Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The New Arcade Game

I’ve been posting on this blog for a while, long enough that I know to keep a list of ideas for topics to post about. But it took some time before I started doing it, thanks to my stubbornness, but it happened after I came up with several ideas I couldn’t remember after a few days. There are also times where I’ll look at my list and either see a bunch of topics I don’t feel like writing about, or see absolutely nothing. The last time this happened was 24 hours ago.

So, I ventured through sites like Kotaku and Gematsu to gather some ideas. It was on the former that I discovered something interesting that I wasn’t aware of: A new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game is coming to arcades (and places that accept arcade machines) soon. It’s developed by Raw Thrills, and while those who were aware of the news had an idea of what it could be when it was announced a month ago, there was no footage shown with it. Ahead of its release, it was demoed at the IAAPA Attractions Expo 2017 that took place over a week ago in Orlando, Florida. Someone at Arcade Heroes captured a significant amount of footage in single-player and co-op multiplayer, more than enough to see how the game works.

First appearances are everything, and the promotional art and style on the side of the cabinet and in adverts shows that it’s aimed toward the younger audience. Specifically, it takes after the recent CG-animated series that aired on Nickelodeon. While it retained many major and minor characters from older incarnations, those outside some human characters were noticeably lankier in terms of weight and muscle definition. This is especially noticeable on Bebop in the first level in that footage, who’s has about 1/3 the muscle and weight compared to older counterparts, though that’s somewhat justifiable here since he’s not a mutation. I’m not a big fan of the style, and several other oldies like me aren’t either, but it’s apparently the style kids are into these days.

This is also the reason why the news went under the radar for several serious gaming types; there wasn’t much news provided about it because it’s not aimed towards them. The Turtles Forever 25th anniversary TV special from 2009 was mostly the end of an era for old school fans, even though many of the voice actors for the late 80s/early 90s era didn’t return.

There is one key aspect the older fans will appreciate upon seeing it in action, and it’s the reason why I made this post: The gameplay. It looks remarkably similar to the old arcade games that plenty my age enjoyed in the early 90s. It allows for players to use up to four Turtles simultaneously, and fight their way through groups of Foot Soldiers and other familiar enemies while venturing through several levels. The hit animations for the Turtles and enemies are similar to the home version of Turtles in Time, though with the multiplayer features of the arcade version. It also contains the throwing techniques that involve the Turtles slamming enemies on the ground twice, and the ability to toss them towards the screen, both of which are also from Turtles in Time.

In addition to kids enjoying this, it could be the new arcade-style title some players have wanted for years. It could be the first good side-scrolling brawler since the all-to-forgotten Game Boy Advance adaptation of TMNT.

Funnily enough, the game looks to capture the spirit of the old arcade games better than Turtles in Time Re-Shelled, the misguided 2009 remake of the original. It made the mistake of using the arcade game as a base instead of the (arguably?) superior SNES version, as a merging of the latter’s enhancements (extra levels, better difficulty balancing, extra polish, etc.) with four-player multiplayer would have been best.

I was also surprised to hear about this game because high-profile titles (and potentially high-profile ones) haven’t been made for arcades in years. The arcade games that receive the most attention among the dedicated gaming audience these days are fighting games and shoot ‘em ups, though even those are dwindling in number. Meanwhile, many western-developed arcade games are mobile adaptations like Infinity Blade FX or adaptations of shows like The Walking Dead (a light gun game reminiscent of Sega’s House of the Dead series). It would be nice if this Turtles game could lead to a revival of side-scrolling brawler adaptations, which will only happen if this is good, and if this takes off.

The full Turtles arcade game will arrive in spring 2018, so Raw Thrills will have ample time to polish it by mid-June next year. Seeing news like this makes it worth the time to sometimes browse sites to shuffle though factoids you might have missed, whether you need to gather ideas like me, or you simply have a few free minutes to kill.

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