Battletoads & Double Dragon. Rare (1994) Super Nintendo

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Welcome to the “Matt bought me some games when in America and now I have to play them” series.

In a parallel universe both the Battletoad and Double Dragon series are considered easy. Due to this, some cretinous twonk decided they needed to combine the two to create a singular entity that would be so tough that anyone who could beat it would be deemed supreme leader and master of the universe.

Difficulty

Fuck It, I am going to be “that” gaming “journalist” and whinge about the obscene difficulty. This isn’t being unable to figure out an air dash to beat the tutorial, this is getting my head kicked in on level 1-2 and a boss that won’t stop air punching to let you attack it.

 

 

 

Seriously, the game is fucking bullshit. You get ZERO recovery time and enemies will stand either side of you and simply whale away at your health until you’re dead. If you are not pixel perfect in launching your spam punch “combo” the enemy will spam punch combo you. They do this once and you’re on your arse, and if there is more than one enemy they will stand either side of you and endlessly murder you. You can’t escape. It is bullshit. The only way to escape is use the brief invincibility frames you get when you start a new life. Or have pixel perfect timing.

It is not exactly a looker this game…

BTDD feels all over the place and this comes from the desire to almost perfectly weight the game 50/50 Battletoads and Double Dragon. I have a message for you early 90s game developer, even in 1993 we didn’t especially want more Double Dragon. That is why the series died a deserved death. But here I am playing It, so I’ll persist.

Still pretty ugly looking

Level 5 is adds more instadeath bullshit, but this is where the fighting starts to become easier and much more fun. Enemies start displays obvious attacks, but crucially they they lack the invulnerability frames and this starts to work in your favour. Unlike say, Golden Axe and it’s stun lock, here you can whomp the enemy as soon as they stand up. If you never let up punching you can cheap kill a boss or bigger enemy without any worry.

Finally, level 7 is just a final boss fight and since I clearly cheated to beat each level when I beat the boss I got a “You cheated do it again without cheating” message.

Errr, no. I beat you. No way do I have the patience to learn the timing to play this properly.

I can’t tell a difference between the characters except the moveset is different if you human or a toad

Gameplay

BTDD is a beat ’em up so you walk left to right and punch things. Some levels have you on a fixed plane, some pseudo-3d, one is on a  jetbike, one has you abseiling downwards, and two levels are an awkward horizontal scrolling shooter.

It means BTDD has a shit tonne of level variety and actually makes up for the difficulty with almost each level being it’s own minigame.

Not the most interesting level, but at least there is variety in levels

Story

Couldn’t tell you. I skipped all the cutscenes. For some reason the Battletoads have teamed up with Jimmy and Billy from Double Dragon. Likewise the bad guys from both franchises have teamed up. The Dark Queen is a bit on the sexy side. Shit wait, that might count as sexual harassment in the workplace.

She’s a Kileeeeeerrrrr Queen…

Music

Oh Lord the music is awesome. Go listen to it!

Conclusion

I wanted to hate BTDD, it is insanely hard and frankly unfair in how your timing needs to be spot on. However, I just used the 10 lives cheat, and warped when I gameovered so I could see each level, and all the levels are fun.

The difficulty is all over the place with the final level being easiest and the 1st being most difficult. Some people will like the difficulty, some will have twitch reflexes and not have issues with the pixel perfect timing. But the rest of us can and should cheat to at least experience it.

It means I don’t know how to score it. So here goes…

Uuhm,

A solid

70%

Pros: Actually fun if you cheat, awesome music, excellent mission variety.

Cons: Unfairly hard

Back in the Day:

BTDD scored well at release averaging between 80-90%, it also won numerous slightly odd awards like best Villain, best controls, and best theme from Nintendo Power.

Also release on NES, Sega Genesis and Gameboy between 1993 and 1994.

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