Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Arcade Attack Hands-On
It's like a blast from the past in this side-scrolling beat-'em-up.
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Ubisoft is bringing these heroes in a half-shell back in full force to celebrate the franchise's 25th anniversary, with games such as TMNT: Smash-Up, TMNT: Turtles in Time Re-Shelled, and the recently announced TMNT: Arcade Attack for the Nintendo DS. Arcade Attack was being shown for the first time at the 2009 Penny Arcade Expo, and we got a chance to play through this side-scrolling beat-'em-up and face the menacing Hun.
Who's Making This Game: Ubisoft is in charge of developing and publishing TMNT: Arcade Attack.
What The Game Looks Like: Fans of the original TMNT comics will appreciate the direction that this game is going, because this original story is told through lightly animated black and white comic-book-style panels. Once you're in the game, the visuals will remind you of the new cartoon series, so there's a little something for everyone.
What There Is To Do: Like in the coin-op classics from the past, you play as any one of the four brothers--each with unique stats--and beat up members of the Purple Dragons stage by stage. There's two-player local wireless so you can play through the levels cooperatively with a friend. We were told that after playing through the story mode, you can unlock a survival mode.
How The Game Is Played: Arcade Attack is a button masher that looks and plays very much like Turtles in Time Re-Shelled. The X button is to jump, Y is to block, B is to attack, and A is to kick. The button configuration felt a bit odd because we're so used to using B or A to jump. Once we got used to it, though, we focused on getting rid of enemies as quickly as possible by using different button combos.
There's a small gauge below your health, which indicates when you can use a special attack. When it's full, by pressing Y and B together, you can team up and do joint attacks with another turtle. As you go through the level, you'll earn points, and the game rates how well you're doing. These points can be used to unlock content as well as purchase a chance to continue if you and your partner get knocked out. You don't have a limited number of lives either, because every time your health goes down to zero, your partner has five seconds to come over and revive you. After that, you'll have to purchase your way back into the game.
We played through the rooftop demo level and hacked and slashed our way through various grunts from the series. You'll find pizza and other items to heal your health, as well as barrels to break and random items to pick up and toss. The boss at the end of the level was Hun, the leader of the Purple Dragons from the animated series. He carried a large bazooka and would swing that thing like he was swatting flies. If you can time it right, you can deflect his shots back into him, which will stun him long enough to get a few hits in.
What They Say: It is a tribute to the original coin-op classics that made the Turtles into video game legends.
What We Say: We really like the classic beat-'em-up formula and are looking forward to playing more of Arcade Attack. It's unfortunate that you can't play with four players, but the art style, humor, and gameplay appear to be going in the right direction. TMNT: Arcade Attack will be released this holiday season.