Few games can evoke such vivid memories for me as the arcade classics of the late 80s and early 90s. When I revisit them I’m instantly transported back to a time when life and games were far simpler and the world was vastly different.
If I was to name the top arcades for me as a kid It would be Wonder Boy in Monster Land, Black Tiger, Double Dragon and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles a game I remember seeing set up at the Odeon Plaza Bowling Alley in Mount Gambier. My friends and I had ridden our bikes to see it and were amazed at a game that was 4 players with 4 individual control sticks colour coded to be the 4 favourite Turtles, Blue for Leonard, Red for Raphael, Orange for Michaelangelo (even though I recall the machine control colour was Yellow) and Purple for Donatello. If they could do that, what would they do next?
The game was amazingly fun, when we weren’t playing Turtles, we were talking about it, drawing and watching TV series and movies about it.
I remember a short time later a version was released for the Commodore 64 and I saved my pocket money to layby it. Only to be devastated when I eventually got it home, it was nothing like the arcade, not even close.
Then a version was released for the SNES and it was exactly like the arcade, at least that’s how I felt at the time. To be fair, it was a very close port with a few additions and it meant that we could essentially play for free which was even better.
Over the years different versions have been released to play on various consoles and an updated sequel was released called “Shredders Revenge” which is a brilliant follow-up. But now, the ultimate collection is here and it has us all yelling “Cowabunga”!
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Cowabunga Collection
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Cowabunga Collection features 13 KONAMI Turtles games in one and will have you embracing the retro child inside for hours on end. Let’s take a quick look at the titles it includes.
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 (Super Nintendo)
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Tournament Fighters (Super Nintendo)
Sega Mega Drive
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Hyperstone Heist (Sega Mega Drive)
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Tournament Fighters (Sega 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)
Now that is an outstanding collection, and surprisingly they hold up pretty well especially with the graphic borders to mask the aspect ratio change and the fun interface to make your selection. The games also have options for filters to emulate different old-school screen effects but they are a bit distracting and I can’t see myself using those. However, the options to expand the play area to full screen or stretch and the ability to turn off the background border are really great inclusions to suit any player.
This is also a great chance to play some of the titles you might not have had the chance to play as a kid. While I have a strong attachment to the arcade titles, I never got to play Hyperstone Heist (at least I don’t remember playing it). So being able to jump in and play out a missed moment in time is a real opportunity.
Then there are the Tournament fighter games, which are surprisingly good even when compared to today’s fighting game standards.
In today’s “Twitch” environment where people like to watch games being played, you might enjoy the mode that does just that. Fast forward through the game and even jump in at any time and if you feel like just having a relaxing walk-through of it, use the enhancements to go to any level or add a stack of lives.
One big seller back in the day was strategy guides, it was before people just looked up a youtube “how to” video and actually paid extra money for books that included sometimes helpful tips and tricks. The Strategy Guides are a nice touch of inclusion in the collection. It’s using these books where you’ll see secret endings which is also a strong inclusion.
The extras menu looks and feels so on brand for the Turtles, playing the music, seeing the making of and behind the scenes as well as a look into the history of the Turtles. One thing that did frustrate me however is the archive of the television cartoons. There are full episode lists with still shots from those episodes, but wouldn’t it just be amazing if all those episodes were completely watchable as well, unfortunately not. I understand it would probably be a copyright nightmare for the team, but it certainly would make the collection complete.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Cowabunga Collection is a beautiful trip down memory lane and that you can tell has been put together by true fans of the material. Retro game experts “Digital Eclipse” has thought of everything to emulate these titles in the best possible environment and keep this powerful legacy alive.