Thursday, 18 June 2009

TMNT 1989 Classic Arcade

Dreary scroll-slog, dressed up with shameless menu eye-grabs from Imagi's 2007 feature film. TMNT 1989 Classic Arcade (previously known as the much simpler Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) is a mystifying well regarded coin-op effort by Konami. Specially prepared for Xbox Live Arcade by Digital Eclipse, TMNT only really excels as gaudy nostalgia artifact. Motivation: Turtle pal April O'Neil has been kidnapped by the dastardly Shredder. Players select a colour code reptile, and battle their way across several mundane urban landscapes. Movement is limited to brisk strolling and default thumps. There's barely any report when you strike your enemies, and foes barely evolving beyond palette swap robo-shinobi. A crime considering the franchise's richly grotesque supporting cast kept children in action figures for nearly a decade.

TMNT displays a chronic lack of imagination compared to other licenced Konami side-scrollers of the period. TMNT is the poor cousin to the totem-twist bestiary of 1990's gonzo Aliens or the exhaustively manned The Simpsons: The Arcade Game. All effort has been focused on making the limited amount of figure sprites move as fluidly as possible, a reasonable brief for what essentially amounts to another marketing campaign adjunct. Doesn't mean it's fun to play though. Still, there's a simultaneous four player mode to ease the pain. Proof that enabling external camaraderie to paper over glaring interactive short-comings wasn't invented this generation.

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