Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge was one of the revelations of last year. A two-dimensional beat ’em up, adorned with exquisite pixel art, which was able to take up the heavy legacy left by Konami in the mid-90s and grace the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and their fans, with a digital love letter.
A title that in its own small way has proven to be more than worthy of attention, as well as capable of conquering even those who are not fans of the four turtles but simply appreciate that kind of production that was so popular between the 80s and 90sin the cabinets that dotted the walls of those smoky arcades, now confined to a bittersweet memory of our youth.
About a year after the launch, Tribute Games decided to enrich its production, before dedicating itself to new projects, first of all thanking all the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fans with a DLC that smells more like actual expansion.
Affordable price, lots of content and the usual attention to detail make Dimension Shellshock a “must have” for anyone who has appreciated Shredder’s Revenge, as well as an excellent “add-on” for anyone who will approach the game in the future. €7.99 (or bundled with the main game for a limited time) to add two characters to the already substantial roster and be able to access a survival mode which, thanks to the care with which it was created, takes on all the features of a “stand-alone” campaign of a “rogue-like” nature ”.
Starting right from the additions to the character roster, we find the iconic Usagi Yojimbo (the ronin rabbit born from the pencil of Stan Sakai and has become a constant appearance in all TMNT productions) and the lethal Karai (Shredder’s adopted daughter who, since 1992, has always played the role of friend/enemy of the Turtles, soon becoming one of the most appreciated characters by the fanbase).
Starting with Usagi, it’s about a character with apparently lower statistics, compared to the other fighters on the roster, but capable of proving far more than lethal in the right hands. Its gameplay is all about hovering over enemies to control the battlefield and be able to knock them out with quick aerial combos.
A peculiar combat system but one that allows you to annihilate dozens of enemies in minutes, as long as you don’t look for a particularly quick or resistant character in the famous ronin rabbit.
Karai, on the other hand, is very fast and allows you to perform quick lunges while moving quickly from one side of the screen to another. As a character she is very fragile but her speed, and the high amounts of damage that she is capable of dealing in a short time, make her an excellent choice for those who love the “glass-cannon” style of playthat is, for those who prefer to constantly risk a knockout while quickly eliminating wave after wave of opponents.
In short, two characters who manage to fit into the roster in a homogeneous manner and to cover two different roles compared to the seven already occupied by the characters present in Shredder’s Revenge and not to excessively unbalance the experience offered by the main adventure.
As regards the Survival mode present in Dimension Shell Shock, we are faced with a mini campaign in which the Neutrini and the Turtles ask for help to stop a Shredder who is traveling between dimensions in search of some peculiar crystals that would give him boundless power. A very simple incipit but which opens the doors both to the concept of the multiverse, exposed by the DLC, and to justifying the presence of Usagi and Karai within the main story.
Survival mode, and in this case they could have called it something else seen how far it is from the classic styles of this type of experience, allows up to two players to try their hand at a series of arenas where a defined number of enemies must be eliminated before continuing. The arenas range from all the iterations seen in thirty years of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, offering scenarios inspired by the comics of the Mirage period, the 2003 cartoon, the video games released in the various decades and so on.
The purpose is not only to overcome an increasingly higher number of stages but, above all, to recover the crystals that will be dropped by enemies or that it will be possible to earn at the end of the stage. These will serve, very simply, to improve the parameters of the character we are using, allowing him to become stronger and more long-lived, guaranteeing the possibility of progressing further and further within the survival mode.
The difficulty level is set upwards, guaranteeing a demanding and balanced challenge for those who have already explored the game in every aspect but proving slightly frustrating for those who decide to try their hand at survival mode first (but why should you do that?). The bosses are much more aggressive and have the attack patterns, and resistance, of their counterparts present in the main campaign on the highest difficulty level.
The most characteristic aspect of the survival mode present in Dimension Shellshock is, however, the possibility of earning bonuses at the end of each stage. The latter provide the most diverse effectsfrom increasing the attack power, to the detriment of the character’s resistance, to transforming the selected hero into a different character, making no distinction between enemies or allies.
I can guarantee you that playing a stage as Shredder is a really fun experience but also finding yourself in the role of Bebop, Rocksteady or any other character present in Shredder’s Revenge guarantees the right variety to a game mode that is already very full-bodied and multi-faceted in itself.
The only real flaw I can make about Dimension Shellshock is the same one you moved towards Shredder’s Revenge, or the impossibility of having a shared character progression. If you have decided to embark on a journey with Usagi, strengthening him and making him stronger, you will have to start over once you decide to change character.
I understand that it is an aspect strictly linked to offering a higher longevity to the title but, in most cases, it will prove to be a deterrent to those players who do not have enough time to replay with, well, nine characters, everything that Shredder’s Revenge, and Dimension Shellshock, have to offer.
On the technical front, and the artistic direction, there is nothing to note. Everything is made with the same love that made Shredder’s Revenge so special. From the backdrops, to the animations of the new characters, to the skins inspired by different historical periods of the TMNT, up to the multitude of Easter Eggs present, Dimension Shellshock manages to fill in those small holes left uncovered by the original title, making Shredder’s Revenge a truly complete product in every respect and one that every fan of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, or two-dimensional beat ’em ups, should absolutely try at least once in their life.