Parental Gaming: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Hero Portal
Man, Skylanders really did open the floodgates with the whole “Toys To Life Thing”. Well today we are looking at one of a series of plug and plays that follows the Toy To Life style. It’s called Hero Portal and is made by the people at Jakks Pacific who pretty much make the majority of plug and plays that are on the market these days.
Ok so to start with we have the starter pack. Your Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Hero Portal Starter Pack comes with the portal, controller and Leonardo and Raphael figures. The portal runs off four AA batteries and seems to have pretty good battery life. It does not though come with batteries which always annoys the hell out of me. The portal plugs into your TV’s AV input which is kind of weird you would think by now Jakks would make use of HDMI! The controller which is wired into the system has a D-pad, three buttons and best of all… well according to my son a Ninja Turtles logo!
As well as the two figures that come with the starter pack there is two character packs as well. One has Master Splinter and Casey Jones, which by the way major cool points for letting you play as Casey Jones. The other pack comes with, Donatello and Michelangelo. The game can be beaten with just Leo and Raph, but there are certain sections in the game that do require the other characters to play them. These are mini games, but the main story can be seen with just the two who come in the starter pack.
Gameplay wise this is a side scrolling beat’em up…… a very basic and easy side scrolling beat’em up I might add. You have six different missions to play through with each mission having three stages, as well as a few side missions. Gameplay sees you put a character on the portal, hit the A button and then go into the game. You have an attack button, jump button and a special move button. You need to collect yellow orbs to build up your special meter before you can use it. You can place a second character on the Hero Portal and they will act as a side kick. By holding down the C button they will jump in the game and clear out the enemies. This does have a recharge before you can use it, but it is very quick. The mini games are pretty cool and add variety to the fighting action. You can drive the Shell Raiser in a racing section, shoot ninja stars in a light gun style section and there is an endless runner section as well.
This is actually a pretty fun game, and both my son and I have enjoyed what we have seen so far, but this is only a one player game which, is a shame. The game has a map screen and you can go back to levels you have already beaten and try to find hidden mutagen canisters, hidden keys and try to beat your high score. So there is a bit of replay value here which is cool. My son who is seven says that he much prefers this game to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Danger Of The Ooze game which was released for consoles last year. This is a very easy game and on more than one occasion enemies will come on the screen and not even try to hit you. Story wise there is the bare bones of a story with screen shots of the characters and text moving things along. Still there is a certain fun and charm here that is hard to describe, and I have no doubt kids will just eat this up. In our house we have hundreds and hundreds of video games and tons of systems, yet my son has been hooked on this for about two weeks now.
In addition to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles there are Hero Portals for, DC Super Heroes, Power Rangers and How To Train Your Dragon. Here in the UK you are looking at around £40-50 to get the starter pack and sets. The DC Super Heroes one seems to be the cheapest from what I have seen. To be honest it is not bad at all and while fairly basic, we have had a lot of fun with it.