Developed by Rare / Arc SystemWorks
Published by Trade West / Sega
Release in 1993
It's weird what you can recall and what gets lost in the mist of memory. I can recall how to solve every puzzle in 'The Secret of Monkey Island'. I'm even able to reel off the witty retorts to the insult sword fighting without even playing the game. Yet I can't for the life of me remember why I ever wanted 'Battletoads' on the NES. It was given as a present either for birthday or Christmas and perhaps I only wanted the game after reading the glowing review in Total! magazine. "It's an Amazing-looking arcader that sets standards, break molds and does a lot of other groovy things too" their reviewer noted. " It's the best blast I've seen in a long time."
Some have called the Turbo Tunnel "the hardest video game level of all-time", however maybe that's because the vast majority of those who play 'Battletoads' never make it past the speeder bikes. In actual fact there are two other racing-style levels in the game, both of which are harder than level three. If anything, the speeder bike stage that many consider so hard is actually a tutorial level, designed to prepare you for greater challenges later in the game.
The tunnel decent stage for example has crows killing you by cutting through the ropes you're descending with. The problem is they can't be stopped when you are trapped below electricity bolts lower down the screen, which leads to unavoidable death. Even worse, the seventh stage "Volkmire’s Inferno" has randomised elements. As you pilot a craft between gaps in electricity wires, missiles rain down on you. Where they fall is down to chance, so survival is, again, out of your hands. You would think that playing the game co-op would make the game half as hard, since the number of enemies you come across doesn't increase despite there being two of you punching them. However, when one player dies you both get returned to a continue point. This obviously means that to complete the near impossible vehicle levels, both players need a perfect run.
To solve this 64 pixel difference rather than redraw the graphics, Arc System Works (who were in charge of teh conversion) simply stretched the NES sprites with hideous distorted results. It's a far cry from better NES to 16 bit console conversions like 'Super Mario All Stars' or 'Mega Man the Wily Wars'. CVG magazine said the NES version of 'Battletoads' was "the best looking games for absolutely ages." The problem is an attractive game on the NES isn't an attractive game on the MegaDrive, it's after all a system that can do so much more. Yes there are more colours per character and there maybe parallax scrolling on the stages but 'Battletoads' on the MegaDrive still looks primitive compare to games like 'Sonic The Hedgehog' or 'Castle of Illusion' released years earlier. "The sprites are tiny with only three frames of animation" Rich Pelly noticed "the scrolling brings tears to the eyes, [you'll want to] throw a brick through the screen in disgust at the appalling backdrops".