Whenever a new movie tie-in video game hits the market, I can't help but let out an unsurpassed groan. Ever since marketing teams figured out that they could slap a branded skin of programming on an existing game, the shelves of game stores everywhere became inundated with rehashed dreck that we'd all seen before. Each one just wearing a new tutu. What we have here is Turbo Super Stunt Squad. Does it bring something new and fun to your console, or is it another piece of rebranded rubbish which you should avoid? Let's have a look shall we?
Yes. Turbo Super Stunt Squad is a rebranded rehash of a classic title that changed the face of gaming. Should you avoid this as another piece of mass market trash? Well, not quite.
Let's see if you can guess what classic game Turbo Super Stunt Squad takes its obvious inspiration. You play as Turbo, a snail with an oxymoronic name and a need for speed. He can rocket around, banking on walls, ripping tricks out of a half pipe, backflipping over kicker gaps, grinding stair rails. He can even do antenna plants on the coping of a quarter pipe. The game is made up of a number of different levels all featuring different, but very similar, goals. Most of which are collect a certain number of objects or get a high combo score while jumping over this gap.
Figured out where Turbo Super Stunt Squad takes the lions share of its inspiration yet?
Tony Hawk's Pro Skater. I know, I was a little bit surprised too.
Of all the types of games to copy, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater was an interesting choice and, quite frankly, it works pretty well. I can't believe I'm saying it, but this movie tie-in game is actually quite a bit of fun.
Turbo doesn't quit handle as nimbly as a professional skater, but he knows his way around ramps and rails. The controls are dampened, which is a good thing considering the context of the character. Even if he is fast, he still is a snail.
The levels are each unique, and provide an interesting perspective on the everyday world. Shrunken down to the size of Turbo, a laundry basket becomes a semi-truck sized ramp used to pull off a sick 720 grab before blazing through a paper towel roll tunnel. Each of the goals are simple and are cleverly laid out around the level. A skilled player can tackle at least a couple goals in a 3 minute run.
The clever bit about this game is that it looks very much like the film. Considering it is a CG animated feature, it would make sense that a digital game would aesthetically match the film it's based on.
Sadly though, the game suffers from a lack of features. It simply becomes a bit boring after an hour or two of playing. The moves you can pull off as Turbo, or one of the other characters, are severely limited since he isn't rocking a skateboard to flip around. Also, it would have been a lot of fun if the developers had included more unique challenges and goals for each level. The, "This is still a tie-in to a film, so we don't want to make it too good" mentality still exists.
Turbo Super Stunt Squad doesn't quite break the usual status quo of borrowing whole concepts and swaths of gameplay, but it does it so well that it can almost be forgiven. It took what it liked from Tony Hawk's Pro Skater and made it its own which is completely commendable.
I remember a time when movie tie-in games eclipsed the actual film. Everyone forgets that one of the most beloved games of all time is actually a game made to tie-in with a movie -- Goldeneye. While Turbo Super Stunt Squad is nowhere near that level of gaming perfection, it takes a few slithers in the right direction.
This review is based on a retail copy of Turbo Super Stunt Squad for the PlayStation 3.