Although we've seen a number of licensed properties shoehorned into the 2D brawler genre, it's the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles who are the best fit. With storytelling even shallower than the gameplay, the Mutant Turtles are perfect for this style of action game. And yet, The Hyperstone Heist doesn't work on any level. It's an exceedingly lazy attempt to create a "new" Turtles adventure exclusive to the Sega Genesis.
So get this: Shredder has stolen the Statue of Liberty. In fact, he and Krang have turned all of Manhattan into a small model-sized version. It's up to the Turtles -- Leonardo, Michelangelo, Donatello and Raphael -- to track down the Technodrome and stop this madness once and for all. In other words, it's a normal day in the life of a bunch of pizza-loving Mutant Turtles.
This semi-interesting story is the catalyst for yet another generic Turtles adventure. You see a lot of familiar locations (the sewers of New York City), some expected sights (Shredder's hideout) and a bunch of random stages inexplicably sprinkled throughout. At one point you're on a ghost ship. Why? The game doesn't bother explaining what any of this has to do with the missing Statue of Liberty or your search for the Technodrome.
Worse yet, it only takes three stages before Konami started recycling content. I was surprised when there was an entire stage of nothing but you fighting harder versions of old boss characters. With only five stages, I was shocked and disappointed that Konami couldn't even come up with five unique ideas. Hell, why not stick with the ghost ship theme and take us into a haunted house. Even if that's a terribly hokey theme, it's still better than forcing me to beat Rocksteady for the second time.
This laziness is even more offensive if you look at the Super NES version of Turtles in Time. Released several months before The Hyperstone Heist, Turtles in Time features twice the amount of stages and an honest-to-goodness gimmick. You fight in different time periods, including the prehistoric days and medieval times. The Hyperstone Heist throws a coherent narrative out the window, choosing instead to throw whatever they have into a pot and stir. The end result is frustratingly pedestrian.
At least the gameplay is the same. Players choose between the four characters and mostly mash buttons until the game is over. Unfortunately, this Genesis game is missing some of the throws found in the Super NES and arcade games. I would have been more outraged if I wasn't already busy being angry at the lazy level designs.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Hyperstone Heist is as half-assed an attempt as Konami could have made. It is the bare minimum that you expect in a 2D brawler. The gameplay is far too simple and it feels like you've seen all of the levels and bosses before. It's even more offensive when you put this game up against Turtles in Time on the Super NES. Genesis owners deserved better.