The Average Gamer

TMNT: Danger of the Ooze Review (Xbox 360)

TMNT Danger of the Ooze - Logo
TMNT: Danger of the Ooze is the 22nd console release for an animated franchise now on its 2nd reboot; a reboot that is proving to be much better than the previous iteration thus far. Can the same be said for the video games however, with this latest effort from WayForward?

Following last year’s widely-panned effort, it’s pleasing to say that developer WayForward (of Duck Tales Remastered and Shantae fame) has created a different and somewhat original TMNT game, with a dose of fan service for good measure. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle video games are typically peripheral affairs such as beat-’em-ups or action platformers, and bar a couple of outstanding exceptions (Turtles in Time, Tournament Fighters, in 1992/3), many are unfortunately pedestrian at best.

Danger of the Ooze breaks that mould. It’s set out as a micro version of the classic Castlevania entry Symphony of the Night, but with added pizza. You play (of course) as one of the four Turtles of your choice and, starting from the sewers, you explore each area screen by screen in a side-scrolling, 2D viewpoint. Each screen makes up the overall map, which shows locations of save rooms, unexplored areas, and rescue points to find your fellow Turtles, should you lose health with them and are in turn, captured.

Attacking various TMNT-related foes (mostly robots, this is kid-friendly ninja action of course), you unlock new secondary ninja weapons that are needed to unlock further areas. As with Symphony of the Night, and of course any Metroid adventure (I’m not a fan of buzzwords. Yes, I’m looking at you, ‘MetroidVania’), there is never a sole goal or mission, just clever subtle direction by supporting NPC characters and the new areas you discover with new abilities you battle your way through to obtain. WayForward have made it work surprisingly well, and for any TMNT fan it is refreshing, and at times a good challenge.

TMNT Danger of the Ooze - RaphaelThe Turtles’ movements and attacks are fun but basic and repetitive; as you’d expect from any TMNT, just in a different setting. I can’t help thinking more ‘Ninja’ elements, a la Mark of the Ninja, would have added an even further dimension to the action. There are minor harshness issues with the platform elements, but these are soon expunged once the double jump ability is learnt. In terms of fan service, it’s pretty much up to date with the TV series, with a supporting NPC cast including April O’Neill, Casey Jones, Splinter, and also the crop of bosses are instantly recognisable. The characters are modelled and voiced by their TV counterparts, albeit with basic movement and actions.

And in that lies Danger of the Ooze’s greatest weakness: it’s a budget title, so it’s great on the wallet, but its production and intentions are a little threadbare. It’s deliberately short, and reliant on its longevity being boosted by multiple speed-runs; there is an achievement to finish the game in under an hour, which is perfectly achievable after a first run through, should you decide to come back to it. But to do that, you’d need to be a super-fan.

Despite its budget make up, this game does serve as one of the best TMNT titles in years, and thankfully a million times more fun than the recent Out of the Shadows effort. It may be an ode to Castlevania and Metroid, but you have to admire WayForward’s placement of the TMNT franchise into those tried and tested successful blueprints, all for £20. Also, that title screen will leave the more nostalgic fans something to smile about. That’s fan service for you.

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