clessaileron: (Lobelia)
[personal profile] clessaileron
Lately, in a combination of getting into a Ninja Turtles kick (yes, I did watch that latest movie, despite what any of you will say about anything that Michael Bay is involved with), video gaming, and a renewed interest in the original Xbox, I decided on playing some games...of questionable quality based around the 2003 TMNT cartoon. So I bought them via original Xbox version.

The first of the three I’ve beaten was the second game, Battle Nexus. This is noteworthy because it was the one that critics gave horrible scores to, the worst of the three, and I had a grudge over it when I rented its Gamecube version back in 2004 (and beaten it too). 12 years later, here I am, doing it over again. This time…I’m now saying it’s merely a mediocre/average game rather than a piece of crap.

Okay, there are two things I will still hold against the game.
*The shared life bar thing in co-op, just on the idea alone. Seriously? I’ve done my share of co-op and there’s the weakest link holding me back (which falls under me going, “We’re not here to collect stuff & break the game!”). I would end up having that particular player being the reason we failed the level, even when I, myself, was doing just fine! This one ended up implementing 4 players (which I considered a strange omission in the first 2003 game, being just being 2 players, particularly due to the Ninja Turtles’ dynamic of 4 of them against the foot clan). Now, if you were able to go into there with 4 players, who knows how much that shared life bar is going to hold you back.
*The unlockable Ninja Turtles 1989 arcade game...with its music replaced & voice clips removed. As a fan, it was a seriously disappointment (licensing, perhaps), but even if I can get over the fact it happened, I didn’t like how it was even handled. You only got 5 tracks, 2 of them being the ones that you hear constantly. You hear one while going through the level and it’s the same, bland one on each level, (each level, originally had its own track except for two sharing one) which doesn’t get the energy going. Krang & Shredder both had their own boss music but uses the same boss music used when fighting the other bosses. The game itself is still a classic but the altered music (more specifically, the handling of it) does bring it down. Too bad the Xbox Live port had to get delisted. Guess we’d have to settle for MAME if you didn’t buy before it did.

Now that that’s out of the way…

The controls itself only feels somewhat stiff. I can attack and get around the level just fine but they don’t feel tight (there are times I feel like I did do a certain combo but didn’t go all the way).

Gameplay does have issues. It’s so easy to get moments where the enemies can pin you and cheaply take a good amount of health off of you when they’re big in numbers. Don’t get me started on projectile using enemies. They can contribute to getting pinned too when there’s too many of them. I’ll point it out to not being made to give fair breathing room. However, it’s not impossible but when those moments happen, it feels like you only deserved half of those beating for your screw ups. Even then, the AI aren’t particularly smart, so there’s that exploitation. I also noticed that, after playing the first TMNT 2003 game & sensing its 60 FPS, this one went with a lower frame rate, which may get some of that stiffness in this game (yet, I can still play Tales of Symphonia in a 30 FPS environment. Yeah, no comment.) The non-fighting elements of the gameplay has some middle of the ground level design that’s nothing much to talk about. There’s also a few levels of riding on/in a vehicle to collect coins like it’s a bonus stage, which gives a break from the platforming & fighting you’re going to be doing a lot (besides, this where one can get a doppelganger to get another life bar after it empties. Probably the only way co-op can be less of a pain).

To be honest, even though I considered this to be, really, a mediocre title, I actually did enjoy it in spite of that. It’s weird, I can admit that. It could be guilty pleasure or some fondness of a childhood franchise that I got some pleasure looking at a different version of these Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles that isn’t my own & the games of that franchise generation. Who knows. I’m not really defending it saying it’s some hidden gem. I’m just saying that it’s not really a piece of crap, it’s just mediocre & was able to enjoy it. I couldn’t justify buying it back in the day but these days, I don’t have regret getting a used copy.

(I do think I’ll have to make some amendments to this review if I ever end up doing a co-op playthrough of this, just so I can get better specific on how it works)
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December 2016


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