The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have been a fondly remembered part of gaming history for over 30 years, and while games based on movies and television are rarely great, TMNT titles are consistently impressive. Making their debut in arcades before bouncing to the home console market, this squad of four pizza-loving reptilian siblings has given gamers some of their fondest memories. Now, TMNT: The Cowabunga Collection offers over a dozen TMNT games all in one place, guaranteed to ignite your nostalgia and have you button mashing with joy. While recent releases like TMNT: Shredder’s Revenge have been exceptionally fun, there’s nothing quite like the retro beat ’em up action that these classics provide.
"When looking back at the TMNT beat 'em ups that defined a generation, you have to start with one of the first TMNT games ever made, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles."
TMNT: The Cowabunga Collection is Beat 'Em Up Bliss
TMNT: The Cowabunga Collection includes over a dozen different TMNT titles, ranging from classic beat ’em ups like TMNT IV: Turtles in Time to 2D fighters like TMNT: Tournament Fighters. In fact, The Cowabunga Collection features some arcade games that have never been ported to home consoles before, making this the easiest way to enjoy some of these massively popular games. We already listed off some of our favorite TMNT games in another article, but we can’t help but celebrate the best of the bunch multiple times over.
When looking back at the TMNT beat ’em ups that defined a generation, you have to start with one of the first TMNT games ever made, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. This classic arcade beat ’em up was first released in 1989 and sees our four mutant heroes bashing their way through various levels as they attempt to rescue April O’Neil from the ever-meddlesome villain, Shredder. Although somewhat simplistic when compared to later TMNT titles, this arcade game provides simple yet enthralling beat ’em up gameplay, supporting up to four players at once. The Cowabunga Collection also contains the NES port, dubbed Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Arcade Game, which highlights the notable differences between platforms while retaining the same enjoyable combat.
Further beat ’em up nostalgia can be found with iconic titles like TMNT IV: Turtles in Time, which takes the turtles and sends them sprawling through time and space, leading to brawls with dinosaurs, surfing through futuristic cities, and more. While Turtles in Time gets a lot of love, it’s hard not to appreciate Hyperstone Heist, which offers similar levels while adding new attacks, bosses, and enemies. By including the arcade and SNES versions of Turtles in Time, as well as Hyperstone Heist, The Cowabunga Collection promises a flurry of 16-bit beat ’em up action that’s incredibly hard to top.
The Cowabunga Collection Has All The Extras
While developer Digital Eclipse could’ve easily compiled these retro classics and called it a day, they put a notable amount of passion and love into The Cowabunga Collection, resulting in some awesome features and remarkably cool behind-the-scenes content. Quality-of-live improvements have been made across the board via a few fantastic features, including quick-save, the ability to rewind gameplay to fix mistakes, and even online multiplayer with select titles. Additionally, each game has a few enhancements you can activate, including slowdown removal for NES games, infinite lives for the tougher beat ’em ups, and more.
However, the biggest labor of love comes in the form of the Turtle’s Lair, a separate section of the game that offers a closer look at TMNT merchandise, concept art, and more. In total, there are over 3,500 different items to inspect, including box art, game manuals, magazine ads, and more. Some rare concept art has also been digitized for your viewing pleasure, along with stills from the TMNT cartoons and front covers for dozens of TMNT comics. It’s tons of fun to check out these pieces of TMNT history between games, offering a significant blast from the past.
There’s no point in beating around the bush – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Cowabunga Collection is a godsend for retro beat ’em up fans who can’t get enough TMNT action. Thanks to the inclusion of online multiplayer and a bustling library of extra features, it’s arguably the best way to play these iconic games. The games run smoother, there’s less frustration to be had, and you won’t have to spend quarter after quarter when the going gets tough. For us retro gamers who have extremely fond memories of the TMNT brand, The Cowabunga Collection is everything we could’ve ever wanted and more.