|Genres||Beat 'em up, platform game|
Electronic Arts (Arcade)
Microsoft Studios (2019-present)
|Creator(s)||Tim and Chris Stamper|
|Platforms||NES, LCD game, Game Boy, Super Nintendo Entertainment System, Sega Master System, Sega Genesis, Sega Game Gear, Amiga CD32, Arcade, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows|
Battletoads is a video game media franchise by Rare that began with the original beat 'em up game Battletoads in 1991. Starring three anthropomorphic toads named after skin conditions, Rash, Zitz, and Pimple, the series was created to rival the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles games series. The series as a whole has been quite popular with five installments up to this date and at its apex spawned an animated television pilot.
The initial Battletoads game for the NES was renowned for its difficulty, but also received a cult following and spawned sequels for various platforms including a crossover with the Double Dragon series. In each of the games, the objective is to defeat the toads' nemesis the Dark Queen and her army of space mutants.
- Battletoads: The Battletoads have to defeat the evil Dark Queen on her planet and rescue their kidnapped partners, Pimple and Princess Angelica. Originally released for the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1991 by RARE (in Japan the game is distributed by Masaya Games, in Europe and USA the game is distributed by Tradewest) and subsequently ported by Mindscape to the Amiga in 1992 (but not released until 1994), by Arc System Works to the Sega Mega Drive/Genesis and Sega Game Gear both in 1993, by Rare to the Game Boy in 1993 (as Battletoads in Ragnarok's World), and by Mindscape to the Amiga CD32 in 1994.
- Battletoads: An LCD game was released by Tiger Electronics in 1991.
- Battletoads (Game Boy): A spinoff of the original NES game. Despite having the same box art and title as the original NES release, it is in fact an entirely different game from the NES version.
- Battletoads in Battlemaniacs: Released in 1993 for the SNES and developed in 1994 for the Sega Master System (but not released until 1996). In this game, Zitz and the daughter of Psicone Industries' CEO have been captured and it is up to Rash and Pimple to save them from the Dark Queen's clutches. Different from the previous games, in this one each character has its own specific abilities and combos. The Player 1 character, Pimple, is the powerhouse, big and with huge range with punches (like his aerial anvil-fist finisher), while the Player 2 character, Rash, is nimble and smaller, fighting using kicking attacks (like his aerial battle axe finisher attack). Aside from cooperative play, a solo player is able to play as Rash by switching to the second controller.
- Battletoads/Double Dragon: A crossover with the characters from the Double Dragon series with liberties taken. The Dark Queen and Shadow Boss team up and five heroes (the three toads, Zitz, Rash and Pimple, and the two Lee brothers, Billy and Jimmy) must stop them. The game allows players full and free choice of playable characters for the first time through a selection screen. Released in 1993 for the NES, Sega Mega Drive/Genesis, SNES and Game Boy.
- Battletoads Arcade: An arcade game released in 1994, also known as Super Battletoads. The arcade game, unlike the other games, featured voiceovers and several other features that distinguish it from the other games, such as an increased level of violence (players could bloodily decapitate some of their enemies with specific attacks). It follows the Battletoads in Battlemaniacs updated formula of each character having his own design and specific abilities and combos, but this time featuring the three toads, Zitz, Rash and Pimple, as selectable characters. While Rash is kept as the nimble and smaller character and Pimple as the powerhouse, Zitz is represented as the intermediate and balanced character. Also, during vehicle levels, combat is emphasized rather than memorizing and avoiding obstacles.
- Battletoads (2019): An Xbox One and Microsoft Windows exclusive developed by DLaLa Studios. It will feature 3-player multiplayer, and high resolution hand-drawn 4K 2.5D graphics.
A canceled sequel/remake game was being developed for the Game Boy Advance. In 2013, Phil Spencer from Microsoft's Xbox team mentioned his fondness for Battletoads while asking the fans what Rare games should be brought back for the Xbox One. On November 10, 2014, "Battletoads" was re-trademarked in the United States. Spencer appeared publicly in a Battletoads T-shirt in January 2015, just days after Microsoft Studios' Ken Lobb (creator of 2013's Killer Instinct reboot) said they have plans to bring it and the other classic Rare series back "someday".
The Battletoads appear in a bonus boss encounter in the Xbox One and PC versions of Shovel Knight. Battletoads and Battletoads Arcade are included in Rare Replay, a compilation of 30 Rare games released for the Xbox One in 2015. Rash appears in the Xbox One and Windows fighting game Killer Instinct as a playable guest character for the game's third season.
At E3 2018, Microsoft announced a new game that will feature three-player couch co-op and 4K hand-drawn 2.5D graphics. It set for release in 2019 on Windows and Xbox One.
Battletoads: The Official Battlebook, the Tradewest-authorized guide to the Battletoads console games, was written by Steve Schwartz and published in 1994 by Prima Publishing. Detailed playing tips, strategies, and secrets were provided for the following games: Battletoads (NES and Genesis), Battletoads in Battlemaniacs (Super NES), and Battletoads/Double Dragon (NES, Genesis, and Super NES).
|Created by||Tim and Chris Stamper (original characters)|
|Written by||David Wise|
|Directed by||Kent Butterworth|
Ian James Corlett
|Theme music composer||
|Country of origin||
Mark A. McNally|
|Running time||22 minutes|
|Original release||November 1992|
Battletoads spun off a half-hour animated television special produced by DIC Entertainment in an attempt to capitalize on the popularity of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (DiC would try this again later on when producing Street Sharks and Extreme Dinosaurs). Intended as the pilot for a full-fledged series, the special aired in syndication in the United States on the weekend of Thanksgiving 1992. It was never picked up for a series however, despite comic-style ads in GamePro magazine claiming otherwise. A VHS tape with the pilot was released in the United States on January 15, 1994. While no DVD edition has surfaced, the pilot got an official YouTube release on August 5, 2014 on Retro Gaming Shows (which later changed its name to WildBrain Super Heroes), a YouTube channel run by the Canadian company DHX Media, which owns DIC's cartoon library today.
The story served as a prequel to the video game franchise. Set in Oxnard, California, it stars three junior high schoolers. The trio is given the ability to transform into anthropomorphic toads with superhuman strength and the ability to change their arms and legs into weapons in techniques called "Smash Hits". They are charged with protecting Professor T. Bird and Princess Angelica from the Dark Queen, who wants to steal Angelica's magical amulet for her plans of universal conquest.
The cartoon was adapted and written by David Wise (Wise has no relation to the Battletoads video games composer of the same name, but was the main writer of the 1987 TMNT TV cartoon series). A comic with the backstory of Battletoads, written by Rare employee Guy Millar, was also published in Nintendo Power.
In 2010, Game Informer included Battletoads among ten gaming franchises that deserve a revival, and precisely, "a true HD sequel". In 2012, Forbes listed it as one of five video game franchises "that need to come back from the dead", adding that a modern Battletoads "should retain its side-scroller qualities while adopting the 2.5D style" similar to Mark of the Ninja. The series' return was also demanded by other outlets, including Complex, Maxim and GameRevolution.
On the other hand, the animated version of Battletoads was very badly received. It was included on the lists of five "worst one-shot TV cartoons ever made" by Topless Robot in 2008 and eight "awful TV shows that were clearly doomed to fail" by WhatCulture in 2013.
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