CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- I have discovered that one of the great joys of being a parent is getting to introduce my two boys to some of the things I found cool as a kid. Things such as comic books, action figures, pro wrestling and, yes, video games.
I've especially enjoyed exposing them to some of my favorite childhood cartoons, a job made easier by the television industry's recent trend of recycling brands from my generation, paving the way for modernized versions of such classics as G.I. Joe, Transformers and, of course, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
Nickelodeon's re-imagined "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" show has become must-see TV in my home, for both my boys and myself. And now Activision has partnered with the network to bring the heroes in a half-shell back in video-game form with the release of "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles."
Not to be confused with this summer's rather forgettable "TMNT: Out of the Shadows," "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" incorporates many of the best elements of the animated series and pays homage to the classic TMNT games of my youth.
"Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" is a side-scrolling brawler in the tradition of the timeless arcade game that devoured so many of my quarters during the late 1980s and early '90s. Controlling one of the four pizza-loving brothers, you'll battle waves of Foot Clan ninjas, Kraang soldiers and robotic mousers in an attempt to stop Shredder from unleashing a mutagen bomb in the city.
Combat is as simple as it gets, with one button for basic attacks and another for special combo moves that can be purchased using experience points that you collect during each of the game's 16 levels. Pressing the Y button allows you to grab stunned enemies and throw them into various containers in the environment or even against the screen in another homage to the TMNT games of old.
This beat-'em up doesn't break any new ground and, frankly, can be rather mindless at times -- especially if you're playing through the adventure solo. The game's AI is bad, both for your fellow turtles and the enemies you face. Your computer-controlled allies often get in the way more than they actually help your cause, and sometimes enemies will actually stand around and do nothing until you attack them.
These issues aren't as noticeable when playing with others locally (sadly, the game doesn't support online co-op). My kids and I had plenty of fun beating up bad guys and competing for high-score honors during the disappointingly short campaign. Additional game modes can be unlocked by collecting hidden mutagen containers during the campaign, including a survival mode and time challenge, but those lack the charm that the story mode contains.