Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Hyperstone Heist is a fun Turtles remix

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Hyperstone Heist is one Turtles game that I never played back in the day. While I had access to Mega Drives through friends and family members, I actually owned a Super NES, so Turtles in Time was the Turtles game that was on my radar for the most part. As such, I was curious to check out The Hyperstone Heist as part of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Cowabunga Collection.

I was quite interested to discover that The Hyperstone Heist is not really a “new” Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game as such; rather, it’s best thought of as a “remix” of previous Turtles beat ’em ups. Specifically, much of it feels like Turtles in Time shuffled around into a new order and given a new story context; the intro scenes are almost identical, for example, though the dialogue is a bit different.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Hyperstone Heist

Turtles in Time is a good game, though, so if you’re going to remix something, it might as well be something that’s already decent. And, indeed, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Hyperstone Heist is certainly “decent” — though I don’t feel like at any point it really surpasses its source material, nor do I feel that there’s a lot of reason to spend too much time with it when you have access to the considerably superior Turtles in Time.

Part of the issue with The Hyperstone Heist stems from the simple fact it’s on the Mega Drive — specifically, the Mega Drive’s inferior sound capabilities. While Turtles in Time is filled with meaty sampled cheesy kung fu movie noises any time you hit anything, The Hyperstone Heist instead features fairly pathetic farty noises courtesy of the Mega Drive’s FM synthesis chip. The few samples that there are in the game suffer a fair bit from what my Dad used to call the “mouth full of cornflakes” problem, whereby their extremely low quality makes them sound somewhat distorted.

Now, I hasten to add that weedy sounds aren’t a reason to write off The Hyperstone Heist, because there are plenty of established beat ’em ups on the Mega Drive that feature equally pathetic noises — Golden Axe being a prime example — and one could argue that even the original Turtles arcade game had underwhelming impact noises. But it is a particularly glaring issue when the game is placed side-by-side with Turtles in Time, as it is in this collection — and other beat ’em ups like Streets of Rage 2 ably demonstrate that the Mega Drive absolutely was capable of some top-tier whPCH kung-fu sounds.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Hyperstone Heist

An important ingredient of any good beat ’em up is a good sense of impact, you see, and this is created by a few things under ideal circumstances. Firstly, there’s the sound, which we’ve already discussed — an area where The Hyperstone Heist lacks a bit. Secondly, there’s the all-important “hitstun”, where enemies are stunned for a moment as you unleash your combo on them, providing a sense that you’re actually hurting them. And thirdly, there’s knockback after you inflict a certain amount of damage or unleash an especially weighty move.

The Hyperstone Heist absolutely nails the latter two aspects — no surprise, since Turtles in Time did also — so it’s only really the sound effects that let it down somewhat. With this in mind, the game is still a satisfying and enjoyable beat ’em up to play; it’s just not quite what it could be, which may leave a few people feeling a little disappointed.

Thankfully, the other aspects of The Hyperstone Heist make up for its shortcomings somewhat. The graphics are extremely well-presented, with plenty of the glorious pixel art animation the Turtles beat ’em ups are known for. One stage features some absolutely magnificent parallax scrolling, too; this is something that the Mega Drive was particularly good at, so developers were always keen to shoehorn in an opportunity to use it wherever possible.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Hyperstone Heist

The other stages provide enjoyable remixes of familiar stages. While they might look like stages you’ve played in other games, the differing enemy formations keep you on your toes — and you’ll also find yourself facing different bosses to that which you might expect, too.

Speaking of bosses, The Hyperstone Heist feels quite well-balanced in these encounters, providing plenty of opportunities for you to get some substantial attacks in before dodging out of the way of the bosses’ own abilities. While the original arcade games could sometimes feel quite unfair in this regard — they were designed to devour pocket change, after all — The Hyperstone Heist feels like it nails a good sense of balance and actually rewards skilful play. To put it another way, a one-credit clear should most certainly be within reach of those players willing to put in a bit of practice and learn the encounters.

Back in the day, I suspect there wouldn’t have been many Mega Drive owners who would have been disappointed with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Hyperstone Heist as a Turtles beat ’em up exclusive to their platform. Sure, there might have been some playground arguments with SNES-owning friends over the sound capabilities of their respective platforms, but I doubt anyone coming over to a pal’s house and being presented with a second controller for a bit of two-player Hyperstone Heist action would have objected, regardless of their own platform loyalties.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Hyperstone Heist

Indeed, today it’s still a good, solid game that is worth playing for a bit of variety if nothing else — it’s just that its inclusion alongside the SNES version of Turtles in Time in the Cowabunga Collection really highlights its few shortcomings. Were it a completely new Turtles game for the Mega Drive, these shortcomings might be a little easier to forgive and forget — but with so much of it simply being recycled from past Turtles games, it’s harder to justify playing it over and above its slightly superior peers. There’s a good reason this isn’t regarded as “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles V”!

This is, of course, not taking the nostalgia factor into account. Chances are a good few of you reading this grew up with the Mega Drive version and will, as such, be naturally drawn to The Hyperstone Heist. That’s absolutely fine, and I always encourage people to revisit and embrace their favourite experiences from childhood.

For those looking at the Cowabunga Collection as a complete package, though, I suspect The Hyperstone Heist may well end up as a bit more of a fun novelty than one of the main games you spend your time with in the compilation.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Cowabunga Collection is available now for PC via Steamphysically and digitally for Switch, physically and digitally for PS5, physically and digitally for PS4, and physically and digitally for Xbox One/Series blahdepoop.

Join The Discussion

Rice Digital Discord
Rice Digital Twitter
Rice Digital Facebook

Or write us a letter for the Rice Digital Friday Letters Page by clicking here!

Disclosure: Some links in this article may be affiliate links, which means we may earn a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on them. This is at no additional cost to you and helps support Rice Digital!

Pete Davison
Spread the love!

Related post

This will close in 0 seconds