Having had ample time to test out both the single player and multiplayer aspects of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for Xbox Live Arcade, we are ready to pass our stern and final judgment. The game is exactly what you remember from the arcades of yesteryear. From the cheesy dialogue to storyboard cutscenes, it's all there. The combat is as simple and addicting as it ever was. It's still pretty damned frustrating at times, too. Of course, players must keep in mind that this game was designed primarily to suck quarters directly from the pockets of children. Overall, the single player is completely intact, with nary a hitch to be seen. As an added bonus, you can continue as many times as you want (and you will be continuing ... a lot).
The multiplayer, on the other hand, is a different story. Now, the multiplayer isn't broken, but we ran into a few problems starting up a decent game. The first three matches we joined were so laggy that the game was unplayable. On our fourth try, though, we ran into a group of people with decent connections and enjoyed a game that was (mostly) lag free. The multiplayer game offers players 20 credits each (poetically, this is the equivalent of a $5 afternoon at the arcade). The difficulty scales based on how many players are in the game -- with four players it becomes hard to concentrate because of all the enemies on the screen. Getting to the end of the game in multiplayer will require some skilled players and some serious teamwork against the game's ruthless bosses.
All in all, TMNT Arcade provides a fun experience. As with most retro titles, your enjoyment of the game may be directly proportional to your nostalgia for it. Of course, the big question is always whether or not an Arcade game is worth the points it costs. In TMNT's case, that question is easily quantified. The game costs $5 worth of MS points. That's equal to 20 lives at a quarter each (10 lives if you grew up in $0.50 arcades). If you can beat the game without dying that many times, then it's not worth it. For the rest of us, 5 bucks is cheap for a full game of TMNT. Throw in Live multiplayer, leaderboards, and the fact that even your non-gaming friends will want to play it, and TMNT is an absolute bargain.
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