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Videogames-To-Flix #35


VIDEOGAMES-TO-FLIX is a JoBlo.com column showcasing reviews of videogame translations of Hollywood films (or games soon-to-become Hollywood movies). With both industries getting closer and closer, and videogames, in general, getting so much more popular, you knew it was just a matter of time before we hit that stuff!



Developer: UbiSoft Montreal
Publisher: UbiSoft
Systems: XBOX 360, PlayStation 2, PSP, Wii, GBA, DS, GameCube, & PC


As summer approaches, the movie adaptations have burst out of the floodgates. While summer is considered off season for video games, there are plenty of new movie games to eat up store shelf. One of the early video game adaptations is TMNT. Nearly seventeen years after the original Ninja Turtles donned their plastic suits and kicked Shredder's ass, the four turtles have returned with a grittier and more realistic look. Like the movie, TMNT the game utilizes a lot of atmosphere and murkiness to assure gamers that this is a different world.

TMNT is the latest game to utilize the Ninja Turtle license, following up several years of poorly reviewed titles. This is UbiSoft's first attempt at the license, after Konami repeatedly murdered the franchise. The movie adaptation is available for pretty much every console except the Atari 2600. For this review, the game was only played on the XBOX 360.


One of the things I was most surprised about in this game was the absence of multiplayer. Initially, I was surprised that a license that normally includes co-op was missing out. However, I was even more surprised when the storyline began to unfold. Never before have I played a game that emphasized teamwork as much as this one. I almost felt sick from the excessive heavy-handed teamwork blathering. And yet, the individual playing TMNT never experiences real teamwork. I guess UbiSoft saw GEARS OF WAR and realized they were outdone.

TMNT's core gameplay element is the attack. Like the majority of movie license games (see ERAGON, LEGO STAR WARS II, and X-MEN 3), TMNT throws the player in a room with enemies and he'll need to press attack a bunch of times until they're dead. After a while, that player might discover that holding the attack button down for a second will result in a strong attack on multiple enemies. Once this discovery is made, forget about it; TMNT will breeze by faster than an episode of Entourage. Besides the attack button (and an optional combo attack), the other major gameplay element is puzzle solving. Unlike GOD OF WAR II or TOMB RAIDER: LEGEND, this action game uses barely-there movement puzzles to connect multiple battles to one another. While these puzzles are frequently similar, their complexity is non-existent and keeps the momentum of the game high. One of the best compliments that you can give a short game is that the pacing is perfect. Ninja Turtles are warriors that depend on their agility and speed; the puzzle elements are perfectly designed to support this notion.

This is not a game with incredibly complex gameplay. However, because of the overall brevity of the game (4-5 hours), you'll be glad the designers didn't try to do too much. This makes the game accessible to players of all ages and experience. Gameplay: 6.5/10


Nowadays making a pretty fixed camera game isn't too difficult. Because the designer knows exactly what the player will see, it leaves very little room to worry. Sure, a glitcher can find some fascinating spots, but this never hampers the overall graphical outlook. Nevertheless, TMNT still looks incredibly good. Specifically, the black-and-white levels involving Raphael are very cool. It made me feel like I was playing in a homogenized version of SIN CITY. All of the buildings and water effects look next gen and you can tell that this title was designed for next gen consoles.

While the levels and backgrounds are well put together, the diversity of characters is exceptionally lacking. I'm not sure what the deal is with enemy design (especially for movie games) but recently the number of duplicate enemies seems to be on the rise. Sure, we used to play hours on end with identical enemies in games like GAUNTLET and DOUBLE DRAGON. However, with the dawn of the modern age of gaming, fighting simplistic and repetitive enemies is a sign of laziness. Even more bothersome, some of these enemies reminded me of similar bad guys in OPEN SEASON (also made by UbiSoft). It is disconcerting that so much time was spent on the backgrounds and not on the enemies. Overall, the graphics of TMNT are a mixed bag. They're better than average, but nowhere near the cream of the crop. Still, there enough cool moments that you're complaints will be normal and you won't decide to quit just because the game isn't pretty enough. The cut scenes from the movie are outstanding and well worth the inclusion in this game. Graphics: 8.4/10


In the way of sound, there is one overwhelmingly apparent problem - these characters are obnoxious. For example, whenever Raphael is being used, he will repeat one of two catch phrases ad naseum. If I have to hear him say "Here's Johnny!" or "Booya!" one more time, I think I might have to take a key to the game disc. The other characters also have annoying catch phrases, but Raphael (who you also play more often) has the worst.

One of the better uses of sound in TMNT is the recurring voice overlay. Because the game is told in the past tense, the Ninja Turtles are talking about the events after they've occurred. The inclusion of this voice work adds to the storytelling even if the actual dialogue is pedantic. I've yet to verify if the voice actors in the game are the same from the movie, but I doubt it really matters. While the voices in the game are professional grade, its not as if their source material is Chaucer. Sound: 6.7/10


Sometimes games are made extra long to justify a $60 price tag. I hope that no one pays full price for this game, but recommend it as a quick rental. It has its fair share of flaws, but failing to entertain is not one of them. I'd rather see you spend four hours playing this game than torturing yourself with ten hours playing a meandering and under-developed RPG . TMNT is in no way a classic. However, TMNT is also not the train wreck of a game that some reviewers might lead you to believe. Final Verdict: 7.1/10


TMNT was released by the Weinstein Company on March 23rd. Since then, it has made over $50 million domestic and $82 million worldwide. That makes it one of the Weinstein Company's biggest earners and probable to be sequelized. Bear in mind that the live action Ninja Turtles movie had two sequels following its original release.





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