an edge in combat, useful for the higher difficulties.
And did we mention there’s a bunch of alternate endings as well? So, yes, as side-scrolling beat-em-ups go, there is a wealth of replayability here.
Shredder’s Revenge is a triumph. It’s exactly what you expect it to be, while also managing to surprise and delight. If you’re like me and grew up spending far too much money in an Arcade on games like this, you’re going to be right at home. Even if you didn’t and want to know what kids used to enjoy several decades past, you’re in for a treat.
Without question, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge is one of the best side-scrolling beat-em-ups in years and it stands proudly alongside the quality lineage of products we’ve seen from the genre over the years. It might even be an unexpected Game of the Year contender. Just delightful.
+ An incredible throwback that has a satisfactory modern-day look
+ Plays like a dream
+ Lots of variety between enemies, characters, and side missions
+ Multiplayer is so much fun
– Can be a bit repetitive at times.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge is out now on PC, PS5, Switch, and XSX
Played on Xbox / PC
Code Kindly Provided by DotEmu