Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows Preview – Heroes in a Half-Shell

Richard Walker

Turtles-mania is something we can still remember vividly, even as a cynical 30-year old. We remember begging our mum to buy Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles (as it was known in the UK) bread, which has to be the height of merchandising insanity. Turtles bread, for goodness sake! We wanted anything and everything Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles-related, whether it was bedsheets, lampshades, trading cards, spaghetti shapes action figures, or yes, bread. But 23 years on, will we want Activision's new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game?

It's a pertinent question, not least because Acti's game – in development at Mushroom Men and Ghostbusters for Wii dev, Red Fly – is being aimed at a more mature audience. It's being made for old-skool Turtles fans who watched the cartoon in the late 80s and early 90s, although it's based on the new Nickelodeon series viewed by younger kids. Confused? So are we.

Essentially, it seems that Acti and Red Fly want to have their cake and eat it, coaxing in the younger audience who love the current cartoon, while appealing to the older fans' sense of rose-hued nostalgia. Potentially, the game could therefore draw in an enormous following, especially when you consider that the first episode of the new animated series apparently pulled in over 12 million viewers worldwide.

In the US alone, the series attracts around 2-3 million viewers per episode, making it a pretty damn lucrative franchise. Hence the emergence of a new game – the first since 2009 - which assumes the guise of a third-person beat 'em up that's not a million miles away from the Batman: Arkham titles with its combos and counters. Built around four player co-op, this iteration of TMNT features team-up moves, and if you're playing in single-player, you'll still have three Turtles with you that you can seamlessly switch between at will.

Our first look at the game takes us to the Turtles' subterranean sewer HQ, which acts as your hub where you're able to apply any upgrades you've unlocked, train in the dojo, access side missions and the challenge mode, as well as secret retro arcade games. In the dojo, you're able to take on wooden training robots, flexing each of the Turtles unique fighting styles.

Leonardo is an all-rounder with his classic dual katana swords, and can unlock an upgrade that fixes the blades together into a new weapon; Raphael wields his sais and can gain access to iron fists to complement his close-quarters toughness; Michaelangelo spins his speedy nunchuks and can get retractible blades attached to them as an upgrade; and finally Donatello's ranged staff is later complemented by an unlockable secondary weapon.

After a dalliance with the dojo, we're taken out to the dark and grimy New York streets, where the 'fearsome fighting team' tackle some stock street thugs who launch an ambush down an alleyway. Basic strikes and heavy strikes make stringing together combos straightforward and simple, while a face button handles counter moves like Michelangelo's gassy belch. It looks streamlined enough, and team moves enable the Turtles to combine their abilities, like using Donatello's staff to swing around, while kicking any thugs dumb enough to get in the way.

Bring together all four Turtles, and you can crush bad guys between their half-shells. The team has a diverse selection of moves, including flips over enemies and devastating finishers when your power gauge is filled. Environments are also interactive and can be used to your advantage, and you can taunt enemies to draw their attention, before unleashing your collective Turtle Power.

Each Turtle has their own upgradeable skill trees and attributes such as health, damage, toughness and speed, that should help in bolstering the game's longevity. Comprised of seven different environments to explore around New York City, including a robot factory, the sewers and the streets, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows ought to boast plenty of gameplay, and promises to be especially enjoyable online in co-op with three other friends.

As the first Turtles game in four years, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows certainly looks like it has potential, despite this alpha build of the Unreal Engine-powered game having its fair share of flaws, like screen tearing and a choppy frame rate. There's no reason why these issues can't be brushed up in time for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows' late June release however, and as old-skool Turtles fans who were there back in the late-80s when it all began, we're hoping this will be the game the Heroes in a Half-Shell deserve.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows will be emerging from the sewers for XBLA this summer for a projected price of 1600 Microsoft Points. The price and date is still to be confirmed.

  • I hope this is dark like the arkham series :)
  • "Dark like the arkham series"? Can't anything just be fun anymore? Get out. I don't need frickin dark introspection in my TMNT (although Bay at the helm says otherwise...). We need old Arcade-y 80s style, when things were allowed to be silly and fun.
  • @2 No, dark like the actual comics that this game and everything else where adapted from.
  • I really don't like the look of these turles. I rather prefer the new shows style.
  • I'm with you #4......I'm excited for the game but that just looks horrible so far
  • Agreed with 4 and 5, they look a bit off, maybe due to the straight on look of the turtles.
  • @2 How about you get out? its my opinion you pig, i couldnt care less if you dont agree :)
  • was gonna buy until they confirmed that XB1 wont play anything from 360.....sorry guys, u messed up
  • The turtles look fine when in motion and not looking at their faces. Despite the Nick logo, it's beensaid already it is not actually based on the new cartoon. It is its own thing, similar to how the IDW comics have nothing to do with the new cartoon either. And it just LOOKS dark (and TMNT was always dark/comedy except the 87 cartoon/Archie comics. EVERYTHING else had some darkness to it, including the new show). Looks fun. I'm pumped.
  • Looks like everyone else missed that "1600 Microsoft Points" bit. Projected yes, but I hope they change their minds.
  • man i miss the 1987 TMNT series. bring back Bebop and Rocksteady.
  • @8, Seriously? Im really tired and bored of seeing stupid comments about Xbox One and backwards compatibility. Get over it, when Xbox 360 launched, sure you could play Original Xbox game but why bother? no new graphics, just the same game. Plus speaking about the Original Xbox, If I wanted to play an old game from that console 'era' I would just plug in my Original Xbox console which I kept and just play the games which I kept. Is it hard to switch a console over? Besides... that's not the main point I'm trying to make. Your not buying an arcade game because of backwards compatibility? Get the f*ck over it and grow up.
  • 1600 MS Points!?! This better be longer than 2 hours!
  • Looks great. Agree with 13, longer than 2 hours please. Plus co-op, yay.
  • Cowabunga!!!
  • Pizza!!
  • @Richard Walker I'm from the UK and I've always known it as ninja not hero. OT: I don't like the look of them, looks like someone has tried badly photo shopping a real face on to them... creepy. Also from the screenshots I really get a kinect vib and that's always bad news.
  • @4 Actually, they do have the new show's look, only in a photo-realist kind of way instead of a cartoon one.
  • I really want this game to be awesome, so I can buy it, but 1600 would just be too much.
  • If this is anything like Activision's last two licensed titles Walking Dead & Fast and Furious it's going to be absolute trash.
  • Looks like they are wanting it more to tie in with the new movie rather than the cartoon. Being a child of the 80's I watched each TMNT show & movie religiously, and the new Nick cartoon is the best show of them all. I doubt the new movie will make the top 4 movies, considering Michael Bay is producing, but I will still see it and might be pleasantly surprised (except Bay cannot do humour at all without making it agonizing to watch).
  • YOU MENTIONED TURTLE BREAD RICHARD! I honestly thought for years nobody else had heard of it lol I had that as a kid, infact I went out an bought a loaf of it with my Pocket Money once lol. If I remember correctly, it was basically Milk Roll, but with TMNT on the Packaging. If you're not from the UK, then Google it. It was amazing. As for this game, i'll buy it. Infact, funnily enough, I played through TMNT 1989 again yesterday for the first time in years.
  • Raph does not look bad enough and Donny looks dumb founded hope they show more emotion in game
  • @18 First time around in the movies, they were "Hero" turtles, in case the word Ninja made us killers or something. Anyone else remember Vanilla Ices Turtle Rap?
  • Go ninja, go ninja, go!
  • @22 bays turtles film is the 5th Turtles film and I would have to be paid to see it & even then restrained. Nickelodeon series is ok but it was the first time Ive felt too old to watch a cartoon in general -lots of humor similar to the 80's cartoon, which is great (but I like to think Ive grown up a little). also based or hamto yoshi being splinter which was only for the 80's cartoon and not comic/movie origins where splinter was always Hamato Yoshis rat. but the 200X series pretty much covered everything and had an interesting twist on shredder which people either like or hate. Considering the foot clan were cloning 4 arm shredders etc in the original comic it made more sense for him to have Utrom origins (might contradict the whole hamato Yoshi/orruku saki love story conflict origins?...but Turtles is forever 'mutating'). Would have preferred a CGI series or follow up to TMNT cgi film myself over the nickelodeon series. TMNT changes artwork and style ever since its hayday and its nothing new for the turtles to look artistically different. they tried to follow Power Rangers influence with Next mutation series which no matter what any one says about it, is going to be 1 million times better than the Bay film. As for crazy merchandise...it will never stop...ever... & that kind of makes me happy :) http://www.toysrus.com/product/index.jsp?productId=20418666 http://www.toysrus.com/product/index.jsp?productId=19762816 sends some love to Peter Laird
  • Rather than the mutant turtles I'm familiar with, they've gone with a more 'realistic' approach - so they look less mutant, and more anthropomorphic. What's off for me is the length of the neck, and the size of the hands/feet. it's more proportional to those on a tortoise (or turtle if you're from the US) than to the original TMNT. It's kinda weird...
  • Haven't heard anything from developers red fly studio about the game yet, but from the only trailers alone the game looks badass. Hope they add a retro game that haven't been on the market place before.
  • I like turtles But this looks bad and its from Activision, which haven't put out a good game since CoD4
  • @18 then you are obviously not old enough to remember; the cartoon was originally TMHT in the UK, and I bloody loved that show. @25 Nope, the movies were always NINJA turtles, only the cartoon was HERO. Checked my old extental VHS and its Ninja. Anyway, interested to know what those 'secret retro arcade games' are. Might mean I have to buy it.
  • Megan Fox as April O'Neil on the Michail Bay-directed TMNT WTF, MB?! there are about 72 real redhead actress out there who look very damn close to April. Dana Delany, Marcia Cross, and ive even seen Jennifer Aniston as a redhead: drop dead perfect.
  • Game looks to be ok...me and a few mates will be getting it, as a 4 player co-op TMNT game will be great! Hopefully the game will allow for unlocking of a few skins, that be great playing through the game as the 90's cartoon look lol
  • Sauce.
  • 1600 is a bit pricey but it seems worth it those retro games could be old arcade TMNT games or other old school arcade games in traditional "bodacious" turtle fashion. Sounds like a bit smaller version of Marvel Ultimate Alliance. Cowabunga and take my money.
  • @#21 - See, the problem with that logic is that Activision didn't make either of those games themselves. They just published them. Fast & the Furious was made by Firebrand. All they've ever done is make racing games on the DS, including a Cartoon Network one, and a game based on Planet 51. The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct was made by Terminal Reality. The only good thing they made was the single player in Ghostbusters: The Video Game and maybe the first two Blood Rayne titles? The rest was crap, like Kinect Star Wars. Red Fly Studios is who is making TMNT: Out of the Shadows. They made Mushroom Men, and the Wii/PS2 version of Ghostbusters, both of those are good (though Ghostbusters has ugly graphics, but it also has story co-op, which the HD versions did not). They also made the Thor game for Wii, which has better reviews than the PS360 version. Take that as you will.
  • I can only hope it's as good as it looks and as easy to pull off fantastic looking moves as it was in Arkham Asylum. I'd buy that in a heartbeat.
  • lol soo people are just going to throw there 360s away at the one launch... the people commenting oh well im not buying this because the one will not play these games... LOL SO PLAY YOUR FUCKING 360. YOU ARE FREEE TO PLAY BOTH SYSTEMS U ANAL TARD
  • This article suits me, I'm 32 and I was a huge fan kid of the cartoon back in the late 80's. I have been wishing for a rated M turtles game for a while. But as soon I saw Activision on the label I said shit! If only Ubisoft or Rockstar Games would do it...
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