The Ubisoft era of Ninja Turtles games was brief but interesting. Take for example, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Smash-Up. It's inspiration is right there in the title. You could just call this "Turtles Smash." Ubisoft even went so far as to hire various folks who worked on Smash Bros Brawl. And at least their intentions were good.
I ran through the arcade mode last night which was... brisk. It's not bad. It plays like any number of Smash clones. I'm just not sure why we need so many Smash clones. But then again, I'm a HUGE fan of Ninja Turtles games, so whatever. I have this. I'm glad it exists. At any rate - good intentions aside - the biggest problem with this game is the meager roster. I mean we're talking about a Smash-style fighting game in 2009, and it starts with only seven characters available. Do the math, four of those seven are the Turtles themselves.
Now you can unlock more fighters for a total of a "whopping" sixteen. But if you're a TMNT fan (which, you must be if you're bothering with this game), then you'll be bummed to see the final roster. SPOILERS: Splinter, Shredder, Casey Jones, and April O'Neil are all in the game. As is a foot soldier. And then a couple of less cool characters. There is no Bebop or Rocksteady. There's no Krang. No Baxter Stockman. Basically nobody from the 80's cartoon. Which would have been fine if they'd managed to draw a cool and fleshed out roster from the on-going comic series. Instead, we're given TWO different Rabbids to unlock. Really? That feels like a slight on Usagi.
The fighting is... fine. It's standard Smash stuff, really. But I managed to complete the arcade mode in less than a half hour - WITHOUT really knowing what any of the buttons even do. So, yeah. I don't think there's much challenge there in the single player campaign. Which is fine. These kind of games are generally meant for multiplayer. I'm just not doing much of that these days.
There are other modes to mess with, but I think I've seen enough. This game will stay in my collection pretty solely because of my love for the franchise. And maybe once in a while it'd make a fun "party game." But I can't imagine spending much more time on it. I will say that the cut-scenes between the arcade mode's fights are beautiful drawn by Jim Lawson and Eric Talbot and written by Peter Laird himself. So again, this is a game worth owning for Turtles fans to some degree.
But again, this is a TMNT Smash clone with a mere sixteen characters. And two of them are Rabbids. Two of them.