Friday, 16 May 2014


US Genesis Cover
Review by ThoRn (@RetroGameRevive)

PLATFORM:  Mega Drive / Genesis
                        YEAR:  1992
                        MODE:  Single & 2 Player Co-op
                        TYPE:  Beat ‘em Up

It’s 1991 and arcades all over the world are filled with the sound of coins being dropped in to machines in the hope that each credit given will be the golden ticket to arcade fame & glory, being able to show off your high score on your favourite cabinet – was there any better feeling?! 

The juggernaut that was Capcom’s Street Fighter II: The World Warrior had just graced the world.  Kids, teenagers and adults were flocking to it in stampedes but just a few months later after it’s release one of Capcom’s biggest rivals, Konami unleased a machine that would embrace one of the biggest selling franchises of the time and produce what has been argued as one of the greatest beat ‘em ups of all time ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time'.

One year later Konami took this arcade king of Beat ‘em ups and released it on Nintendo’s latest console, the Super Nintendo Entertainment System.  This game was praised as being an excellent representation of the arcade hit with not only arcade quality sound and graphics; it also had extra levels that were not available in the arcade.  It was a true masterpiece. But what about SEGA?  All of the Mega Drive and Genesis owners were missing out.  Or were they…….?

Enter The Hyperstone Heist.
US Title screen

Shredder has stolen the powerful Hyperstone to shrink New York City and it's up to you to teach that treacherous troublemaker not to mess with the fearsome foursome!  Pulverize shrink-happy Shredder before he pockets the whole planet!

Game Play
When playing ‘The Hyperstone Heist’ at first glance it’s not hard to look at it as an inferior version of ‘Turtles in Time’ but that’s where many people have made their first mistake.

Although there is no denying it has been cloned from ‘Turtles in Time’  the game has been rearranged with just enough subtlety that it should be looked and played as it’s own game in it’s own right.  One of the things that set this game apart from its SNES competitor is the length of each level and the difficulty.  Granted there are only five stages in Hyperstone Heist, but each level is considerably longer and enemies move much faster and are far more antagonistic which helps create a different play style mechanic players would have been used to from Turtles in Time. 
Down in the sewers underneath New York City

Personally I see this is a good thing as it allows the player to immerse themselves just that little bit further in to each level without it seeming repetitive with mindless button mashing.  Konami have also added in a few exclusive for the Mega Drive / Genesis version like a boss battle against Shredders 2nd in charge & ‘Go to man’ Tatsu who has made appearances in the first two original TMNT movies but has never been featured in an arcade or console TMNT game.  The only other Tatsu appearance was in ‘Manhattan Missions’ for PC DOS in 1991.  There are also exclusive levels either brand new direct for the Mega Drive or updated levels from the original TMNT Arcade game that fit seamlessly in to the Hyperstone Heist story and game play.

Walking the street of New York taking on 'The Foot'
This game has a great learning curve which really helps you enjoy and get the most out of it.  As you start the game you are down in the New York sewers and although the ‘Foot’ will come at you immediately they don’t overwhelm you and it just feels like a steady but strong way to start a game.  Before you know it, you are up in the streets of New York being consumed by armies of ‘Foot’ but because you have had the time to adjust you are ready to take them on without even thinking twice about it.

Every now and then a game series comes along and as soon as you hear the name you automatically think of something specific to that game: Mortal Kombat had the violence, Castlevania had candle whipping and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles had……  SURFING!  And in true tradition there is a great surfing scene in 'Hyperstone Heist'.  In fact the surfing scene tends to make more sense in 'Hyperstone Heist' as it’s actually done in open water and leads up to the next part of the stage which is the boarding of ‘The Mysterious Ghost Ship’ where ‘Sewer Surfin’ (as fun as it is) in 'Turtles in Time' does not really lead to anything relatable after you defeat the Rat King as it leads in to the Technodrome.  It’s the small details like this that help Hyperstone Heist Break away from the 'Turtles in Time' mould and really show how it can be viewed as it’s own game.

Surfin' Turtles

Graphics & Sound
Despite the colour palette limitations of the Mega Drive, this is an extremely bright and vibrant game.  Konami have always made the most of the Mega Drives hardware and this game is no exception. 

Even though this game does lack some graphical detail compared to the SNES it makes up for it with more background layers, Parallax scrolling and much smoother animation for each character.  It also feels to run a little quicker too, but that must be the result of SEGA Blast Processing Power.

Showing Krang who's BOSS!
The game has some great music scores and like all Konami games there is a sound and music test so you can enjoy all the tunes until your heart is content.  The game does tend to lack quite severely in the sound effects.  You can definitely tell what hardware it’s running on when you hear the tinny sound of the Mega Drives sound chips come through when you attack your enemy.  But I found it’s an issue that tends to leave you as you become more immersed in the game.
The Final Shellshock against Shredder

The controls are almost identical to the arcade and SNES version with the exception of a dash button now added.  Although you still have to ability to pick up and slam enemies you can no longer throw them at the screen.  However, you still have your ‘power attack’ function which unleashes larger amounts of damage to your enemy but at the cost of losing some of your own health bar.

It is unfortunate this game was over shadowed by ‘Turtles in Time’ as it is a fantastic beat ‘em up and offers some great features and game play. 

The 2 player co-op is everything you want it to be just like you should expect from an arcade style beat ‘em up but single player can be just as much fun.

 To enjoy this game to its full potential it’s very important to treat it as its own game and not the inferior port most people see it as.  If you are willing to do that, it will be a great experience and you won’t regret the time spent playing it.

Verdict: 4 out of 5 stars

Pick your favourite Turtle and 'Kick some Shell'

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