Review by Jono

Reviewed: 05/04/03 | Updated: 05/04/03

Is it a Rip-off of the Turtles? I don't care, It's an excellent game!

Introduction

I first aquired this game in 2002 when it was given to me by a friend. At the time I had little idea of what to expect, as I knew nothing about Battletoads apart from the stereotype that they were just a rip-off of the Teenage Mutant Turtles. My friend however promised me this was one of the best side-ways scrollers he'd ever played and was his favourite game when he was young. Seeing that it was developed by RARE on the back of the box only served to raise my expectations and only a few minutes after slotting the cartridge into my GameBoy I found out my friend wasn't exaggerating.

Story 7/10

The Dark Queen has kidnapped both of your best buddies and the best looking girl this side of the Mazallion star cluster. What are you going to do about it? Your going to get bad an' crazy because it's time to get real MAD! And then get EVEN! Okay so I had to cut down the storyline a bit but that is more or less the storyline. Bonus points for some interesting colloquial language and constant threats from the Dark Queen all the way through the game.

Graphics 9/10 (Compared with other original GameBoy games)

For an old GameBoy game the graphics are very impressive. If they were in colour they would easily match many modern GBA games. Although at its heart a 2D sideways scroller the developers RARE included 3D platforms to give your central character a much greater freedom of movement. The varied locations all look realistic and provide a nice backdrop to beat up some bad guys. There are some nifty effects such as lava and ice levels which are pretty spectacular for a GameBoy game. The characters all animate fluently and there are some cool special move effects as you finish off those bad guys. The game features the kind of impressive graphics which became RARE's trademark in the nineties.

Sound 7/10

Some pretty catchy music especially on the first level. (At least for a GameBoy game) Good action sounds as well. Not an awful lot I can on this subject to be honest.

Gameplay 10/10

Where the game really shines. Battletoads is quite possibly one of the best sideways scrollers I've ever played. Its the sheer variety that impresses me most about this game. In the first level your beating up some ammusingly named Psyko pigs in some sideways scrolling beat 'em up action before facing a pretty easy boss. The second level is a very cleverly done vertically scrolling level. Attached to a cable you make your way down a chasm filled with some nasty traps. Here the game shows incredible originality, I've certainly never seen anything like this before. In the third level you start off with a bit more fighting before going on a super hard racing section which really tests your reflexes. The whole game continues in this vain as later on your encounter ice levels and more. It's the sheer variety that makes this game such a joy to play. So many games both old and new just churn out several levels of the same boring game play. Battleoads in Ragnarok's World doesn't make this mistake, every level your be doing something different and ultimately thats what keeps the player glued to the screen right through until the end.

The controls are spot on. The character feels and moves fluently and doesn't feel like a robot that hasn't been oiled. Controlling the character is a joy and executing the moves feels very realistic. All the special moves are animated well and playing the game feels good as the character reacts precisely to your instructions. The collision detection is also spot on which is vital for this sort of game. To many Side ways scrollers (Even modern GBA ones) suffer from wooden collision detection.

There is a good variety of bad guys starting with the wimpy psyko pigs but progreesing to much more hardened bad guys. Some levels also require some pretty precise jumping technique (Especially the ice levels) so be ready for that. Like I said earlier the game has tons of variety in every way.

Game designers could learn an awful lot from this game, especially when embarking on making licensed games. But what else do you expect from RARE? This game was released in 1993 when RARE was developing for the gameboy and well before the likes of Goldeneye and Perfect Dark could have been conceived. Yet in this humble little game we see why RARE became so well known. Along with the likes of Donkey Kong and Super RC Pro Am this is one of RARE's top GameBoy games.

Lastability 7/10

The game is pretty short but very hard! Usually I'm not a fan of the 'make a short game but crank up the difficulty level to increase lastablilty' but the game is so well designed I can forgive them for the game not being very long. To be honest I'm yet to come across a GameBoy game which is long. Okay Super Mario Land 2 may have lots of levels but it's dead easy. BattleToads in Ragnarok's World is much much harder and will require considerable effort on the part of the player to complete it. Don't be fooled by the first two levels, the racing section and the ice levels will set you straight.

Overall 9/10 (Not an average)

An excellent game. Lots of variety make this a very enjoyable game to play. Don't be fooled into thinking this is a rip off of the turtles games. This is way better than any handheld Turtles game than I've played and that's saying something as Turtles 3 was very good.

Buy?

Well if you can find it then yes. I was lucky as I got it boxed with manual for nothing. You can't buy it from the shops, it is ten years old afterall. If you really want it then try Ebay. Its worth a few quid or dollars. If you can't find this specific title then there is another Battletoads game on the GB, whether its any good or not I really don't know as I've never played it but considering it was developed by Rare I'm betting it is!

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

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