When it comes to video games, nostalgia is often something that is traded on so firmly that it often veers into being exploited.
Time and time again images from our collective pop media past are wheeled out in order to crowbar our wallets open with promises and sweet memories of what came before. Therefore it's always with a sense of trepidation that I approach any video game title that is slathering itself in that "old school sauce" because of a fear that not only will it not live up to my rose-tinted expectations, but that it will also damage the franchise that it's tied to.
As I downloaded Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder's Revenge the panic began to set in.
Would these icons of my youth hit with the impact of a delicious slice of pixel-pied perfection? or would the only cheese here be the stink of another cash-in?
Well, I need not have worried as it turns out because this game, piloted by the exceptional developers over at Dotemu who clearly haven't been resting on their Streets Of Rage 4 laurels (and accolades), is an arcade powerhouse that pays deep homage to the source material while delivering some of the smoothest and enjoyable beat 'em up action I've played in years.
From every angle this is a title that asks the question "What would be the most fun for the player?" and attempts to provide hard answers wherever it can.
From the glorious and unbearably cute sprite animations which provided actual belly laughs when we witnessed the likes of Foot Soldiers truly embracing the environment around them, to the absolutely shredding soundtrack which features members of the Wu-Tang Clan and Mike Patton from Faith No More, this is a title that oozes so much charm that Tokka and Rahzar are sending it Father's Day cards.