Review: ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Cowabunga Collection’ is a potent blast of nostalgia

As somebody born in 1989, I really feel like I simply missed the cut-off for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fandom. I used to be too younger for the unique trilogy of movies, and the primary cartoon was principally completed by the point I began moving into that type of present. In spite of that, I nonetheless had some appreciation for the franchise. My older brothers had a treasure trove of motion figures, and maybe extra importantly, the long-lasting Turtles in Time for the Super Nintendo. I’ll not have recognized a lot in regards to the present, however I used to be definitely a fan of that beat ’em up. It’s a basic for tens of millions of avid gamers, which is why studios hold attempting to convey it to present consoles. Rather than attempt to erroneously remake it once more, although, Konami determined to only port it — together with 12 different titles based mostly on the collection — to fashionable consoles with the discharge of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Cowabunga Collection.

Developed by the retro recreation aces at Digital Eclipse, The Cowabunga Collection brings collectively nearly each pre-2003 reboot Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles recreation. This covers titles initially seen in arcades in addition to residence releases for the unique and Super Nintendo, Sega Genesis, and Game Boy. Some of them are ports, whereas others have been created particularly for the platform. Before even moving into the standard of those video games, I believe it’s nice that they’re all accessible for contemporary consoles now. It’s uncommon to see somebody put within the work to resurrect authentic NES and Game Boy video games, so kudos to Digital Eclipse for doing so. As is common with these re-release units, a copious quantity of bonus content material has been included as nicely. For the Turtles fanatic on the market, this is sort of a dream come true.

Of the baker’s dozen video games included, it’s the 2 arcade releases that proceed to shine brightest. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time are nonetheless two of the perfect beat ’em ups launched by Konami through the golden age of the style. The sprite work of each is immaculate, and so they play like a dream in these new ports. I believe what actually makes each of those titles nice, although, is that they’re difficult, however don’t tip over into being unfair. Yes, the truth that you don’t must pump cash into them helps, however each aren’t as regularly irritating as another titles within the style could be.

Screenshot through Konami

It might be nostalgia talking, however the residence ports of each of these arcade hits maintain up slightly nicely. These are the variations I’m most aware of, and I used to be in a position to immediately leap proper into them. Although the much less spectacular of the 2, the NES launch of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is a surprisingly succesful model. Bringing arcade releases to residence consoles was a tough process for years, so it’s not a shock that the port can’t solely match up. However, Konami nonetheless managed to craft an pleasurable beat ’em up that even contains some further content material. The SNES model of Turtles in Time additionally struggles to match its arcade counterpart however makes up for it with varied additions. The use of Mode 7 nonetheless appears to be like cool, and the extra stage within the Technodrome is a spotlight. Even if you’re beholden to the unique releases, each of those ports are nonetheless value enjoying by way of.

Although Sega Genesis homeowners didn’t get a model of Turtles in Time, they acquired one thing virtually nearly as good within the type of The Hyperstone Heist. Re-released for the primary time within the Cowabunga Collection, this was my first time enjoying by way of it, and it’s straightforward to see the affect Turtles in Time had on this recreation. It performs very equally, and the extent design borrows parts from that extra in style launch. However, Hyperstone differentiates itself by feeling extra like a console recreation with its longer-level design. As with the well-regarded SNES port, this title can’t match up with the arcade recreation it attracts from, however it’s nonetheless pleasurable, and I can see why it could have been as nicely considered it was again when it first hit retailer cabinets.

With 4 titles included within the compilation, the NES holds the excellence of essentially the most represented platform. Besides the aforementioned Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Arcade Game, the gathering additionally contains the unique Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, The Manhattan Project, and Tournament Fighters. The first TMNT might be essentially the most well-known, though not for the perfect of causes. It’s notoriously tough, and for my part, a little bit of a nightmare to play. Controls are clumsy, and enemies continually hit you with low-cost pictures. The cross between top-down exploration and side-scrolling motion is a cool thought, however total it’s simply not pleasurable to play. Faring significantly better is The Manhattan Project, which just about looks like a direct sequel to The Arcade Game. The core gameplay is generally the identical, with the power to throw enemies rising because the flagship new mechanic. Like its predecessor, it’s not essentially the most advanced recreation, however I nonetheless had enjoyable with it.

Screenshot through Konami

Honestly talking, The Tournament Fighters trio of video games rank among the many backside tier of titles included in The Cowabunga Collection. Looking to capitalize on the combating boon of the early ’90s, Konami launched this lackluster fighter for the NES, SNES, and Sega Genesis. If you needed to choose one to play, I suppose the SNES model can be the best way to go. The visuals are higher, and the gameplay doesn’t really feel as cumbersome because the variations on the opposite two platforms. However, I nonetheless don’t suppose it’s a very good fighter. The roster is a let-down, and the motion is a significant step-down from one thing like Street Fighter. The Genesis model could also be worse total, however at the very least it contains Casey Jones and April as playable characters. The NES model is only a prime instance of why combating video games didn’t work on the platform. I do know this recreation has its viewers, and the property ought to lend itself to the style, however there have been significantly better fighters accessible on the time, and there are definitely higher choices on the market now.

Rounding out the set is a trio of Game Boy titles. The first two, Fall of the Foot Clan and Back from the Sewers, aren’t a lot to jot down residence about. Simple beat ’em ups that have been in all probability nice for the time, however at the moment are too simplistic. Back from the Sewers at the very least mixes issues up by together with gameplay parts corresponding to climbing and bonus mini-games. The actual curiosity is the third recreation launched for the hand held, Radical Rescue. Eschewing the easy system from the primary two releases, this title borrows closely from Metroid. Playing as Michelangelo, you need to navigate your method by way of Shredder’s fortress to be able to rescue the opposite three turtles. The non-linear stage design provides the title an excellent quantity of depth, and it gives a problem not seen within the different two titles. There are nonetheless annoyances to be discovered, corresponding to respawning enemies and occasional lag, however this entry was a nice shock.

As with earlier compilations launched by Digital Eclipse, The Cowabunga Collection comes full with the same old spate of high quality of life enhancements. Button mapping, save states, and the power to rewind gameplay are very welcome additions certainly. Online play is included, however just for 4 of the included video games: the arcade variations of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Turtles in Time, Hyperstone Heist, and the SNES model of The Tournament Fighters. Besides the standard of life enhancements, every recreation has additionally been given just a few choose non-obligatory enhancements. These choices embrace God Mode for the arcade titles and the removing of flickering from the NES video games, to call just a few. It’s a pleasant addition that makes enjoying a few of these video games a way more palatable expertise.

Screenshot through Konami

Finally, there’s a ton of bonus content material included for die-hard followers. In the Turtle’s Lair part of the gathering, you could find gadgets corresponding to comedian guide covers, screenshots from the varied animated exhibits, technique guides, and design paperwork. Some of the content material doesn’t actually make sense to incorporate, particularly, photos from the more moderen exhibits, however I suppose it’s good to have them for the sake of completeness. I at all times get a kick out of wanting on the previous journal advertisements included in these releases, and this one isn’t any exception. Lots of this facet content material will solely enchantment to a choose viewers, however I applaud Digital Eclipse for compiling all of it for inclusion right here.

From the angle of recreation preservation, I like what Digital Eclipse and Konami have carried out with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Cowabunga Collection. It brings collectively a handful of video games that basically by no means acquired ported from their authentic consoles and delivers them to a model new viewers — I want extra corporations put within the effort for his or her again catalog like these two studios did. However, from a recreation high quality perspective, the outcomes are extra blended. There are some stone-cold classics right here like Turtles in Time and the 1989 arcade recreation, but additionally some stinkers like The Tournament Fighters and the unique NES recreation. I do suppose there are finally extra titles of high quality than not, however in terms of these compilations, you’ll ideally hope for each recreation to be value enjoying. Still, this set will please the fan base, and I hope it results in more moderen video games based mostly on the property getting some consideration down the road.

This overview was based mostly on the PlayStation 5 model of the sport. A duplicate was supplied to us by Konami.

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