Lately I’ve been dying to get my hands on a Sega Genesis and a handful of games for it. Growing up as an SNES kid, I was willfully ignorant towards lots of the cool stuff that was on the Genesis and I guess I regret treating Sega’s black box that way. Thanks to my extremely generous friends (thanks dudes), I now have a Genesis complete with a library of great titles. One of those games in the library happened to be Ninja Turltes: The Hyperstone Heist, which is fantastic since that’s one of the games I wanted to revisit.
I played through Hyperstone ages ago at a friends place and being the jerk I was, I just kind of wrote it off as the poor mans Turtles in Time. In a way, I’m still right in thinking that, because I believe Konami wasted a really cool opportunity here. Instead of crafting a brand new experience for Genesis owners, Konami decided to take the easy way out and use all of their assets from both Turltes In Time and the original Arcade game. Mainly aping Turtles in Time, Hyperstone literally shoe horns in some of the locals from previous games, like the pirate ship which is now a ghost ship. With the exception of a stage themed after a dojo, along with a brand new boss (Tetsu from the TMNT movies), a handful of different foot soldiers, and a new music track or two, nearly everything in the game is recycled from previous titles.
Speaking of the bosses, the first three bosses in the game (out of about 6) are nearly identical in their attack patterns. They stick to one side of the screen, throw a few objects and then charge to the other side of the screen. Considering the wide variety of bosses Konami had to choose from (since you know, they didn’t feel like creating new ones) you would think they would choose some characters that offered a couple different attack patterns.
Konami cut other corners too, like taking out the ability to throw foot soldiers into the screen. This is most likely because the Genesis lacked the ability to scale objects, but we all know Konami made the Genesis do amazing things in both their Contra and Castlevania titles. Other graphical missteps are in the sewer scenes where the turtles appear to be walking on top of water while the pizza monsters jump up from under the water. Back in the day, Konami was known for their craft, so it’s rather obvious they were in this for a quick buck.
As I said before, it’s a huge missed opportunity on Konami’s part. The Hyperstone, Shredder’s mega weapon, has the ability to shrink things, and the game starts off with him shrinking New York City. At one point he threatens to use the Hyperstone on the Turtles, but it never amounts to anything but a threat. Konami could have had a lot of fun here, had Shredder shrink the Turtles and then have them fight all sorts of little critters and do a Honey I Shrunk the Kids type of deal with the Turtles. Sure it sounds a little cliche, but it’s something they could have had some fun with.
All this bitching aside, Hyperstone is still built upon the foundation that is Turtles in Time, which means it still plays like a dream. Unlike the SNES game, the Genesis version runs quickly at all times with never a hint of slow down (it must be all that blast processing). Kicking ass and beating up the Foot still feels great and when everything is all said and done, that’s all that matters. Though a personal pet peeve of mine is that the dash is activated by using the C button, and is no longer auto-activated nor the option of double tap activated, but I still got used to it by the end.
The strange hodgepodge of elements from both of the TMNT arcade games, plus the new stuff, gives the game enough of an oddball appeal that a person like me sort of has to have it in their collection. The Hyperstone Heist is probably one of Konami’s weaker Genesis games, but it’s a quick paced, lightening fast brawler that still offers a great (yet brief) time.