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TMNT Smash Up: A ha ha ha (A ha ha ha) Hey heyo (hey heyo)
While waiting for the snow truck that never came, I decided to pick up the latest edition of Nintendo Power, so here is the article on the new TMNT Wii game (excuse any typos):
To kick off our big 2009 preview special, we've got an exclusive sneak peek at a game that's so early it hasn't even been named yet! For now we'll just call it TMNT. A new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle game is always worth at least a raised eyebrow (despite the mixed results of the foursome's last several titles), but when it's a four-player fighting game made by some of the folks who worked on Super Smash Bros. Brawl and former members of Tecmo's famed Team Ninja (who worked on the Ninja Gaiden and Dead or Alive series), then were looking at one of the most exciting stories of the new year.
Seeing is believing
We wouldn't have believed it if we hadn't seen it, but there we were in late November at Ubisofts San Francisco offices, watching turtle-versus-turtle combat. Ubisoft- who will publish the game- had been looking for an opportunity to work with Games Arts, part of the all-star team that developed Brawl under the direction of Super Smash Bros. creator Masahiro Sakurai. The studio became available just as it was time for Ubi to start a new Turtles project to be release in 2009 - the 25th anniversary of TMNT. And then former members of Team Ninja joined the production to officially make this the craziest story we ever heard.
The version of the game that we got to see is very early - it's been in development for just over a year - but it already looks impressive (Ubisoft is aiming for a September '09 release). In fact, the visuals may even surpass the bar set by Brawl; for example, a rooftopd level features a city skyline that is much more detailed then most brawl stages. And we were instantly relieved to see that this isn't meant to be ajust a kids' game. The visuals are dark and edgy for a TMNT title, and we were guaranteed that our ears wouldn't have to suffer through endless loops of Turtles quips like "slice and dice!" during the action. Further, the team wisely avoided tying the game in with any particular iteration of TMNT- it doesn't look exactly like any of the comics, cartoons, or toys.
(It does look exactly like the 2007 movie -DT)
Getting into the Action
As you can probably gather from these screens, the game is quite similar to Brawl in look and feel. There are some differences in the gameplay that we'll get into in qa moment - and some other features that will set TMNT apart that Ubisoft isn't ready to reveal yet - but the action should feel instantly familiar to anyone who's put time into a Super Smash Bros.-style fighting game.
Up to four players can fight at once, and since competing turtles can be tough to distinguish between when the camera is far away, each character is color-coded with a glowing effect. The fighting is what you'd expect: regular moves, special moves, throws and combos. There are also attacks that use the evironment, such as flying kicks off of walls, or attacks while hanging from ledges. In true ninja style, you can run short distances up walls, and some stages have poles that you can grab and swing on for higher jumps and more-punishing jump-kicks.
There will be multiple control schemes to choose from; we can confirm both Wii-remote and -nunchuck and remote only options. No word yet on whether a Gamecube controller will work, but a new control scheme is said to be in development for advanced players. otion controls will be used, but not extensively- don't expect to be swinging your remote constantly for common attacks. We can also report that taunts are in the game (we saw Leonardo mock his opponents by spinning his swords in the air) and that items will play a role in the fighting (although the only one we were able to catch a glimps of was a health restoring pizza).
Players each have a life meter that depletes when they take damage, and it's possible to be KO'ed instantly by falling off the screen (plus match rules can be customized). the game will have agenerous roster of characters pulled from the turtles' long history (we've been told Mirage Studios, which owns the TMNT brand, has been involved with the character-selection process), but so far we've been able to peek at only the turtles themselves and Splinter, their rat sensei.
Among the game's various modes and matche types (most of which are still a closely guarded secret) is a story mode. All we could get out of Ubi is that it won't be a side-scoller like Brawl's Subspace Emmisarry, and that Peter Laird- cocreator of TMNT- worked on the story. Fou-player online battles are also planned, and the developers are working hard to deliver a smooth experience free of the issues that hindered brawl. They also want to add something unique to the mix, so expect a new twist or two.
Finally, we were really impressed by the games stages. We got to check out two of them, and they both looked as though they could hang with the best Brawl had to offer, thanks to lots of environmental interaction and plenty of visual detail. The first stage we saw was a gorgeous rooftop battle against a detailed city skyline, featuring a water tower that could be busted open to send water gushing out at opponents, an electric sign that zapped whoever got knocked into it, lots of long falls between the buildings, and poles to swing on for sky-high acrobatics. The next battle took place in the sewers and started in a small, confined area with water flowing along the ground. But when someone beat on a giant hatch on the left side of the room, it broke open and unleashed a tidal wave that pushed everyone into the stage's second area, a vertical chamber with slippery platforms and a crocodile that popped out at random to chomp on unsuspecting victims.
We haven't been this excited about the turtles in years. If the developers can deliver on the promise of what we've seen so far, fighting fans will have something pretty special to look forward to in the back half of '09. Ubisoft tells us the development team is determined to set a new standard for the genre, and that the fighting may end up being even deeper then Brawl's. If they can pull that off, the whoa- cowabunga, dude.
-published by Ubisoft
With Ex-Team Ninja staff that worked on brawl
-official development started Jan. 2008
-concept started Oct. 2007
-to be released in Sept. 2009
-4 player versus
So could it be this: meets this: ?
Hope we can have This dude: Vs. This guy:
-Online aspects said to be better than Brawl implementation
They want us to know their heads are not in the clouds!
-Each character is color coded with glowing effect to make 4-player battles easy to follow
Fast and frantic!
â€œWhile this is a licensed game, itâ€™s not tied to any movie or TV showâ€¦for this game to succeed on its own it needs to be a great game.â€ - Ubisoft producer
Here's to B&W comic vs 1987 cartoon vs 2003 cartoon turtles!