Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Hyperstone Heist is a sidescrolling arcade beat’em up for the Sega Genesis (Mega Drive) from Konami. It is based loosely on the ultra popular Ninja Turtles arcade game “Turtles in Time”, which that was itself based on the popular Saturday morning cartoon (and that was based on a comic book…). It also has the standing as the first TMNT game released on the Sega Genesis.
The gameplay is in the tried and true Beat’em Up style of many other action video games of the time (such as Final Fight, Double Dragon or Streets of Rage). The action takes place on a horizontal plane where the player (and enemies) can move forwards and back in depth. Players only have a few basic moves, a standard attack, a couple jump attacks, a grab/slam thing and a special attack. The special attack is fairly powerful and has a large range of hit, though it drains your health with each use. During my time playing, I found myself accidentally hitting the special and draining my health, which is just a combination of jump and attack at the same time. Fortunately, for most of the first few stages at least, the game provides plenty of health items in the form of pizzas. Whoever left these laying out is a saint, but also it is sort of strange if you think about it. This version of the game does have a dash move that is assigned to a button (C by default), which is different than the others. Overall, the gameplay is solid – but as the game drags on, you realize there isn’t much variety to the action.
The music and audio are a mixed bag. The music itself is mostly catchy and fits the theme of TMNT pretty well. I am not sure if it is exact music from the arcade, but I wouldn’t be surprised to hear music like this while rocking out an arcade brawler. The sound effects, on the other hand, range from mediocre to crap. The Genesis doesn’t have the best audio processor, but the voice samples are way more garbled than I would expect. The other sound effects aren’t much better, they work – but that is about it. The explosions are weak and the hits don’t have much impact.
The visuals for the game are pretty awesome, though this entry is definitely the weaker one when compared to the Super Nintendo release. The Genesis uses less colors and the sprites aren’t quite as sharp. There are also some visual effects that were omitted, such as the ability to throw the enemies at the screen. On the SNES this was accomplished with a Mode 7 style of effect, the Genesis must not have been able to handle it. All that said, the game still looks great and is a treat for the eyes. Each level has a fairly unique theme, so it is fun to see what comes next. The enemies are mostly comprised of recolored versions of the Foot Soldiers with different abilities and weapons. The bosses are mostly large, detailed sprites and are fun to watch as they try to defeat you.
Overall this is an excellent TMNT title and is a fun game to plunk a few hours into, alone or with a friend. Long term, the gameplay doesn’t vary much, so don’t expect to have a ton of replays of this game, before you are bored of it. If you are a fan of the 90’s arcade Ninja Turtle games, definitely give this one a shot.