One of the NES' most famous games, for two reasons. First, it is
one of the few NES titles that manages to combine several different
gameplay elements into one game, and do it well. Secondly, and
as all reviews of the 'Toads game invariably mention, this game
is tough. Extremely tough.
The first level and its respective
boss. I wouldn't be surprised if it inspired the first Shredder
fight in TMNT4: Turtles in Time.
At its core, Battletoads plays like a side-scrolling brawler,
pitting you (and optionally a second player) against the Dark Queen's
armies of pigs, rats, dragons, machines, and other such nasties.
However, this element takes a back seat to the fact that the game
mainly consists of "obstacle courses" that must be cleared with leaps
and careful timing. Perhaps the most famous of these is the
"Speedway" level, where you must pilot a hover-bike through a variety
of jumps and walls at high speeds while avoiding crashing. I say
"famous" because this is about as far as many who have played the game
have managed to get without cheating.
Zoomin' through a tunnel at 900 MPH
dodging walls and jumping pits.
The game features some pretty impressive graphical effects. Of
particular note is the rotating tower in the final level, where the
tower appears to actually physically rotate due to clever use of
animation and shading. Also notable in most of the speedway
stages is the "parallax" effect, where the background and the area
you're interacting with move seperately. Very well done for a
game. These screenshots don't do the effects justice.
The above stage is another take on the "speedway" level, but a bit
easier. You ride a surfboard down a river, leaping logs and
whirlpools and avoiding explosive mines. There is a short break
from this action in the middle of the level to fight a mini-boss, a fat
rat named Big Blag who likes to leap into the air and crush you on the
Jumping puzzle, followed by a fight
with some rats, followed by dodging some lightning barriers on a flying
speedway, all in one level.
One of the game's more sadistic levels. Here you swim (and fly)
through spikes, outrun crushing gears, and occasionally face an enemy,
nearly all of which in the stage can take you out in a single
particular note are the rubber ducks, which look innocent but can bash
into you if you get too close to their face, and one hit will be
enough to kill you. Your best bet for
these things is to jump over them and punch them from behind.
Not pictured: Rat Race, featuring three races against a brutally fast
rat down a large corridor peppered with traps. Beat him to the
bomb at the bottom and you live; lose and you get blown up.
Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you what is possibly the most
hair-pullingly hard level in any video game, the Clinger Winger.
The premise is simple; you ride on a small wheel, and must outrun a
electrical ball that is hot on your heels by pressing the Directional
pad in the direction the course's track takes you. Yes, it's
simple, but by no means is it anything resembling easy. The ball
easy outclasses you in speed on the straight-aways; your only saving
grace is that you take corners faster than it, and only then if you
manage to press and hold the "new" direction as soon as the wheel makes
the turn. The fact that there are easily 60 to 70 turns in the
stage only drives home the fact that you'd better have lightning-fast
reflexes and not make any mistakes, or you'll be seeing the beginning
of the stage very often.
You're not in the clear once you're off the cycle, either - you still
have to fight the ball. It fights a bit like Blag, bounding into
the air and landing on you. Use your headbutts whenever there's
an opening, and keep moving while it's bouncing around so it can't land
on your head or
After a long road, you come to the final stage, the Revolution.
The entire stage takes place on a revolving tower, which you must scale
while hopping platforms and fighting enemies. This level is quite
a pain, since it's long and one slip-up can send you back quite some
distance, but it's a welcome break after the brutally difficult Rat
Race and Clinger Winger stages. The trick here is to time your
jumps carefully, and be sure to land squarely on each platform - the
hit detection is a bit touchy if you just hit the edge.
At the top is the Dark Queen, which, considering
all the trouble you went through to reach her, is a pretty
underwhelming fight. Well, I won't complain about a break after
so many tough stages.
The two player game seems like it would alleviate some of the game's
difficulty, but this isn't really the case. If anything, it makes the
game harder! For starters, players
are more than capable of harming one another with attacks, which can
get hairy in boss fights if you're both charging at the boss and end up
headbutting one another instead of him. Secondly, Rare decided to
end the game
for both players if one loses all of their lives, which means if you're
just about at the end of a stage and your buddy misses a jump, you'll
have to repeat the entire stage due to his mistake. Ouch.
-The headbutt attacks (press B in
mid-dash) are your best means of striking enemies and keeping them at
bay to minimize harm to
yourself. Use them often.
-Use the walker legs whenever possible. The damage they inflict
is equivalent to a headbutt, but the range is better.
-Memorize the layout of the "speedway" stages. It will make
things a lot easier.
-Whenever you find an area where you can potentially gather several
1-Ups, be sure to do so.
Probably the best placs for this is Wookie Hole, where you can
bounce crows by kicking them or hitting them with a blade, gathering
points and 1-UPs for each successful bounce.
Another good place is in the Terra Tubes. After the second "gear"
section, there are fish situated near a 1-UP - grab the 1-UP, hit the
fish for points,
then hit some spikes to kill yourself. If you grab the 1-UP
each time, you should be able to do this indefinitely. Repeat until you
gather several extra lives from points, then collect the1-UP and move
on. (Thanks to Mark J. Popp's FAQ for this idea)
-If you pause the game as soon as you hit a corner during the Clinger
Winger, you can hold the direction of the turn and unpause to
immediately turn in that direction. This will make the stage
significantly easier. Thanks to Doug Peel's hint sheet for this.
-There is a bug in the Clinger Winger stage that renders the second
player unable to move. If you get there with two players, you
must let Player 2 die off, then Player 1 must finish the stage alone to
move on. Player 2 can rejoin at the beginning of the next stage.
You'll need a lot of practice to see everything 'Toads has to offer,
but it offers a lot in the way of a good game to play.