1989’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for arcades was a coin-op colossus for Konami. Arriving as the popularity of Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird’s radical reptiles was reaching its peak, the thirst for the original TMNT cabinet was so great Konami couldn’t even keep up with the demand. With additional production outsourced, tens of thousands of TMNT cabinets were ultimately sold worldwide - and it would go on to become Konami’s highest-grossing arcade game ever. In 1991, Konami found success again with the fondly-remembered follow-up Turtles in Time, which improved on the formula and is still largely considered the most-legendary TMNT game of all.

Three decades and several reboots later, Montreal-based studio Tribute Games has taken the turtles back to where they began with Shredder’s Revenge - a spiritual sequel to Konami’s stone-cold arcade classics. Shredder’s Revenge is proof positive that there’s no school like the old-school - but assembling a brand-new brawler in the shadow of two of the biggest and best beat ‘em ups ever built is no trivial task. To find out how Tribute Games pulled this off we talked to narrative designer Yannick Belzil about what it took to contemporise the classic coin-op characteristics of the original TMNT games, and the challenges of returning to the 1987 animated universe. We also analysed the level Crisis at Coney Island and its flawless fusion of retro tropes and modern flourishes, all in a setting that pays perfect tribute to the earliest roots of the beat ‘em up genre in the iconic 1979 cult film The Warriors.

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