Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Cowabunga Collection
There’s “hot girl summer,” but I say gamers should put their flag in the sand for 2022 and dub this year the “Turtles in a Half Shell summer!”
Between the release of TMNT: Shredder’s Revenge and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Cowabunga Collection, millions of 90’s kids have more than enough to enjoy if they’re looking to kick butt in a half shell. The Cowabunga Collection is just that, a big grouping of TMNT games from the 80s and 90s, wrapped in a pretty extensive package with bonus content and current-gen add-ons any gaming fan is sure to enjoy.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Cowabunga Collection is a huge game. Not necessarily because of the scale of the games themselves (some of them only last a couple of short hours), but because of how many games it allows you to dive into and the bonus content you can enjoy along the way.
It’s a great way to experience some of these games for the first time. Personally, I have always been a massive TMNT fan but for whatever reason, I never had the chance to play the Game Boy titles growing up. And if a game like the popular Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time has been you’re only Turtles gaming experience, you can fight the Foot Clan there and all the way back to the arcade and NES classics from 1989.
The only downside to this compilation of 13 titles: some of them are essentially the same game. While it’s definitely a rare chance to play both arcade and console versions in one place, there isn’t a whole lot to differentiate them from one another other. Turtles in Time for the arcade feel similar to the home console version for the SNES, especially when playing them with an Xbox or DualSense controller on my PC.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Cowabunga Collection brings all the games together and kicks you right in the nostalgia feels. The creators want you to feel something, to open up Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III: The Manhattan Project and remember sitting on your bedroom floor with your NES and fighting off enemies with Raph, Mike, Don, and Leo. Thankfully, each and every game feels tight and responsive, looks great on modern screens, and sounds just like you remember. Put those three key features together, and you have a successful venture into an 80’s and 90’s gaming crowd that will eat this up faster than the Turtles devour pizza (with no anchovies!).
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Cowabunga Collection Pulls No Punches
Each and every game can be personalized with options that also modernize the experience. You can change the aspect ratio and background, you can turn on old-school TV filters, there are save states, and the option to rewind gameplay. On top of that, some of the games even give you the option to play the Japanese version, something the vast majority of gamers have not been able to enjoy all these decades later.
Whether you’re playing the original arcade titles, or the Genesis and SNES games released a few years later, each and every game has a ton of bonus content to dig into. It ranges anywhere from digital versions of game manuals and “cheats” that you can access while in-game, to sifting through soundtracks and concept art in the Extras menu. For me, this is where the game really shines and sets itself apart from just being another re-release or a game someone might have emulated on their PC since 2003.
I think there’s also a great opportunity here for gamers of a certain age (30+ for example) to share these retro and nostalgic experiences with younger generations. Even nowadays sharing our love for games from our childhood can be a chore. Emulators might work, but that’s not exactly a clear-cut route for many reasons. Or how about trying to use consoles and games that have been collecting dust for 25 years? Now, if you have a younger family member in your home, you can show them how you fell in love with great games like the ones offered in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Cowabunga Collection. Maybe from there, they’ll grow to love them too.
If you’re a die-hard Turtles fan then Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Cowabunga Collection is a no-brainer. Just the added content alone is worth the price of admission. I was amazed at how much there was alongside the main attraction of awesome games. The developers and publishers could have sat back and let the games speak for themselves, but they went above and beyond to create something far more enjoyable and meaningful.
Yes, the latest venture into the TMNT gaming universe with Shredder’s Revenge is excellent, but your time with the Turtles doesn’t have to end there. If you’re like me and you want to dive into your childhood quickly, with new features, and also experience some really great development content, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Cowabunga Collection is the place to be.
[A copy of the game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.]