The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are just as synonymous with the scrolling beat ’em up genre as they are with ’80s kids TV. The former has enjoyed a resurgence in the past year, proving there’s still life left in a genre that seemed pretty much dead for two decades. There’s a lot to love in Shredder’s Revenge – check out our hands-on with the most radical beat ’em up of 2022 – but here are the five biggest reasons you should fire it up ASAP.
1. It is a six-player game, local and online
Ever been playing a game that lets you squad up with three of your mates for an evening of 4-player co-op action but have to leave a couple of your pals out? First of all, look at you, you social butterfly. But secondly, leave no one behind in a game of Shredder’s Revenge. It turns the session into an absolutely chaotic time but has the brilliant side effect of allowing you to rack up some really high combos by working together to batter the various enemies that get in your collective way. It’s also on Game Pass, so if you’ve got six mates who have access to the service then you’ve got six people to make up your team to put the boot into the Foot Clan.
2. The soundtrack is banging!
The classic Konami TMNT beat ’em ups had excellent, memorable soundtracks and producer Tee Lopes (Sonic Mania) has done a fantastic job in capturing the same vibe and sound of those but what was completely unexpected is the appearance of some vocal tracks throughout the game. What was even MORE unexpected is that one of these contains legendary Wu Tang clan members Raekwon and Ghostface Killah, rapping about the Ninja Turtles. The cherry on top of this tasty soundtrack cake is the inclusion of Faith No More/Fantomas/Mr Bungle/a million others frontman Mike Patton singing the original Turtles cartoon theme song. They’ve come a long way since Partners In Kryme and Vanilla Ice.
3. It looks gorgeous
The sprite work in Shredder’s Revenge evokes both the Super Nintendo title Turtles In Time and, of course, the 80’s cartoon, but in an idealised way. It’s a bit like a SNES title that ignores the 16-bit limitations of that machine. Every turtle has unique animations while in the original game they were all largely just a different colour eye mask and the weapon they were holding. The real stars of the show are the various coloured members of the Foot Clan – the Foot Soldiers. Each flavour has their own different set of animations that give them their own character and within each of the game’s sixteen stages there’s specific, unique variations too. For what are just the generic enemy foot soldiers (literally, here) they’ve got bags of charm.
4. It’s full of brilliant references for TMNT fans
The unlockable playable Casey Jones is obviously a really cool addition for fans of TMNT but there’s so many moments calling back to the cartoon series but also previous video game releases. Seeing characters like Baxter Stockman, Rat King, Leatherhead and the Triceratons show up as bosses will all pop a Turtles fan but also references to things like The Punk Frogs, Channel 6’s cameraman Vernon and Tokka and Rehzar from the second movie, you know you’re dealing with a game created by people who love the source material and, crucially, know exactly what the fans want to see.
5. It brings the scrolling beat ’em up bang up to date
It’s true that nostalgia can be a powerful, blinding influence but Shredder’s Revenge is more than just a trip down memory lane for those in their late 30s – it’s a smart, modern beat ’em up in the same way Streets of Rage 4 is, both showing that after years in the wilderness, there’s still plenty of fun to be found in this classic genre. Seamless drop in-drop out co-op multiplayer in both offline and online flavours, a combo system that rewards players looking for a high level skill challenge just as much as it does people who just want to mash buttons and beat up the bad guys and visuals that evoke memories of the classics but are actually quite impressive. It’s pretty bodacious, as the Turtle lads themselves would probably say.
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