As I’ve alluded to in the past, video games from the 80’s were weird. Most of those game couldn’t hold a candle to the weirdness that’s in Battletoads.

The story goes something like this: There’s this group of anthropomorphic toads, Rash, Zitz, and Pimple (yes, they’re named after skin disorders), who are led by an anthropomorphic bird, that are dedicated to defeating the forces of evil. Evil in this case being Silas Volkmire (some weird skull-headed thing, he doesn’t actually appear in this game), the Dark Queen (who looks kind of like Elvira) and their army that consists of Psyko-Pigs, giant rats, and other assorted riffraff. Anyway, Pimple, the largest Battletoad, and Princess Angelica, the princess of… something are out for a cruise in a space car and they get kidnapped by Evil. It’s then up to the two remaining ‘Toads to go down to the planet, beat the Evil into a smear on the landscape and rescue the kidnappees.

With me so far? Excellent.

It’s up to you to take the remaining ‘Toads, who for the purposes of this game happen to look identical save for slightly differing shades of skin tone (one’s a greenish-brown and the other’s brownish-green), through a series of levels with wildly differing themes, goals, and objectives, that are each more impossible than the last. I’m not kidding, this game is unforgivingly, brutally, controller-smashingly hard. It’s partially due to the fact that each level is very different, but it’s mostly due to the various forms of Insta-Death(tm) sprinkled around every level coupled with your paltry allotment of extra lives.

By now you’re probably wondering why anyone would want to play this game. Aside from the engrossing story, varied gameplay, and strangely alluring antagonist. I can think of two reasons: bragging rights, and cartoon violence.

Bragging rights is a given. Being able to make more than a modicum of progress in this game is reason enough to make all but the most modest gamers pound their chest in victory. The real reason (read “the reason I played the game) is the cartoon violence.

The Battletoads have an assortment of ‘finishing moves’ that they can use to deal varying forms of pain to the armies of miscellaneous badness that you have to slog through. Hands that turn into giant fists, feet that turn into giant boots, and having your character turn into a giant wrecking ball injects a little bit of silliness into what is otherwise a game that is an exercise in frustration.

One Response to “Battletoads”

  1. [...] decided long ago that I just wasn’t hardcore enough to finish the original Battletoads game. Why, then, would [...]

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