The story goes that one day while the biggest and toughest Battletoad (Pimple), was taking Princess Angelica out for a spin in the toadster the evil Dark Queen ambushes them and takes them to Ragnarok’s world - the Queens home planet.
The remaining toads, Rash and Zitz have to beat everything up that stands in their way and rescue their friends. Far from being the dull side scrolling fighter that this game could so easily have turned into, Rare and Tradewest have made sure that it is something different and fresh.
While the first level keeps the classic side scrolling fighter format, from then on each level offers something new. Level two has our heroic toads being lowered down a tunnel having to jump from side to side to avoid obstacles and enemies while Level three has you jumping chasms on speeder bikes, and the next level (if you make it), is a more standard platform affair, each level offering a different twist taking the game away from constant repetitive button bashing.
Graphically superb, everything is well animated and presented extremely well. The toads themselves offer different facial expressions from time to time, for instance having their jaws drop to the floor and eyes pop out when a huge monster arrives on the scene. Enemies differ from level to level but are repetitive in their respective worlds with only a handful of different creatures per stage. But this slight lack of variety is more than made up for by the shear quality the game overall.
The Game plays well, although there are areas in the game when the limitations of your toad become far too apparent. During fights you could not ask for better controls, and while they simply consist of hitting one button continuously the attacks vary from level to level - in one the toad may hit the enemy with a huge fist while another will see him knocking him into the ground before kicking the enemy away like a living football. What lets the game down is when you are required to perform precision jumps, with the game being set in a multi-levelled playing field it is hard to judge the depth of the field often meaning a fall to an untimely death.
Another problem with the game is the insane difficulty level, unusual for Rare games the difficulty curve for Battletoads is extremely unforgiving and in fact if you manage to get past the third level without using a warp then I would be very surprised. But strangely, the difficulty of the game adds to the overall charm and though you will die over and over again you will find yourself returning for one more go.
Battletoads is a charming and fun filled game, which for a moment in time kept the mighty toads at the top of the gaming pile. Alas, along with many other characters from the creative minds of Rare the Toads never made it past the sixteen bit generation. Although we doubt a new version would have the same sort of charm it would still make a unique experience for the modern gamer. Until the day the Toads rule again this serves as a good reminder that it was not all Mario and Sonic back in the good old days.