TMNT: Shredder's Revenge Vs. Turtles In Time – Which Game Is … – TheGamer

Which TMNT beat ’em up is better, the modern Shredder’s Revenge or the classic Turtles In Time?
In early 2021, Much to the joy of diehard Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fans of all ages, Tribute Games and Dotemu announced a long-awaited spiritual successor to the classic TMNT beat-'em-ups of the 8 and 16-bit eras. Particularly, Shredder's Revenge is an homage to Turtles in Time, even inserting some classic throwbacks—like a revamped version of the New York "Big Apple" stage.
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Fans were delighted to learn that Shredder's Revenge, in many ways, holds up to the iconic Konami game of the 90s, and just might even surpass it in some areas. But does it win out as a whole? Which one is ultimately the better TMNT game? Is it the modern reimagining, or does the original classic hold a certain charm that's simply untouchable to this day?
It's perhaps not surprising given the age difference of Turtles In Time as compared to Shredder's Revenge—but Tribute Games' modern beat-'em-up reigns supreme when it comes to aesthetics.
The developer does a fine job in capturing that nostalgic 16-bit charm while giving it a sleek, crisp new coat of paint. The sharper textures, colorful graphics, and more dynamic particle effects shine through, and the more detailed backdrops help set the scene.
To its credit, Konami manages to do a lot with a little when it comes to Turtles In Time's visuals. This is especially the case with the then cutting-edge Mode 7 tech used in Neon Night-Riders, which has the turtles coasting in quasi-3D towards a futuristic city skyline. Still, the tasteful balance of stylistic retro visuals and modern-day depth in Shredder's Revengeis hard to top when it comes to 2D games.
As most fans would agree, both titles feature some delightful tunes and solid sound design. Yet, whether it's the return of the original voice actors, or rehashed Turtles In Time tracks, it's ironically Shredder's Revenge's homages to an older era that resonate most with gamers. Much like on the visual front, composer Tee Lopes seeks (and largely succeeds) in capturing the charming vibe of Turtles in Time's tunes.
But ultimately, it's the 1991 originator that continues to shine through. There's something about that simple, yet melodic soundtrack of synth and rock—rife with catchy melodies and bouncy beats—that goes right to the soul. One need only revisit the music of "Big Apple, 3 A.M." for a key example. The game even managed to make a rendition of "Pizza Power," from the immensely cheesy Coming Out of Our Shells tour, sound appealing.
When it comes to the dynamic nature of the gameplay, it's hard to refute; Shredder's Revenge takes the top spot. The game takes the accessible beat-'em-up formula and fleshes it out with various unlockables, extra content, and achievements to bump up the replay value.
Unlike Turtles in Time, you can now choose to switch between various turtles during the campaign—as well as April, Splinter, and the unlockable Casey Jones, and level them up individually.
You can reach point thresholds to unlock buffs like extra hit points and new moves, bringing an overarching progression system that benefits as the game gets tougher. Collectibles hidden within each stage, as well as achievements and challenges like tossing three enemies into pits in "Roof Running reptiles!", add depth and invite more playthroughs.
You might be intrigued to dive back into a stage to find that last missing VHS tape for Vernon or gather a few more Secret Diaries for Irma. Added to this is a greater variety of powerups, enemies, stages (16to be precise), and interactable objects to play around with.
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For all of its appealing gameplay, Turtles In Time has a fairly limited cap; and it usually follows the brief campaign run of 30-40 minutes. Straightforward Time Trials and a simple Versus mode do little to flesh out the slim experience.
While the premise of TMNT is itself imaginative, Shredder's Revenge keeps the plot pretty standard. Cue the rehash of the Foot being menaces and swiping the Statue of Liberty, leading to clashes in various locales in New York, Dimension X, and elsewhere. This leads to an inevitable showdown with Krang and Shredder.
Turtles In Time runs with this classic plotline, but takes things a step beyond, as you're transported through time itself and visit a number of distinct settings. Many still fondly remember fighting their way through the first Technodrome and being underwhelmed by this apparent abrupt end—only to start a wild ride through time that is the second half of Turtles in Time. This time-traveling premise sets the stage for some awesome atmosphere and colorful settings. This includes a pirate ship, a sci-fi metropolis, and a prehistoric land crawling with dinosaurs.
One of the main appeals of Turtles In Time is the simple, pick-up-and-play nature of its control scheme. The tight, solid mechanics and physics make for a delightful experience for newcomers and vets alike, b ut the game does have a subtle, yet lingering issue of a few cryptic commands that it doesn't really spell out—and often sees players stumble into accidentally.
You may find yourself performing a strange floating slash move in the air with Leo while struggling to replicate it, or being unable to repeat a throwing move after ramming a foe.
Shredder's Revenge, on the other hand, does a fine job of laying out every possible move for each turtle in detail, without making the commands overwhelming. Many of the familiar moves—like that satisfying enemy toss into the screen—make a return, along with a few new attacks like the Heavy Swing. They also manage to maintain that solid, tactile feel, and even amplify it with nuanced vibration. This blend of depth and palatability makes for some of the best controls we've seen in a modern beat-'em-up.
Games often gain popularity and esteem by being accessible. The descriptor "easy to learn and hard to master" is commonly used when praising games, and Turtles In Time nails it in awesome form. The game allows you to jump right into the action and kick some shell, making most of the game playable through simple button mashing. The game allows for swift, relatively easy kills with enemy tosses, ample health-restoring pizzas, and readily available special attacks.
At the same time, you can still opt for the more nuanced moves to get that extra edge (or gain bragging rights over your friend with a higher score). Turtles In Time keeps things simple and to the point. It allows you to play the whole memorable campaign in one sitting—having wrapped your head around most of its workings and absorbing most of its content in the process.
It's tough to render a final verdict as to which of these stellar titles wins out. Even with their similar content and style, it's a bit of an apples and oranges scenario—both excel in different ways and spawned from vastly different eras in gaming.
But when setting the warm and fuzzy nostalgia aside, it's hard to deny that Shredder's Revengereigns supreme as a whole. The game offers a better presentation, loads of content, greater depth, and more fun. Whether flying solo, playing split-screen, or delving into online romps, the game is a bodacious homage to Turtles In Time while shining in its own right. Still, many would at least consider this an extremely close fight—rightfully so—and this in and of itself is a testament to Turtles In Time's quality and legacy.
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Stephen is an avid Nintendo, Indie, and retro gamer who dabbles in Xbox, mainly in the form of binge sessions of Overwatch. He’s a history buff, an aspiring writer of short fiction, and a devout metalhead who enjoys poorly drumming along to Black Sabbath on his cheap drum set. When his beloved Chicago Cubs or Bulls are not playing, he typically likes to watch obscure documentaries or campy horror films.

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