Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Press Start to Continue (again...)

I recently spent a huge sum of 200 Microsoft Points on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 1989 Arcade on XBLA. That works out at around £1.80. Bear this in mind while I have a moan.


As much as I love arcade gaming, and therefore love XBLA, there is one big thing about these arcade ports that I despise - laziness.

I understand completely that these games are designed for quick blasts of gameplay. Thats not a problem that you can probably tell from the whole premise of my blog. I also fully understand that these games were not originally designed for the home console market - they are coin-op games and therefore are designed with money-making in mind.

However, in porting this game over to XBLA, did the producers not consider tailoring the game to be more console friendly?

Example one - the only option is to have infinite continues. Don't get me wrong, being able to play through the entire game regardless of how rubbish I am is great. But surely having the option of choosing how many continues I have to complete the game in would be an idea? Suddenly the game is a challenge, rather than a chore. On playing the game through a few times I must have used literally over a hundred continues, often within seconds of each other. Knowing that it simply didn't matter how many times I died meant there wasn't actually an incentive to do things well. This is even taking into account the Achievements on offer, most of which are awarded to not getting hit by certain bosses - an almost impossible task for the mortal player.

Example 2 - the high-score system is completely flawed, merely giving you a score based on how many enemies you defeat. Each of the times I played through the game I got exactly the same score, simply because that is the number of enemies in the game. Why doesn't the speed you complete the game matter?

It brings me back to my original point that the developers were just lazy. As long as the game is up there, with working local & online multiplayer, the developers don't really give a stuff. The single player is left with a bit of a raw deal....

Clearly I'm being too harsh, and playing devil's advocate to a degree. The game is over 20 years old, it was £1.80 to buy, is best played by 2-4 players on screen at a time and is by definition an arcade port - expectations shouldn't really be that high and I've had my money worth on first playthrough. But just for the sake of a bit of common sense and understanding of the console format it could have been such a better game - a challenging game with longevity and loads of replay value.

...Balls to it, I'm off to perv over a pixelated April O'Neil like I'm 10 years old again.

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