TMNT: Smash Up
The Ninja Turtles duke it out on the Wii
Posted 3 years ago By - JD Speedy
The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have to be one of the most tapped licenses for video games ever. Most major game consoles have seen a ninja turtles game and, save a few, they’re often rubbish.
So TMNT: Smash Up is actually wading into familiar territory as it takes the turtles license and combines it, for the second time, with a fighting game. The first attempt, Tournament Fighters on the SNES, was incredibly flawed and drew from some lesser known source material including characters invented for the game. Sadly, Smash Up uses that same approach and a golden opportunity is missed to harvest from the rose-coloured memories of the grown up fans.
Smash Up actually impressed me in the end on the gameplay front. While I found the head to head action pretty frustrating and sloppy, as compared to its brother game, Smash Bros. Melee, the single player can still be engaging and technical. The combat is really similar to the Smash Bros. series, and that’s no surprise because it’s made by the same developer! But it deviates in the very small cast of playable characters in the single player experience (which never grows from the original 8 playable) and the fact that nearly every character feels heavy and unresponsive when compared with even the middle-weights of the Smash games.
The controls work well in the Wii Remote and Nun Chuk combo, but like most of its implementations, again the sideways Wii Remote control scheme is almost unplayable. You can also use a Gamecube controller or the Classic Controller if you want, but they just feel like hampered versions of the the Wiimote-Nun Chuk combo.
Once you get past the samey feeling characters (the brothers play essentially the same) and distance yourself from the unfavourable comparisons to Smash Bros., the combat can be really fun, if not a little slower and heavier than it should be. The chaotic element that made Smash Bros. so special is missing, though some destructible and shape-changing environments do help.
Sound and Graphics
The game sounds good without sounding great. The music is passable but forgettable, while the character voices are nearly spot on. I would have loved if they’d included some contextual pre-fight taunts as the stock ones often sound incredibly weird when you have two of the good guys fighting each other. As far as I’m concerned, Leonardo would not taunt one of his brothers, or even more-so their Sensei, the same way they would taunt The Shredder. And would that really be such a hard addition to make?
The game also looks pretty darn good, but you’re never close enough to the action to see it. The environments are blasé, however, and range from generic NYC rooftop, to a crashing oceanliner, and generic NYC sewer to a moving train. It never feels specific to a certain situation or plot point or even to the two characters duking it out. Just like the pre-fight taunting, some sort of structure or ‘home levels’ for each character would add a lot to the game. It just feels like there were a lot of ways they could utilize TMNT lore or locations and create a more whole experience here and instead they shied away and created something a bit less interesting.
As always, with a Smash Bros. dev brawler, there is a fair bit of content hidden in Smash Up. While the game modes aren’t particularly varied, that is, once you’ve tried all the TMNT themed mini-games, there are a ton of unlockables in the game that drove me back to the gameplay.
You can unlock new characters at the end of each arcade mode playthrough and you can construct trophies and model pieces with your ‘shells’ gained.
It doesn’t much affect the playability of the game, particularly because your unlocked characters can’t be used in single player, but it is an extra layer that can incentivize you to keep playing.
TMNT: Smash Up isn’t a bad game really. It has competent, if not sluggish, combat, a great license and some fantastic looking unlockables. My problems with the game stem from all the chances that weren’t taken and the missed possibility a game like this has.
Had they tapped the original 80s cartoon for the story and the fighters, sped up the combat and made it a bit more silly and Smash Bros-ish; I could have loved this game and it could easily find a niche audience in grown up turtles fans who fondly remember their heroes in a halfshell. As is, it’s a really hard game to recommend, even to the most diehard TMNT fan.
+ Unlockables incentivize gameplay
+ I mean, itís the freaking turtles!
- Controls feel delayed and sluggish
- Minigames arenít worth playing if not for unlockable credits
- Unlocked characters canít be used in story/arcade mode
- Krang isnít in the game...
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Release Date : 2009/09/22
System : Nintendo Wii
Publisher : Ubisoft
Developer : Game Arts
Category : Action-Adventure
ESRB : E10+
7.0 / 10
8.5 / 10
8.0 / 10
8.7 / 10