Frederick James still remembers when he first played the original teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Arcade game. There was something about the experience, with its big expressive characters and approachable gameplay, that rightfully sucked at it. “Playing that game was so mind-blowing because it was like playing cartoons,” he tells me on Zoom (with a huge collection of retro games behind him). “It was very different from Nintendo in those days.” So, that’s when James, now a designer at Montreal-based studio Tribute Games, got the chance to work on a modern take. tmntIt was largely a dream project. “It was awesome to know,” he says of being put on the project.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge is out now, and it comes from some of the proven experts in the field. It’s developed by Tribute, which includes developers who’ve worked on Titles: Scott Pilgrim vs The World: The Game and cult hits tmnt Game for the Game Boy Advance, and published by Dotemu, the team behind the incredible revival streets of fury, the goal of Shredder’s Revenge had a lot in common: to take the best parts of the classic tmnt titles and to make them work for a modern audience.
For James, there were a few things that set him apart from the classic games he wanted to emphasize. Shredder’s Revenge, The first was accessibility. While arcade games were still designed to consume as many of your quarters as possible — and, thus, were quite challenging — they were still easier to pick up and play than many of their contemporaries. He also believes the original’s pacing and level design tmnt The game had much more in common with action games than a standard side-scrolling beat ’em up. “You have enemies coming in different patterns, and it’s all about settling them very quickly so you don’t get swarmed,” he explains. “It’s something we really wanted to get back into the sport.”
Of course, while the team used a similar design philosophy, they were also able to take advantage of modern technology. Shredder’s Revenge Available on PS4, Switch, Xbox, and Steam, it’s a slight step up from 16-bit consoles and ’90s arcade cabinets. Importantly, it still looks deliciously retro, with beautiful and expressive pixel art filled with all kinds of cool animations. I especially like to hide Foot Clan enemies in garbage bags or disguise themselves as chefs before attacking. (It also sounds in part thanks to a great soundtrack sonic frenzy Composer T. Lopes.)
“We like to say that we like to make games the way you remember them, not just the way they were,” James says. But developers weren’t as limited when it came to how much they could put on the screen and weren’t forced to do things like reuse animations or character sprites in the interest of saving memory. Plus, they were able to add completely modern features like online play.
Finding a balance between modern and retro was a challenge, which involved a lot of research and testing. The development team played most of the classics – not just tmnt game but others beat them too – and ditch the old issues Nintendo Power To get a better understanding of how the levels were determined. Meanwhile, the test was particularly difficult. Initially, it was impossible for testers to play together at the local level due to the pandemic. But, even when they were enabled, the chaotic nature of the game’s multiplayer — which supports up to six players — made playthrough difficult. “Sometimes it’s a little hard to analyze what’s going on because there are so many things happening on the screen,” says James.
And while nostalgia is clearly a big part of the experience, for both classic games and original animated series, James says Shredder’s Revenge It was designed so that even new players can pick it up. “There are no real points in the game where you need to know [the original games],” he adds. “There are too many Easter eggs, of course, and too few tributes. But there are really no prerequisites to be able to enjoy the game.”
Shredder’s Revenge Coming out at a time when there’s something about a resurgence of side-scrolling beat ’em ups. This is an especially great time to be a fan of the Turtles; in addition to the following Shredder’s RevengeThere’s also a bundle of 13 classic games coming later this year. And James has a theory as to why these games, which once dominated arcades, are so enduring.
“At first you think it’s just button mashing, but then at one point you realize it’s like a dance,” he explains. “There’s a lot of position, a lot of rhythm — it’s like dancing. You can dance just for the fun of it, but you can also be a professional dancer and do all these incredible moves.”