Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Arcade: Wrath of the Mutants Review

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Arcade: Wrath of the Mutants is a side-scrolling arcade beat ‘em up that has taken seven years to move across from the arcade cabinets to consoles and tries to continue the tradition of decent ports that have come in recent years.

Arcade classics like Turtles in Time and Shredder’s Revenge breathed fresh life into the heroes in a half shell, and now Wrath of the Mutants tries to continue on in this vein.

This truly is a pure arcade port. It is very barebones in terms of length; you can easily complete this in an afternoon, but for the bargain basement price, it might be worth it if you’re a die-hard Turtles fan.

 

Gameplay

The game does what it says on the tin; it is a well-tuned side-scrolling beat em’ up, but again, it is rather basic.

All you have to do is mash the single attack button, and you will win most fights without trying too hard. There are special slam and throw moves to mix things up in there, and you can counter the projectiles that come from the other side of the arena.

You can also pick up some nice power-ups, such as smoke bombs, throwing stars and the most game-changing power-up, the support characters. After a while of button mashing, you do get a special turtle power move, which is different depending on the character you are using, and boom, that is the gameplay.

I could not really test the co-op in this game as there is no online co-op, and I did not have anyone at home who had any interest in playing this.

 

Story (sort of)

As this is a port of an arcade game that, overall, takes around an hour to complete, it is tricky to actually describe this game’s story.

You will move through various stages, fighting your way through the Foot Clan and occasionally Kraangdroids until about halfway through the level, where you will face a mini-boss from the series’ rogues’ gallery; you will then face another iconic villain at the end of the stage as well.

While the enemies are quite easy to beat, the bosses are more difficult, but not because they have intricate attack patterns or anything like that; it is because they are way overpowered in their simple attacks. Each boss attack can take at least a quarter of your health bar off, no matter the difficulty. There is also a little bit of difficulty in dodging attacks as there is a slight delay between you pressing the jump button to the character doing the action on-screen.

Trust me, on the higher difficulties, you will be grateful for the continues and lives the game gives you as you will have to repeat these boss battles a few times. Maybe that was a design tactic to inflate the rather short run time, but I’ll leave that cynical thought here to ponder.

 

Graphics

Overall, the game looks okay for what it is, a budget arcade port. The levels don’t really stand out and make you examine them for key details; they just look very bland and uninteresting.

The attack animations lack real heft and oomph when you connect with an enemy, and even when the cartoony “bangs” and “pows” appear, they just look like clip art inserted into the scene.

Alongside the rather bland graphics is the wimpy soundtrack. Every level sounds very dull, and maybe in the buzz of an arcade, that might work, but here, it just feels a little bit sad, to be honest.

Overall, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Arcade: Wrath of the Mutants misses the one thing that has made the previous Turtles games score so highly, and that is fun. A Turtles game, at its very core, needs to be fun to make it worth playing.

If I wasn’t remotely a Turtles fan but wanted to see what all the hype was about with this franchise, I would play the infinitely better Shredder’s Revenge.

If you are a Turtles fan and consume every piece of media these wise-cracking heroes have to offer, wait till your respective storefront has a massive sale, and you can pick it up for less than a fiver.

Developer: Cradle Games, Raw Thrills

Publisher: GameMill Entertainment

Platforms: PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Windows, Nintendo Switch

Release Date: 23rd April 2024

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