We have been huge Turtles fans since we can remember. Whether it be the motion pictures or the original cartoon, didn’t matter, as long as it was the Turtles and we were shell shocked! We have already reviewed the game that we played the most together as kids; Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles II: The Arcade Game and obviously love it for its great beat’em up action and 2 player co-op feature. The natural thing to do was to step it up when the 16-bit systems were released and we got two more TMNT beat’em up co-op games; Turtles in Time for the SNES and The Hyperstone Heist for the Sega Mega Drive/Genesis. Here we will discuss, compare and review these two games. Let´s kick shell!
Turtles in Time on the SNES is a fairly accurate arcade port released in 1992. The biggest difference being that once again you can have to pick two turtles out of the 4 and play up to just 2 players. While that certainly being a bummer, i cannot tear the port apart for that. All beat’em up ports on the SNES suffer the same fate simply because of the lack of power the system has to offer. But do not worry because playing as just two is still plenty fun. The controls are pretty smooth, the action is fluid and fast paced and the presentation is great as the animations and music are top notch.
What happens is that Shredder steals the Statue of Liberty to lure the Turtles in a trap where he sends them back in time. The Turtles therefore begin the battle in New York, end up in prehistoric time, fighting around dinosaurs and have to fight their way through time visiting places like the wild west and a pirate themed stage. This is a fun twist and a nice change of pace from fighting in just an urban looking Manhattan-ish environment.
You can hit, jump, jump attack, make a special move (at the cost of some health), run, ram and slide attack the waves and waves of different Foot Clan grunts that are foolish enough to be in your way. These are plenty of moves and they do add to the depth of the fighting in the game but honestly we felt that most of the time we just spammed the normal fast attacks and moved on. It just seems like the best way to go most of the time. The special attacks that take away your health are rarely worth it and the running+ramming/sliding attacks suffer from the running element being a bit inconsistent. You run by double tapping in the direction you want to run, but for some reason the command is somewhat unresponsive and you end up getting punched in the face by some jerk. So… we just spammed the hit button most of the time. Grabbing an enemy in Turtles in Time is great fun though, you can grapple a staggered enemy and throw them around, hurting all other enemies that come close, or you can throw them towards the television screen and make use of the SNES’s mode 7 graphical feature.Through the game you will meet some of the usual suspects like Krang, Bebop and Rocksteady in good boss fights that require a bit more than just button mashing.
Despite being a bit of a button masher Turtles in Time is a great beat’em up co-op experience and one of the best that the SNES has to offer. It is not too difficult or too easy, but if you have played it through often like us, maybe it does get a little easy but you can always tweak the settings and give you less lives and go for hard mode. The game is refreshing and has a great feel to it and I am sure every TMNT fan will enjoy this game, especially if he has a co-op partner.
Lasting appeal 8,5
Is it fun? 8,5
Overall 8,5 (duhh…) a very good game!
Ok, next up is The Hyperstone Heist. The Sega Mega Drive often got different versions of similar games that came out on the SNES. Games like the Hyperstone Heists, Sunset Riders and more are not direct arcade ports but different versions of arcade ports. This is kind of like a game being ported twice and sometimes the results were not as well received as the original game. This is not necessarily the case with The Hyperstone Heist since it manages to be original and a good game by itself, separated from Turtles in Time. Still, I will talk about The Hyperstone Heist in comparison with Turtles in Time since it is technically the original. This time Shredder shrinks Manhattan, steals it and runs to his hideout and it is up to the Turtles to stop them.
Now I’m not going to nitpick about the graphical difference of the games, so i am just going to say that they both look good, almost equally good and probably just a matter of opinion, but the throwing of enemies like pictured above in the Turtles in Time review was not possible to do on the Mega Drive so it is not present here which is a shame.
The sounds are definitely better in Turtles in Time. While the games share many tunes, The Hyperstone Heist still has a few good original tunes and vice versa but Turtles in Time really comes on top here not because of the music really, but with the noticeable higher sound quality. The voices are of course so amazingly cheesy and… not that very well done in both games so it is good for a laugh to hear classic lines like: “Lets kick shell!”, “Shell shocked!”, “Cowabunga!” etc. in that quality.
The gameplay and controls are essentially the same, but the biggest difference that we noticed right away is that the running element has been fixed. By assigning a run button on the Mega Drive controller they have made it a lot easier for us to run, ram and slide which is a total game changer and ups the variety of attacks you use making. This is a huge plus for The Hyperstone Heist as it makes it a lot less of a button masher. When it comes to gameplay, this is sadly probably the only edge The Hyperstone Heist has over Turtles in Time. The Hyperstone Heist has fewer but longer levels, but we felt that the levels in Turtles in Time were more fun and innovative and had a better variety of enemies. The boss battles in The Hyperstone Heist suffer a big drop in quality we felt. Rocksteady is present but not Bebop for some reason and one of the later levels they chose to reuse all the same bosses you had fought before in a stage which is just a gauntlet of old bosses. I guess it was more fun than more Foot Clan soldiers but this felt kinda cheap to be honest. The games have the same final boss which is like a super Shredder. One thing I noticed is that in The Hyperstone Heist I felt that they were re-using enemies and stage danger from Turtles 2 on the NES. Not a bad thing necessarily but it felt familiar and maybe not very innovative.
The Hyperstone Heist is probably the easier of the two games, but you can tweak the settings however you want. We beat the game in our first try, the first time we tried it with the default setting but we still had a great time doing so! And we well most definitely play it again soon over pizza.
Lasting appeal 8
Is it fun 8,5
Overall 8 a very good game
Yes, so in the end Turtles in Time takes the crown as the better game but that does not mean you should not give The Hyperstone Heist a try. It is a very good title by itself if you just can’t get enough Turtles. In comparison to other beat’em ups both games may lack a bit in character variety and depth of gameplay but that does not have to be a bad thing. For the casual gamer these two games are very easy to pick up and are very accessible to beginners. That and the fast paced co-op action is what makes these titles great. Cowabunga! Pick these up wherever you can!
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Link to the TMNT 2:The Arcade Game review: https://cousingaming.com/2015/12/25/teenage-mutant-ninja-turtles-ii-the-arcade-game-2/
Also highly recommented!