Surreal, there’s almost no other word for it — Studio Retroware has announced that it is producing a side-scrolling beat-’em-up based on short-lived ’90s cartoon Toxic Crusaders. The Tromatastic release is expected to ooze on PC and consoles in late-2023, and is already price-tagged at $24.99.
Still one of the most baffling children’s adaptations of all time, Toxic Crusaders is an animated spin-off of the extremely violent and thoroughly bad-taste Toxic Avenger movies — a series launched by Lloyd Kaufman and Michael Herz’ notorious New York studio, Troma Productions. “Toxie” is a superhero born after bullied nerd Melvin Junko falls into a barrel of toxic waste, emerging as a physically deformed, eye-gouging, arm-ripping vigilante. The films are notable for their avalanche of sex and violence, featuring scripts that are packed with outrageously offensive characters and jokes.
And thus, in 1991, TMNT producer Fred Wolf picked up the license for a children’s TV show.
The Toxic Crusaders video game will see one-to-four players select from a meaty ‘n’ mutated roster of seven characters — including Toxie, girlfriend Yvonne, humanoid dog Junkyard, and surfing scientist Headbanger — before heading into the streets of Tromaville to clean out its pollution-lovin’ villains. Toxic Crusaders will feature classic arcade brawler action, a newly recorded score, full voice acting, motion-comic cutscenes, and cameos from other denizens of the Troma universe, including Poultrygeist and Sgt. Kabukiman N.Y.P.D.
While I’m still kind of reeling from this bizarre news, I have to admit that if the aftermath of TMNT: Shredder’s Revenge means we’re to be inundated with beat-’em-up love letters to ’90s shows, then I’m here for it.
Toxic Crusaders launches late-2023 on PlayStation, PC, Xbox, and Nintendo Switch platforms.