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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2: Battle Nexus
  opened by paleface at 03:32:10 10/28/04  
  last modified by paleface at 12:27:18 03/05/24  
  paleface [sys=PS2; cat=Beat_em_up; reg=NA]
Well, I got this for the unlockable version of the old Konami arcade game, unlocked somewhere in mission 9. It may take a while to get there, and I see people whining about the fact that the arcade game has new, fairly lame music and no voices, but I'm not too likely to care about those last two.
Playing up to mission 9 of the console game, on the other hand, may be a chore. The levels are huge, which is to say that they consist of very large, plain-looking empty areas. Well, there are crates, and crate-like buildings. You can run around through these with up to four players at once, which may be interesting, if I can work up the nerve to try to inflict the game on my friends. We did collect the original black and white Eastman and Laird comics, after all...
Not that they have a whole lot to do with this. You are treated to a lot of Saturday-morning-cartoon-quality cinematic sequences between scenes, which is okay I guess. The Turtles are constantly saying stupid things in annoying cartoon voices, which gets a little irritating.
I'm not impressed by the gameplay so far. Jumping feels weird, like you sort of have to struggle to jump up anything. Each Turtle does a different kind of jump kick, which takes getting used-to on the fly, since you have to switch between the four of them during single-player to use their various "skills" (you need brainy Donatello to open electronic door locks, for instance). This sounds nice in theory but since using a skill just involves pressing a button, it is simply a chore to have to switch between the characters constantly. Particularly when the balance is broken and you'll pretty much always want to use Michaelangelo for combat.
Combat as a whole is stodgy. The other three Turtles have significant recovery time after they finish a chain combo, and this can be a real drawback when coupled with the non-existent targetting feature: since your Turtle does not turn to keep hitting an enemy as they launch into their uninterruptible chain attack, you will frequently connect with the first few blows, then miss ever-more-widely as your Turtle's attack takes him stepping past your target, whirling his weapons viciously at the empty air beyond. And while there are "weak" and "strong" attack buttons, I haven't been able to find a real way to chain these two attack types together in any meaningful way, so my combat choices are: 1) weak chain combo or 2) single strong hit. That's an awful limited amount of stuff for all the buttons here. Oh yeah, there are ranged attacks, if you manage to find ammo for them. At any rate, there is no real flow between attacks, or between attacking one target and switching to another, or in allowing you to combo multiple targets at once so being attacked by just a few opponents can be a real pain, the only sorta effective thing I've found so far is just to keep knocking them back individually with Strong attacks.
I suppose though if you and your buddies had nothing else with which to entertain yourselves, the game would at least keep you busy for a while. Things unlock right and left, including an arena battle mode with brainless single-player challenges and what looks like various multiplayer deathmatch-type modes. And then there are secret unlockable goodies you can find, and an unlockable art gallery.
I just want to get to the darn arcade game. Why did they make it such a trial?
  paleface 03:38:58 10/28/04
Download added: arena.jpg (15830 bytes)
  "Arena battle, and notice the typically way-zoomed-out camera. Which speck am I?"
Another example of the clunky battle mechanics: you cannot use your projectile attacks while jumping. Bah! Oh, and all the Turtles share a single health meter; I've read that this applies in multiplayer co-op mode as well! Yikes.
  paleface 04:15:24 10/28/04
More stodginess examples spring to mind.
Holding the Strong attack will do a charge attack, usually a ranged thing of some sort. However, it takes so long to charge, and the range for the most part is so short, that anyone who really would have been hit by it will be all over you before you can fire it off. Also, it doesn't seem to do much damage even if it connects (which indeed is iffy, given the lack of automated aim and vague camera angles), so what's the point?
Ah and then we get to the camera. In single-player it appears to be able to dolly along a relatively fixed straight path, or to swivel from a fixed spot, but it doesn't seem inclined to combine the two gracefully. You can never adjust the camera angle or position yourself, and you often end up with the camera way too zoomed out, or panned straight down at an awkward angle. It feels very limiting, like you can't really move with freedom because the camera might lose you. In fact I've read testimonials that in co-op it really is quite easy for one or more of the characters to get out of the camera frame entirely. Neat! But not really.
  paleface 01:43:10 11/16/04
To unlock the original arcade game you have to collect the hidden treasure chest in level 9-1. Fortunately, since the game tries to be "nonlinear," you can access 9-1 after beating world 6. Still, even with being able to run past enemies in many of the levels, it's a good four or five hour slog through Story mode to get to that point. The camera and controls just get more and more irritating. The writers went all out on this one, I have to say, throwing in the major characters from the very original comics, sending you to the Tricerations planet to fight in the arena and so forth. Unfortunately, the game designers and the control programmers were not up to the task of coming up with fun gameplay for all these different challenges, and yet, doubly-unfortunately, that didn't stop them from trying.
Anyway, enough about that. Spoiler on getting the 9-1 chest ahead (thank you GameFAQs):
The chest is to the left of the intersection--jump up on the bus, then up onto the low rooftop, and it's in one of the two crates there, along with a pizza powerup.
Get the chest, beat 9-1, then go to the um menu base thing and into April's junk store. Find the arcade machine item, select it so that the description is shown, then back out to the main menu and you'll see an option for the original arcade version there. And there you go!
I'd like to say the original version is arcade-perfect, but the sound is pretty butchered. They had to take out the original voices, and replaced them with a voice that says "cowabunga!" at semi-regular intervals for no particular reason. Almost all of the sounds and music seem oddly muted, too.
The controls can't be remapped, which sucks because they put Jump on Square and attack on X, urgh. Start (credits) is on Circle, bizarrely-enough. Sheesh. Characters are mapped to particular controllers, so if you want to play Michaelangelo for instance you'll need to put the multitap in, because he's on three or four or something. Oh, and it doesn't save scores or anything, which is too bad.
Otherwise, yeah it seems pretty straight from the arcade. I've seen two-player co-op working, and it should go all the way up to four-player simultaneously, though I haven't tried this just yet. These old turtles don't have many attacks, really just Jump and Attack, or Jump & Attack in two flavors, but it's enough to get by, darnit! The color palette is a little flattish, especially in the cutscenes, but the turtles are nice and green, and that's mostly what you need. Framerate is rock-steady, and the beat-downs come hot and heavy. Woo! Now I have to find people I can persuade to play this with me.
  paleface 14:20:14 06/12/22
I was thinking about playing through the version of the original arcade game here--I *think* I still have my save with it unlocked--but then I remembered that the bosses flash red once they get low on health, a fairly common thing at the time, at least in Konami beat-em-ups, I think it was; confirmed it via this play-through video (not mine):

Looks like the arcade game Turtles in Time has flashy red near-death bosses as well--a more rapid flash in that one--so I won't be playing either of them in the upcoming TMNT Cowabunga Collection, ah well--unless it's edited the ROMs to remove the flashes, which is unlikely.
  paleface 22:01:26 06/16/22
Actually the flashes aren't that bad. One thing that replay shows is that the sound was butchered, with the game's voice clips replaced by a generic "Cowabunga!"
Don't seem to have my old save. : P Weirdly, the only time the game seems to check and load from a memory card is during boot up. : PP
· Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Cowabunga Collection (PS4)

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