COWABUNGA!! After months of requests the original arcade Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game has finally made it to the Xbox Live Arcade, complete with four-player action, online multiplayer and achievement points. Best of all, this nearly twenty year old arcade game is busting onto the scene at a price of 400 points, or five real dollars. The good news is that this Mutant Turtles game is just as much fun as you remember it. Unfortunately, the bad news is that you'll instantly realize how far we've come since the days of token munching arcade machines.
I'm sure it won't come as much of a surprise, but the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles games didn't have a whole lot of story. All you need to know about this adventure is that the evil Shredder has kidnapped April and Splinter and it's up to Leonardo, Donatello, Raphael, and Michelangelo to save the day. Through five diverse levels the turtles will battle hordes of footclan ninjas, Bebop, Rocksteady, General Traag and Krang, ultimately leading to the final battle between you and Shredder.
Like most arcade games back in the late 1980s, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is extremely simple to play. When it comes right down to it there are only two buttons used in the entire game, one that makes you jump and another that works as your attack button. Outside of the occasional jump kick there really isn't much depth to this experience, what you get is an extremely simple arcade game that has you mashing buttons and constantly continuing.
If you remember the 1989 arcade hit then you already know that this is not an easy game. It may be nearly two decades old and easy to play, but that does not mean that you will be blasting through this game without losing a man (er, turtle). The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles arcade game was created solely to suck those quarters out of your pocket, so expect to die dozens of times before finally squaring off against Shredder. This is especially true when you decide to play the game by yourself, but regardless of how you go about playing this Xbox Live Arcade game it's important to realize that it's just not an easy game.
Thankfully this version of the game features unlimited continues, so no matter how many times you end up dying you can still come back to save the day. While some people may view this as a good thing, there's no doubt that the unlimited continues ends up making this game a little too easy. When it comes right down to it there isn't much of a penalty for dying, just as long as you can keep continuing you never really feel like you have to play the game with a sense of caution. Having said that, you can choose to play the game however you want, so if you don't want to continue as many times as you need you can simply stop playing after you die a certain amount of time. Unfortunately this is not an option in the game itself, but if you pay attention to how many continues you use you should be able to limit the continues and turn this experience into something much more difficult. It would have been nice to see some sort of option that allowed you to limit the continues, but for whatever reason there is nothing like that present.
While the game is extremely bare bones, there is one brand new feature that makes this game worth your five dollars. That mode is the Xbox Live play, which allows you to team up with three other people and go through the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles arcade game online. If you're not the type of person who wants to play by yourself, then you're in luck because this game also supports up to four players on a single system (assuming you have enough controls handy). Regardless of how you play this game, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is definitely better with multiple people than it is by yourself.
One of the biggest problems with bringing this arcade game home is that it's not very long. In truth you can go through this game in less than an hour, none of the five levels are very big and it's over just as most games are starting to pick up steam. Then again, considering the repetitive game play I'm not sure how long this type of game could hold up, but anybody expecting some sort of lengthy endeavor will no doubt be disappointed. The good news is that this game is fun enough to warrant several plays, especially if you're the type of person that is looking to earn all twelve achievement points.
As with so many other Xbox Live Arcade games, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is helped along by the achievements you can unlock for performing certain tasks. Some might complain that these achievements are artificially extending the life of the game, but as far as I'm concerned these twelve achievements are pushing you to play the game in different ways. There are achievements for both online and offline game modes, as well as a few that will definitely take you a few tries to unlock. There's a great balance of points to pick up here, including a few that will definitely feel like achievements after you've earned them.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is not the deepest game on the Xbox Live Arcade, but if you're the type of person that loved the arcade game then this is a must buy. While the game is definitely short and lacks any kind of depth, it's hard to deny that this is truly an exciting experience that will bring back a lot of memories of simpler times. The problem with a game like this is that we've moved past this style of game play, if this game were to be developed today it would be the laughing stock of industry. But as a trip down memory lane the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles do a good job of preserving a slice of history that a lot of young adults would like to cherish. This is not the best game on the Xbox 360, but at five dollars it's hard to be too critical of a game like this. In fact, now that I've gone through this adventure I'm ready to experience the sequel, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles In Time.