Review by Matt Paprocki

Ubi Soft


Graphics: 6

Sound: 5

Gameplay: 6

Overall: 4


It’s appalling to think that the last truly great Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game was on the Super NES, in a drastically under appreciated fighting game, Tournament Fighters. Over a decade later, numerous pieces of hardware, and countless technology revolutions later, we end up with the simply titled TMNT. It’s not Turtles in Time, it’s not Tournament Fighters, and it’s definitely not fun.

tmnt1wii.jpg (47816 bytes)In this single player adventure, the classic heroes take on their new movie form as they traverse restrictive levels riddled with bottomless pits and repetitive enemies. The story focuses on family, and the stronger that bond, the better moves the player can perform.

It’s an interesting mechanic, though one that prevents any form of multi-player. Turtles can be swapped at will, or called in for that extra power move in desperate scenarios depending on whether or not the stage features the ability to do so. The focus of the game lies more with platforming than fighting, and that seems to be where the developers spent most of their time refining.

Jumping and running along walls is immediately satisfying. Nicely rendered animation makes these simple moves look like a professional is performing them. The occasional hiccup can cause an unwarranted death (especially given the sometimes automatic nature of these moves), though these are minor and rare. Using both the Nunchuck and Wii Remote for these button and analog stick moves feels perfect.

Sadly, this is not the same when in combat. Every slash of the sword must be met with a flick of the remote. It’s unnatural and unintuitive. You’re not swinging the Remote like a sword, and trying to do so doesn’t allow for the needed movement to complete combos. Instead, you wiggle the controller from side to side, which takes away from any actual feeling of beating up the enemy.

To add insult to injury, it’s tiring. TMNT is constantly tossing enemies at the player, and trying to manage Nunchuck and the Remote for combat moves is the worst possible scenario. The menu offers plenty of extras, including poorly compressed five-second clips from the movie, but no alternate control options. Flicking the Remote left to right to jump and scale a wall would actually be fun. The buttons should be performing the attacks, not the tiring motion.

Outside of the controls, this is an average title at best. The beat-em-up mechanics are sloppy and loose. Collision is inconsistent, and the move sets don’t offer enough to distinguish the four turtles. Short quips from the heroes during the missions are tiring, especially when you become stuck on a section and they constantly repeat their phrases. Mildly amusing Wii-specific mini-games fail to add any value.

The comic book stylings during the cinematics are sharp. When compared to the new film’s glossy CG look however, it may turn off kids looking for a similar experience when they return home from the theater. Extended training also begins the game agonizingly slow in an attempt to make the game seem more involving than it is.

Fans of the characters can continue their wait for a proper video game revival. The Turtles themselves may be hot on screen and on toy shelves, yet the game industry continues to fumble the license. This Wii adaptation hardly helps matters.


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Last updated: Monday, April 16, 2007 09:08 PM