Let’s take a trip back to 1994. A year that was designated as the “International Year of the Family” and the “International Year of Sport” by the United Nations (ahh Wikipedia what would I do without you). Why you may ask are we traveling in our way-back machine to this magical time? Battletoads that’s why! Yes my friends those lovable toads finally got their chance to shine in true arcade from. Battletoads was one of developers Rares earlier games and graced many systems including the Nintendo Entertainment System, Sega Genesis/Mega Drive, Game Gear, Amiga, and that magic wonder machine the Amiga CD32. It was a quite successful title and spun off a number of sequels on various systems. Fast forward to 1994 when it was brought into arcade’s in a beautiful display of violence and toadieness. Im not sure if thats a word but i’ll go with it since I enjoy how it sounds.
You have your choice of three playable characters. Rash who was once a human computer technician named Dave Shar before he was transformed into a Battletoad. Zitz who was once a bespectacled human computer technician named Morgan Ziegler before he was transformed. Last we have Pimple a muscular comput……… you get the general idea. Not Oscar worthy stuff here but what the hell its an arcade game not The English Patient. The big difference in the arcade version besides of course the better graphics of its console counterparts is the sweet sweet violence. Blood ran freely and with the use of certain attacks you could take a bad guys head right off. Decapitation of deformed cartoon animals was quite satisfying as a young child growing up.
Even at that time when this game was released it reminded me of the various Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles games, most notably Turtles in Time which isn’t a bad considering Turtles in Time was one of the best “Beat Em Ups” ever made. You could kick downed opponents off the edge and watch as they slam into the screen with a nice foot print left from where you kicked them. The game also had some very nice voice over work and amusing mission briefing screens. You had a nice cast of baddies including your standard giant deformed rats along with overly fat pigs who are quite agile despite their size.
Weapons were available and added to the fun by letting you smash bad guys into pancakes. This was a pretty cool feature and for years I thought it was an accurate depiction of what would happen if I were to be struck with large objects on the head. Battletoads was pretty over the top but one thing I did find that made sense was that the toads ate flies to regain their health (thats how nature works, right?). In the various turtles games they had pizza which I only have recently come to find out does not actually replenish the health of real life turtles.
I suppose the chicken legs and meat on a stick that you get in games like Final Fight and the like work the same way but we all know those games aren’t real. Come on, a wrestler turned Mayor kicking major ass can never ever, ever, ever happen…….
Your toads are able to grab certain bad guys by the crotch and punch them into submission. A move that only gets more hillarious with age, just like a fine wine. Some rat enemies throw up after being knocked to the ground before turning into a pile of bones. At the end of each level you have your standard point score with the words Korpse Kount as a tally along with various commendations for each player.
There are a total of six bosses to contend with in the game each with different attacks and comical taunts before each level. You have General Slaughter no relation to the Sergeant) who is quite muscular and tries to gore you to death. Hmm, maybe there is a relation after all. Each time you knock him out he loses some teeth and his animation gets bloodier which is a fantastic touch. Karnath with his snake like appearance and giant fangs. When he bites you enough blood squirts out of you to fill a months quota at the local blood bank. The very same can bee said of Karnath when you chop of his head.
Scuzz who piolts a giant robot rat that is quite annoying to deal with and Big Blag who grows in size until you pop him. The final boss here is not the Dark Queen as with other Battletoads games, but instead is Robo Manus. It’s one of the coolest and most entertaining boss fights that I can remember simply for the fact that its so gruesome and bloody, at least by 1994 standards.
If you can find this game in one of the “many” arcade establishments left id suggest a play through with some friends. You can never go wrong with amphibian on mammal violence.