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Home GAMING Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Cowabunga Collection

Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Cowabunga Collection

Great compilation, 3AM

When I look at all the games on The Cowunga Collection, memories fire like pistons in my brain. I remember the extreme joy of playing turtles in time. And the extreme sadness of the frustrating and infamous turtles NES platform game. On top of everything else, like showing people the SNES version of tournament fighters in an attempt to woo them while they were busy playing other fighting games.

Individually, not all of these titles stand out. But as a repackage, Digital Eclipse has done a good job.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Cowabunga Collection (PC, PS4, PS5 [reviewed]Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Xbox Series X)
Developer: Digital Eclipse
Publisher: Konami
Release: August 30, 2022
MSRP: $39.99

As we do with many build-related reviews, let’s take a look at what’s on offer up front before we dive in:

  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (arcade)
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time (arcade)
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (NO)
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Arcade Game (NO)
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III: The Manhattan Project (NO)
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Tournament of Fighters (NO)
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time (Super nintendo)
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Tournament of Fighters (Super nintendo)
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Hyper Stone Heist (sega genesis)
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Tournament of Fighters (sega genesis)
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Fall of the Foot Clan (game boy)
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: Return from the Sewers (game boy)
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III: Radical Rescue (game boy)

As I said before, what a selection! There’s so much to unpack in there, and we’ll start with the obvious: the games themselves.

turtles on time it is an absolute classic, and could well be considered the crown jewel of the collection. Back in 2009, people were paying $10 for it on Xbox Live Arcade and PSN, or still playing the original SNES. Its time-bending setting, ahead-of-its-time voice work, and varied level design helped catapult it into one of the greatest genres of all time. I had a lot of fun playing it again on both the SNES and Arcade (which mostly have cosmetic differences, with the SNES version sporting a bit more content and alterations), and it was a great way to start playing the collection.

Chances are you have a few that you consider your personal favorites. Hyperstone Heist often appears in many Tortoise game talks, and it remains today. Outside turtles on timeI played much of tournament fighters SNES, and while it could be considered a rare fighter overall, I appreciate the arcade and versus mode options, as well as the addition of some characters. The brawlers/beat ’em ups in the bundle are actually perennial, and somehow legitimize this entire collection in the eyes of many. Some of them have been released in various guises over the years, but now you can bring them all under one $40 roof.

While I wouldn’t necessarily call them “underrated,” the three Game Boy games feel like natural evolutions of the established NES platformer formula; with simpler, more forgiving level designs and more direct control of the turtles themselves. That’s especially true for the third entry, which has specific abilities for each turtle. speaking of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III: Radical Rescue is definitely the standout as it uses a metroid-as frame. It’s actually one of the meatier games in the collection, and will probably surprise some people with how much there is.

In general, there is something about the highlight turtles visuals that still hold up, even if the aesthetics of some of the NES and Game Boy titles have aged less gracefully. The distinctive cartoonish nature of the source material shines through here, and there’s a reason why the individual turtles beat ’em ups are considered part of the golden age of the era, along with classics like The Simpsons arcade game.

Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Cowabunga Collection 2

Naturally, figuring out how much each ticket is worth to you can be difficult. However, you really don’t need to suffer in silence when it comes to discerning whether or not it’s worth buying, even if you only like a few games. There are many plays of each of these games and a lot of information available. Once you’ve gotten past that stage, it’s time to view the collection as a collection. We have good news on that front, as Digital Eclipse has done just turtles legacy.

So one of the most important features of the Cowunga Collection is the “clock” mode. You can start each game with an automated assist mode, where you play through a race from the start. Here, you can fast-forward and decide to jump at any time. While you won’t necessarily need them for select, more light-hearted games, the most obvious choice for this feature is turtles NES, especially for those who haven’t gotten over it yet. It creates a level of accessibility that essentially justifies the games that always frustrated you growing up, even if it doesn’t save them entirely. Games also have an “improvement” [cheats] menu, which includes options such as a level selection and extra lives.

There are also the strategy guides, and they are precious. are made for The Cowunga Collection, in the style of classic 90s magazine tips sections, and are super quirky, with really useful information to get you started. What surprised me, though, is the ability to manually click on a section of the strategy guide and instantly activate whatever feature it suggests. This includes the opportunity to see “secret endings” and the like without having to play it yourself.

The standout feature for me is the extras menu. Here you will find boxes and manuals, advertisements and catalogues, and even comic book covers and stills from various TV shows. There are behind the scenes style guides/bibles that the designers had to follow for the characters and a music player. It is a comprehensive look at turtles story, and surprisingly I found myself digging into it for an hour before playing any games. Filters include Original, Full Screen, Wide Screen, TV, Monitor, and LCG Switchers. Local play is all the rage, and each game displays the number of supported players clearly on the screen. Although we were unable to test the game online, the Cowunga Collection you have the option for it.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Cowabunga Collection is a great repackage of a set of classic mismatched games. I’m not in a hurry to play turtles NES again, for example, but I can see myself diving into the extras menu and breaking up any number of fights with friends and family at almost any time. With the amount of care put into it by Digital Eclipse, this is one of the best ways these games have been presented since they were released.

[This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]

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