TMNT Shredder’s Revenge: Dimension Shellshock DLC Review

Dimension Shellshock DLC Fills Out TMNT: Shredder's Revenge's Shell

Dotemu has made Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge an even more enticing slice of nostalgia with its Dimension Shellshock DLC.

Last summer, Shredder’s Revenge took nineties kids on one hell of a nostalgia trip with a finely-crafted beat-em-up, reminiscent of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles‘ classic arcade games. (Shortly thereafter, the Cowabunga Collection arrived to complete the history lesson and reopen elder millennials’ wounds from a certain damnable water level.)

At the time I called Shredder’s Revenge “an absolute joy in its presentation” but “for better or worse, a lean green fighting machine.” The potential for six players at once is amazing, but it felt thin with only seven characters to choose from, and only the same stages from the story mode.

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Luckily, Dimension Shellshock has arrived to give Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge the nudge toward greatness that it deserved.

Priced at about a third of the game itself, Dimension Shellshock is a vital infusion of content for the side-scroller—namely, a brand-new Survival Mode and two popular side characters, the rabbit samurai Usagi and the rogue Foot Clan operative Karai.

These additions are great complements to the core game’s roster in both character and play style. My minor qualms with the power attack paradigm in Shredder’s Revenge remain, but having more distinct movesets available does help alleviate them. Usagi excels at aerial attacks while Kurai can boost her own speed. Finesse players will appreciate mastering them, while button-mashers will have as much fun beating the Foot Clan to a pulp with them.

Dimension Shellshock Dlc Fills Out Tmnt: Shredder'S Revenge'S Shell

Better yet, Usagi and Kurai are implemented into the story mode to some extent, both in Dimension Shellshock‘s Survival Mode cutscene. The original cutscenes haven’t been altered to add them, but they do get their own token epilogues—which is a nice gesture, given how fighting games seldom bother to do this.

The bread and butter (or rather, the cheese and pepperoni?) of Dimension Shellshock, however, is its new game mode. As the name implies, Survival Mode is a gauntlet of random stages, pitting players against increasing challenges with limited resources.

In short, the goal is to fight on as long as you can, collecting as many crystal shards as possible before being knocked out. Obtaining enough shards will complete the currently-sought crystal and allow transport to the next stage, where a new crystal must be reassembled. Each stage has different possible encounters and visual hooks—like conveyer belt floors, giant chasms, or narrower battle spaces—to keep your battle against entropy more engaging.

Dimension Shellshock incorporates a separate progression system for the Survival Mode. Each character levels up, independent of their core game level, by completing crystals; each level, in turn, grants that character a boon. Your runs might get cut short by an unlucky encounter, but at least your favourite turtle might level up and receive a second life, expanded health, or even the ability to choose the starting challenge level. That way, even though you may not reach a new floor, you’re still making progress overall—a pleasant touch for an endurance mode.

Dimension Shellshock Dlc Fills Out Tmnt: Shredder'S Revenge'S Shell

What helps Dimension Shellshock elevate its new mode is the ability to transform into certain baddies. Clearing a stage will present the player with a choice between two rewards or modifiers, and sometimes that will include the chance to assume the form of either Shredder, Bebop, or Rocksteady until they get knocked out. Playing as a boss has its unique mechanics, and it’s a brilliant way to make this classic trio of TMNT villains playable without breaking the rest of the game.

Unfortunately, a lot of the other possible rewards are actually detrimental. Aside from healing, temporary unlimited special power, or piles of crystal shards, most of the so-called “buffs” are somewhat risky to take. These are offered as ambiguous icons, and you don’t know what you’ve picked until it’s too late. Whoops, you deal double damage but take it too, good luck!

Those buffs typically have a max duration of three stages, but making myself vulnerable with them often meant that I wouldn’t live to see another three stages. I soon avoided these mutations as much as possible in favour of the boss mutations or pizzas.

Accumulate enough crystals and/or levels in Survival Mode, and you’ll unlock the true gems of Dimension Shellshock: new palettes for the cast. My personal favourites are the 8-bit and Game Boy variants, as well as the pupil-less eye variants for the turtles themselves.

If those palettes weren’t enough of an indication, all the new content is infused with the same level of love, care, and Easter eggs as the rest of Shredder’s Revenge. Fans of the original cartoon series and toys will be eating well, finding all the obscure action figure fodder hiding in the backgrounds of the new stages.

Dimension Shellshock Dlc Fills Out Tmnt: Shredder'S Revenge'S Shell

For a relatively cheap DLC pack, Dimension Shellshock breathes a lot of life into Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge. I originally walked away from this game a little disappointed that it didn’t have more to do, and Survival Mode is a great counter to that. This was already a great multiplayer game, and its replay value just multiplied.

That being said, I can’t help but feel a little remorse that Dimension Shellshock‘s features weren’t included from day one. This was the sort of extracurricular content I felt was missing originally. If you haven’t given up on the turtles, or if you’re jonesing for more after Mutant Mayhem, it’s worth dusting Shredder’s Revenge off for another spin.

Final Thoughts

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