UPDATE: We have added some corrections to the story courtesy of Raw Thrills. Each one is clearly marked.
No sooner did we break the news that Raw Thrills is going to launch a new version of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to arcades than we have a reader coming across said game on test! I’ll be getting my own impressions of the game here in a few weeks from IAAPA but if you can’t wait until then, here’s what reader Shane Muir had to say about the game. As a disclaimer, do remember that any number of changes can happen to a game before release so some of what is mentioned could only apply to the test version of the game and not the wide release. Nothing has been said about when that release will happen, so just keep that in mind 😉
For starters, the game is currently on test at the Round1USA location in Aurora, IL. Raw Thrills had mentioned to me that it was on test but didn’t say where; they also were pleased with the initial numbers that the game was drawing in.
Muir describes his first impressions of the cabinet as thus, finding the green-lit marquee to look quite striking, creating a strong impression when you approach it.
The whole machine is exceedingly tall with the marquee on, easily in the 8-9 foot range as reported.
Cabinet artwork is nicely done. The whole thing is decked out in graphics that have a nice appeal. The LED t-molding is nice as well, but that’s fairly standard with any of Raw Thrills’ cabinets at this point
If you’ve ever wondered why modern arcade games are so tall, its because they are shown to earn better. Just make sure your venues have higher ceilings.
On the control panel:
Control panel station consist of a LED color changing joystick, a lit rectangular start button, a large lit green Turtle Power Button, and color coordinated convex translucent buttons (that weren’t back lit on this machine). The setup is intuitive for brawlers… There’s also an oval around the joystick on each station that doesn’t really make a ton of sense. Not sure if it’s a protective plate or something else.
Raw Thrills game producer Matt Cianchetti. reached out to me to correct information about how the buttons work: “These buttons are illuminated. All buttons light up and pulse during the attract mode as well as gameplay. Also, each set of attack/jump buttons are color coordinated to the specific turtle. (Blue for Leo, Purple for Donnie, etc) One other note: During gameplay, only active terminals will have lit buttons. Inactive terminals will remain “dark” until someone joins in on that terminal. For example, if Raphael and Leo are the only turtles active, the other two turtle terminals will be unlit. We did this to clarify the active terminals to the player when the game is being played.“
Here’s a snap; the joysticks look exactly the same as what was used on Galaga Assault (backlit with LEDs and use HAPP cherry switches). The oval plate is also a part of those joysticks but it has a different piece of art attached to it. :
On the software, his thoughts were generally positive. The test version features “two of three stages” that can be selected by the player but Matt at Raw Thrills stated that “the final release will have 4 stages. The fourth stage will be unlocked after the main three stages are completed.” The game does lock your turtle to a particular player station (like the Konami games did; also correction as I originally had ‘does not’ in there). Player spots as shown on the bezel above the screen has Leo as P1, Mikey as P2, Donnie as P3, and Raph as P4. Raw Thrills also wanted to correct something about the colored lines that point to the character. I originally mentioned that it borrows an idea from Namco’s Pac-Man Battle Royale that has a colored line pointing to your character. Raw Thrills corrected: “The color coded ID lines only appear at the beginning of the levels and after camera cuts like boss intros or turtle powers. It does not stay on all the time like Pac-Man Battle Royale.“
Back to the original impressions, Shane added:
After having played about six credits worth of games, my general impression is “This feels like a proper evolution on Turtles In Time.” [although] this game isn’t out to munch quarters as hard as the originals. I’m encouraged by what I played.
…you can now attack in all directions, but so can your enemies. You’re no longer limited to attacking just left and right…you can slam the foot robots up and down now instead of just side to side. Yes, dashing, slamming enemies back and forth, and throwing enemies at the screen return. But you can be thrown at the screen now as well.
You still have your life consuming attack by hitting both attack and jump at the same time. The turbo pizza power up still exists (as a turtle shell), and standard pizza for health refills. You can pick up some items like trash cans and throw them at enemies, along with the old standby techniques of “hitting a fire hydrant to cause the cap to bust out at your enemy. There are even a couple of new items to grab. Namely, smoke bombs that disable the whole screen of enemies for a few seconds, and shuriken packs.
Your turtles still control fairly snappy, though jumping didn’t feel quite as tight as it did in the older generation games. Attacks don’t appear out of place, and enemies still react with roughly the same AI as the original games. You also get attacks out of the background, like cars driving through an intersection.
The game keeps track of combos, and the more combos you can string together, the quicker you can get your Turtle Power attack. Essentially, the game wants you to go on a tear of hitting as many enemies as you can, as quick as you can to build up your super attack.
With a charged Turtle Power gauge, you release a shock attack that wipes out any regular enemies on screen, and does somewhere in the range of 20% damage to a boss.
To add on to the Turtle Power gauge, Matt at Raw Thrills added: “Combos fill the turtle power meter faster, however, any successful attack will also help add to the turtle power meter.“
For some criticisms of the game, Shane kept that mainly for the cabinet design. As he stands at 6′ 2″ tall, he found the control panel distance and monitor angle to be a problem for his build. I personally stand about 5′ 4″ so when I come across the machine, my view will likely be different and so on.
Before we get to that, Raw Thrills stated the following about their decision for the cabinet design: “The control panel for our TMNT game is considerably wider than the arcade originals and should provide ample space for 4 people to play the game with the proper non-angled joystick orientation. We wanted to avoid angles because it is a lot more awkward to play. The wider control panel affords us the luxury of having the player orientation with a straight angle view of the 55” monitor for all four terminals. Also, tilting the monitor backward and placing it lower as the reviewer suggested would make the game harder for little kids to view, not easier. Small children are going to be looking upwards and would see less of the monitor if it was pitched away from them. Obviously, opinions on cabinet design can be subjective but we always put a lot of thought into making sure Raw Thrills cabinets are accessible to adults as well as kids and TMNT is no different in that regard.” They also stated that on the jump timing that “the timing is almost identical to the original arcade games.“
Shane’s original comments:
[I had] to move my head to be able to focus on different parts of the screen…The control panel, for me, was too low. It’s actually a good height for small children. If RT was aiming for that, they nailed it.
…the depth provided by the control panel puts your face a bit too close to the monitor. The position of the monitor is also actually a bit too high and is completely upright. My eye level was near the top of the screen
If shrinking to a smaller screen isn’t feasible, the monitor needs to shift lower and be installed with a backwards tilt. The way it stands right now, any children playing this game will have to crane their heads back like they just took an uppercut to the chin to be able to see what’s going on in the game. Just put the speakers above the monitor and give them a slight angle down.
Control panel – Take the cue from all the late 80’s/early 90’s Konami four players and angle your players away from center and each other. Nobody wants to be shoulder to shoulder with anyone while playing a game. Consider switching to a two coin/swipe door setup with a door between Leo/Mike and a door between Don/Raph.
Software – The Turtle Power cutscene needs to be greatly reduced after the first time it happens in a game.
If RT can correct those cabinet issues and some minor software stuff, there’s no reason this game won’t be in a position to succeed.
I appreciate getting this detailed look at the game, so thanks again to Shane for sharing that and the photos. I also want to thank Raw Thrills for clearing up a few things about it. There has been A LOT of interest in the game judging by what I’ve seen coming in so it looks like gamers are really excited to have this kind of game back in arcades again. We’ll have more info soon!