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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Cowabunga Collection Review

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Cowabunga Collection Review

What a time it is to be a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fan! In 2022, we have seen the release of not one but two games: TMNT Shredder's Revenge and TMNT: The Cowabunga Collection. I have played a lot of game compilations lately, so I'm curious to see if The Cowabunga Collection will be different from the usual multiple-game titles. 

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I have been a fan of the Ninja Turtles since childhood. I remember getting off the school bus and running into the house to ensure I didn't miss the next episode of the cartoon. My favourite colour at the time was purple, so Donatello was instantly my preferred turtle: he was smart and had a bo staff. Who could want anything more? My love of Donny carried over to the TMNT games for the NES. His bo staff gave you a huge reach advantage over the foot clan enemies and worked great to attack foes standing on the floor below you. 

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There are 13 classic Ninja Turtles games here; the collection includes titles from the arcade and various consoles, including the NES, SNES, Mega Drive (Genesis), and Game Boy. We don't usually see handheld games included in these collections; the last I remember seeing was Kirby's Dream Land on Kirby's 20th Anniversary CollectionSonic Origins didn't include any Game Gear titles, and the Turrican Collection I recently looked at did not have the Game Boy title either. 

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The classic titles you can look forward to playing here are Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Arcade), Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time (Arcade), 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 (SNES), Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Tournament Fighters (Mega Drive), Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Tournament Fighters (SNES), Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Hyperstone Heist (Mega Drive), Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Fall of The Foot Clan (Game Boy), Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: Back From The Sewers (Game Boy), Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III: Radical Rescue (Game Boy). 

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I love that they included the arcade version of Turtles in Time because you can play with four players locally, not just two like on the SNES version of the game. At first, I wondered why they included two versions of the same game with Tournament Fighters. Once you play them, you see that there are different characters available to select between the two titles, and the stages are entirely different. There are more that can be unlocked if you choose the Enhancements option in the main menu. The Enhancement menu lets you change the game settings and select options to include playable bosses like Shredder or Krang if you are playing Tournament Fighters. For the side scrollers, the Enhancement menu allows you to select which level you start the game on, turn on god mode, and make the game harder by enabling Nightmare Mode. In the pause menu for each title, you can save your game at any point, load a previous save, or look at its Strategy Guide. One of the most unique additions of The Cowabunga Collection is the ability to watch a game playthrough. At any point, you can jump in and take control of the main character. This will be super useful if there is a section that you can't get through, no matter what you do. Watch the video, and you can jump in when they are past that section! I may need to use this for disarming the bombs underwater in the first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game on the NES. If you have ever played it, you know exactly what I am talking about, it's definitely memorable because of the sheer difficulty! If you want to play through it yourself, you can rewind if you screw up or lose a turtle, so this should help with the challenge of levels like this.

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The games look exactly how you remember them, pixel sprites and all but everything is so clear and colourful. If you want to play a more improved version of the classic game, you can remove the slowdown and flickering that you would have experienced on the original console. Or if you want that cool-retro experience you can select screen settings like TV filter, monitor, or LED filter if you wish to capture the original feeling. The soundtrack is excellent, all the music is incredibly catchy, and I love hearing the theme song! If you go to the Turtles' Lair from the home menu you can see a huge collection of cool turtle stuff. You can view all the strategy guides, the box art and instruction manuals for the titles, the cover pages for all 61 issues of the original comic books, and screenshots from the four different TMNT cartoon series that have been released. The other addition I thought was pretty neat was cassette tapes that let you listen to the full soundtracks for all the games. You can listen to all the different versions of the theme song that appeared in all the titles!

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I am full of nostalgia for the Ninja Turtles series so this game captures everything I loved about the games. Except now, I get to experience titles I never got a chance to try and play them online with other players. Konami always put out excellent games on the NES and Famicom when you saw that name on the label, you knew it would be a must-play title. Switching between the versions to play the Japanese release of the game was also an excellent addition. A lot of times the game that I grew up with on the NES was different from the one that was released on the Famicom. I can't recommend this game enough to players who love classic beat 'em-up titles or the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles themselves. There is so much here to love; Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Cowabunga Collection is the best game compilation that I have gotten a chance to play!

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10.00/10 10

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Cowabunga Collection (Reviewed on Xbox X|S)

Outstanding. Why do you not have this game already?

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Cowabunga Collection is a must-play title for retro game lovers or turtle fans. Having all these games from all the different consoles in one collection is amazing — so much easier than pulling out and hooking up all the systems!

This game was supplied by the publisher or relevant PR company for the purposes of review
Alana Dunitz

Alana Dunitz

Staff Writer

Lover of all games, old and new!

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