Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Hyperstone Heist

Developer: Konami
Publisher:  Konami

As a kid I used to love the Ninja Turtles (the 80s-90s cartoon, in case you’re wondering), I remember a friend of mine had Turtles in Time for the SNES and we were hooked. Much to my surprise, I only discovered its Genesis/Mega Drive counterpart well into the 00’s.
So with that said, how does it compare to the mythical turtles in time and how does it stand on its own? It’s okay I guess.

The game opens up with an awesome cheesy intro, the Shredder who has attained a powerful artifact called the Hyperstone, using its power he magically shrinks Manhattan Island and announces his plan to take over the world (what else?).

You then take control of one of four turtles and face off against Shredder, Krang and their hordes of robotic food soldiers in a very by-the-numbers beat’em up. I don’t really like how there’s no in-game prompt for each of the character’s stats, sure I’d likely still end up playing as Rafael, but I’d at least know his strengths. 

On the gameplay side I’ve always found the turtles games too simple for their own good and this one is no exception, for starters there are absolutely no weapon pickups, to make matters worse, your moves are also rather limited, you have the basic moves, a throwing technique and a special short ranged attack that consumes health. Considering Final Fight and Streets of Rage were old news by the time this came out, you would think Konami would’ve added something to stand out from the crowd. The boss fights are pretty fun though, they provide a pretty good challenge and demand a bit of pattern memorization, though it has an odd boss selection, you get Rocksteady but no Bebop. You also get to fight Tatsu, remember him from the movies? He’s something of a novelty, though personally I’d pick Bebop over him any day.

Hyperstone Heist is also short… really short, it has a paltry 5 levels, one of which is a glorified boss rush mode. Oddly enough some of the levels run a little too long for their own good, repeating the same scenery over and over. It probably would’ve been better if the game featured 7 medium sized levels instead. I also don’t really get the progression, one moment you’re in New York and the next you’re in a pirate ghost ship (huh?). 

Graphically the game is quite pleasant, the characters are well animated and the mix of colors for the enemies and backgrounds is a bit dark, but works really well, you can also select whether you want the turtles to resemble the cartoon or their comic book selves, which is a pretty nice touch.
The soundtrack does a good job at complementing the graphical style, it uses a lot of the same tunes from Turtles in Time making for a pretty interesting comparison of the Genesis and the Snes’ sound chips. Unfortunately the voice effects are pretty high pitched and scratchy, but that’s my only complaint in this department.

Overall I can’t help but feel Hyperstone Heist doesn’t live up to its potential, it looks good, sound good and it has a perfect hit detection, but by the time this was out the genre had already evolved and I feel Konami didn’t get memo.

- Engaging boss fights
- Graphically it looks pretty good
- Some nice tunes

- Very few character moves, no weapon pick ups
- Only 5 levels and one of them is really just a boss rush mode
- Even by beat'em up standards the gameplay becomes a bit repetitive when compared to other games of its time

Final Grade: C+

Unfortunately, this is one of those rare cases where I only own a loose cartridge so I can't really review the packaging.

I will say I like the cartridge art, it has a nice use of colors and the turtles look just like their cartoon counterparts.

Packaging Grade: N/A

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