Brawl’s location-shifting stages are also an influence, as Smash Up fights rarely conclude where they began. While fighting in an underground sewer a misplaced foot knocks a grate, sending a wave of New York filth-liquid cascading over our pugilists. Carried away, they’re deposited at the base of a subterranean aqueduct – home to a mutant crocodile with a taste for terrapins. Yes, that’s right, all you grumpy tournament fighter types – Smash Up features all kinds of environmental deaths for you to gripe about.
Fighting atop a motel, even more ways are uncovered for a turtle to die. The neon signs pump a real neon sign’s worth of volts through their shells (how very Eternal Champions) and bashing the water tower sends liquid violently gushing towards foes. We could understand how such a tidal wave could nark off the prim April O’Neil, but quite how water damages a turtle is beyond us. Never fear, though, chomp down on health-replenishing pizza and all is well once again.
Franchise-wise, Smash Up plays loose with the TMNT universe. There’s a hint of the 2003 show in the anime artwork, and the detailed character models remind us of the CG renderings in the 2007 film, but otherwise this feels pretty new. TMNT’s co-creator Peter Laird is penning the single-player story (don’t worry, it won’t be a rehash of Subspace Emisary), while Mirage, the original comic’s publisher, are shaping the roster. Only the Turtles and Splinter are confirmed so far, but we’ll be upset if bubblegum brain Krang isn’t there.
How refreshing to see a licensed game for the sake of a licensed game, and not just as part of a painful cross-media PR campaign for a film or cartoon. The choice to go with serious talent for a serious stab at some serious entertainment really harks back to the days when games of the film didn’t need suicide warnings on the packet. The simple fact is: when big-name talent weighs in, titles of note emerge, and Games Arts and Team Ninja are on the right track. So yes, it has been a long 20 years since the Turtles last dazzled us in game form. But 20 years older and 20 years wiser, Smash Up sees our heroes prepared to raise shell.
Feb 27, 2009