Do you remember playing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
on the old NES/SNES? Well, if you do then you'll be
pleased to know that with the release of a new TMNT
television series on Fox Box (Fox Kids) comes a new
set of TMNT video games for the GBA. Together with their
fearless rat leader, Splinter, the Teenage Mutant Ninja
Turtles Leonardo, Michelangelo, Donatello and Raphael
must once again battle the evil Shredder and his equally
TMNT employs a very simple menu system that gets
you quickly into the game or back where you left off,
thanks to its cartridge save. Each turtle has his own
story line (episode), which means that you'll never
play the same level with the turtle you choose. Each
episode has 4 acts, and one of the 4 acts (either 2
or 3) will be a special level.
Each level is unique in its own way, with a wide
variety of villains to battle and built specifically
for the turtle you choose. The special levels, one per
episode, include Michelangelo sliding through the sewers
on his shellboard, Leonardo zooming through the underground
in the turtle tank, Donatello soaring in the sky with
the shell glider and Raphael in a bike race against
Casey Jones. Unfortunately, some of the levels are over
too fast and it would have been nice if they could have
included more. There are 17 levels in all, with the
17th level playable by all characters in what is the
final battle against your nemesis, Shredder. In order
to get to that final level, however, you must beat the
game in normal or hard mode and also find all 20 crystals
(5 per turtle) to unlock it.
The story lines in the game are similar to the TV
show. There's a good deal of joking around initially
but in the end, it's always down to business. Even though
the dialogue is interesting at times and the visuals
nice to look at, the cut scenes can get rather long.
Thankfully, however, you can press the start button
to skip the cut scenes and get right to the butt kicking
action. If you want to read through all the dialog for
each episode, then be prepared to spend at least 30
to 40 minutes doing it.
TMNT was very simple to play back in the NES/SNES
days and that hasn't changed for the GBA. You have 3
levels of attack, depending on how long you hold the
button - longer the hold, the bigger the attack and
the more damage it will do. If you are ever surrounded
by enemies, there is always your "360 degree"
quick attack. You have to be sparing when using this
special attack because every time you use it, it takes
a sliver off your health meter.
Climbing, jumps, double jumps and launching are all
easily executed by using either the jump button, the
d-pad or a combination of both. Moves and special moves
are unique to each turtle's fighting style and are based
around their weapon of choice. I must say that TMNT
has a "beautiful" control system that's responsive
and easy to get a hang of.
TMNT's game graphics have come a long way since the
days of the NES/SNES. The graphics in this GBA version
are well designed and are colored and shaded with a
high level of detail. All of the characters look great
too and their animation even better.
The level designs are also very well laid out, and
similar to what you'd expect from TMNT games on the
old NES/SNES. What I especially liked though, was the
two special levels in the sewer for Michelangelo and
Leonardo. The developers did a good job with the 3D
effects here, which gave the whole scene a fast and
very realistic sense of travelling speed. My only issue
with the graphics, and I must say that it is very minor,
is that the small face icon beside the health and attack
meters could have had a little more detail and emotions,
rather than just the three that are used (regular, pain
Sound & Music
The music in TMNT is great and perfectly suitable
for an action game like this. Furthermore, the music
in each level is different, so it doesn't get repetitive.
The sound effects are also top notch and nicely timed
with the on-screen action. Call me silly, but my favorite
sound effect is the "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles"
line from the theme song that comes on at the end of
each act. I just love it!
Playing TMNT on the GBA has brought back fond memories
of playing TMNT on the old NES/SNES. It's a good game
indeed, and not just for nostalgic reasons. Mirage Studios
and Konami have put together a pretty decent game that
has variety, customized levels for each turtle, good
controls and very crisp game play. It would have been
better if they could have added a few more levels to
make it longer or even a co-operative multiplayer feature.
But as it stands, the game certainly rocks and is a
definite must buy even if you aren't a TMNT fan.