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November 6, 2005
TMNT: Mutant Melee - Review
Release Date Distributor Developer Players Rating Difficulty
24/10/2005AtariKonami1-4PGMedium
Save Size Sound Format Vibration 60Hz Mode 50Hz Border Widescreen
82KBStereoYesNoNoneNo

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Look out for the truck!
So, the four little green reptiles have returned for another outing on the Playstation 2 a mere six months after the previous release, and 18 months after the first. It quite obvious that this rushed development period is a perfect indication of the little amount of effort which is being made in this series - especially from a development powerhouse such as Konami. There's barely enough time to sort out some new levels, god forbid any major gameplay enhancements or changes.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Melee's storyline is pretty basic. Once again evil has returned with the Foot Tech Ninjas, Hun and Shredder. Its your task as one of the four turtles to take back control of the streets.

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Battle on the rooftop.
This game is split up into two main modes. The first is the Single Player Story mode where you can select one of the four heroes including Michelangelo, Donatello, Leonardo, and Raphael and battle your way through almost 100 levels of action. In this mode you move from mission to mission to defeat a series of foes. Each of the levels includes environmental traps such as buildings collapsing, holes to fall into, objects to pick up and throw or cars that will run you over if you're in the way. This mode isn't overly long but can be tough a times and does offer multiple paths to follow with different missions as a result.

If you get tired of the single player game then you may want to head to the Mutant Melee mode where up to four gamers can take part in battles to see who has the most skills. This mode allows you to select from 20 characters, many of whom are unlocked in the story mode. This mode is quite entertaining as you try to become the first to reach a certain number of KO's, or the last man standing and so on.

During the game you will earn tokens which can be spent in the Library. This contains all manner of information about the history of the TV shows with sketches, biographies, outtakes and so on all available to be unlocked. The effort put in here is quite impressive and ranks up there with the best of them. Even the History of the turtles is well over a dozen screens of text information, and quite interesting too.

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The four Turtles.
Ultimately though there are too many problems with this game to make it enjoyable. The action is made annoying by an ever so slight delay between pressing the controller buttons, and the action appearing on screen. It's almost as if the PS2 has to load each animation. We're talking a fraction of a second, but enough to piss you off. The second issue is that the range of combat moves is fairly limited, and the game really just degenerates into a button mashing affair.

Graphically this game not only looks the same as the first TMNT title a couple of years ago but hasn't aged very well either. Games such as Activision's X-Men Legends II: Rise of the Apocalypse uses a similar cel shading technique on the main characters, but the animation and backgrounds are infinitely more detailed and impressive. Another problem with this game is that, even in single player, the camera is pulled back so far on many occasions, and the level is so dark, that it's hard to see what's going on. This may be a necessity in the Mutant Melee mode with 4-players, but in the Story mode there's no need for it.

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Ohhh, another screenshot.
Audio in Mutant Melee was extremely disappointing. You would expect that the development team could use assets from the TV show, or even the movies, but it doesn't seem to be the case. If it is, well, it's so poorly done that it shouldn't have been! Almost no voice work is included in the game which was disappointing and the effects are also bog standard boxes breaking, grunts as you get hit or the very occasional catchphrase. The music is generic but the entire sound effort is brought down by very poor quality overall. It's almost an embarrassment that Konami would approve this for release.

After two prior, and equally poor, attempts at making TMNT games you would have expected Konami to learn from their past mistakes - they haven't. I guess the game sells well enough still on the brand alone to warrant these sequels, but unless you're a die hard Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fan we can't see you getting much joy out of Mutant Melee. One for die hard fans only.

Review By: Dave Warner

Order your copy now from Gameswarehouse (PAL version).
GRAPHICSAlmost no change from previous (very average) titles in the series.
50%
SOUNDReally quite abysmal, little speech, forgettable music and effects.
41%
GAMEPLAYAnother area where it falls into a heap. Generic and unexciting.
45%
VALUEEven at only $49.95 you'll struggle to get value from this game.
55%
OVERALLTeenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Melee is another very poor game in the series. Unless you're a massive fan you'll find little here to enjoy. In our belief it's third strike and your out. This series just got its marching orders. Get the picture Konami?
47%

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