Review by zaronis
Battletoads- This game is a taste of what gaming in Hell must be like.
My friends and I spent 1991 literally glued to our Nintendo consoles trying to discover every single inch of Super Mario Brothers 3. Game wise, it was a year of many firsts for me. I played my first Megaman game (Megaman 2, and have been a fan ever since); Double Dragon 2, Metroid, NARC, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Ninja Gaiden, Batman logged some serious mileage in my NES console. I would go on to say 1991 was when the NES had finally hit its peak, being that we were starting to transition into the next generation of gaming with the Sega Genesis and Super Nintendo.
A friend of mine who would constantly trade games back and forth with me showed me the latest GamePro which was showcasing a new title called "Battletoads". He had the GameBoy version, which was my first exposure to the series, and I thought it was actually pretty fun to play. My mom and I happened to be out shopping one day when we stopped at a KB Toys; looking at the NES games, mom told me to go out and pick a new one (was feeling rather generous that day), so after some prodding and searching, there it was- Battletoads. I enjoyed the GameBoy version so much, it was natural I had to get the console version. I don't even think I took my coat off when we got home.
Battletoads were mostly created to capitalize on the success of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, who were quite popular at the time. The Battletoads are a group of three human-like toads who travel through space fighting the forces of the evil Dark Queen. Each toad has their own distinct personality. Rash, who is controlled by player 1, is the sunglasses-wearing "cool guy"; Zitz, controlled by player 2, is the intellectual "leader" of the Toads; last is Pimple, the muscle of the Toads as well as the largest and strongest of the three. They are mentored by Professor T.Bird, who pilots their bird-shaped starship, the S.S. Vulture, on their adventures.
The plot of the game is while the Toads are escorting Princess Angelica, daughter of the Terran Emperor, to her home planet, when her and Pimple decide to go for a joyride in a space cruiser. Along the way, they are captured by the Dark Queen and taken to her home planet of Ragnarok. Rash and Zitz embark on a quest to rescue their friends, however, they must first face the forces and minions of the Dark Queen.
Graphics- Many people see Battletoads as a title that pushed the graphical capabilities of the NES to its limits. The backgrounds are well detailed and colorful. One of the most notable features are the various attacks that Rash and Zitz use to finish off an enemy; an enlarge fist, boot, and running headbutt which sprouts a pair of ram horns will send enemies flying off screen to their demise. Enemies consist of axe wielding pigs, fighting rats, plant monsters, even balls of snot. All in all, a good job in the graphical department.
Sound- The game had some very catchy tunes, most which fit their respective levels well. The game is well known for the odd music that plays when you pause the game.
Gameplay- Here is where the game falters the most. Levels range from platforming and fighting enemies, rappelling down a canyon, extremely fast vehicle levels, and races to the finish. The game is DIFFICULT TO THE POINT OF UTTER INSANITY. The Toads are great at dishing out damage, not so much at taking it. Even with a full life bar, many enemies and obstacles will kill you with one shot. Most of the vehicle levels, where you're dodging traps, enemies, and obstacles at high speeds, require some lightning-quick reflexes. For most, it has taken multiple deaths just to commit the stage to memory in order to be successful. The game was released in 1991, and, here in 2012, people that have owned the game before still cannot pass the Turbo Tunnel in stage 3.
You can choose single or cooperative gameplay modes. Player 1 controls Rash, player 2 controls Zitz. Both play identical, however, 2 player mode is unmerciful. For one, you are able to hit and damage each other. It's not hard to perform one of your super moves on an enemy and accidentally whack your teammate, sending him flying across the screen to his death. Also, on the vehicle or race stages, if one player dies, both of you have to start over. Another gripe is that jumps usually have to be lined up and timed precisely; being slightly off will land you in the pits or hazards, and hesitating about where and when to move in the high-speed or race levels usually meets with doom. I actually had more of a problem fighting the level than I did with enemies and bosses.
You only get three continues, and then its back to level 1. Extra lives are strewn about, but they are usually not worth the risks you need to take to get them.
The bosses are tame compared to the effort it takes to reach them.
Once you get their patterns down, they are relatively simple; the last boss, the Dark Queen, included. They're basically push-overs. The ending to the game was rather disappointing considering all you must endure to see it, leaving you with a "I went through all that hell for THIS?" feeling.
Battletoads was one of the last mainstream titles for the NES. It was a great concept which was marred by its insane difficulty, where it has been long regarded as one of the hardest games ever released. Not impossible, but the game is a sure test of patience and determination. If you can beat this without some sort of cheat code or game enhancer, then you are part of a very select few of people, even pro gamers, that can claim they have bested Battletoads.
Rating: 3.0 - Fair
Product Release: Battletoads (US, 06/30/91)
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