Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time Re-Shelled

The ridiculously titled Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time Re-Shelled is a remake of the classic arcade game with the same root name, and it shows in all the worst ways. It's an old-school beat-em-up game, and it never tries to be more than that, which could be touted as a feature, but is actually the biggest problem with the game.

Re-Shelled contains only a few modes, all of which are mere variations on venturing through the "story mode," the main campaign. There are nine levels in the story mode, but they're all so short that the entire game can be beaten in under 30 minutes. There's no real reason to want to put yourself through "survival mode" (in which you try to make it as far as you can on one single life) or play any of the individual levels in "quick play mode" or whatever it's called, as the only thing required of you to beat the game is to hold right on the stick and mash the X button until blood squirts from your eyes. For this reason, there's really no reason to play the game more than once or twice, and even while you're playing it those few times you'll wonder why you are.

The original Turtles in Time was created in a time in which game developers could get away with a lot of really weird stuff. I'm talking about stuff that just doesn't fly nowadays, like having the same basic enemy type in every level of the game, even when locations are spanning from the dinosaur times to the distant future. It's fine at first, but it begins to wear on you quickly. "Oh hey guys, we're on the city streets and we're fighting ninjas! Well now we're in the Jurassic period and- oh yeah here they come, more ninjas." I also like how in the level set in the year 2020 A.D. everybody is flying around on hoverboards over floating roads with nothing underneath them. The developers of Turtles in Time really had high expectations for the evolution of our highway system, apparently.

The best and worst parts of the game show whenever you play online with a full set of four turtles. There is inevitably some lag and the animations for the turtles are choppy to start with, so while it's really fun to spin around mashing X (or as I like to call it, "the win button") it's pretty likely that you'll have a massive epileptic seizure just from looking at the screen, as it all turns into one big mess of giant turtles beating ninjas with various objects. It's so impossible to tell what's going on that the developers dedicated the left trigger just to finding where your character is on screen (it makes an exclamation point pop up over their heads).

I actually had a lot of fun playing with some random guys online. The guy playing Leonardo didn't have a headset and kept "pizza-camping" (pizzas heal your turtle and this particular jerk kept taking all the pizza) so at one point my team collectively decided to let the offender face Shredder on his own, while we refused to defend him. That was all fun and well, but the actual game itself got pretty old by the time we reached the final boss (in less than 30 minutes, I must remind you).

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time Re-Shelled is a totally not horrible game for about 45 minutes. For a $10 game it's an okay deal, but when you consider that AMAZING games like N+ are also available on XBLA for the same price, Re-Shelled doesn't seem as enticing. If you REALLY loved the old game your nostalgia might make this one worth it, but the rest of you should probably save your Microsoft Points.

Players:1-4 players

Platform(s):Xbox Live Arcade (reviewed), PSN (November 2009 release)

Developer:Ubisoft Singapore