Turtles in Time: Re-Shelled review. The Turtles hit Xbox Live once again in a remake of the arcade classic

5 August 2009
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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles In Time Re-Shelled gameplay screenshot
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time Re-Shelled is the name of the newest TMNT release. This time it is a remake of the arcade/SNES classic, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time.

Although the Ubisoft developed and published title is debuting on Xbox Live Arcade, it will also be released for PlayStation Network and WiiWare later on.

It is important to note that Re-Shelled is based on the arcade version of Turtles In Time, NOT the Super NES version which is the more remembered game. This means that the game is shorter in length with fewer levels and fewer bosses. It also features some different bosses and other changes from the Super NES version.

So how does this new Turtles game stack up in today’s Xbox Live line-up?

Turtles in Time Re-Shelled logo

System: Xbox 360
Also Available On: PlayStation Network, WiiWare (at a later date)
Released: August 5, 2009 (Xbox Live Arcade)
Players: 1-4 local or online (local and online players can’t join the same game however)
Genre: Beat ‘Em Up
Save: 265 MB. No save files. High scores are saved but you can’t actually save your session.
Developer: Ubisoft Signapore
Publisher: Ubisoft
Country of Origin: Signapore
Rating: E10+ because of Cartoon Violence.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time Re-Shelled, attempts to remake Turtles in Time, which is considered by many to be hands-down the best of the Turtles beat-em up games.

This is because Turtles in Time took everything that was great about Turtles 2: The Arcade Game and Turtles 3: The Manhattan Project and expanded on it ten-fold, particularly in the console version of the game. Which is the one everyone remembers (after all, how many of you have a Turtles in Time arcade machine at your house?).

Everything was improved. The graphics were better and more detailed than ever before. The game was stylized for a great comic effect. The music was fantastic. The Turtles had a ton of new moves. The game included more enemies and all-new kinds of foot soldiers and featured great boss fights.

Somehow and someway, this new version of the game seems to backpedal from all that. And while some aspects of the game are improved over the SNES version, most of it isn’t.

Don't expect any flip moves like this one in Re-Shelled. They are exclusive to Turtles IV for SNES

In fact, I can think of nothing that was truly changed for the better in this version, much to my dismay.

Turtles in Time Re-Shelled is a beat-em up in which you select one of the four Turtles and then fight off wave after wave of Foot Clan soldiers and other enemies using various moves. At the end of a stage you will fight a boss enemy.

One improvement in this game over the original is the fact that you can see each Turtle’s individual stats and they play completely differently from each other. Which is a plus.

Controls are simple as they always have been in these types of games. In Turtles in Time Re-Shelled, you attack with the X Button, jump with the A Button and press the Y Button to do a Special Attack.

There are a few other attacks at your disposal. You can do a Rush Attack (where you charge into an opponent) by holding the Control Stick to walk for a certain amount of time and then pressing the Attack Button. You can perform a Flying Kick by jumping into the air and pressing the Attack Button. This will cause your Turtles to fly down diagonally feet first into your opponents and is one of the best way to go about attacking your enemies. You can also perform a Sliding Attack by running and pressing the Y Button. Pressing the Y Button by itself will cause your Turtle to perform their own unique Special Attack, which is a more powerful attack. But you sacrifice your own energy to perform it.

Turtles in Time Re-Shelled Metalhead boss fight screenshot

Finally you can perform two unique close-quarter attacks. You can fling the enemy into the screen by attacking them until they bowl over and pressing that attack button while holding a direction on the stick. This was one of the most amazing attacks in the original game due to the special effect of seeing the enemy literally fly into the screen. Finally, attack and enemy until they bowl over, stand next to them and press the Attack Button. Then press Attack repeatedly without moving and your Turtle will grab the enemy’s arm and swing them over head, smashing them into the ground. Keep pressing it and he will keep slamming them over and over again (this also hits any enemies who happen to get too close to your swing).

While all these attacks may seem like a good thing. It’s actually gimped in comparison to the Super NES version. Several unique attacks and dodge moves are missing. In the Super NES version you could run by holding the A Button (Which would be B on the Xbox 360 controller. B isn’t used), which could be toggled in the options menu. Or you could make running automatic where your Turtle would run after walking for a certain amount of time, which is the case in Re-Shelled. And this SNES A Button was the key to performing several new moves in that version. By running and pressing the Y Button, you could make your Turtle do front hand springs which you could keep performing as long as you timed it right. When doing so your Turtle could not be attacked. Additionally, depending on when you pressed the attack button from there, your Turtle would go into either the Sliding Attack or the Charge.

This attack from Turtles IV (SNES) is missing from Turtles in Time: Re-Shelled

Additionally, if you simply jumped straight up into the air and pressed the attack button, your Turtle would roll up into a ball and keep swinging their weapon as they slowly descended. This was a GREAT alternative to the Flying Kick. This move in addition to the front handspring dodge moves are completely absent from Re-Shelled. So while the game may have been simplified, it also lacks depth and is made more shallow.

Particularly it was a lot easier to perform the Charge and Swing/Fling attacks deliberately in the SNES version, as opposed to on accident like in Re-Shelled.

And this is only the tip of the ice burg as far as my complaints are concerned. Re-Shelled also lacks an entire level that was present in the SNES version of Turtles in Time. That level, the Technodrome, ends with an awesome Shredder fight in which you had to defeat Shredder by flinging enemies into the screen (and thus into him and his machine which he was using to attack you). This fight was and still IS one of the best boss fights of all time.

It is one of the very few points in gaming where you actually play from a 2nd-person perspective, as you are technically seeing out of Shredder’s eyes as he tries to attack you with his machine. So you are looking through the machine at the Turtles below, as Shredder manipulates the controls to operate to grabbing arms, lasers and a number of other weapons against you. Each time you’d fling an enemy at the screen, the screen would shake in order to simulate the fact that you were throwing the enemies into Shredder’s machine.

This Shredder boss fight from Turtles IV SNES is NOT in Re-Shelled. Too bad, I was looking forward to it

Now I understand that the reason this whole stage is absent is due to the fact that Re-Shelled is based on the arcade version of Turtles in Time and NOT the SNES version. However that kind of cop-out really doesn’t matter. The fact is, the game would’ve been MUCH better, funner, and cooler if it would’ve included this level. Which was by far one of the best levels in the SNES version. The fact that this boss fight, and all the other moves that were improvements over the arcade version, are simply missing in Re-Shelled makes this version feel like it’s ripping you off. Ubisoft should’ve gone the extra mile and updated the SNES port and NOT the arcade version. A version which less people played because hauling an arcade machine home isn’t as easy as buying a SNES cartridge.

If Ubisoft released this extra stage as Downloadable Content, all will be forgiven. But as it stands right now, I can’t help but feel cheated and saddened by the facts above.

And it isn’t just the gameplay that is lacking in Re-Shelled. In fact, the graphics as a whole make me long for the original SNES version (Hell, I might drag out my SNES and play it right after publishing this just to remember how much more awesome it was). It’s not necessarily that anything is wrong with the graphics. But the 3D look simply seems less “animated” and more generic than the previous graphics. While the characters and enemies all appear bigger and the levels are 3D, the original look was much cooler, way more fluid looking, and simply “popped” out. These graphics seem flat and . . . . soul-less. They robotic enemies and Rock Soldiers also look much lamer in my humble opinion.

At least you can still throw enemies at the screen in Turtles in Time Re-Shelled

And then there is the music . . . . What happened?!?!?! Musically Turtles in Time had such a great soundtrack that to this day I like to listen to it on my computer. Outside of the title screen music in Re-Shelled, nothing else stands out in the least. Matter of fact, not only does the music in Re-Shelled lack less “punch” than the music in the original (which has all been completely changed, I might add), but it also sounds less high quality! In this day and age when game music can be dynamic and orchestral to match the HD graphics, you’d think the music would get the same treatment. However the music sounds like an early SNES game or worse. The nail through the coffin is the fact that I cannot remember a single tune from Re-Shelled outside of the Title Screen/main menu music. Which is a HUGE shame considering that every single stage from Turtles in Time had a unique them that was equally great. Once again, a huge disappointment with Re-Shelled.

What isn’t disappointing is the fact that Re-Shelled features online play as well as local multiplayer. Although I wasn’t able to get my brother to play alongside with me while playing with a friend online, so the game seems to lack local online play, which is stupid. The online play plus voice chat all works great, which is a definite plus. You can also choose to play friends or play random other people. In the Online Multiplayer Menu you have Quick Match, Create Match, Custom Match or Xbox Live Party. This allows you to create a room that people can join, join a room that’s already created, create a room just for your friends or hop straight into an online game with an Xbox Live Party of friends.

Explosions in Re-Shelled have cool corresponding comic book effects

The online play is very cool because this is how the game was really created to be played, with friends. And you don’t always have friends around who want to play Turtles with you.

Sadly though, the multiplayer in my experience was so chaotic that I think I actually prefer single-player. I don’t remember having this problem in the original SNES version, which was always funner with friends. Part of this seems to be due to the new graphics and hit animations. It is harder to tell if you are actually hitting the enemies in this version.

Finally, they added a new Survival mode to this version, and cut-out a few other modes (the Time Trail and VS. modes from the SNES version are gone). Survival Mode tasks you with going through the entire game without dying to see how far you can get and how many points you can score. Other than those extra modes, you have the Story Mode which takes you from the beginning of the game to the end, and that mode (which can be played online or locally) has several different difficulty levels including Easy, Normal, Hard and Hardcore. There are also 12 Achievements to earn including a few easy 5 GamerPoint ones for getting smashed and electrocuted. Finally the game has Leaderboards as well.

Re-Shelled is more of a Tokka whimper than a Rhazar roar, sadly

In the end, I think Turtles in Time Re-Shelled falls flat in offering gamers an improved experience over the Super NES version of Turtles in Time. None of the changes made seem to be for the better, outside of the slick presentation in the opening moments and during the main menu, which uses some very cool artwork.

However, Turtles in Time Re-Shelled IS fun, and you can’t deny that it’s a lot more attractive to be able to simply download a game and play it online with your friends, than to hunt down a Super NES copy of the game and play two-player locally.

The end result comes down to this: If you go into Turtles in Time expecting an improved version of the Super NES port of the arcade game, you WILL be disappointed. The game lacks heart and soul, but it is still a solid arcade beat ’em up. And that still may be worth your $10.

Turtles in Time Re-Shelled wallpaper. Shredder gets the last laugh!

FUN FACTOR: 6.5
Turtles in Time Re-Shelled is an average, though solid, beat ’em up. The gameplay however is not as good as it could have been; Had it been modeled after the SNES game which featured more depth and more moves. The fighting doesn’t feel as good as it did in the original and the game overall just lacks the charm that made the original so great. The game is in no way, shape or form as substitute for the fantastic SNES title which everyone should play, but it’s not a horrible game either and you can have some fun with it. If you’ve never played the original, then you’ll probably see this game as a fun, but average, brawler.

Graphics: 7.0
The most impressive thing graphically about this game is the menu screen and the artwork therein. The graphics themselves during gameplay look okay, but it is somewhat simple 3D. It doesn’t have the stylish comic-book look of the SNES game which was leagues ahead of this game in my personal opinion.

Music & Sound: 5.5
The game features several nice voice clips but the music is truly horrible. It doesn’t hold a candle to the original. The only good tune is the Title Screen music.

Ingenuity: 4.0
Turtles in Time Re-Shelled lacks even all the features of the SNES original. A true shame.

Replay Value: 6.0
You have several different difficulty options to go through and the game’s online play means you have more reason to play through the game several times with different friends. Not to mention there is an Achievement for beating it with all 4 Turtles.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (TMNT): Turtles in Time Re-Shelled wallpaper Splinter GO!

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About the author

Josh Romero By Josh Romero: He is a lover of videogames, as well as metal music, Gilmore Girls, chatting, social networking, Phoenix Suns, reading, writing and many other nerdy things. Read his posts here and connect with him on Youtube.


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