This is a comparison page for TMNT: Hyperstone Heist and
TMNT IV for the Genesis and SNES respectively. All written comparisons, movies,
MP3s and JPGs were made while playing the games on the actual console and taken
from the actual console through a Composite A/V connection.
The differences between the two Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles games for the 16-bit
systems are a microcosm of the differences between most games on the systems.
That which is postulated in the Genesis-vs-SNES page is especially proven true
by these two examples. Each game was developed in the same year, by the same
company, for both systems, and both games are a decent example of what each
system could do.
In the normal gameplay scene, the SNES game shows a little over twice the colors
on screen, and the Genesis game has more characters, less flicker, more background
layers and more animation. The actual max color palette of the pictures shown
are displayed in the Genesis-vs-SNES page, Hyperstone Heist displays 36 colors
while Turtles In Time displays 82 colors simultaneously. As a result, the difference
in color counts on screen is not the most noticeable difference in the graphics
for both games. TMNT IV is brighter, and uses a healthy portion of pastel pinks
and purples which the Genesis doesn't have in its color palette. This gives
each game a distinct look in regard to the color palettes chosen by the developer
Konami. The Genesis game is more bold and dark, and the SNES game being brighter,
or just plain different looking in some levels.
The Genesis game displays more background layers, or parallax, in certain levels.
This can be seen in the movie files with the word parallax in the link under
both the TMNT IV and Hyperstone sections. The Genesis has a little known hardware
feature for backgrounds that was exploited to a degree in Hyperstone Heist.
In any given background, the Genesis could display two planes. Either plane
could then be broken up into eight line rows or independently scrolling lines.
The upper limit to how many background layers could be created was the Genesis
native vertical resolution of 224 lines.
This effect was used in the ocean surfing stage in Hyperstone Heist, which shows
the Turtles and other sprites on a side scrolling plane that appears to have
depth due to how every horizontal line of ocean are scrolling at different speeds
to the horizon. Turtles in Time does not approach this level of multiscrolling
in the backgrounds. The SNES hardware was technically limited to four scrolling
planes, two more than the Genesis, but the slower processor speed limited how
many of these could be displayed in an action game like Turtles in Time. Nevertheless,
developers had tried and tested methods for simulating multi-level background
scrolling through cleverly disguised sprites, and this method was used in several
levels in the SNES game.
TMNT IV for the SNES shows off the SNES' exclusive hardware scaling and Mode
7 special effects. The SNES' seventh mode was designed to scale and rotate a
single background pane, which allowed for a two dimensional picture to be turned
horizontally and vertically and zoomed in and out on the screen. In the case
of Turtles in Time Mode 7 was used to simulate the ground scrolling into the
screen. So, while the arcade version of TMNT IV had a side scrolling level with
the turtles sliding on hoverboards, Konami decided to exploit the SNES' unique
effect in the home version of the same level.
The scaling and Mode 7 movie files show the SNES hardware effect in its entirety.
These same movies also demonstrate the limitation of the SNES' Mode 7. In order
for the SNES to scale an object from the far background to the foreground, or
back, the rest of the screen was always relatively empty, and was usually just
left black. Alternately, when the SNES displays graphics in Mode 7, it never
scales anything else. So, while Arcade games from the mid '80s would feature
scaling objects on the ground and the gameplay area, SNES games would only scale
the ground or an object. This is especially demonstrated in such notable titles
as F-Zero and Mario Kart. With that said, no Genesis games released in 1992
demonstrate an effect similar to Mode 7, and Hyperstone Heist is no exception.
Because the Mode 7 effect was so unique to the SNES, fans of TMNT IV and the
SNES in general will feel that Mode 7 contributed greatly to the game, even
while they will feel that the infinite horizon in Hyperstone Heist's surfing
level was not even worth noting. Without getting too much into the psychology
of why people think the way they do, it is not logically correct to emphasize
one special effect over another. Likewise, putting emphasis on deficiencies
instead of strengths skews the overall impression of a game or console. So,
the fact that the SNES game has a Mode 7 level, and the Genesis game has more
background effects should logically balance each other out. The reader's preferences
over which effect was more significant will tilt their impression of either
In addition to having the edge in background effects, Hyperstone Heist has more
animation in all characters' standing and fighting animations and displays more
characters on screen at once. These facts do not negate the fact that TMNT IV
has a brighter color palette and twice as many colors on screen. Both facts
can especially be seen in the Alley movie files. The relative lack of animation
while running is especially noticeable in TMNT IV. The difference is significant
enough that it does effect gameplay, which will be discussed below.
Both games have nearly the same soundtrack while the SNES instruments are all
digital, and the Genesis uses a blend of digital and analog instruments, as
is typical for both system's sound capabilities. Both game's voice samples are
somewhat flat and grainy, with the SNES samples being somewhat less grainy,
but also more quiet and having more reverb. Much like the graphical comparison,
the simple differences between each system's sound capabilities can and will
be experienced differently by players with different biases.
It should suffice to say that neither analog sound nor digital sound is intrinsically
superior when both are playing at a similar frequency and bitrate. Much the
same as the Mode 7 discussion above, SNES fans will insist that the very sound
of the SNES' digital audio instruments is absolutely superior to the Genesis'
analog instruments. Assertions such as these are more based on personal preference
than anything measurable. One gamer calling the Genesis sound "flat"
is making just as subjective a statement as another gamer calling the SNES sound
"warbly." Both games soundtracks are posted for download above, with
the exception of two of the SNES game's extra modes, and should be listened
While being of generally good quality, the SNES' version of TMNT sound effects
are almost all more muffled and quiet than their Genesis counterparts. Most
notably, when an enemy explodes in the TMNT IV it can barely be heard, and sounds
more like a splash than an explosion, while Hyperstone's explosions have quite
a bit of bass in them and make a very distinct sound that can't be missed. Overall,
both game's music and sound effects are good for the system, and comparable
overall, with the SNES music and the Genesis sound effects being respectively
Contrary to popular belief, TMNT IV and Hyperstone Heist are not actually the
same game. TMNT IV could actually be considered a sequel, and as such has a
few more moves and differences in animation. Characters run differently, attack
differently, and jump and fall differently and at different speeds. Hyperstone
is actually the faster of the two in gameplay, but the SNES game appears to
be almost as fast due to the lack of several frames in every animation. The
only obvious difference in controls is that Hyperstone Heist has a run button,
while the SNES game either runs automatically after holding forward for a second,
or runs at a double tap, depending on what was selected in the option menu.
In TMNT IV the Turtles are capable of a flipping slash attack, that will also
carry you further, just after reaching the peak of a jump, and are also capable
of throwing footsoldiers into the screen. Contrary to popular belief, the screen
throw animation is not using any kind of scaling technique, but is animated
in three simple sprite changes. This same approach could have been used in the
Genesis version, and both systems could have animated the throw with more frames.
The reason why the SNES game does not scale the sprite for the screen throw
is due to the speed of the game, and the necessary 3-6 characters on screen
at once. Mode 7 simply was not implemented during gameplay to scale and rotate
objects like the arcade version of Turtles in Time does. The SNES never did
exceptionally well with action games, and throwing scaling sprites into the
mix would have caused slowdown. Nonetheless, the screen throw is a notable gameplay
mechanic of TMNT IV that is even featured in an early fight against Shredder
that is not in any other TMNT game.
Hyperstone Heist is noticeably more difficult than TMNT IV, even while playing
the later on 'Hard' mode and the former on Normal. The Genesis game's enemies
just fight more, and gang up on you more more often, especially on that version's
hard mode. In Hyperstone, the Turtles are also knocked down much more easily,
which usually eliminates an opportunity to hit a boss, or knock down multiple
enemies more quickly.
The boss fights are also much easier on TMNT IV and sometimes frustratingly
hard in Hyperstone Heist. For example, Leatherhead will get on all fours after
one combo is completed on him, in Hyperstone the transition to all fours will
knock you away and take away energy, while on the SNES it does neither. In addition
to that, Leatherhead moves across the screen much more quickly in the Genesis
game, and is much more likely to hit you while switching sides. The SNES game
compensates for this deficiency in enemy AI and boss difficulty by nearly doubling
the damage taken from one hit. Meaning that the same hit in both games would
count significantly more against your energy bar in the SNES game, thus making
the game more difficult.
Finally, the level screenshot pages above might make it look like the Genesis
game is shorter, while it is actually larger. Each level in TMNT IV is only
one phase, what scenery you see in the beginning of that stage is what you will
finish that stage in. In Hyperstone each level, with the exception of the Gauntlet,
has two to three transitions in the same level, as can be seen in the screenshots
for each. This means that Hyperstone Heist actually has 12 levels, while TMNT
IV actually has 10, including boss fights and bonus rounds. This should not
be considered a deficiency of the SNES game, but the significance of how many
actual stages is in each game counters the claim made by every game review that
the Genesis game has fewer stages and is therefore not only shorter, but too
short. Both games are comparable in length. TMNT IV has completely unique levels
spanning the theme "turtles in time" and Hyperstone Heist features
a remix of various stages from both arcade turtle games and the NES games.
Much to this action game fan's dismay, presentation has taken a front row seat
in qualitative statements about games. Presentation is the most difficult aspect
to measure in a game, but a gamer that thinks presentation is as significant
as gameplay will trump all quantitative discussion with a discussion of their
overall feeling the games gave them. These types of statements are by definition
subjective. In regard to this comparison, if one game is prefered over the other
that preference will be dependent on personal bias, not measurable differences
in the games.
Action fans will likely prefer more enemies on screen with more nuanced AI patterns
contributing to the challenge of the game over the fewer enemies with simpler
AI that the SNES game presents. Adventure and RPG fans will likely feel that
the cutscenes and general theme of Turtles in Time is superior because it is
unique. While a discussion over which game has a superior theme is interesting,
there can be no measurable comparison of the two. It is worth noting that Turtles
in Time has a time trial mode that Hyperstone Heist does not, nobody ever talks
about it, but it is there. As another weird side note, two of Hyperstone Heists
levels feature turtles walking on water, even water that Pizza Monsters splash
out of. A prominent glitch like this combined with levels like the Gauntlet
while lacking extra modes in the title screen can contribute to the view that
Hyperstone Heist is less polished than Turtles in Time overall. This view would
need to ignore the extra character animations, and their corresponding addition
to gameplay, and more sophisticated AI of Hyperstone Heist.
Both games are relatively short and easy to complete, compared to other beat-em
ups on both systems. If the games were combined into one game, with the Genesis
version's animations, and the SNES version's moves and color palette choices,
the final product might be different. As it stands, both games are individually
an excellent example of each system's graphical and audio capabilities, but
both versions fall somewhat short in gameplay complexity, and AI when compared
to titles like Super Double Dragon or Streets of Rage 2. The Genesis version
is the better with the later two deficiencies overall, and the SNES is better
with the former if you don't consider the lacking animations. However, level
and character design, the overall art quality, and the music selection for both
games are so unique and well done that they go a long way towards making the
games seem like 9/10 titles when they are actually 7-8s at best.