52 Weeks of Canadian Gaming - Week 20
Release Date: March 20, 2007
Developer: Ubisoft Montréal
ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+
Reviewed by: Brian Wray
To be honest I was a bit conflicted about this game. On one hand the game was developed as a movie tie-in game and, with the exception of the recent Wolverine game, movie-tie games are normally a very poor gaming experience. On the other hand, the game was developed by Ubisoft Montréal, and given their excellent reputation at crafting amazing games, I had high hopes for the TMNT.
TMNT, as I indicated in the previous paragraph, was developed as a movie tie-in game. Having said this, the game's story line does not follow the movie completely. The game story is told in a series of flashbacks. This storytelling method allowed the game developers to create unique levels that can stand independent from each other, but for this to work these independent levels must be drawn together with great story telling. This is simply not the case here. This is indeed a sad fact as Ubisoft Montréal has established itself as a great storyteller and the TMNT do indeed have plenty of material in which to draw inspiration for a game. As a result, each game level appears disjointed from the rest of the game.
The visuals on the other hand are exactly what we have come to expect from a Ubisoft Montréal title. The character models are all well defined and look similar to the CG characters of the movie. The game world is for the most part very detailed and does sport an impressive amount of colour.
(Click for larger image)
Gamplay in TMNT is broken up into two sections, one part comprises mostly of platforming with a dash of fighting tossed in for good measure. The platforming sequences are actually fun and at times can pose a bit of a challenge. Each level will feature many situations where our favourite hero in a half-shell must climb, jump flip and perform other amazing acrobatic feats to arrive at the desired destination. At times this will require quick reflexes and precisely timed button presses. Gameplay was very reminiscent of Prince of Persia. This is a good thing as Prince of Persia is a fantastic game with some incredible platforming sequences, but when it comes to the delicate but sophisticated combat system of PoP, TMNT proves it's no prince.
Combat is controlled by button presses. The X, Y and B buttons all perform various attacks and combination of the three will perform powerful combos. The problem is that with the exception of a few enemies, the game can be beaten by simply pressing the X button over and over again eliminating the need to learn any real combo. For those that love to learn combo moves, they will be disappointed to learn that each character only has a single combo available to them. Each turtle has a special move that can be performed such as Michelangelo’s ability to use his nunchucks as an improvised helicopter to glide great distances. At times the game will provide the player with two turtles to complete the mission, when this occurs, players can perform very powerful team-up moves. Some enemies can only be defeated in this fashion. The problem is that these missions are few as most will missions provide the player with a solitary pre-selected turtle.
(Click for larger image)
TMNT has many flaws. The scripted camera can be a bit erratic at times, but this was nothing I could not deal with. The game did suffer the occasional framerate drop, but again nothing I could not handle. The designers of this game obviously crafted the title for a younger audience but forgot about the more hardcore fans in the process. The game is very easy. Actually it's ridiculously easy. It would have been easy for the designers to create an insane mode or something to provide seasoned gamers with a bit of a challenge. Also why a game that focuses around the theme of teamwork, a topic often discussed by Splinter, does not offer any type of co-op play whatsoever.
TMNT is too good to be called a bad game, but bad enough that it cannot be called a great game. This leaves the title in limbo where good, but not great games go to die.