Last year, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge was a huge hit for fans of side-scrolling beat-em-ups, showing why Dotemu is one of the best publishers in the genre. Tribute Games nailed the feel of the original cartoon, while giving players plenty to love with fluid and satisfying combat. Dimension Shellshock is the new DLC which features a fantastic survival mode, and let me tell you, this is some wonderful new content.
I remember clearly how much of an impact the turtles had on the world back when I was a kid. I was on holiday in Wales, sat in a coffee shop with my dad as my mum went off shopping. When she returned, she had bought me Leonardo, Donatello, and Michaelango, and I was so damn happy. When we returned home, my parents took me to Toys R’ Us and we queued for around two hours to get Raphael, but after the ordeal, I owned them all. In the coming months and years, I owned everything from the Technodrome to the Sewers playset, and another one of the toys I got was the ninja rabbit, Miyamoto Usagi.
Dimension Shellshock includes two new playable characters, and one of which is the badass bunny Usagi. The other is the sometimes enemy, sometimes ally, Karai. Both can be used in both the main campaign and Survival. Usagi is a savage with a blade, and has a special ability that tears through waves of foot soldiers with ease. Karai feels like a much more varied fighter, blending range with power to pull off some devastating combos. She feels more vulnerable, and while she’s pretty fantastic, Usagi is a more grounded and versatile martial artist.
As for the big new mode, Survival is fantastic. It tests you across a range of enemies and stages to find crystals that helps you progress to the next dimension. The story revolves around the Neutrinos, who have come from Dimension X to reveal a nefarious plan by Shredder, who is looking to conquer the multiverse. By jumping from dimension to dimension, you’ll encounter a variety of power-ups and buffs that’ll aid you in your quest to bring down the asshole with claws. The more you play, the better you become, and the wealth of abilities you start to acquire make the mode a joy to replay.
The stages themselves are excellently designed, and take inspiration from the history of the turtles, with each dimension offering varying designs. Mirage is in the classic comic book style and is perhaps my favourite of them all, but Edo is pretty cool, and the 8-bit background dimension is a retro-looking extravaganza. There’re tons of cameos in the background for all types of fans, and whether you’re solely familiar with the 1987 cartoon, or have a love for the incredible Eastman and Laird comic books, the surprises keep on coming and remind you just why the turtles are so loved.
Each dimension requires you to collect a set amount of crystals that increase with each one, and at the end of every stage, you’re given a choice between two items. These might be a bunch of crystals needed to complete a dimension; complete replenishment of your health; a specific perk to help you in the next stage; a power-up to give added clout to you next effort; the ability to play as another character; and more. It provides a layer of strategy to how you progress, as crystals might not be the best option if you’re running low on health and need to heal before progressing.
Some of the perks are wonderful. One of my favourites replenished health for successful combos pulled off, which was a great substitute for waiting for pizzas to appear. Another let me use unlimited Ninja Power until I got hit. I also got the chance to play as Bebop, Rocksteady, and Shredder, all with varying abilities that gave me a brief respite from playing as my chosen hero. Enemies are also varied as you play through the dimensions. Sometimes you might have to clear a stage filled with foot soldiers firing arrows or rockets, riding on bikes, or using swords and throwing a Sai or two at you. Other times a band of rock soldiers or mousers.
In some stages across Dimension Shellshock, you might be unlucky enough to have to face bosses with varying move sets. I faced off against Slash, Tokka, and Captain Zorax, to name a few. You never know who you’ll face or how hard the stage will be, and the further you get, the tougher it becomes. You’re always getting better throughout your run thanks to the power-ups and upgrades you’ll gain, and even extra continues can be acquired so your run isn’t over after one death. I loved the challenge and with the option to choose from so many different characters, TMNT: Shredder’s Revenge has become infinitely better with the new DLC.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge – Dimension Shellshock is an extension to the main game that provides plenty of replayability with a fantastic new mode. Survival pushes you as a player and allows you to pull off impressive combos and utilise a range of effective power-ups, all while travelling across beautifully designed dimensions and facing a variety of enemies. Usagi and Karai are great additions to the playable characters, with new music that always delivers, and skins to unlock that give you plenty of reasons to keep on playing through the mode.
Survival is a ton of fun
New characters are great
Plenty of power-ups
Some boss attack patterns are hard to dodge