At least there's some truth in advertising with the beat-'em-up Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 3: Mutant Nightmare. This game is someone's nightmare, to be sure.
Mutant Nightmare outdoes its predecessors Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2: Battle Nexus, but this is like saying when you buy the sneakers, they give you the shoelaces for free; the game could hardly be worse. It's also pointed and a bit sad to note Nightmare is outdone in almost every way by Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time, the classic arcade game that's included as an unlockable.
The fantastic foursome of Donatello, Raphael, Leonardo, and Michelangelo must brawl and brawl some more to save the day. Enemies are plentiful, and each of the amphibian heroes exhibits some variation in his move set, so the fundamentals are certainly there. The game also provides the opportunity to augment a turtle's health, strength, etc., by collecting various ninja scrolls. New moves can also be purchased, which seems out of place considering the heroes are trained ninjas, but the mechanic at least serves as minimal incentive to move through the game.
Nightmare suffers badly when it veers off-course. At one point, the turtles are aligned at the bottom of the game screen and forced to hurl throwing stars at enemies. It's a ridiculous segment wholly disregarding the fact that the turtles are nimble, acrobatic creatures. With the turtles fixed in place, players must alternately chuck their weapons and block, chuck and block until ennui ensues. It's also no surprise that even though this segment works so poorly and manages to evoke no thrills, it's repeated at various intervals throughout the game.
Expect flurries of frustration when the turtles have the honor of escorting the hapless reporter April O'Neil to safety. O'Neil has no offensive capabilities of her own, and the brainpower of salt -- she routinely walks into danger and once she dies, the game restarts so she can do it again. Shepherding her to safety is much like a chainsaw tonsillectomy: not a fun way to spend a few minutes, anesthetized or not.