Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Cowabunga Collection

ytsfreeAugust 29, 2022

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were a force to be reckoned with across the 1980s and 1990s, becoming a powerhouse franchise that lives strong to this day. There was something special about the TMNT video games that released during that period, through arcade games and home console releases. Now, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Cowabunga Collection from Konami and Digital Eclipse brings together a selection of TMNT games from this era.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Cowabunga Collection includes thirteen TMNT video games from 1989 through to 1993. Covering arcade, SNES, Genesis, NES, and Game Boy games, it’s a comprehensive look at this era of the Turtles, including such fantastic titles as Turtles In Time and The Hyperstone Heist. Additional features are also included, such as online multiplayer for four games, save states, button remapping, and design material.


Related: 15 Best Video Games Based On The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Ranked

Perhaps the biggest draw on The Cowabunga Collection is the opportunity to play the two TMNT arcade games that are included in the bundle. Both 1989’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and 1991’s Turtles In Time are brilliant side-scrolling beat ’em ups that have stood the test of time, with crisp gameplay and bundles of character. It’s a genre that has been a longstanding place of joy for the Turtles, as seen with this year’s TMNT: Shredder’s Revenge, so the opportunity to revisit the originals here is a tantalising one – particularly given that both have online multiplayer functionality.

The Cowabunga Collection isn’t just for the arcade titles though, and the rest of the collection has some truly fantastic games included. Of particular note are the SNES and Genesis games, with the SNES version of Turtles In Time being one that found plenty of love when it first released. Hyperstone Heist on Genesis is another excellent side-scrolling beat ’em up, and another game that includes online multiplayer for those that want it.

The final online multiplayer game is Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Tournament Fighters for the SNES, a 1993 one-on-one fighting game that was a great option for those who had exhausted their time with the likes of Street Fighter II and Mortal Kombat, and remains an engaging experience to this day. The Cowabunga Collection also includes the Genesis and NES versions of Tournament Fighters for those that want them, which may be useful for those interested in the difference between the console versions. The NES version is an interesting curio, showing just how much developers could squeeze out of the console to make a functioning one-on-one fighting game.

The rest of the games perhaps feel their age more than the arcade, SNES, and Genesis titles. The NES Turtles games will be an excellent inclusion for those who grew up with them, or those who are interested to see what the 8-bit era had for TMNT fans, including the hard-as-nails first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game that remains a real challenge to this day. The Game Boy titles are another example of showcasing just how Nintendo’s handheld could pack a punch beyond its hardware, with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III: Radical Rescue‘s Metroidvania flavor the most engaging of the bunch.

The additional features do add some longevity to The Cowabunga Collection. Quality of life improvements like the online multiplayer options are very useful, as a lot of games in the collection are best played with multiplayer – although the majority have local multiplayer options in line with their original releases. Save states and rewind options can take the edge off some of the harsher moments of ‘Nintendo Hard’ in the older games, and design documents and development art are always interesting to have a peruse through.

The Nintendo Switch version of The Cowabunga Collection doesn’t suffer from any negatives in comparison to other platforms. In fact, the handheld version proves to be a real benefit when not using local multiplayer options, particularly when checking out the games in single player mode. As such, those who have a choice of platforms may be tempted to choose the Switch version.

Overall, then, The Cowabunga Collection is a great look back at the Turtles games of yore. The franchise’s stranglehold on side-scrolling beat ’em ups is fully on show with some of the best examples from the era, while the rest of the collection is still worth playing. A worthy selection for TMNT fans looking to delve into the past.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Cowabunga Collection releases 30 August 2022 for PC, Nintendo Switch, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S. Screen Rant was provided with a Switch download code for the purposes of this review.


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