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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Arcade: Wrath of the Mutants Review

Teenage Mutant Average Turtle

A few years ago, the experience of being an old-school Ninja Turtles arcade fanboy was thin on the ground. The original titles were under licensing hell, sitting in a warehouse gathering dust after a brief but beautiful rebirth on the Xbox 360. It didn’t look like it would change until Tribute Games delivered the absolute classic Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge as Konami recalled ‘oh, we make video games’ and pulled out the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Cowabunga Collection. To say I was in dreamland in late 2022 is an understatement, but until recently I was complete unaware of another TMNT arcade game that largely flew under the radar a few years earlier.

Based on the Nickelodeon animated series that aired during the early 2010’s, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Arcade: Wrath of the Mutants wears its obvious inspirations on its turtle shell. Play as one of the four ninja powered heroes (either solo or together with up to four players), each with their own set of weaponry and special attacks against a host of robotic Foot Clan warriors and bosses both new and familiar. You can select from a handful of levels, each with two bosses to defeat, and completing them all unlocks a final showdown with Shredder himself.

Wrath of the Mutants treads familiar ground. Whack a bunch of enemies in the face, scrolling across a 2D plain, picking up random power-ups the appear under trash cans and eating pizza to regain energy. It’s hardly original, nor does it intend to be. This is all about recapturing the feel of the arcade classics, and to that end it does a reasonable job.  Levels are extended with two boss battles and include a super meter that, when used, can unleash a devastating attack across the screen. Each character feels unique enough to warrant trying them all out, Leo’s reach with his katana always hit different compared to Raphael’s more brawler sai’s.

Hold the anchovies

One thing that’s notable in Wrath of the Mutants is how easy it can be to complete. You can send Shredder packing in just a few short hours, leaving you to up the difficulty level to feel a little more like the coin munching experience you would have had originally. Or I would have had, I guess. You kids don’t use coins anymore, you have those flimsy plastic cards, which takes all the fun out of it. I digress. Despite the addition of new stages and boss battles not included in the original arcade edition, there isn’t much meat to these turtle bones. There’s no online multiplayer to speak of, which feels like a misstep, and no time trials or boss rush options. Nor are there any making of videos or production stills, though maybe I’m pulling at straws there given how spoilt I was with the Cowabunga Collection. The basics are all taken care of, sure, but a little extra incentive to spend a few more hours with Wrath of the Mutants would have gone a long way.

I should also point out, there’s barely any story to speak of. Unlike the original TMNT Arcade or Turtles in Time, there are no cut-scenes that tie the action together. You choose your level, get dropped in, and away you go. A few shots from the show or at least some stills would have been a nice touch. Granted there’s plenty of voiceovers, but the quips repeat far too often and can become annoying after a while.

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Given the Nickelodeon series has been off the air for some time and has since been overshadowed by the recent animated movie (which is stellar, FYI), some younger fans may be unfamiliar with these character designs too. That last one isn’t a deal breaker for me, I’ve gobbled up just about everything this franchise has released over the years since I was but a wee hatchling and I highly recommend going back and watching the show if you can find it. I can understand, however, if there’s a few confused players wondering why Donatello isn’t wearing glasses and sounds hella old.

Harsh but fair, random enemy bot

Final Thoughts

TMNT Arcade: Wrath of the Mutants is a fun diversion for any fan like me that missed it the first time around. I didn’t mind it, despite its obvious flaws, but this console port should have done more. I’ll happily acknowledge that the original team behind the Wrath of the Mutants arcade cabinet did a solid job at the time to rekindle much of what made the originals so fun. It’s just, given the modern world we live in where Shredder’s Revenge exists, the timing on this port is unfortunate.

Reviewed on PS5 // Review code supplied by publisher

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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Arcade: Wrath of the Mutants Review
Bummer, dude
As a fan of the Turtle’s arcade roots, I’d happily recommend TMNT Arcade: Wrath of the Mutants for a run or two, but despite the new levels the lack of online support and barebones presentation spoils this pizza party.
The Good
A fun little arcade brawler
Power-ups and special moves are a good touch
Levels are a decent length
The Bad
A lack of online multiplayer and extra content hurts
Audio and music isn’t all that memorable
Too easy, even when playing solo
Shredder’s Revenge just did it all so much better
6.5
Glass Half Full
  • Raw Thrills, Cradle Games
  • GameMill Entertainment
  • PS5 / PS4 / Xbox Series X|S / Xbox One / Switch / PC
  • April 23, 2024

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Arcade: Wrath of the Mutants Review
Bummer, dude
As a fan of the Turtle’s arcade roots, I’d happily recommend TMNT Arcade: Wrath of the Mutants for a run or two, but despite the new levels the lack of online support and barebones presentation spoils this pizza party.
The Good
A fun little arcade brawler
Power-ups and special moves are a good touch
Levels are a decent length
The Bad
A lack of online multiplayer and extra content hurts
Audio and music isn’t all that memorable
Too easy, even when playing solo
Shredder’s Revenge just did it all so much better
6.5
Glass Half Full
Written By Mark Isaacson

Known on the internet as Kartanym, Mark has been in and out of the gaming scene since what feels like forever, growing up on Nintendo and evolving through the advent of PC first person shooters, PlayStation and virtual reality. He'll try anything at least once and considers himself the one true king of Tetris by politely ignoring the world records.

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