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Neshoba78 avatar 6:33 PM on 01.30.2012
Improvement: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Smash-Up 2



I spent 15 minutes looking up synonyms for "unruly" before I stumbled across "Outfoxies."

No one will apologize for TMNT Smash Up. The fighter borne of a Cumulus Derivatus cloud was drenched with "Smash Bros." and "Ninja Turtle" raindrops. The game was credited as the imaculate conception of Game Arts sans the seed of Sora Ltd. It nestled between "real" Smash Bros. and a real turtle-power fighter. A few matches left this blogger with one thought, "kinda makes me want to play Brawl." At the same time, the word "improvement" suggests a wish list for a hypothetical sequel. If only there was a better roster, maybe then it would be a complete package. If only the game wasn't so achingly derivative of Smash Bros, maybe then it would hold a 13+ year-old's attention.

I've done far too much homework on this subject. Like most of my aging Gen-X hipster compatriots, I can trace my deep affection for games back to the same time as my deep affection for turtles. I cried manly tears to the tune of the Brawl opening's Latin chant. I wanted to cry those same manly tears for turtles, but the Wii version of the game gave me Rabbids in lieu of Usagi Yojimbo and gave me a generic stage hazard croc in lieu of Leatherhead. We had three versions of "Tournament Fighters" generations ago that featured more variety in characters. Universes collided between cartoon franchises, Mirage and Archie comic books. Brawl blew the horn and broke the seventh seal. That same collision that happened in Tournament Fighters should have happened again.

The problem with Smash Up as a derivation of Brawl is actually more a fact of its history. Smash Bros. can trace its roots back to the Namco arcade game, "Outfoxies." Ninja Turtles, (OMG Francine, Ninja Turtles) how does one begin to unravel that multiverse and find the "Prime Turtles"? Oh, that was done and reconciled in the "Turtles Forever" movie. Ninja Turtles as it existed in Smash-Up is a derivation of the 2007 CGI movie Ninja Turtles which was a derivation of the 2003 kids 'toon which was a derivation of the 1987 kids 'toon and the 1984 comic book. If nothing is new under the sun, then Smash Up was less a celebration of turtles and more an elaboration on the plot of the Michael Keaton film "Multiplicity."

So, we've brought the noise, brought the rant, brought the litany of flaws. If we don't offer constructive comments to improve a game in a sequel, then we are feeding into the problem.

Character Roster

A #1, top of the list, king of the heap, we want Usagi Yojimbo. Do we even care at this point if he plays like a Leonardo clone? Yes, a samurai is not a ninja and ne'er the 'twain shall meet. Give us the long floppy ears and blue kimono that we deserve not Ubisoft's blessed Rabbids (may they rave in Hell).

From Usagi's presence, I would infer the broader issue of including characters from multiple universes. We only need four turtles (maybe Slash, maybe Metal Head... ugh, Venus...). Just skin the core cast if we're playing lip service to Turtle-Manhattan Historia. The one big success of Brawl, however, was bringing together the video game multiverse and threading a continuity not attempted since "Captain N".

Wingnut and Screwloose should stand shoulder to shoulder with Fugitoid. Florida-born-yet-somehow-Cajun Leatherhead should slug it out with Tokka and Rahzar. And a turtles game without Rocksteady and Bebop is a miserable creature indeed.

Stages

I'm a fan of Turtle-Manhattan, but the Technodrome is where it's at in video games. Let us hear the roar of Triceraton crowds from the center of a Battle Arena. Send us on an inter-galactic and inter-dimensional romp atop the head of Cudley the Cowlick.

It's pure aesthetics. Character models and backdrops keep this game from being a "real" Smash Bros. (read, "love letter to a franchise"). As a derivative, Smash Up would stand out as a kind of chicken-flavor (turtle-flavor?) among all the packs of metaphorical beef ramen. Hell, Namco finally squeezed out an "Outfoxies" derivative themselves in "Tales Vs."

Tagged:    Opinion Editorial  

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