knightsofround's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time Re-Shelled (Xbox 360 Games Store) review

Turtles in Time RS is fun, but it's not the remake you wanted.

There's no doubt that anyone who has played Turtles in Time looks back on that game with fond memories and warm nostalgia. Truly, Turtles in Time is a masterpiece of its era, and is easily one of the greatest games of all time. So what exactly is the issue with this modern day remake of this highly regarded beat 'em up?

First and foremost, Turtles in Time Re-Shelled is a remake of the arcade version of Turtles in Time, which is significantly different than the SNES version - which is the version of the game that everyone played, and that everyone remembers. It's unfortunate that Ubisoft didn't combine the best aspects of the arcade and SNES versions into one remake, but that would be too much awesomeness for anyone to comprehend.

So what exactly is the big difference between these two games? Well, the SNES version had more bosses, more levels, and more enemy types. There were some things lost in transition from the arcades though. Some enemies had less attacks at their disposal or an otherwise completely different set of moves. There were also less enemies capable of being on the screen at once, as well as some audio clips removed due to the limitations of the SNES' hardware. The most significant change however, was that the SNES obviously, was only capable of having two players at once due to the lack of four controllers. Re-Shelled naturally restores this feature being a remake of the arcade version, but in all honesty four player co-op can almost feel a little too crazy. Two players at once seems to be the sweet spot for this game, but of course it's still fun with more people. Remember the Rat King? The Technodrome Level? The Awesome boss fight where you threw foot soldiers into the screen to defeat shredder? None of that is here. Other notable differences between the two versions is that Slash is not in the game, as he originally replaced the Cement Man boss. Bebop & Rocksteady are not in the Skull and Crossbones level (Tokka & Rahzar were there originally but moved to the Technodrome in the SNES version). Neon Night riders goes from left to right like Sewer Surfin' rather than going forward, which unfortunately takes a lot of uniqueness out of that level. Shredder was also changed changed to Super Shredder for the final boss fight in the SNES version, and he only used magic attacks instead of fighting with a sword. It's worth noting however that the original Shredder battle which is featured in this game is still a fantastic boss battle, and is in some ways superior to the Super Shredder one.

At it's core, Turtles in Time Re-Shelled is still a fun game despite the fact that it lacks a lot of things fans will have been hoping to see. The gameplay is deceptively simple. You use a to jump, x to attack, and y to use a special move. You can perform various other moves as well, such as running charge attacks, as well as jumping attacks. They've also added a double jump, although it doesn't really serve much of a purpose other than changing the type of aerial attack you will perform. There are some differences in your available attacks compared to the SNES version as well, such as no longer being able to perform a rising upwards kick attack, or a slowly descending aerial attack barrage. You can still swing your weapon in the air after a double jump, but it can only be swung once rather than multiple times.

The graphics in Turtles in Time Re-Shelled are obviously one of the major differences, and are pretty gorgeous actually. You lose a bit of that 16-bit era nostalgia, but on an HDTV this game looks especially great. All of the levels have been faithfully adapted as well, so there are no complaints in this department. The upgraded graphics have altered the game however. Enemies as well as player character are completely solid, and you cannot walk or jump through one another. You can also attack in eight directions this time around, instead of simply left or right. It's worth noting that this doesn't negatively effect the game and actually helps freshen it up for the current generation of games.

One of the biggest gripes most hardcore Turtles in Time fans will have with this remake is that the original music is not here. Some of the songs are somewhat similar and you can see that the new compositions were inspired and based on the original track, but in other cases the songs are pretty much impossible to relate to the original theme. One of the worst cases in the boss music, which is pretty much unidentifiable which is a pretty big letdown. It's disappointing that the nostalgic music has not been faithfully adapted into this remake. It doesn't ruin the experience, but it definitely doesn't help either.

Depending on your fondness for Turtles in Time and whether or not you've played the SNES version extensively will have a huge impact on how much you enjoy this game. On its own merits Turtles in Time Re-Shelled is actually a pretty fun game. Unfortunately the lack of a lot of nostalgic pieces of the SNES version, as well as the original fantastic music really impacts this game. It feels a lot less significant and memorable than the original, and new players will most likely sit there wondering what all the fuss is about. Turtles in Time Re-Shelled is an amusing venture for a brief amount of time with some friends, but if you're not particularly fond of the turtles this probably isn't worth your time and money. Turtles in Time is also a deceptively short game, especially with the lack of the SNES features, after a few playthroughs you probably won't want to touch this for a pretty long time. Ultimately if you're a hardcore fan of Turtles in Time or the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in general then this is worth playing so long as you've got the companionship to go along with it, and the online play is definitely a nice touch. Unfortunately when it's all said and done, the next time you get the itch for the turtles you're probably going to be dragging out the SNES or booting up some emulators rather than booting up your Xbox 360. 

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