Let’s start from the end: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge, the latest game dedicated to the successful 80s brand, is theapotheosis of the pop culture homage of that decadein all its aspects.
From the graphics to the game mood, the whole construction of this beat ’em up is what it says a “juice” of that decade, a fundamentalist tribute that ends up sucking the player into pure nostalgism. Which is a double-edged sword, especially today, especially in a 2022 where the 80s, guys, are everywhere!
There is Cobra Kai (with its beat ’em up video game), there is Stranger Things, there is a whole branch of “tributes” that have inspired part of everything we are talking about in these lines and that could lead to definition Shredder’s Revenge as yet another celebratory game.
Is that so? Is this something forgettable?
Let’s try to find out together.
Shredder’s Revenge is a perfect example of beat ’em upall focused on tackling levels that look like battlefields, linear and sliding as nostalgia commands.
The game allows the player to face various challenges solo or in a teamchoosing each time which of the four turtles to use to beat the dear old man’s henchmen to blood Shredder (who, as usual, spends his time bringing terror to the streets of NYC).
This is such a proven formula to appear almost staleespecially when compared with similar operations such as the recent one Cobra Kai: The Karate Kid Saga Continues. It should also be noted that this is a relative problem because the average Shredder’s Revenge player probably wants exactly this kind of product. A video game with almost archetypal mechanics, which constitute the architrave of a tribute to the pastwithout infiltration from the future.
The formula is undoubtedly very simplethanks to the intuitive and immediate command mapping che allows the player to hit right and left without any particular problems. From life bar to life bar, the player will face waves of life from left to right; GO RIGHT of Streets Of Rageiana memory taken literally, in short.
From this point of view it is pleasant to see that the gameplay formula of Shredder’s Revenge, with all its fundamentalism, perfectly succeeds in recreating the mood of another time. making three lives available to the right player. This is all that separates the player from the game over: this element, combined with the length and variety of the levels, ends up rebuilding for good. the soul of coin op which inspired the title. Precisely for this reason, even if we certainly cannot say that Shredder’s Revenge is a “difficult” title, its levels are challenging and satisfying at the right point.
As may already be clear, also thanks to the characteristics listed above, TMNT is able to give its best in a cooperative, especially if the party goes wild to the point of finding combos and synergies to be able to complete the various levels in the most painless way possible. Basically, Shredder’s Revenge is a game that gives its best in the company of friends, chips and coke. In solitary, however, this title is likely to impatient in a short time the players not accustomed to the cruelties typical of the arcade.
Inside the 80s
The front where perhaps most of all this latest ninja turtle themed video game moves with great skill is the technical and sound sector.
Also from this point of view we start immediately by saying that the title clearly doesn’t revolutionize anything with its aesthetic or pixel art; they are both attractive elements for those interested in the nostalgic aspect of the thing.
However, without having to focus on a profoundly technical examination, I would like to emphasize the gaze on the emotional aspect. The one set up by Tribute Games is a tool for recreation of the sensations belonging to the past.
It was enough to start the game to have a sweet epiphany and go back in time, to a winter afternoon in the mid-nineties, with a pad of the Super Nintendo. To give this is not so much the presence of stylized animations or cartoony silhouettes, nor the use of stylistic charms of comics to raise the clouds of dust to the race. It is the sum of a thousand elements: the map that appears between one level and another, the shapes of the buildings, the slightly skewed perspectives or even the slightly dated user experience. Everything is old school, in an almost blatant and confusing way.
As in various similar products, it is a series of very specific artistic choices built with carewhich greatly elevate the atmosphere and identification, acting on a deeper level than the simple reconstruction of the period.
Experiments like these also serve to make people understand how powerful certain artistic currents are, if used in the correct way, to have an emotional and efficient look on the players. It is the use of detail as a functional means, the establishment of a feeling with the player: a whole series of elements capable of making the work as pop as it is intense, especially if we reconnect everything to the brand to which it belongs.
Born as independent comic in the 80s (the collective that drew it wanted to create a loving parody of Frank Miller’s works such as Daredevil or Ronin), TMNT evolved according to the editorial lines of the various newspapers on which it was published and then ended up giving birth to one of the most popular cartoons of the time. From then on, films, television series, gadgets, other comics and above all video games. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is alone the last piece of this story.
A project that ended up representing a golden age of American entertainment between the 80s and 90s, and which strongly recalls the expressive power of the first home consoles, bringing with it nuances of the pop culture of the time with brazenness and style. Bringing everything back to a videogame representation dimension like that of Shredder’s Revenge is an absolute act of love and a powerful homage to that golden ageable to give players a perfect way to genuinely vent the love for that era.
And that means a lot, “mannerist” gameplay or not.
Shredder’s Revenge is a great example of homage to the past, both in terms of gameplay and artistic. it is for sure a niche product and also built through a certain intransigence, but which manages to hit the target thanks to an adequate creative direction, which manages to respect all its premises.