Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, “The Cowabunga Collection”: A Review

After being out of print for many years, a collection of video games based on the “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” franchise finally saw release on August 30 of this year – “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Cowabunga Collection.” Developers Digital Eclipse, who have a long history of making retro game compilations, have delivered one of the best classic collections in recent memory. 

Original publisher Konami, along with current license holder Nickelodeon, have put out thirteen classic titles from the ‘80s and early ‘90s (eleven of which have the Japanese versions included) containing elements of both the animated TV series from 1987 (which is celebrating its 35th anniversary this year) and the original graphic novel series from Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird.

The collection incorporates titles from the Nintendo Entertainment System of Game Boy, Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis. Two major inclusions are the 1989 arcade game and its 1991 sequel, “Turtles in Time,” alongside their respective home console ports.

Each game in the collection comes with a host of enhancements for gameplay and graphics. On top of filters to resemble CRT televisions, arcade monitors and the Game Boy’s LCD screen, the collection has the options to remove sprite flickering and frame rate slowdown on the 8-bit titles. The individual versions of “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Tournament Fighters” (one of the many fighting games released in the wake of the initial success of “Street Fighter II” and “Mortal Kombat”) can even allow playable boss characters (such as Shredder) to be unlocked right out of the gate. There’s also a wide range of extras ranging from original instructions and promotional materials, to archive design documents and strategy guides for each individual game (especially useful for the 1989 NES title and its legendary high difficulty level).

Whether you’re a longtime fan of the franchise’s retro games or want to play them for the first time, “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Cowabunga Collection” is an easy recommendation. It’s a bodacious retro compilation packed with “turtle power!”

Publisher: Nickelodeon/Konami

Developer: Digital Eclipse/Konami

Nintendo Switch (Also Available on PS4, PS5, PC, Xbox One and Xbox Series)

ESRB Rating: T

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