Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is a side-scrolling beat 'em up in which everyone's favourite mutated martial artists bash their way through bad guys, alleyways, and sewers alike in a multiplayer jaunt. Letting up to four players join in playing as each of the famous four, combat is a simple, button-mashing affair, with the majority of your turtle's attacks relegated to a single button, while another gives you the option to chuck bad guys around.
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Beating up the bad guys is the name of the game here, as you simply have to clear everyone out in each area before you can move onto the next. Younger children may struggle a little bit, however, as bad guys have a tendency to get themselves jammed on buildings or stuck inside the scenery, so you'll often find yourself backtracking to find a single elusive enemy before you can proceed. The turtles aren't immune to getting stuck either, occasionally getting caught on objects or getting trapped stock still in the middle of the screen, unable to move at all unless you switch to another character.
Fully voice-acted, with a simple enough premise and controls, beyond its idiosyncrasies, the main bulk of the game shouldn't pose too many problems for the younger crowd. That being said, boss fights may cause younger players some trouble, as they often have random spikes in difficulty - for example, an early boss battle with Fishface required some pretty fast reactions in order to win. With the boss leaping up onto a platform and sliding towards you, every time you managed to punch him and knock a chunk of his health off, he'd speed up, until he became almost impossible to hit (and avoid), with fish-related collisions chopping off a fair portion of your health, turning what started off as a fairly simple fight into a fight where you'll want your friends backing you up.
For the collectable fans, each level has a number of hidden trinkets to pick up too, as well as glowing spheres to collect and spend on upgrades for your characters, giving them a new attack, bolstering their health and more. With fifteen short levels to play through, the entire game can be blasted through in around about three hours, perhaps four if you want to hunt out all the collectibles and fully upgrade each of your turtles.
Sticking close to the TV source material, there's little for parents to worry about here. Playing as one of the four mutant reptiles, most of your time is spent beating up bad guys, whether they're robots, other ninjas or suited men with your selection of cartoon ninja weaponry. It's all handled in a non-offensive way, with no blood, guts or gore, as enemies simply flash when hit, and fall over and fade away when defeated, or can be thrown towards the screen before comically sliding down it instead.
Format Reviewed: Xbox 360