The 80's were a glorious, carefree time THAT gave us the warbling of Rick Astley and introduced the world to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Over the years, the quartet has been leaving their mark in popular society, first with an animated TV series, then live-action movies, a music tour and, most importantly to us, video games.
Though the Turtles did make a minor comeback a few years ago between an adventure loosely based on their 2007 CG animated film and a revival of the arcade game Turtles In Time (with a Reshelled moniker) for digital download, it has yet to really cover any "new" territory for this generation of gaming. That'll change this summer when Activision releases Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows, a game that pits the quartet against familiar enemies while encompassing a fresh new design and gameplay elements that will make long-time fans come out of their shell.
The game does show some resemblances to the 2007 Ubisoft-produced game TMNT, with a combat style that has you taking on multiple enemies at once. However, there's more to Out of the Shadows in terms of combat system, as numerous moves are available in your arsenal. This recently released trailer featuring Michelangelo shows the yellow-bandana'd turtle has no problem swinging around a pair of nunchucks and can easily smack Foot Soldiers and other thugs around with a number of moves, which players can chain together through combos. He can also use defensive techniques to throw enemies off guard, like grabbing onto a nearby street lamp and swinging away or latching onto them mid-strike and countering with his own attack.
Michelangelo is just one of the four Turtles offered within the game. Raphael (with his sais), Donatello (with his bo staff) and Leonardo (with his twin katana blades) will each have something to lend in terms of combat, with moves that fit their personality and fighting style. The game should also offer the possibility to learning new moves along the way from your teacher Splinter so you can be prepared for anything that enemies throw at you. There's something here for every skill set, whether you're a seasoned fighter or you're a younger player just looking to goof off with his or her favorite turtle.
In addition, Out of the Shadows doesn't force you to do all this crime fighting on your own. Developers Red Fly know that the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles work best as a group, so you have two options in terms of how you play.
The first is taking the single player route, which allows you to switch between all four Turtles on the fly. If you tag out well enough, you can actually chain together their combos very majestically, getting a high hit count and doing major damage to some enemies in the process.
The second option is a group-based thing, and like Konami's past TMNT arcade releases, you'll be working in a group of four. Playing with friends either locally or through online means (via PC, Xbox Live or PlayStation Network), you'll be able to team up for some exciting co-op attacks or even combine together to complete a "Turtle Power" technique that will leave even the most powerful adversary crushed between their Turtle shells. Remember what happened to Tatsu in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: Secret of the Ooze film? Something like that, but maybe a little bit more painful…
Though the art style is a little bit different from the animated Nickelodeon series of the same name, Out of the Shadows will reflect a similar universe where you'll take on Foot Soldiers from the Shredder's devastating army and evil aliens that operate under the vicious Kraang. Other enemies from the Turtles' past could show up as well, though they're unconfirmed at the moment.
With its various gameplay elements, a number of areas taken straight out of the Turtles' familiar world in New York, and a variety of friends and adversaries set to appear over the course of the game (here's hoping Bebop and Rocksteady show up – we miss those lugs), Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows could be a nice break from the usual licensed fare we've seen with the amphibious four. We'll have a closer look with hands-on in the months ahead, so be sure to check back on how it's shaping up. In the meantime, how about ordering yourself a pizza?