Rom Player: NESticle
Reviewer: Dr. Boogie
Synopsis: In the early nineties, there was a rush to discover the newest hit trend for cartoon characters. As a result, numerous TV shows and video games were produced showcasing various animals given human qualities. Most of these shows and games ate it… hard. The most noticeable show was Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The most notable video game characters, however, were the Battletoads. If you own a console system, you’ve probably at least heard the name thrown around somewhere. The original title was ported to the various systems, and a few sequels, as well as a crossover, were made.
Putting the Battletoads experience in terms a neophyte can understand is tricky, but I’ll give it a shot: They are a group of three toad-men who work together under the guidance of a vulture-man to fight evil, presumably. In their universe, however, evil appears in the form of a black-haired, black-clothed, hooker boot-wearing chick call the Dark Queen. In this case, she has kidnapped Pimple, the third and strongest of the Battletoads, and Princess Angelica, of some unnamed family of royalty while they were cavorting about the universe in their small and very car-like spaceship. Then, she takes them to a nearby planet and sends forth the challenge to the vulture-man, who is a professor as it is revealed. The two remaining “’toads,” Zitz and Rash, step up to the plate, shouting a bizarre mixture of slogans and strangely-worded threats. The Dark Queen shouts back that they will have to face off with her two guards: A giant robot with wings named Robo-manus, and a morbidly obese rat-man named Big Blag. With all that said and done, the vulture-man takes the two remaining Battletoads to the nearby planet to deliver beatings here and there.
Right away, the distinction between good and evil animals is made; toads, vultures, and people are good; pigs, rats, and crows are bad. Immediately after that, you’ll notice the one aspect of the Battletoads games that stands out above all else: the growing and transforming of appendages. You see, you deal with most of you foes by beating them furiously. When the time comes for you to deliver the final blow to them, the head or limb used will change into a shape or large version of an object that would bring considerable amounts of pain and bone-crushing agony on the victim. Take, for example, finishing your opponent with a running head butt: upon impact, your head will transform into the head of a mighty ram, and the foe will be thrown back much farther than with a non-fatal blow. It sounds weirder than really it is… No, wait, I take that back, it’s still pretty damned weird.
Beating isn’t the main premise of the game, however. The levels themselves are composed of a variety of different premises. The first occurrence of such variations occurs when you are forced to do battle with a very large robot at the end of stage one. In said battle, you see yourself through the robot’s crosshairs, and you have to dodge its blasts while throwing boulders at it to bring the things crashing to the ground. Among the other types of levels, there are a few racing sequences, some jumping puzzles, and other such similar mini games. They give the game an interesting feel, but some, such as the Turbo Tunnels level, are quite tricky, and can be frustrating at times. After each level, you are treated to a few choice insults that seem to have been written by a ten-year-old and a man who loves puns from the Dark Queen, as well as a little description of the next level. Of course, if the surfer dude dialog doesn’t irritate you enough, you might go insane while trying to figure out how you could be battling snowmen in one level, then surfing in another. Is that a risk you’re willing to take?
Since the format for each level varies so greatly, enemies from one stage may never appear in the game again after said stage. Some stages, in fact, are devoid of enemies so that you can focus all your attention on avoiding the obstacles and spiny things that stick out all over the place. Still, as mentioned, the enemies are mainly evil animal-men types with varying methods for killing you. In one stage, you are lowered via a long cable into a very deep hole, and ravens with particularly large beaks will try to expedite your descent by snipping your line. Still others appear as robots that try to shock you, or in the case of a small variety of Space Invader-esque robots, travel up to the heads up display and swipe little blocks of life from your health bar. Plus, at the end of a few select stages, you will have to duke it out with a boss character with differing methods of attack, usually involving a normal attack and one that will instantly kill you.
Another important aspect of the Battletoads games is the music. Here, you are treated to the original, bass-enriched theme song. Each level gets its own song and, as an added bonus, pausing the game treats you to a short, repetitive song consisting of nothing more than a few sound effects from the game.
The actual sound effects are a bit on the stingy side. Everything is an impact noise, an explosion, or a beep. Still, the game does well with what it has, as the various noises aren’t played so often that they drill flaming holes into your mind.
Now I know what you’re thinking: No flaming holes means no fun. Well, you’re right, but such is not the case here. As difficult as the game can be, is can also be pretty fun. Just try not to pay a lot of attention to the written stuff.
Best Cheats: Extra lives - At the title screen hold Down, A, B, and press Start.
Game Play: 8
Overall Rating: 9
COMMENTS TEMPORARILY DISABLED!
[Come discuss this game on
our Message Forums!]