TMNT: What to expect from the Cowabunga collection

Long-time gamers have fond memories of many franchises that defined the golden age of the 8-bit and 16-bit eras. While some were known for their difficulty, others introduced innovation and caused inevitable changes that impacted several niches in the video game industry. Japanese publisher and developer Konami was an undisputed pioneer in the 80s and 90s, and its recently announced Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Cowabunga Collection responds almost impeccably to nostalgia.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was a cultural phenomenon that peaked in the early 1990s. Fortunately, Konami managed to acquire the rights to the franchise in 1987, just before its unprecedented peak in popularity. The company has worked on several TMNT titles on different platforms, but most tied to their parent console and never saw another release. For this and many other reasons, Konami’s efforts to partner with Digital Eclipse to deliver the ultimate TMNT throwback presents a milestone for older and newer generations of franchise players and fans alike.

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The Cowabunga Collection contains 13 TMNT classic games. These include two arcade hits, four Nintendo Entertainment System games, two Super Nintendo Entertainment System titles, two from the Sega Genesis, and three Game Boy releases. Although some of the games make a recurring appearance, such as the two arcade titles and their respective ports or the three cross-platform games Tournament fighterstheir content is very different.


Screenshot depicting Turtles in Time gameplay, as seen in the PlayStation promotional video.

Overall, the NES and SNES installments of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and turtles in time do not offer the same gaming experience as their original arcade counterparts. While the NES port is devoid of platforming, puzzles, and certain design concepts that have hindered the progress of the arcade version of TMNT, it is probably still best known for its extreme difficulty. On the other hand, the SNES port of turtles in time was praised for its extra stages, enemies, and game modes, which made it appealing to a wider audience.

The three Tournament fighters feature different characters, stories, arts, and playstyles. Due to the limitations associated with 8-bit systems, the NES version of the game has only four playable characters and fairly basic attack patterns, coupled with a bizarre story cut and dried. Conversely, the Sega Genesis version allows players to choose between eight characters and travel to a different dimension, while enjoying a darker and more serious overtone. Compared to the Sega Genesis Tournament fightersthe SNES version is not only lighter story-wise, but the overall setting is brighter.

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In addition to offering players a unique opportunity to relive the best moments in the history of the TMNT Games, The Cowabunga Collection wouldn’t be complete without three hidden platforming gems. These are Nintendo Game Boy exclusive titles. Their simple side-scrolling design and evolving presentation add more flavor to the perhaps oversaturated prevalence of beat ’em up sequences in the rest of the games.

Franchise Fans Can Expect Better Accessibility In Konami’s Upcoming Nostalgia TMNT release, as The Cowabunga Collection comes with a host of quality of life features, which cater to gamers of all ages. With digital game guides for each title, button mapping, the ability to save at any time, and rewind options, it will be easier to overcome certain obstacles in certain episodes. Along with local couch play for all titles initially offered, older and newer generations of gamers can also enjoy the added benefit of online interactions in both TMNT installments, The Hyperstone Heist and the SNES Tournament fighters.


Screenshot depicting Tournament Fighters gameplay, as seen in the PlayStation promotional video.

Since Konami no longer owns the rights to TMNTThe release of The Cowabunga Collection is a step in the right direction to preserve the roots of the franchise. Along with including Japanese regional versions of 11 of the games, Konami promises bonus footage from the original cartoons, comics, and other historical stuff. TMNT multimedia content, which will be compiled in a virtual museum. Additionally, the Japanese publisher will include never-before-seen development artwork, game design materials, and sketches. While none of these extras are out of the ordinary, they showcase the very pillars of the franchise’s success.

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Since its inception nearly four decades ago, TMNT went through many behind-the-scenes changes to make the titular four turtles and their adversaries more suitable for younger audiences. Early video games reflected these changes but did not stray from the original concept ideas, which emphasized the qualities of the protagonists through different fighting styles and weapons rather than their appearance. Having the history of the franchise’s evolution spanning across various mediums just a click away is not only something that appeals to fans’ nostalgia, but also provides a convenient gateway to understanding the origins of TMNTespecially for new players.

TMNT: The Cowabunga Collection is set to release later this year on all major platforms, both digitally and physically. It will provide a holistic experience that will allow players to draw parallels between its overall content and the upcoming The Shredder’s Revengewhich happens to be heavily influenced by the original games and their style of play. As one of the most distinctive and infectious franchises that continues to bring cross-generational fans together, TMNT will undoubtedly benefit from the collection’s release, as it couldn’t have come at a better time.

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