What is on offer is a full load of classic Turtles games from yesteryear, with everything released in arcades and for the NES, Mega Drive, Super Nintendo, and Game Boy. A total of 13 games are on offer, certainly not all of which I would describe as old classics - but a surprising number of them nonetheless. They also span several genres, such as the varied and infamously super-hard Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for the NES and the 1993 Street Fighter II challenger Tournament Fighters. The latter is also included in three different versions, NES, Mega Drive, and Super Nintendo - which is interesting for those who want to be reminded of what games the different formats looked like in a comparison.
For the purposes of this collection, I didn't intend to review the games individually, but what is included is as follows:
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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)
Let me start by stating that I actually managed to play through Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on the NES in my youth, despite the obscene difficulty level. I did it several times, in fact. When I play it today, I'm struck by the fact that it actually stood the test of time quite well. Sure, the hitboxes are absolutely disgusting on the water level, but I still think the difficulty is a bit overrated and even the old (45-year-old!) Jonas Mäki can get pretty far without too much cursing. Also, there's a watch mode here so you can check when the computer is playing as well as jump in when you feel like it, which helps with the grisliest passages.
The biggest draw for most people is probably 1992's Super Nintendo hit Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time, which is undeniably a phenomenal game, and hurling Foot Soldiers at the screen is still magically fun. That said, it's obvious this one is a couple of decades behind Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder's Revenge. The faster and smoother Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Hyperstone Heist (largely the same game but with better flow and pacing, but some bits cut out) instead strikes me as a more fun option today.
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The Game Boy games, of course, feel incredibly primitive in this collection as you play them on your huge flatscreen TV, but even these stand up much better than I expected and are actually surprisingly enjoyable. Plus, there's so much nostalgia baked in here.
The big surprise, for me, was the Super Nintendo version, Turtles Tournament Fighters. It stands up almost as well as Street Fighter II does and doesn't feel dated anywhere. From the game controls to the graphics, this classic holds up almost impressively well and certainly deserves to be played through - and preferably against others, as the well-designed online support ensuring you'll have no problem finding others to play with.
What really makes this collection stand out is the well-done museum option. Digital Eclipse has really stepped up to the plate to offer us a treasure trove of quality. You can therefore sit and browse through old game boxes (and their manuals!) as well as other goodies from the game's development. There's also material from both comic books and TV shows to keep you busy for a long time. For me, it really ticked the right nostalgia boxes, and if you grew up with Turtles and old consoles, I think you'll feel the same way.
In the end, this is an absolutely first-rate collection that puts almost everything else to shame. Often collections come with fewer titles included and more presentation, or lots of games and basically no presentation. Here it's just the opposite; lots of games and first class presentation. The only thing holding the collection back is the fact that in the end there are still maybe four or five games that are actually worth spending time on other than a quick nostalgic trip. But if you want to relive Turtles nostalgia and classic games, I cannot recommend this enough.
8 / 10
Wonderfully well stocked. Lots of bonus content. Several games stand up extremely well. Beautiful pixels. Nice online support.