The video game “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge” begins on a very familiar note: with the theme song “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”:
“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles/ Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles/ Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles/ Heroes in a half shell/ Turtle power!”
The game’s intro music and scenes set the tone for what’s next. From one level to another, “Shredder’s Revenge”, out June 16 on platforms such as the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, reminiscent of the popular 1980s animated series featuring the world’s most fearsome battle team – Leonardo, Donatello, Raphael and Michelangelo – and games arcade games it inspired, 1989’s “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” and its 1991 sequel, “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time”.
It was wanted.
“We weren’t just trying to sell a video game that was fun and accessible to everyone, but we also wanted to kind of reflect the inspirations, where it came from,” Frédéric Gémus, who worked on the game design for “Shredder’s Revenge” for Tribute Games, TODAY said in a Zoom interview.
A little less than a month after the release of “Shredder’s Revenge”, its publisher, Dotemu, announcement that over a million copies had been sold worldwide – proof that “turtle power” has power in the gaming world.
Go back in time to make “Shredder’s Revenge”
“Shredder’s Revenge” is a collaboration between Tribute Games; Dotemu, who previously revived the ’90s fighting series “Streets of Rage”; and “TMNT” rights holder Nickelodeon. The creators of the game were long-time fans and already familiar with the “TMNT” universe.
“We like to say that we did the research 20, 30 years ago when we were young,” joked Gémus.
Still, they did the kind of work that would make anyone growing up in the late 80s and early 90s nostalgic, envious, or both: they rewatched the original cartoon, they played old arcade “TMNT” (Gemus was a pre-teen when these games were released by Konami), and they studied video game magazines of the time.
All of that preparation is reflected in “Shredder’s Revenge,” from the 16-bit style graphics to the pizza bonuses to the amusing one-liners the turtles drop from time to time, voiced by the cast of the original cartoon.
“To be able to work on a game like this and not necessarily try to recreate (the older games), but to recreate the experience and the feeling that we had with it was something quite incredible,” said Gémus.
Doc Mack says “Shredder’s Revenge” has “similar feelings” to classic arcade games – and he would know it. He is the owner of Galloping Ghost Arcade in suburban Chicago, home to nearly 900 arcade games, including “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” and “Turtles in Time.”
“It was definitely on par with (arcade games). … Visually great. There were a couple of little things that were, just as a game designer, I was kind of like, ‘I would have does it differently, personally’, but, like, great, beautiful game, great sound.’ he said TODAY on Zoom.
Of course, in this year 2022, there are some modern twists in “Shredder’s Revenge”, including an online play option and the ability to have up to six players taking part in the game simultaneously. There are also characters that weren’t playable in the arcade games, like the Turtles’ mentor, Splinter, and their human friend, reporter April O’Neil.
The gameplay itself is quite simple, even if you’re an old school gamer who remembers a time when video games only required the use of a few buttons.
“The original arcade games really inspired us in terms of simplicity. We really wanted to make sure it would be a game where anyone could just jump up and grab a controller and jump and attack,” Gémus explained while noting that more experienced players “can go crazy and do combos and different special moves.
Mack said the controls in “Shredder’s Revenge” had more “depth” compared to the gameplay in the “TMNT” arcade games.
“There were times when you had to use specific moves and stuff, and that was really cool. The originals were very basic, just very limited in movement,” he explained.
“Overwhelming” response to “Shredder’s Revenge”
“Shredder’s Revenge” was praised by those with fond memories of “TMNT” arcade games, with a 4.8/5 viewership rating on Google and numerous rave reviews on social media.
“‘TMNT: Shredder’s Revenge’ is so good,” Brian Shea, Director of Online Content for Game Informer, tweeted after the game was released.
“Love, love, love ‘Shredder’s Revenge,’ and say it as a ‘TMNT’ fan” wrote New York Post MMA reporter Scott Fontana.
Mack said some of his Galloping Ghost Arcade team had played the game several times. A few people even felt inspired to visit his arcade after playing “Shredder’s Revenge,” he said.
“It’s definitely the right demographic and it gets people talking,” he added.
Gemus said the response to the game has been “overwhelming”. He and his colleagues especially appreciated the feedback from parents who befriended their children while playing “Shredder’s Revenge.”
“They thank us for being able to share this kind of experience with them,” he said, adding, “That’s also why we’ve made the game so accessible, so young players like 5, 6 year olds can easily play with a parent.”
James Rolfe, known to his millions of YouTube subscribers as the “Angry Video Game Nerd”, spoke of both the throwback qualities of “Shredder’s Revenge” and its reach to younger audiences when he he tweeted in June“Over the weekend I finished ‘Shredder’s Revenge’ with my daughters. What a fun retro game! The perfect sequel to ‘Turtles in Time’. I felt like I had 10 more year.
(“Shredder’s Revenge” is rated Everyone 10+ for “imaginary violence” by the Entertainment Software Rating Board. In other words, the content is generally suitable for children ages 10 and older, according to the ESRB. -ad above will give you a good idea of what the in-game action looks like.)
There’s no news yet on a potential ‘Shredder’s Revenge’ sequel; for now, game makers are focused on offering support and updates for the current version, according to Gemus. However, the summer of “TMNT” game nostalgia continues: Konami released on Tuesday a collection of classic “TMNT” video gamesincluding the ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ and ‘Turtles in Time’ arcade games for major home consoles.