Ever since the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon became a smash-hit in the 80s, there has been a surplus of licensed games to hit our favorite consoles. While many fans will undoubtedly recall classics like TMNT IV: Turtles in Time for the Super Nintendo or the classic Konami-developed arcade game from 1989. However, many Turtles fans have felt slightly disappointed by some of the more modern reboots of this classic 80s franchise. In 2007, a lackluster TMNT reboot film hit theaters, with a few video game adaptations releasing alongside it. Due to the movie's critical reception, many might have overlooked this Game Boy Advance adventure. You might be excited to hear that, as TMNT on the Game Boy Advance is an excellent beat 'em up that pays homage to classic games while embracing the Turtles style better than the movie did.
Main Game Features
- Seven chapters of beat 'em up action
- Impressive combo system
- Combat upgrades and power-ups
Since TMNT on Game Boy Advance is an adaptation of the 2007 movie of the same name, the stories are appropriately similar. At the beginning of the game, journalist April O'Neil visits her old friends, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Having recently defeated their arch-nemesis Shredder, the four siblings and their rat-mentor Master Splinter have fallen on rough times. As April discusses her upcoming book about the ancient warlord Yaotl, the turtles recall their latest adventures. From there, you'll experience the major scenes from the film, including big fights with the Foot Clan, battles with cryptid beasts, and some other supernatural oddities. The story is never overbearing in TMNT, and simply sets the stage for some awesome levels and environments. It's surprisingly cool to see the scenes from the movie play out in a simpler way, breaking things down into exciting, quickly-playable chapters.
The gameplay in TMNT should induce quite a bit of nostalgia for any 90s gamers, as it's incredibly similar to those previously mentioned classic Turtles games. When you look back at the dozens of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles games that have existed, the beat 'em up games have always been the most popular. The ability to pick from the four diverse but similar turtle brothers has always lent itself well to this classic genre, and TMNT on GBA does a good job realizing that concept. As a handheld game, TMNT is also best suited for fast play sessions, so the arcade-like gameplay is a perfect match. Apart from a few levels, you'll be able to pick your favorite turtle and bash through hundreds of baddies across seven enemy-filled stages. An addictive combo-system encourages you to work out fun strategies, as a higher combo provides bigger points to use on upgrades and power-ups.
Between levels, you can spend any cash you've earned on various items by visiting shops in the city. You can grab some new moves at the dojo, purchasing healing at the medicine shop, or pick up a few pieces of gear at the sports store. These upgrades add a better feeling of progression throughout the game, while also adding a dash of strategy. Unfortunately, the game lacks any sort of multiplayer, so the only other turtles you'll play with are AI-controlled. This is a bit disappointing, but the overall quality of the beat 'em up gameplay makes up for the exclusion.
The TMNT games have always been good fun, whether they're being played on home console, in arcades, or on a handheld device. Although the movie it's based on might not be the best Turtles flick of all time, the TMNT GBA game is surprisingly fun and reminiscent of the classic beat 'em ups from the late 80s and early 90s. Thanks to the retro visuals and gameplay, there's a lot of nostalgic fun to be had with TMNT, regardless of your gaming skill. This also makes it a great pick for kids who enjoy the modern cartoons but might not have the skill for the more recent video games. Either way, if you enjoy simple, satisfying action and quirky cartoon characters, you'll love TMNT.
- Great retro gameplay
- Nostalgic visuals and art
- Exciting combat
- Lack of multiplayer
- Frustrating save system
This turtle game - you'll forgive me for not calling it TMNT. but I try to avoid sounding like an arsehole wherever possible - isn't very good. A lack of mouse support is to be expected of a game without camera control, but no joypad support on a title designed for console is plain mean-spiritedness. Playing this turtle game feels like getting told off for something you didn't really do.
To its credit, it adds a good slice of speed to the 'Prince Of Tomb Raider' genre. Hanging from ledges, wallrunning, all that stuff is here in speedy, repetitive abundance, punctuated by occasional fight screens where you'll tap Z and X without skill, and win without effort. There are no combos; just a chain that's lazily set off by tapping Z. You just can't call it fun.
Quick tip: if you must play, don't use the cursor keys. I found problems on two computers with simultaneously moving diagonally and jumping. It would have been a welcome difficulty boost to a far-too-easy game, if it hadn't made it virtually unplayable. Luckily, after playing a quarter of the game, I found a (non-customisable) alternate layout on the keypad.
It's for kids, and that's fine. But children deserve better. Get them a version they can actually control. Better still, get your beloved sprogs a game that won't decay their minds through dumb repetition.