After DuckTales Remastered, people wondered about whether there would be more games that harken back to the 80s and 90s, from the childhoods of the young adults of today. There had been the Ghostbusters video game back in 2009, which was actually pretty good. But few in that time period ever compared to what Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles represented, and here’s a new game to rekindle that fascination.
There actually were good Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle games, including the classic arcade-style beat-em-up Turtles in Time for the SNES. This new game, Out of the Shadows, has a lot to live up to, and many people have picked it up to relive their childhoods. The folks over at Red Fly Studio understood this nostalgia incited by the franchise, so they made this one a beat-em-up as well to somehow recapture what Konami had captured over two decades ago, although more modernized for the gamers of today.
It’s a 3D beat-em-up with some fairly interesting combat, complete with team attacks that showcase the Turtles in their usual action-packed glory. Fiddling with the skill trees feels quite satisfying after going through a few levels, then using the skills you’ve chosen in subsequent ones. It looks pretty decent as well, and you get to witness the Turtles with their usual banter and prodigious consumption of pizza. It combines both the classic 2D beat-em-up with the newer 3D action fare. However, that’s where the problems actually start as the game seems to not know what it really wants to be.
There are some major flaws in this game, most of it involving the gameplay itself. While the combat does have a tactile feel to it, you have to contend with the outright slowness. You feel every hit, but also every agonizing moment as you wait for your ninja turtle to hit. The wonky camera is no good either since you have to fight it harder than the enemies in the game since it’s wilder than a jungle animal, and it doesn’t help that some enemies tend to get hit by a bout of catatonia in the middle of fighting. Partly because of that camera, it’s also kind of easy to lose track of where you’re going. It then gets even worse if you decide to play split-screen multiplayer with someone, so you’ll also have to squint to keep track.
When it was released, this game had quite a lot of technical issues, including hard freezes and glitchy animation that definitely get in the way of gameplay as well. Out of the Shadows is so rough around the edges and could have done better with another month or so of development, but perhaps Activision really wanted to hurry it along to keep it from not being finished. We can only hope for patches to smooth things out at this point because there’s a big possibility that plenty of people out there are not very willing to throw this game aside because of what it represents.
Despite all of these faults though, one thing that it does do well is being a TMNT game beyond doubt. It may not be as good as Turtles In Time or other games in the beat-em-up genre, but it has all four Ninja Turtles, as well as that distinct TMNT feel that makes the children of yesteryear reminisce about simpler times today. It’s the same kids that saw the first movie, then went through the next two just because it’s the Ninja Turtles.
If ever you get this game, then it’s most likely because you’re a fan of TMNT. This game is now available for the PC, PS3, and Xbox 360. Now let’s just hope that the 2014 movie reboot will do better than the 2007 one and this game.
Tested in Xbox 360. Final Score: 6/10