Developed by Tribute Games, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge is a gorgeous love letter to classic retro arcade titles that dominated the 90s video game industry. Taking control of all four Turtles and other characters, like Master Splinter and April O’Neil, Shredder’s Revenge seems to tick all the boxes for nostalgia, appealing heavily to gamers who grew up playing arcade machines and modern day console gamers alike.
Shredder’s Revenge is a real beat-em-up, throwing hundreds of enemies at our pizza-loving protagonists to. Shredder’s Revenge is a tough nut to crack on harder difficulties, but the unlimited retries of modern gaming that weren’t present in arcades changes things. Now, players can die as many times as they want without having to spend pennies, bar the odd broken controller or two. Arcade games were notorious for being difficult, and I wanted to refresh myself with this feeling by choosing the harder difficulties on my playthroughs, hoping for a fair but balanced challenge. Shredder’s Revenge can be played solo or with up to four players, with the latter seeming like the way to play as solo runs on hard difficulties can prove to be very challenging. Shredder’s Revenge does, however, prove to be a breath of fresh air amongst the countless first-person shooters and action-adventure games that dominate the industry, offering a highly energised and different atmosphere for those looking for a new type of game to play.
Enemies consisting of various different coloured ninjas form the Foot Clan, the Turtles’ main opponents and the soldiers that work for Shredder. Early stages of the game include yellow ninjas that prefer ranged attacks, reddish ninjas that hit hard with heavy strikes, and basic purple ninjas that prefer to fight up close. Shredder’s Revenge is a side-scrolling beat ‘em up, so naturally, our protagonists can rack up combos using various fighting moves. For instance, the player can perform sliding attacks that knock enemies off their feet or dodge counters, moves that help avoid incoming attacks that follow up with a quick single strike. The longer a player can go without getting hit, the more their power meters fill up, which allow for more powerful moves to be performed, like AoE attacks and diving slams. Unfortunately, hit boxes can prove too large for certain attacks, and taking damage sometimes feels unfair, especially during boss battles. Also, the lack of a block button in a fighting game is very strange and can make encounters with a large number of enemies difficult to balance properly.
In Story Mode, Shredder’s Revenge uses a points system that is added to by defeating enemies, taking on challenges and completing side quests. In an effort to add replayability, some challenges are one-shot opportunities that can only be retried once the stage is restarted. Most challenges revolve around either defeating enemies in certain ways or avoiding a certain number of obstacles. On harder difficulties, some of these challenges may feel nigh impossible to complete and force the player to choose lower difficulty modes for a better success rate. With regards to the points system itself, players can reach certain levels that provide benefits to gameplay, such as increased health, lives and moves. Arcade Mode also uses the points system but does not make use of side quests and is rather represented as a proper callback to the 90s era of gaming. In this mode players have limited lives and must get through all 16 stages in one go. As a result, it adds more replayability for players who grew up in the 90s and remember what gaming was like back in that generation.
Shredder’s Revenge comes with an awesome soundtrack that feels right at home in a retro-style game. For instance, when fighting one late game boss, a rap song began playing that kept me motivated to kick some shell. Each level has its own unique but upbeat and downright groovy set of instrumentals that fit in well with the atmosphere of each stage. It really feels epic to fight bad guys whilst listening to a soundtrack packed full of variety. There are roughly 29 different tracks included in the soundtrack, and each one has its own vibe, giving each stage its own identity within the game.
Give whoever drew the environments for Shredder’s Revenge a raise as some locations are simply outstanding in appearance. Shredder’s Revenge is abundant with comic-styled environments detailing areas such as sewers, city streets, secret laboratories and more. Many of the game’s 16 stages have their own unique looks and appearances that feel natural within the TMNT universe. Stylised after the old 90s Turtles games, playing Shredder’s Revenge really does make the player feel as if they are back in the arcades.
There comes a time where gamers need a breath of fresh air, and Shredder’s Revenge bestows a different but welcoming presence in modern video gaming. The game manages to capture the true nostalgia of retro arcade titles whilst maintaining a modern twist on the ever-growing industry of video games.
Developer: Tribute Games
Publisher: Limited Run Games, DotEmu, Gamera Games
Platforms: PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Windows, Nintendo Switch
Release Date: 16th June 2022