Version Played: Xbox 360 Current CEX Price: £5 As I’ve covered extensively elsewhere on the blog, I’ve always been a massive fan of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (and this year […]
Version Played: Xbox 360
Current CEX Price: £5
As I’ve covered extensively elsewhere on the blog, I’ve always been a massive fan of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (and this year is their 35th Anniversary – shouldn’t they be Middle-Aged Mutant Ninja Turtles by now?) I really enjoyed the 2012 Nickelodeon reboot; the changes to established lore were made in service of bringing a number of previously disparate elements together and were well implemented, in my opinion. The CG-animated style has a unique look and feel – and the voice acting was excellent. The theme tune was one that grew on me; I wasn’t keen at first, but it’s definitely stood the test of time – so far – in my opinion.
There were a few games based on that specific incarnation of TMNT; Danger of the Ooze is one of them. An unusual, somewhat unexpected approach is taken here – though when you see that it was developed by WayForward, perhaps it shouldn’t have been unexpected at all. You take control of one turtle at a time (and you can switch between them unless they’ve lost their health – in which case you have to find the room they’re being ‘held’ in, in order for them to rejoin your team) across a nicely sized 2.5D city map, structured like a classic Metroidvania title.
If you’re already familiar with – and enjoy – the Nickelodeon series that Danger of the Ooze is based on, you’ll appreciate all of the effort WayForward have gone to in order to ensure that the game has a very authentic feel to the source material. From audio, visuals and the characters included – not to mention the excellent writing – it seems that they really have gone to the Nth degree to ensure that, 2.5D perspective aside, it really feels like an episode of the cartoon.
The city (and beyond!) map unlocks at a nice pace, as does the variety of enemies that you’ll face. The steady drip-feed of map areas that you’ll get to glimpse as you progress is satisfying and encourages you to progress by piquing your curiosity. It’s not the biggest game in the world, but does offer a decent amount of content at the current price level.
Where the game falls down is in some of the overly punishing elements of the design; for example, losing a turtle isn’t so bad when you have a few in reserve, but finding them again to get your lives back is much more convoluted than it should be, especially when you’ve hit a difficulty spike and need to traverse the sizeable levels – as you need to do a certain amount of backtracking to find your brother(s). Enemy placement is sometimes unfair; you’ll take unavoidable damage just moving up or down to a different platform on occasion, without being able to see the enemy until it’s too late.
It’s a real shame, because the game itself is so lovely to look at – it’s a riot of colour, for example – and the actual structure of progression so satisfying. It’s far too easy to be down to one life and get stuck, respawning over and over again with just that single life available when you return – and having to constantly backtrack over huge areas with enemies that come back the moment you move to another ‘room’. In a game aimed at younger players who are fans of the TV series, it feels far too challenging – and not in a way that seems fair, either.
The ultimate question: is it worth a try at current Bargain Bin prices? I think a fiver is just a little too much, especially when you consider the amazing quality of games on offer for a fraction of this price. There’s not a huge amount of competition in the Metroidvania genre for Xbox 360, but even so it could have done with a few gameplay niggles being ironed out before release. Not only that, but your enjoyment of this specific incarnation of TMNT will be a deciding factor too. A good game, but unfortunately and unnecessarily frustrating in a lot of ways too.
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