Battletoads (arcade game)
Arcade flyer of Battletoads
|Genre(s)||Beat 'em up, platformer|
|CPU||TMS34020 @ 32MHz
Z80 @ 6MHz
|Sound||BSMT2000 @ 24MHz|
512 x 224 pixels
60Hz refresh rate
256 color palette
Battletoads, also known as Super Battletoads, is a 1994 arcade game developed by Rare and published by Electronic Arts. It is considerably darker in its theme and far more graphic than the other games in the Battletoads series. It is the only Battletoads game not released for home systems, as a work on the SNES port was started but then canceled. It is also the only game in the series where all three Battletoads can fight on screen at once, as well as the only one besides the Game Boy title where Dark Queen is not the final boss.
Gameplay and plot
As usual in the series, the Battletoads attempt to once again thwart the Dark Queen's latest galaxy dominating plans. It is different from the console Battletoads games in numerous ways, the most notable being that it is a three-player game and all three of the 'Toads can be selected and played at once. This version is also more of a scrolling fighter than the console games, which had far more emphasis on gimmick/vehicle stages.
The players can select the 'Toad they want to play as (the only other game to have all three as selectable characters was Battletoads and Double Dragon). Each one of them is unique in certain ways; for example, Pimple's attacks are slower than the others but deal more damage, and Zitz's attacks are able to take out a wider group of enemies. Every stage in the game starts with the 'Toads receiving a threatening call from the stage's boss.
Notably, the Battletoads arcade game features much more graphic content and violence as compared to the home platformers in the series. Every landed attack causes a visible splatter of blood, and some enemies can be bloodily decapitated, or made to explode into red goo. The game also contains some very crude humor.
The game's first level is Stage 1: Protect the Starship! which begins in space on one of the Dark Queen's space battleships, with many others firing in the distance. Being the beginning of the game, this stage is a simple, straightforward fight against the various rat and pig enemies. The boss at the end is General Slaughter, who can kick the 'Toads off the screen and out of a life, though the 'Toads can do the same to him.
Stage 2: Ice Cave is set in an icy cavern with new rat enemies and environment hazards. The boss of this stage is Karnath the Serpent (presumably the ruler of the snakes from the Snake Pit stages of previous games), who lurks in the deepest areas of the cavern and makes attempts to eat the 'Toads; upon his defeat, Karnath is violently decapitated.
Stage 3: The Dark Queen's Battleship is set on the Queen's main space battleship where more new types of rats appear, including the clones of General Vermin, and the 'Toads will have to watch out for the jet burners and incoming enemy aircraft. The boss of the stage is not the Queen herself (whose holographic presence in it is merely for fan service purpose), but rather Scuzz in the Robo-Rat mechanical armor. After defeating the Robo-Rat, a bonus stage begins in which the 'Toads must destroy its spacecraft as fast as possible, similar to the bonus stage in Street Fighter II.
Stage 4: The Cave Pit is a downfall level similar in concept to the "Wookie Hole" stage of the original Battletoads game and other similar stages. Using jetpacks, the 'Toads must descend into the pit and fight off incoming enemies. During this stage, the player can unleash a screen-clearing Super Smash Attack. This level has no boss.
Stage 5: The Dark Queen's Mansion takes the 'Toads down a long hallway in which nearly every type of enemy from earlier in the game appears and must be defeated. At the end awaits Big Blag, who attacks with powerful stomps and can increase his size to flatten the 'Toads.
Stage 6: The Final Confrontation is the final level of the game and its gameplay is completely different from any previous part of the game, for it adapts the gameplay of a shooter rather than a beat 'em up and the 'Toads must shoot enemies from on top a spacecraft; in addition to the return of the Super Smash Attack, the 'Toads can collect other power-ups to utilize different weapons, such as a flamethrower. The stage takes the 'Toads across the sky and through an enemy fortress before reaching the final boss, Robo-Manus. When Robo-Manus dies, he shoots down the 'Toads spacecraft in a final blow, sending the trio crashing onto a nearby planet. Fortunately, they survive unharmed (being the heroes of the game), and quickly return to the Vulture thanks to their teleporters which they just happened to bring along.
The game was generally very well received by critics. A retrospective article by Tony Ponce in Destructoid called it the most unique entry in the Battletoads series, also highlighting its high levels of mature content ("a precursor to the beloved brand of toilet humor that made Conker's Bad Fur Day a cult classic") and violence. Ponce criticized the game's gameplay formula as less varied than in its predecessors, but added: "But then I remember that this is motherfuckin' Battletoads in the motherfuckin' arcade and everything is all right again." HonestGamers called the game "exactly what the franchise should have been from the beginning", rating it 8/10 ("excellent"). In 2013, it was ranked as the 11th top beat 'em up video game of all time by Heavy.com and included among the best looking beat 'em up games from the 16-bit era by Kotaku Australia. According to Retro Gamer, this "bombastic, colorful, well-designed and unmistakably Rare" was "easily as good as anything coming from the stables of Konami and Sega at the time" as it "had personality, great combat, and plenty of funny moments," as well as being "incredibly" gory, "like an episode of Itchy & Scratchy." They described it as "in our opinion, the best game in the series, and a tragedy that no home conversion saw release."
- Battletoads Retrospective | What happened to Rare's popular hardcore beat-'em-up, IGN, January 13, 2009.
- The Forgotten: Battletoads on the go and in the arcades, Destructoid, 09.25.2009.
- Retro Gamer 86, page 82.
- BattleToads review (Arcade), HonestGamers, January 26, 2008.
- "The Top 25 Beat 'Em Up Video Games - Part 2". HEAVY. 2013-05-02. Retrieved 2013-07-31.
- "The Best Looking Beat ‘em Up Games From The 16-Bit Era | Kotaku Australia". Kotaku.com.au. 2013-03-13. Retrieved 2013-07-31.