Monday, August 27, 2007


Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
Publisher: Ubisoft
Release Date: March 20, 2007
Systems: Wii (reviewed), any other you can name. Even the GBA.
ESRB Rating: E10+
Official Web Site

In a nutshell: The game based on the movie based on the revamped cartoon based on the classic cartoon based on the original comic book.

0:01 A super zoomed-in Michelangelo blinks at me from the Wii Menu screen. Creepy.
0:03 "A sensei once consoled a grief stricken boy as his brother prepared for battle." Master Splinter introduces the game with an inspiring parable about family over some uninspiring comic book art.
0:04 Double jump! All action games should be required to have double jumps. There, I said it.
0:05 To collect certain coins I have to "first complete my mission, then replay it." Way to squeeze some artificial replay value, game.
0:06 I know this is the first level and all, but so far I've spent three minutes running down a linear path and jumping. No enemies. No special moves. No real tutorial. Nothing.
0:07 Here we go, some Prince of Persia style wall running. And then... more jumping.
0:09 I've gotta say, so far I like the animation and the responsive controls. I just I had something to do with them. This tutorial is dragging on.
0:10 Every so often Leonardo exclaims "Wa-ha-hooo!" for NO APPARENT REASON. Very annoying.
0:11 Oh my God... an enemy! It only took 11 minutes! Of course you swing the remote to swing your sword.
0:12 Boy that was some easy combat. My wrist is already hurting from constant shaking.
0:14 Okay, seriously, running forward and jumping over near identical pits is only interesting for so long. Give me something else to do already.
0:15 Oh great, another set of wall jumps. I wonder if this will be different from the half dozen I've done already. Hmmm... nope.
0:16 Taking out bad guys "charges our inner strength," Leo says. There's a positive message for the youth of America.
0:17 "Unleashing your inner strength" means slowing everything down and putting a hazy graphic effect around everything, making it harder to attack. Yawn.
0:18 Leo: "This is the bomb. I don't think I'll ever see anything this beautiful again." The graphics are nice and evocative of place, but the most beautiful I'll ever see? No. Also, it's the bomb? Really?
0:19 Raphael hints that the upcoming story will nearly break the family apart. Intriguing. Who the hell is the Night Watcher? Supposed to be Batman? He has a pair of sai, so maybe he's Raphael in disguise? Whoever he is, I'm playing as him.
0:24 This Night Watcher is very good at taking a wide range of bad guys, from tough guy with bat to "tough guy with pipe" and everything in between. Wait... there's nothing in between!
0:26 After the fifth straight wave of nondescript bad guys, my wrist needs a break. Note to developers: sometimes, button presses work just as well. At least the enemies are actually attacking now, even if they aren't too smart about it.
0:28 OK, this is funny. In a rooftop battle, five identical guys with bats surround me. I double jump and do a downward strike to knock them back. They get up in unison and walk towards me in exact lockstep. Repeat x 8 and they're all done. Too much.
0:30 Two more waves of enemies go down to the unstoppable jumping attack. They can't touch me!
0:31 "Crime doesn't go away dude, but the Night Watcher sure put a lot of it out of commission." Pretty heady stuff for a game aimed at ten-year-olds.
0:33 OK, at least the guys with pipes are smart enough to block my jumping attacks. They're sitll pretty easy, though.
0:34 The level and anticlimactically on an empty rooftop. Whatever happened to boss battles?
0:35 Raphael is the Night Watcher. I thought so. Now we're controlling Don, out looking for components for his latest invention. If this story is supposed to hold together, then the mission has failed.
0:40 When Don falls in a pit "There must be a... system... error." Jeez. Later: "This does not... compute" Cornball.
0:41 So far, the game seems to be split into fighting levels and platforming levels, both of which are painfully straightforward.
0:44 The voice-over story during the platforming is a nice conceit. Keeps things interesting even when the action is pretty by-the-numbers. The dialogue and voice acting are actually pretty good.
0:45 The controls that were so responsive and intuitive are starting to show some wear. I'm messing up more than I feel I should.
0:48 The new batch of electric-bow enemies are actually pretty challenging. They dodge and strike at opportune moments. Nice difficulty curve.
0:49 You know what's fun. Jumping over a dozen identical electric barriers like they're hurdles. Wait, no, not fun... what's the word. Boring. That's it.
0:50 Don, upon beating some enemies. "To be or not to be. NOT!" Shakespeare is rolling over in his grave. Also, it barely makes sense. Is Don suicidal?
0:52 The platforming challenge are starting to get more interesting. Moving obstacles and platforms shows some promise.
0:53 Boss time against a living statue. When you die, all you have to do is shake the remote to recover some energy. Lame. Make death important!
0:55 This boss is actually quite tough. Like unfairly so. He moves incredibly quickly and his attacks are near impossible to avoid.
0:57 Boss battle done, I have to escape the slowest rising water ever. How slow is it. I didn't pause to type this timestamp.

Would I play this game for more than an hour? No.
Why? I am no longer a ten-year-old Turtles fan. Plus I could be playing Sands of Time instead.

This review based on a retail copy rented from GameFly.

No comments: