Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles: The Hyperstone Heist
Sega Mega Drive – 1992
Back in the 16-bit era it wasn’t uncommon to have two similar games released on the Super Nintendo and Sega Mega Drive with some slight differences. Hyperstone Heist could be considered one of those games. Released by Konami in 1992, you play as one of the four Turtles in this side scrolling beat’em up. Each Turtle has slight differences, such as reach or strength, traits that was common in beat’em up games at the time. Nonetheless, each Turtle is fun to play with (and yes, Raphael is my favourite). The game has five stages to battle through, starting in New York and ending in the Technodrome. Each level does have some variety to them in terms of style and the Ghost Ship has a few unique elements to it, such as the surfboards. Each level does end with a boss based on characters from the series. These require you to learn a set pattern so aren’t too difficult and they help to break up the play a little. The game isn’t long, you’ll be able to complete it in around an hour, but it is a fun distraction. The length plays to its strength as these type of games can feel repetitive if they go on for too long. The visuals look great and being able to switch between anime and comic Turtles is a nice touch. The sound is wonderfully upbeat but I did notice certain effects would be cut out if another sound played over them. The game also has a few different options to adjust the difficulty to suit you, such as lives and continues. Overall, it’s a fun game that any beat’em up fan should try. Oh, and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were originally called the Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles here, just in case you were confused.
PlayStation 2 – 2002
The sequel to Koudelka, Shadow Hearts takes a slightly lighter path than it’s predecessor. The game is broken up into two parts, the first has you exploring China while the second moves you to Europe. Unfortunately, you can’t revisit China after you’ve completed part one. The game also plays more like a traditional JRPG, bringing with it a number of tropes from the genre . The movement grid from Koudelka has been removed, instead we get the Judgement Ring. This adds a new dimension to attack, where you can rack up multiple hits depending if you hit the triggers. This also means that if you don’t hit the target, you won’t attack or cast a spell. The game also features six playable characters, each with their own stats and abilities. These characters can be swapped out but you have to find a certain character in order to do it. Also, they don’t receive any experience points when they’re not in your main party, which is annoying. The game also features a good few extra dungeons to explore, along with several hidden bosses. There is some voice acting here but it is rather sparse. It’s pretty average compared to games at the time. The one issue I had was the sound would often drown out the voice actors dialogue but this may just be unique to me. As stated above, the game has a lighter tone than Koudelka. It does have some “horror” moments (such as the first village you enter) but there are a decent amount of light-hearted and goofy moments to balance it out. The music is a bit hit and miss. In some areas, it compliments the game well, and in others it feels off (London is an example of this). Overall the game is very enjoyable and its real world setting helps it to stand out amongst other JRPGs on the PlayStation 2. It’s just a pity it didn’t keep the same serious theme as Koudelka.