Phil Spencer – head of Microsoft’s Xbox division and t-shirt aficionado – wore a shirt with the Battletoads logo at a Windows 10 press conference earlier today. Of course, this achieved the desired goal of setting the internet ablaze. But in all this fervor I have to wonder: Do we need a new Battletoads game?
I’m certain that some of you are confused as to what Battletoads is to begin with. So here’s a brief history lesson: In 1991, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was really popular. In fact, you could say that their popularity was insurmountable. That didn’t stop the plucky young developers at Rare from trying to topple the king. They released a beat-em-up titled Battletoads starting the titular heroes – Rash, Zitz, and Pimple – punching the living crap out of things in their isometric plane of existence. The game sold fairly well, and was ported to a multitude of systems, as well as spawning two sequels. Not only that, but there were plans for an animated series following the adventures of the titular toads.
To this day, their memory lives on in the hearts of retro gaming enthusiasts and internet meme-ers alike. What these two groups of people tend to forget is how astoundingly terrible Battletoads is. Sure, everyone remembers it being incredibly hard. But they don’t remember is why it was hard. It wasn’t because of tricky enemies or little health. No, it was because of the terrible design decisions that ruin almost every part of the game. For example, it’s a co-op beat-em-up where you can hurt and kill the other player, and vice versa. In the fervor of battle, do you really want to stop fighting for fear of hurting the other person? No, because that’s not fun. Another example: the perspective makes a certain famous speeder portion impossible. The problem with this section isn’t how fast it is, as many say. It’s the fact that you can’t place yourself spatially within the environment. Why would you ever have a 3D perspective for something like this?
Even the cartoon was a failure in design and execution. It had one episode, which has been included among the worst one-off cartoons of all time. It’s quite obvious that the concept itself doesn’t play well. Hell, the characters are named after gross skin disorders. And while I understand and allow that it’s a relic of the nineties, I ask what business these characters have on modern consoles.
Am I crazy? Am I the only one who thought Battletoads was terrible and deserved to be left in the 90s? …anybody?
Image credit: The Verge