Seven of The Cowabunga Collection’s games do not feature co-op:
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1989, NES)
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Tournament Fighters (1994, NES)
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Tournament Fighters (1993, Super Nintendo)
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Tournament Fighters (1993, Sega Genesis)
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Fall of The Foot Clan (1990, Game Boy)
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: Back from The Sewers (1991, Game Boy)
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III: Radical Rescue (1993, Game Boy)
All three versions of Tournament Fighters are totally different games, so they represent a lot of value for fighting game enthusiasts.
Since launch, the two arcade games and The Hyperstone Heist have supported online co-op. A few months later, the developer added online co-op to the Super NES version of Turtles in Time. TMNT III: The Manhattan Project has been promised online co-op in the future as well, which will leave TMNT II for NES as the collection’s only co-op game without online multiplayer. The Super NES version of TMNT: Tournament Fighters offers online competitive play.
Not along ago, the developers added additional options for online games like limiting room size and customizable frame delay. However, the online support still has plenty of room for improvement. For starters, the net code itself isn’t very good, so lag is noticeable, especially when partnered with distant gamers.
Matchmaking is also pretty dead on Xbox. The reason is clear: each game has individual matchmaking, but there’s no general matchmaking or lobby browser. Collections like this greatly benefit from the option to search for any online game rather than breaking the player pool into smaller segments that will almost always be empty. If Digital Eclipse delivers any further significant updates to The Cowabunga Collection, improved matchmaking or lobby browsing should be a priority.
Last, but far from least, The Cowabunga Collection offers an amazing assortment of bonus material:
- Music: sound tests for all 13 games. Songs play continuously, so users can listen to a whole soundtrack without having to switch songs.
- Boxes: American and Japanese box scans for each game
- Manuals: American and Japanese manual scans for each game
- Magazine ads, catalogs, and media kits
- Comic book covers spanning each era of the comics
- Screenshots from every animated show released so far
- Style guide excerpts
- Concept art and design documents for 7 games
- Strategy guides: 2-plus page guides for each game, some with interactive elements
That's so much content, and there's even a search feature!
We live in an era in which classic licensed games seldom get re-releases or availability on modern platforms. That makes the mere existence of TMNT: The Cowabunga Collection unique all on its own. Plus: it’s great! Digital Eclipse clearly has a lot of love for these games, as they shared in our developer interview. As a lifelong Turtles fan, getting to play the first 13 TMNT games on my current console, with regional variations and tons of optional enhancements, is a dream come true. 2022 saw the release of Dotemu’s amazing TMNT: Shredder’s Revenge beat ‘em up, but The Cowabunga Collection is just as essential a purchase for anyone who loves the heroes in a half-shell.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Cowabunga Collection sells for $39.99 digitally on Xbox, PlayStation, Switch, and Steam. It's also available physically on Xbox, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, and Switch.
An Xbox code was provided by the publisher for this review.
The Co-Op Experience: Depending on the title two (home console versions) or four players (arcade versions) can play through the campaign together. Drop-in/drop-out is also supported in most of these titles. In addition the following titles offer online co-op: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Arcade) [4 Players] Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time (Arcade) [4 Players] Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Hyperstone Heist (Sega Genesis) [2 Players] Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 4: Turtles in Time (Super NES) [2 Players]
Co-Optimus game reviews focus on the cooperative experience of a game, our final score graphic represents this experience along with an average score for the game overall. For an explanation of our scores please check our Review Score Explanation Guide.