Battletoads

September 27th, 2007 by J. Spiffyman

GIANT FIST-FIGHTING SPACE TOADS!!!

And if that wasn’t enough to make you keep reading, then this game is not for you. Battletoads is a retro fighting adventure game that features surprising variety, a massive difficulty curve, and anthropomorphic toads for main characters. The story is so generic it’s not worth mentioning, so you can pretty much skip right to things punching things.

The game is a side-scrolling beat-‘em-up…mostly. Some levels have depth, allowing you to move up and down the screen as well as left and right, but the majority of levels are pure 2D. The real wealth of this game lies in the impressive diversity of level types. You’ll get basic side-scrolling action, platforming levels, racing levels, obstacle courses, and even one where you’re swinging on a rope down a giant pit. Each level has it’s own unique visual style and challenges, and just when you think you’ve seen all the stage could possibly offer, the game brings out something new. It’s a true smörgåsbord of old-school gaming from the word go.

…Perhaps TOO much of a smörgåsbord. Simply put, this…game…is…HARD! Levels 1 and 2 are more or less a walk in the park, but from Level 3 onwards the difficulty is like hitting a brick wall. There are 4 sequences where you’re on a vehicle dodging obstacles, and you’ve pretty much got to memorize every single pattern on the track, because it’s a one-hit kill if you miss. The demonic “race” level requires speeds worthy of a gaming master to complete, rushing down a elevator shaft of fast switchbacks in an attempt to beat your enemy opponent to the bomb. When you run into bosses, expect them to be in levels that are already too hard, and expect them to have attacks as cheap as all get-out. You only get three lives per continue and three continues per game, with a rare chance at extra lives, so don’t expect to get very far your first time…or your tenth time…or your fiftieth time. And guess what? No saving or passwords; you play the game from scratch every time. It’s no wonder this game is often considered one of the most difficult games of all time.

The challenge aside, it’s still an amazing game. The graphics are beautiful for 8-bit and use the NES colors to the fullest. The character animations are a great blend of coolness and cartoons; you’re sure to get a kick out of the plethora of different attacks the ‘toads have. How does a kick with a foot the size of your body sound? Or how about turning into a wrecking ball for a one-hit kill move?

And yes, this game even has multiplayer. Two-person simultaneous multiplayer is a pure blast, considering that team damage is always on. You can waste plenty of lives just playing “Super Smash Toads” with a friend, and even though it’s counter-productive, you can’t deny that it’s fun. With two people playing together, the beat-em-up levels become slightly easier while everything else gets harder exponentially. If you thought dodging flying bricks on a space bike was hard before, let’s see two people do it at the same time! You’ll need exceptional teamwork and synchronization to get far in two-player mode, but whether you’re doing good or bad, you’ll definitely be having fun.

Battletoads spans a surprising game length of 12 levels, and just getting that far will take you untold hours, not to mention the time you’ll spend trying the same tasks in two-player. But if you can get past the immense difficulty of it (which is in a way refreshing with all the easy games around today), then you’ve got a solid game on your hands. If you can find it, get it, period.

****½

Screenshots* (click the thumbnails for a larger version) :

battletoads-1.png battleto-snap.gif battletoads_04.gif

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Posted in Nintendo Entertainment System (NES)

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