Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Cowabunga Collection Review

While Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles hasn’t made waves on the big screen since 2016, the franchise as a whole has been thriving with new shows and brand new games. Following the success of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles : Revenge of the Shredder, the series ventures into its arcade and home classics with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles : The Cowabunga Collection.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles : The Cowabunga Collection brings many classic games from the late 80s and early 90s to modern consoles, packing a lot of gaming history into one bundle. However, in order to maintain the classic experience of the series, some games show their age without improving enough to bring them in line with modern versions.

The crown jewels of the Cowabunga Collection are easily the original TMNT arcade cabinet title, and the SNES port of the second of the two titles, Turtles in Time. These particular installments were incredible at the time, and they are still true now, with improvements like increased enemy density and faster movement speed.

tmnt  cowabunga  collection  screenshot  2 Each entry in the Cowabunga Collection contains an enhancement menu that allows the player to make changes to the game. In the case of both arcade games, the enhancements range widely, including “God Mode” that makes players nearly invincible, “Nightmare Mode” that fills the screen with enemies, and “Turbo Mode” that increases speed. “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles move. Any of these enhancements can completely change a game, especially Nightmare Mode and the absolute chaos it brings to any game.

Along with new enhancements, the most popular game in the Cowabunga Collection is also one of the most influential games of all time. While personal enjoyment of these games in 2022 will likely be tempered by personal experience and nostalgia, TMNT: Arcade and Teenage Turtles have become hallmarks of side-scrolling combat games. So when it comes to how impressive the series itself is, it’s hard to beat a lineup with so many genre-defining games for decades.

While many of the games in the Cowabunga Collection are iconic, some of the weaker content in the bundle may slow down performance. This is most notable in those games that were added to the list of available games, but made worse by few enhancements. Considering the series comes from the era of “Nintendo hard” games, with punishing resets and clunky controls, there’s still room for improvement in port quality.

The most notable point of contention on the tmnt  cowabunga  collection  screenshot  1 Cowabunga Collection list comes from the appearance of three TMNT: tournament fighters. While owning one of these games makes perfect sense for a classic series, especially the SNES or Sega Genesis versions, the original Nintendo Entertainment System version of the game is unnecessary. There are two excellent games to choose from for both online and offline play, and it’s odd that the worst of the three will be included as well. That being said, the differences between the SNES and Genesis versions are significant enough to justify including both.

The same criticism exists for two of the three Game Boy games, TMNT: Fall of the Foot Clan and TMNT: Back from the Sewers. Both are very short and feel like an attempt to port a ’90s arcade game to mobile. Aside from the fact that Back the Sewers is a perfect example of old-school “Nintendo harsh” punishment, there’s nothing negative about the games themselves. Still, their inclusion seems more to fill out the list, including the first two games, and then the better Radical Rescue, which honestly could have served as TMNT’s sole representation on the Game Boy.

Of course, even if there are a few games that don’t add points, you can’t lower the quality of the collection too much on your own. Plus, the game list is only half of the equation for this type of bundle. Taking development center stage at the Cowabunga Collection is the simulation software on display. While the emulator built into the series isn’t as extensive as some software available on PC, it includes quite a few quality-of-life improvements that aren’t usually found on consoles.

tmnt  cowabunga  collection  screenshot  3 Following in the footsteps of emulators such as those developed for the Nintendo Switch Online Virtual Console, the Cowabunga Collection features the ability to instantly save at any point as well as rewind for a few seconds. These can go a long way towards curbing difficult issues players may encounter. Specifically, harsh resets back to the start of the game or level start can be mitigated by judicious use of rewind and save state. However, only allowing one save state at a time per game does limit the functionality of these quality of life improvements.

Finally, emulation and enhancements enhance the quality of life, making this series an excellent way to play some classic TMNT titles on modern consoles. Over-tuning for the sake of modernization doesn’t “break” anything, emulation only improves games, making them more manageable. Combine that with the Cowabunga Collection’s local and online collaborations, and there’s never been a better time to be a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fan.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles : Cowabunga Collection is out now on PC, PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S. Game Rant obtained the PS5 code for this review.

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