Review by antseezee

Reviewed: 07/28/03 | Updated: 07/28/03

Kick some feather tailed butt in this exciting platformer.

Rare, one of the popular gaming developers around the world, has been noted for creating numerous classics and instant hits on many systems. Whether it be Conker's Bad Fur Day, or the Donkey Kong Land series, each game has held its own stronghold in the gaming society. Thanks to Rare, Battletoads in Ragnarok's World is one of the best platform action games that the Game Boy has to offer. In case you didn't know, the Battletoads are similar to the Ninja Turtles. They're mutated toads who can kick booty with the simple flick of a wrist. Not only that, but this version of Battletoads features some of the hardest gameplay you will ever face on a Game Boy. The basic storyline consists of you and your buddies (Rash, Zitz, and Pimple) chilling out with Princess Angelica. Your two buddies decide to take her out for a little leisure ride, when they get ambushed by the Dark Queen. Of course, it all comes down to Rash to save the day and his friends before it's too late.

Graphics [8/10]
Since Rare has been known for maxing most systems out of their capabilities, they surely did so in this one. Ragnarok's World features very rich environments, complete with detailed backgrounds, excellent animations, and well placed cut scenes. The game is just like any other platforming game. Your main view is from a flat side view, similar to a 2D scroller. Rash is very detailed, complete with his armor spikes, and grinning face. Enemies show plenty of variety, ranging from evil muscle bulging pigs to big beaked birds. The best feature by far is the well framed animations. Nearly every animation in this game is as smooth as a silk web. You won't see any cheap one frame shots, or glitchy shows. Every punch, kick, and smackdown has its own way of motion. Rare got very creative when they actually enlarged Rash's foot or fist whenever he laid a final blow on an enemy. It sort of gives the appearance that you're giving a ''big'' foot to your opponent, rather than just a normal kick.

The stages have numerous environments like a deep cavern hole, or a bunch of gumballs inside of a stomach. It's fairly neat as to how creative the level designs were when you first played the game. You won't find any slowdowns, or lagging framerate like other games would show. Even sprite flashing is almost at a minimum, and rarely occurs. Boss battles show plenty of intensity, and unique views. For example, in the first level, you face a giant walking robot. When you actually face him though, you see from inside his first person view, because he shoots bullets at you. Battletoads features more than a simple linear based view.

Sound/Music [9/10]
With so many platform games out there, many don't have outstanding audio qualities. Well you better believe it, Battletoads in Ragnarok's World has some impressive music and sound effects to go along with the great presentation. First off, the second you hear the theme song, you're going to become addicted. The Battletoads theme song is quite memorable, and has a Californian surfer-like tune. It almost makes you feel like a gnarly hippy back in the day. As always, each level in the game has different music based on what type of situation you're in. The dark chasm features music which sounds like it's echoing. An ice cavern has a more slower based pitch, to simulate icicles and things of the such in the background.

Sound effects show plenty of variety based on the situation. Whenever you lay down the big boot on an opponent, you'll hear a shattering sound of an imploding star. You almost get a crunching feeling inside of your stomach as you watch the opponent burst into multiple pieces. Picking up a weapon and using it will make a different sound, whether it be a bird beak, or a metal rod. There are even sounds of walls whooshing by as you drive down on a speed bike. Just about every enemy, or environment the user interacts with has some effect in the audio department.

Gameplay [9/10]
Every platform game needs an exciting adventure, or way of changing the pace throughout gameplay. Battletoads in Ragnarok's World not only accomplishes that, but it does it in style. To start off, Battletoads is basically an adventure platform game where you can jump or attack. Rash knows an arsenal of moves ranging from jabs, punches, and combo finishers to rid of evil doers. Different moves are used based on the level, but they all accomplish the same task at hand - eliminating enemies. The game starts out with you (Rash) being forced to fight on Ragnarok's World until you can make it to the Dark Queen's castle where your friends are located. You'll come across numerous types of enemies, different bosses, and more than one way in engaging enemies. Some of these different changes in pace include rappelling down a hole, riding speed bikes (you have to launch off of ramps, and jump to avoid collisions with obstacles), and navigating through levels.

Battletoads has a simple gameplay system. Basically, you have a life bar and numerous lives. There are usually checkpoints placed in each level so that you can continue there if you die. There are also certain obstructions like walls which need to be broken with certain objects. Battletoads combines fast paced action, fairly easy puzzles, and a need for quick reactions. Boss battles are entertaining as often they have small arenas, and you must avoid enemy attacks. Controls are very responsive. You don't have to worry about missing with any punches, or a delayed jump. There are about six or so levels, each long enough to be split into stages. Points are awarded for killing enemies, and you can eventually earn 1UPs if you score enough points.

But what really distinguishes Battletoads from other platforms is the difficulty. Most of the action in the game is difficult, and requires plenty of replay time to get past. Enemies will bust out of walls, and attack you when you least expect it. If you're riding a platform shifter, you better expect to jump from an incoming snowball. The game gets more difficult as you move on, and it truly challenges the gamer to keep on trying. Levels do not get repetitive at all, and the different stages actually setup for an enjoyable experience.

Fun [9/10]
The element that makes Battletoads in Ragnarok's World such a unique experience is really the different changes in each level. This is not your typical platformer with just varying backgrounds and different levels. This literally changes how you play games and what you can do each level. When you're rappelling down the chasm, you can turn into a cannonball and wipe out other enemies on the screen. Riding the speed bikes, the fun becomes insane as the speed catches up to the gamer. You literally have to use keen eyesight to know when to weave in and out without nailing into a wall. Every explosive combo makes a head bashing sound. You ought to prepare yourself for one of the better adventure games that the game boy has to offer.

Replayability [7/10]
Even though it does provide a unique experience, this is not everybody's soup of the day. The biggest flaw with Battletoads has to be the insane difficulty. Since most average gamers are not well skilled in the art of reflexes, this game could turn out to be more of a hassle than an enjoyment. Some levels you may never get past unless you use cheat codes. The speed bikes can be nearly impossible for someone who isn't fast enough to navigate the directional pad in time. The frustration builds up, and eventually, someone will just give up and never touch the game again. To other gamers, it may only motivate them more to keep continuing, and eventually defeat the game. While you only have five lives, there are unlimited continues. While this can be a downer to certain players, the continues always restart you at the beginning of the level. Thus, survival is a very essential part of the gameplay. Besides, there is only one game mode, and that is single player.

Difficulty [9/10]
This is no joke. By far, this is one of the hardest games you will ever play on the Nintendo Game Boy. Some levels can be nearly impossible to advance through, and most gamers will probably never beat the game for numerous months. Death can be handed out like tickets at a bowling alley - constant without remorse. If you mistime a jump, or get pelted while making a jump, death is guaranteed. Enemies have excellent AI, and will attack you when you get fairly close to their range. The biggest challenge by far is getting past the obstacles, such as in the ice caverns (with spikes and icicles), or on the speed bikes (elevated ramps, full walls, ships). Expect a true challenge to rise from the gameplay in Battletoads.

Final Factor [9/10]
Unfortunately, the Game Boy never got the thumbs up on many games. Most were cheaply ported versions of NES titles, or lacked in any true challenge. Battletoads in Ragnarok's World is one of the most challenging single player games you will play for the Game Boy. It's an utmost classic in my opinion, and is much better than its predecessor, Battletoads. The various modes of gameplay, somewhat humorous cut scenes, and the evil dark queen will all motivate you to at least try this game. Some will be provoked with anger when they get frustrated on a certain level, while others will enjoy the bird kicking fun. The next time you see this game, do not walk past it. Buy it, and add it to your collection. It is a true epic in how platformers have progressed over the years.

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

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