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Old School Games: Battletoads

I love Battletoads. What many would write off as a Ninja Turtles clone is actually one of the all time classic games series. The first in that series is today's old school game. Would you like to know more?

Awesome title screen. Catchy music. Frogs in space. This is the original NES Battletoads.

I first rented this game when it came out from my old comic book/video rental shop. The memories of that place I have are priceless, but one that stands out is picking up Battletoads. I was around four years old. Even then I could tell I was playing something classic.

In Battletoads, you play as one of the three Battletoads. One green with sunglasses, one green without and a larger orange one. You battle your way through some of the most awesome stages. Each stage is different from the last one, but Battletoads would mostly fall into the beat em up genre. When you beat someone in Battletoads, your final hit in a combo turns your arms or legs into a big weapon and knocks them off the screen.

Level 1 is your standard beat em up. Left to right with minimal platform jumping.Fight against different colored pig guys and these walking stickleg robots. One thing that stands out for an nes game is the ability to pick up stickleg robots legs as weapons after you kill him. You also are able to ride on the back of a flying enemy and shoot fireballs. The boss of this level is especially cool. Instead of seeing the boss, you see the Battletoads from its perspective. You run around dodging bullets until he shoots a ball at you. Pick that up and throw it into the screen, his face, breaking the window. Never played anything like before. I was and still am impressed by the first level.

Here is the first boss battle:

Level 2 is you riding down a chasm on a wire. Birds, robots, and venus flytraps await you as enemies in this level. Whats really cool is that one of the birds you fight you can take his beak after you kill him. Whats really not cool is he can kill you in one hit. You can also bounce dead birds against the wall five times for extra men and believe me you will NEED them for level three. There isn't a boss, just these really annoying robots. They put out an electricity line that can be tricky to maneuver around. Very do able, just tricky.

The problem with Battletoads is the third stage is almost impossible. You go back to regular beat em up style, but there are these giant gaps in between platforms. Not exactly easy jumps to clear either. You can also move to far up or down and walk right of your platform. Then you get on a hover bike and the game changes completely. Everything moves fast and you have to clear gigantic gaps. Again, do able, but tough. Then little walls start showing up and if you so much as nudge one: you're dead back the start of the level. Three lives. Three continues.

Whats worse is that this isn't the only level like that. Two other stages with even more brutal scrolling are awaiting your challenge, as well as other beat em up stage. Are you a bad enough dude? I wanted to find a video and I found this guy beating all three of the "tough" levels. With two players.

I don't know if that's tool assisted or what, but it is amazing to watch. Especially considering where I got killed this morning. I was so frustrated I quit playing.

That is as far as I got this morning. Level 3 beat me, again. I missed the jump by less than quarter inch. I love Battletoads, but I hate that darn third level! I've beaten it but it was only after playing nothing but this game for days. Writing down the pattern. Making up a song in my head to remember it. Memorizing the patterns on that third stage is the only way to beat it legitimately, since you can use level warps, and even then it takes an amount of luck because of how fast everything scrolls. I also don't think I could EVER do it with a second player. When either player dies you both go back to the start. Also you can hit each other causing damage in all the levels.

Still a must own NES game. One of developer Rare's great old school games. A genesis remake of the first Battletoads is available. Same level design, just more detailed graphics. There are four sequels that I know of. The multiplatform Battletoads & Double Dragon. The near unbeatable super nintendo Battletoads: in Battlemaniacs. And an awesome arcade beat em up called "Super Battletoads." If you want more information on the series, here is a good fan site with plenty more information.

I for one would love a new Battletoads, especially with a hard level. Yes, even one as brutal as stage 3 was. How do you guys feel about Battletoads? Is its difficulty what makes it such a classic? The music and characters maybe? I think its a combination of all those elements. Also the box art has to be put into that equation. A giant muscle bound Battletoad is choking a mouse.

Just as a goof, I counted how many times I said "Battle" and Toads together. I intentionally tried to say it as much as possible. Final count: 17 times not counting the title.
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About randombullseyeone of us since 5:44 PM on 07.05.2008

"I am hoping that I can be known as a great writer and actor some day, rather than a sex symbol." - Words of wisdom from the deity Steven Seagal

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