If I recall, Biker Mice From Mars was shown on the Big Breakfast in the UK, and there was a huge media launch party for the series. Which I was lucky enough to go to, because Konami was releasing a tie-in video game. I remember absolutely nothing else about the event, other than I came away with a free t-shirt, that was too big for me...
Yeah. I know it's not the best anecdote in the world, but it's all I've got. They can't all be the one where I dropped a whoopee cushion on John Leslie...
MiM's visuals don't crib from any one iteration of the TMNT, falling somewhere between the original indie comic books and the various animated series; cel-shaded, but sketchy. It's not a bad look all told - you can tell this came from the people behind the recent Transformers Devastation.
Like that game, it's eager to please the faithful, an exercise in nostalgia that - sadly - doesn't extend to either the classic theme music, or T.U.R.T.L.E. Power.
What Mutants in Manhattan wants to be is a sort of Arkham Asylum Lite; climbing and gliding between buildings in a day-glo interpretation of Manhattan, navigating your way around with a sort of 'detective vision' mode. The balletic-ish combat also evokes Batman's recent adventures, albeit with less of the kinetic fist-to-the-face oomph of those games.
That's about as far as it goes, though, in evoking the Arkham series. You expect a TMNT game to be goofy to a degree. What you hope, though, is that the goofiness comes from the story and character interaction, not flaws in the gameplay.
MiM's tutorial promises much in the way of complex combat, but in practice the fights are nothing more than button-mashing.
Having all four turts on-screen simultaneously is fine in theory. Mid-fight, though, everything becomes a mess. Frequently, it's difficult to know which character is yours.
You can switch between the turts in single player mode - making use of each individual set of special moves - but it's trickier than it needs to be. Also, the lack of local multiplayer feels like a missed opportunity.
Frustratingly, gadgets and weapons are available for purchase, but employing them mid-fight is profoundly clunky. There's no moving and shooting simultaneously - you're frozen to the spot while aiming a shuriken or plasma gun or grappling hook... all while being attacked from all sides by evil ninjas. And it isn't like the rewards for successfully shooting an enemy are worth the hassle.
So, back to button mashing.
Throw into this a mission structure that's woefully repetitive, partly due to the random-encounter nature of its skirmishes, plus the usual boss stage grind, and it suffers from feeling like a half-developed game, kept aloft with too much padding.
The Turts might be an anachronistic brand - now more annoying than cool - but there's potential there for a decent game (remember the classic arcade beat 'em up?). This, alas, is not it.
SUMMARY: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle's Head.
SCORE: Four cowabungas out of ten dudes.