Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Cowabunga Collection | Review – A dip in the 90s

This is the year of the rebirth of the Ninja Turtles, at least as far as the videogame front is concerned. Just a couple of months ago we told you how well it was done TMNT: Shredder’s Revengea title that has managed to renew in an excellent way the formula of the classic scrolling fighting games of the past without forgetting the link with the titles that inspired it.

And today we are here to talk to you about this past, the videogame past of the four Ninja Turtles. The August 30th will arrive there Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Cowabunga Collectiona collection of numerous great classics released in the early 90s and dedicated to the famous cartoon of the time.

We have finally played the titles of the collection and we are ready to tell you about it, going back in time with our minds to those afternoons of the early 90s, when the cartoon of the Ninja Turtles reigned supreme on television, in its golden age.

13 video games from the past

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Cowabunga Collection (already available on Amazon for several consoles) consists of well 13 games released on all major platforms in the early 90s.

They range from the legendary NES to its successor, the Super Nintendo, without forgetting the legendary Game Boy. However, there is also a representation of titles for Sega Mega Drive (or Genesis, in America) and for arcade cabinets. For the sake of accuracy we list all the titles present:

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (game room)
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time (game room)
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (NES)
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Arcade Game (NES)
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III: The Manhattan Project (NES)
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Tournament Fighters (NES)
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time (Super Nintendo)
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Tournament Fighters (Super Nintendo)
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Hyperstone Heist (Sega Genesis)
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Tournament Fighters (Sega Genesis)
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Fall of The Foot Clan (Game Boy)
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Return from the Sewers (Game Boy)
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III: Radical Rescue (Game Boy)

A truly incredible collection regarding the size and importance of the games present.

Usually the so-called tie-insthat is, the titles taken from films or, as in this case, from cartoons, are not well regarded, because they are often poor quality products made for the sole purpose of attracting buyers by exploiting the famous name of a brand.

However, this is not the case with the titles dedicated to Ninja Turtlessince the quality of these 13 games was already very high at the time of their release, so high that some, such as Turtles in Time, are still remembered today as great classics of their genre.

All the titles in the collection were created by Konamiwhen it was still focused on making good games first, given that the Japanese software house held, in the videogame field, the rights to the Ninja Turtles franchise.

Some titles are made by Ultra Games, but in reality it is an American-based Konami label, created for bypass the Nintendo lock which, at the time of its 8-bit console, forced third parties to publish a maximum of five games per year.

The titles featured in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Cowabunga Collection range from various genres. We have a prevalence of scrolling fighting gameswith great classics such as the original Arcade title and Turtles in Time (present in both the Arcade and Super Nintendo versions). Both titles are still a lot of fun to play today, especially in company, as they represent some of the most successful scrolling fighting games of the time.

If you have played TMNT: Shredder’s Revenge, but have never had the opportunity to try Turtles in Times and the other titles similar to this in the collection, you will be able to recognize all the quotes and mechanics that the developers of Tribute Games have taken up, renewed and inserted into their game.

Turtles in Time is one of the most famous titles in the collection and is present in both arcade and Super Nintendo versions

Then there are three fighting games in matchesthat is the three versions of Tournament Fighters which, despite having the same title, are in fact three very different games.

The best version, which went down in history, is the one for Super Nintendobut it is also interesting to try the one for Mega Drive, with very different mechanics and characters, and the one for NES which, if contextualized in its historical period, represents one of the most advanced fighting games for Nintendo’s 8-bit console and is still more that enjoyable.

They then close the collection diversified action platformlike the trilogy released on the Game Boy, graphically very well done for the era of Nintendo’s black and white laptop, and the TMNT for NES, still remembered today for its infamous underwater level.

Obviously we cannot evaluate these 13 titles with current fees: their playability is the daughter of the 90stherefore with a higher difficulty, also due to wooden commands and movements that are not always very precise, but if we consider everything in relation to its time we will have a respectable collection, with titles ranging from good to excellent.

Fortunately, the collection, created by Konami in collaboration with the developers of Digital eclipsecaters to modern gamers with multiple options for optimize the now vintage gameplay. In fact, each title will have one quick save and load function which will allow you to save the game at any time.

In addition to this, by pressing a button (in our case L1 on PS5) it will be possible rewind game actions going back a few seconds, so as to correct any error. This option will result a real boon when you face titles in which one wrong jump will be enough to make you start a level all over again, and believe us when we tell you that this will happen very often.

There will also be fighting games at meetings, in this case represented by the three incarnations of Tournament Fighters

There are also options that can be activated before starting one of the games: basically dear old cheat codes. These allow you to select the level to start from, have infinite lives or a decrease in damage taken and much more. Not all games have the same options, though, and in some you’ll have to fend for yourself.

Another interesting tool to help players is the Spectator modepresent in every title of the collection. Starting this option, a movie will start that will show us the game in question played from start to finish to perfection and without suffering any damage: very useful in case you want to discover the perfect strategy against a boss.

The best thing about this option is that at any time, with the press of a button, it will be possible to play from the point where the video arrived, thus switching from the role of spectator to that of actual players.

Among the other options present, we will then have the option of change the version of each game from American to Japanese, to remap the commands and access a strategic guide with several tips and videos dedicated to each of the titles.

Rocksteady and Bebop will obviously be a constant as boss of many games in the collection

All the games in the collection are not very long-lived: they range from an hour to a maximum of about three hours of play per title, although a lot depends on the player’s skills, but, considering that there are 13 games, they will be guaranteed at least between 20 and 30 hours of fun in total – without forgetting that many of the titles can be played and replayed in multiplayer, which obviously will further increase the total longevity.

The Ninja Turtles Encyclopedia

Speaking of multiplayer, in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Cowabunga Collection (which you can already find on Amazon for all consoles) there will be the ability to play online to four titles, while many others will support local multiplayer.

Unfortunately, during our test we did not have the opportunity to test this feature well due to the lack of enough players in the servers, as the title has not yet officially released.

Several video options will be available, some to simulate old CRT TVs for the ultimate in nostalgia

Another aspect of the collection that surprised us is the option, present in the main menu, called The den of the turtles. Inside there will be a real encyclopedia concerning the four green mutant turtles.

Here you will find all the original manuals of each of the games present, the high quality scanned packs, preparatory sketches and sketches regarding the creation of each of the titles, the advertisements in the videogame magazines of the time, the music, the covers of the original comics, cartoon screenshots and more.

Fans of the series will literally spend hours with this collection, which contains within it some unreleased and never-before-seen goodies.

Turtle Lair features an incredible amount of game material from the collection

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Cowabunga Collection also presents different video options: su will be able to maintain the original resolution, with the image reduced and decorated with the edges covered with images of the Turtles, for an effect that is very reminiscent of the old cabinets; you can alternatively select more generous resolutions, even in full screen.

It will also be possible to use gods filters that will bring moving images closer to the aesthetics of old cathode tube televisions or, alternatively, in LCD format. In this way, the most nostalgic players will be able to really take a dip in the past, recalling the atmosphere of the early 90s.

Finally, we point out that the titles are fully translated into Italian as for the game manuals and all the extra options (the games obviously remain in English or Japanese, depending on the version selected).

Version reviewed: PS5

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