Insert Disk collects TMNT Hyperstone Heist for the Sega Mega Drive / Sega Genesis.
Today’s retro game review is TMNT Hyperstone Heist for the Sega Mega Drive / Sega Genesis. This retro gaming classic is one of many TMNT games released in the 90’s. Select your favourite turtle and brawl your way through this classic beat ’em up. The evil Shredder has stolen Manhattan and it’s your job to ensure that he doesn’t get away with it. Expect classic enemies such as Baxter Stockman, Shredder, Krang, Leatherhead, Rocksteady as well as a whole variety of the foot clan to defeat.
Greetings collectors and welcome to today’s retro game review. I thought we would take a look at a rather fun classic for the Sega 16-bit consoles today as we step back to 1992 to re-live Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Hyperstone Heist. Back in the early 90’s the world was going crazy over four mutant turtles. You’ll remember the TV series, the toys, the lunch boxes. Turtles just were the cool thing and the talk of the playground. Of course there would be video games. Now it goes without saying that the Turtles arcade game from Konami is one of my all-time favourites. However, that fun and excitement needed to be brought back in to the home and it happened in several ways. Games for the NES, the Commodore Amiga and any number of consoles.
Today I’m specifically looking at the Hyperstone Heist for the Sega Mega Drive and Genesis.
Hyperstone Heist is very closely related to the Super Nintendo’s Turtles in Time game. Both are classic street brawlers and share many of the same animations, level design and mechanics. Hyperstone Heist can be thought of as a reworking of Turtles In Time with a few changes to the audio, control scheme and enemy. In true Turtles fashion the evil Shredder has stolen the statue of Liberty and Manhattan using his weapon from Dimension X. As expected out quartet of mutant turtles Leonardo, Michelangelo, Donatello and Raphael leap at the chance to top his plans of domination. Right from the off you’ll realise that Hyperstone Heist is an above average brawler. Firstly, the game looks great. The turtles have character and the settings are really well drawn. Everything here feels consistent with the turtle’s cartoon I knew when I was growing up.
Secondly, the audio. Some of the digitised voices may be a little muffled but overall the sound effects are really spot on. I hooked this one up to my Dolby surround system and was pleasantly surprised to find that the background music really packed a punch and sounded great. It was similar to being back in the arcade. The control system is also a real triumph here. One issue with brawlers is that an attack scheme can make the game play seem repetitive. In Captain America and the Avengers for example the poor graphics combined with the mostly one button spamming left the game feeling very hollow. Hyperstone Heist on the other hand really shakes things up with 3 button control. Separate buttons for attack, jump and dash. On top of this there are different combinations of executing attacks. For example, a jump followed by an attack will see you execute a fast downward kick. Whilst a jump and then hold attack will let you somewhat float across the screen. There are options to execute a short jump and attack and also combine attacks with a dash. All of these strategies really build up to a very solid feeling character. You feel as if you are in the game and a lot more engaged than many others on the system from this time.
Of course you’re going to need some bad guys to wail on if you’re going to be playing a classic Konami brawler. Thankfully there are tonnes of them in the way of the Foot Clan. There’s the standard orange soldiers. There turn up to the party with fists only. The blue soldiers with swords. The purple soldiers with shurikens. The beige soldiers with even more shurikens. The grey soldiers with these things that I can’t for the life of me find the correct name of and the red clan who breath a bit of fire and then leave nonchalantly. What’s really great here is that each enemy will require some specific attention. Take the grey enemy for example. Simply hacking them down will be a slow way to take them down due to their blocking. However, dash in to them to break their block and then pound on them like there’s no tomorrow. It’s a great example of marrying the control scheme to the game play itself and really adds that element of tactical depth. I’m also pleased to say that there are some decent cameos in here in the way of the mousers and the mutants from the case of the killer pizzas episode.
There of course several boss fights featuring Leatherhead, Rocksteady, Tatsu, Baxter Stockman, Krang and Shredder. Surprisingly the game only has 5 stages which seems a little on the short side. You’ll be fighting Krang within the hour if you have any experience with the game. The boss fights are not exactly a let-down but for my money they just aren’t varied enough. In the fight with Leatherhead simply hit him a few times, back off to avoid his advances and repeat. You’ll notice a pattern here with Rocksteady. Attack several times, back off to let him make his charge and repeat. Then Tatsu, similar deal. Move in, swipe him a few times, back off as he charges and then repeat. It’s not a deal breaker but I’ve certainly seen much more varies boss mechanics in similar games from Konami. The fight with Baxter switches things up a bit and asks for a lot of aerial combat to take him down. The showdown with Krang comes off as a little more comical than epic. It’s just the way he glides around the screen in such an awkward way, it just doesn’t look right. Overall though the boss fights aren’t badly designed, it’s just that I would have expected some more variety. Unfortunately the game really highlights the repetition with the level “The Gauntlet”. It’s that classic formula where you must defeat all of the level bosses again back to back before reaching the end boss. It’s at this point that I really started noticing the repetition in an otherwise very decently designed game.
One other small disappointment was the list of characters. Sure we get Leather head and Baxter but what about Bebop, Casey Jones, Genghis Frog or even Ace duck. Ok, well, perhaps not Ace Duck but I’m sure that a lot of fans of the series will point out that there could have been a few more characters thrown in here and nobody would have minded. In terms of the physical piece Hyperstone Heist is very much on brand for a turtle’s game. The classic turtles pose on the front as well decent branding on the manual and cartridge. Now, here’s a bit of trivia for those outside of the UK. For the original run of turtles in the late 80’s the show was called Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles dropping the original Ninja for the world hero as it was deemed that Ninja didn’t fit with broadcast standards.So the toys, games, cartoon show and even the theme song were all regionally produced with the Hero text. All a bit irrelevant really as within the show the turtles often referred to each other as ninjas so it was all rather pointless. Just the fun of living in 80’s England I guess. Then again for some context. The England that I grew up in in the 80’s was not the England we know today, in some ways it was much more violent and chaotic. One for another time but just to say that 1980’s England had its fair share of violence and troubles so if changing a children’s TV title by one word felt like part of a solution for a more peaceful country then it makes sense.
Anyway, back to slashing people up with swords. There’s really no reason not to pick Hyperstone Heist up for the Sega 16-bit console of your choice. There’s some great game play, nice touches such as exploding scenery, set pieces and pizza power ups to enjoy. Whether you’re a fan of the turtles, old school beat ’em ups or just looking for a slice of nostalgia then Hyperstone heist is a really decent game to keep you and a friend occupied for the afternoon.