Last year Konami released a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game for the first time since original TMNT fans were kids. The prospect of four-player brawling with beloved characters from our youths was exciting – at least until people got to play the game. The game grew tiresome very quickly, the camera was lousy, the Turtle's catch-phrases were annoying, and there was no four-player support to speak of. One year later, Konami has released TMNT 2: Battle Nexus, and other than supporting four-players, it's just as riddled with problems as the last game.
The game starts of with the four turtles leaving an injured Master Splinter on the sidewalk so they could go defeat Shredder once and for all. After a victorious battle, they return for their master, only to find him gone, but his cane left behind. So you've got to track down Splinter, and blah blah blah. The story branches out all over the place; it's disjointed and really makes no sense. If you watch the newer version of the series, you'll have an idea of what's happening, but if you don't, then you're out of luck.
Just like it was in the last game, combat is very simple. Each turtle has a weak attack, a strong attack, a jumping attack, special moves, and they can throw things. It's pretty impressive that Konami has used the extra year to come up with virtually nothing to add to a game that was short on variety the first time around. There's a new double jump, which is near impossible to perform on the first try, and it seems to have only been added because the developers hate the people that bought the game. Most of your time is spent pounding the attack buttons and jumping around to avoid getting hit by robot mice and moronic ninjas. The A.I. is beyond horrible, as the bad guys will wait until you are near them to attack, or just not bother to attack at all, even while you pummel them. It's pretty bad when you can't even get your A.I to show some enthusiasm for the game, is it not?
You can play as each turtle during a level, but the only reason to switch is to use one of the ill-conceived special skills given to each character. Donatello can open doors, one of the other guys can push crates – it's really lame, and since you never know the name of the turtle you're using (unless you know them by their weapons), you have to use trial and error until you accomplish your task.
The game also features some ridiculous platforming elements that have no place being in, near or around a beat ‘em up. This is primarily due to the game's lousy camera, an issue that held over from last year. While the problem with most games' cameras is they stay in too close, TMNT 2's camera, perhaps sensing how bad the game is, stays as far away from the action as possible – it's kind of like watching the game from a low Earth orbit. As a result of the camera's height and angle, any jump you have to make is just as likely to end in a cheap death as it is to land where you want.
Battle Nexus supports four-player simultaneous play, but unless your friends are mentally challenged, they'll probably decline to play longer than five minutes. The game's just not interesting enough to hold the attention of four people, and just forget about it when all four of you have to perform some of the game's jumps.
TMNT 2's graphics aren't bad, but they aren't really improved over the original in any way. The game sports a cel-shaded look, and the characters look and animate just fine. The levels are generally bland looking and don't feature much to interact with. There aren't very many enemies to speak of, which doesn't help the game with its repetition issues. The cut-scenes are taken right from the TV series, so they look decent, but they're nothing to write home about.
Yes, the same annoying, repetitive catch-phrases that the turtles yelled out last year when attacking is still here, though it has been toned down a bit. The actors from the series contributed dialog to the game, but since most of the talking is done in the cartoon scenes, it doesn't seem like they did a whole lot. The music is kind of funky, and it fits the game's style quite well. Other than that, there's not much to the audio – the sound effects are pretty basic, and there's not much variety.
Really the only thing Battle Nexus has going for it is the original TMNT arcade game being included, but even that stinks because you are forced to play through a good part of the new game to unlock the 15 year old game that's 5 times better. The game's lousy, there was no effort put into it, and it's nothing more than a waste of time and money.