The review of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Cowabunga Collection, or where Konami has collected 13 classic Ninja Turtles in a single solution.
Try our hand at Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Cowabunga Collection review it was once again a journey into the past, among the coin-ops that in the early 90s helped fuel the popularity of Ninja Turtles and the more or less faithful conversions for the home consoles of the time.
The collection packaged by Konami nominally includes thirteen titles, even if the experiences are often repeated in some way: from the two famous scrolling fighting games for arcades to their transpositions on SNES and Mega Drive, passing through the reinterpretation in a fighting game key to encounters and sorties in the wild territories 8-bit from NES and Game Boy.
Structure and contents
The setting of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Cowabunga Collection is traditional, albeit with some solutions that leave a little dumbfounded. From the main menu you can access the thirteen games to which we have mentioned, which are the following:
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (arcade)
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time (arcade)
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time (SNES)
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Tournament Fighters (SNES)
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Hyperstone Heist (Mega Drive)
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Tournament Fighters (Mega Drive)
- 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: 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)
As it is easy to notice, many names are repeated and not by chance: it is almost always reinterpretations of the same product, although sometimes with notable differences. In general, the entire saga starts on coin-op and then lands on consoles (with the sole exception of TMNT for NES), trying in some way to cope with the inevitable technological limitations of the machines of those times, in particular 8 systems. bit.
Each title can be played by selecting the starting level and the degree of difficulty, as well as different viewing options (framed, full screen, stretched to reach 16: 9) and filters, saving systems not originally present and even one rewind functionality which allows you to rewind the action in case of problems.
We said previously about the solutions that leave a little puzzled, such as the idea of inserting a preselection related to the chosen character before even launching a game from the collection, as if it were not possible to do it in the original menu and, in the same way, opt in advance for the multiplayer for two or four players, locally or online, where present, ie in arcade titles and on those for 16-bit consoles.
Then, as with any self-respecting collection of classics, there is a virtual room where you can consult one large amount of materials related to the games included in the package: from packaging to manuals, from advertisements to comic book covers, from preparatory sketches to the frames of the episodes of the various television series dedicated to Ninja Turtles.
Gameplay: between highs and lows
As might be expected, the experience offered by the Cowabunga Collection turns out extremely variable for solidity and ability to entertain even today. It is the two arcades that dictate the pace and, despite all their limitations, they still prove to be very pleasant, fluid and colorful. Of course, the repertoire available to the characters is limited to say the least in the first of the two episodes, but Turtles in Time proves to be more complete and mature, introducing the now iconic launches of the opponent towards the screen (we talked about it, not surprisingly, in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge review), improved animations and sound effects.
The fact that you can play them in four is obviously an extra not to be underestimated, but at the same time the impact yield and the detection of collisions they shout for revenge, giving the clashes a slipperiness and an inconsistency that is still difficult to swallow, even after all this time. It is therefore very interesting to note how the conversion for SNES of Turtles in Time from this point of view does much better, enhancing each shot and returning a feeling of notable impact, while making compromises with regard to the animations. In this sense The Hyperstone Heist is a bit of a middle ground.
The fighting game Tournament Fighters represents a more unique than rare case: the same game, not particularly brilliant, which however changes considerably depending on the platform, with the SNES version that frankly we did not like very much, the Mega Drive that is more aesthetically pleasing and also as a roster and finally the NES one that immediately turns out to be really too limited to be able to compete in any way with the “sisters major “.
In general, the transition to the classic 8-bit is perceived in a traumatic way: the age and limitations of the original experiences are felt a lot, also as regards the detection of collisions, while graphic glitches and slowdowns can be eventually removed through a ‘ option. You will hardly launch the four NES episodes and the three Game Boy episodes if not out of curiosity, anyway.
Update: The article has been updated to mention the presence of options that allow you to remove the slowdowns and glitches present in the original versions of the games.
- A complete collection for Ninja Turtles fans
- The two arcades and episodes for SNES and Mega Drive still hold up
- The hub dedicated to materials is full of curiosities
- Episodes for the NES and Game Boy are very limited
- Three versions of a forgettable match fighting game
- The games complete quite quickly
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