Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Arcade: Rage of the Mutants Review – Better Left in the Gutter

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    Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were synonymous with gaming in the late 80s and early 90s, largely thanks to their influence on arcade brawlers. Games like 1989’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (also known as ’89 Arcade) and 1991’s Turtles in Time are time-honored classics that shaped the side-scrolling beat-em-up genre, and 2022’s Shredder’s Revenge proved that this style is still viable. In the modern landscape. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Arcade: Wrath of the Mutants is clearly inspired by these beloved games, but falls spectacularly short of those acclaimed titles.

    Originally released for arcades in 2017, Wrath of the Mutants takes the same approach to gameplay as the original TMNT arcade games: you choose Leonardo, Donatello, Michelangelo, and Raphael each with distinct moves. Do, as you go through the slash and brawl stages. Based on the villainous 2012 Nickelodeon cartoon, Wrath of the Mutants features a variety of enemies for the Turtles to kill in various locations. This homeport includes three new stages and six new bosses. Unfortunately, no amount of easter eggs and fandom can compensate for its uninteresting gameplay.

    Although the basic concept is the same as the most beloved entries in the series, I never felt anything more than apathy as I battled through the six extremely linear stages on offer. Each turtle displays its signature weapon and a unique turtle power that clears the screen of enemies. These moves should feel empowering, but instead, they stop the action while a finished animation plays. Leo spins creating a whirlwind that sucks up all the minions, while Raph beats a drum on the ground, sending enemies flying.

    But it all feels normal as you battle through waves of the exact same enemies in difficult stages that require no strategy – you just move to the right and spam the attack button. You can also pick up power-ups that cause your character to spin on their shell or summon side characters to dispatch enemies, but with the base combat being so uninteresting, I found these occasional special moves to be a no-brainer. It was just fun to deploy because they provided a fast route over the long haul. The surface

    Brawling through the seemingly endless screens of Fit and Kraang minions found in each stage wouldn’t be so bad if the signature arcade unfair never existed. TMNT Arcade: Wrath of the Mutants isn’t a difficult game by any measure, but there are moments where you simply can’t avoid being killed. In almost every stage, enemies attack you from off-screen, where you can’t see or reach them, and they will desperately not stop attacking you or come into view. until you go to the other side of the screen. Additionally, enemy projectiles are deadly accurate, and with the turtles’ slow movement and no way to effectively dodge, you’re all but guaranteed to get hit.

    These enemies don’t do a ton of damage, but it’s often death by a thousand paper cuts, and since each hit briefly stuns you, your combos are constantly being interrupted. Bosses, which often repeat the same attacks over and over again, are patience tests rather than engaging challenges. These boss encounters usually have slight variations on the same trick set, which makes them all play out pretty much the same. Even the final fight against Shredder does little to set itself apart. It requires very little strategy when the game tells you to jump while you lumber around the screen wailing on it.

    Stage elements intended to break up the monotony serve to frustrate more than to diversify the experience. Trains speed by, Kraang’s android body fires lightning at you, and explosive barrels litter the levels, but they add little. In one instance, where a giant eyeball constantly blasts lasers at you as you fight off waves of enemies, your character is too slow to avoid getting zapped while you wait for it to air. I do not stand where firing is taking place. I should be excited to see these new challenges and twists emerge, but I met most of them with shrugs and others with annoyance.

    While it’s fun to see the 2012 animated series get some attention in 2024, the presentation is also disappointing. The visuals aren’t anything special, and I’m not a fan of some of the character designs from the era, but they fit the style of the show well enough. It’s the audio that annoys the most, as the turtles screech obnoxiously the entire time and enemies spout the same lines over and over while the usual action-oriented music loops in the background. After the first few levels, I was relieved to crank up the volume and listen to something else instead.

    The entire game takes less than two hours to beat, but it still manages to drag on somehow. You can go back through the game’s six stages to try and get a higher score, but I had no interest in doing that. Arcade games of yesteryear sometimes lacked depth, but at least they had a hook that would stick with you and keep you itching to come back to pump more quarters into the cabinet. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Arcade: Wrath of the Mutants strives for the greatness of the influential arcade hits of the past but falls short. Thanks to uninteresting and annoying gameplay, repetitive enemies and boss encounters, and grating audio design, Wrath of the Mutants is little more than a shell of the series’ glory years.

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