I’s been 26 long years since the world was last graced by the immense power and limitless spirit of the 3 Battle Toads, Rash, Zitz and Pimple. Three amphibious brothers with morphing abilities and wise cracks that put the Ninja Turtles to shame. After a long hiatus and so many begging letters from fans, Rare have finally opened the vault and released the trio for a whole new generation, and what a comeback!
Right of the bat things are just as chaotic and wild as you may remember. Battletoads is a 2.5D side scrolling beat em up along the lines of Streets of Rage or Final Fight. The three toads use their ability to morph into random shapes to beat down and send what ever bad guy is in front of them packing. They also use their toad physiology to either lasso enemies in their tongues or pull objects like health and collectables in from a distance, and since they’re all attitude you can also have them spit up bubble-gum on any given foe to leave trapped in the stick pink goo for a free hit or twelve. You aren’t limited to one toad or another too, I realised early on that I could swap between the 3 on the…”fly”… get it? Because they’re toads? Whatever. With this choice I had a good time slipping into whatever style felt right at the time, but I’ll admit that I will always have a soft spot for the shades wearing a quick talking Rash.
Each level is a rambling struggle for dominance through some beautifully drawn and hilarious environments, from the very beginning I was hooked on the style, even when I came up against the first boss who looked like a giant pink Rocksteady (Ninja turtles be dammed) This first act turned the dial up to 11 then very quickly rammed it all the way back down to 2. The toads learn that the last 26 years of their lives have been a constantly looping simulation…They aren’t famous, or superheroes and they need to get a job, cue a hilarious stage where rather than fight, you must button mash to get the three through their day jobs! This life doesn’t suit the heroes though and they soon (via a sales pitch from Rash) get their act together and go on the hunt for their former enemy the Dark Queen.
From here the classics start coming back as you take a wild ride on some jet bikes, travel to an abandoned theme park, and do battle with a 60ft tall eyeball spewing monster! The gameplay can vary wildly at times and all the characters handle so well, though I will admit Pimple was a little slow and lumbering for my tastes. Even so throughout the entire first act (which took me a little over 2 hours) I had a blast and can’t think of a moment where I didn’t have an enormous smile across my face!
This is exactly what I wanted from a reboot of a franchise that even with only one game under its belt before now, was so chockful of character and style that it is fondly remembered and sought after by collectors 26 years on. The jokes are hilarious, the gameplay tight and fun yet challenging, though maybe not in quite the same way as the last entry. The first BattleToads is famous for being a trial by fire for any gamer, a true test of skill that separates the causals from the pros. I had a little trouble in my time with the reboot, though even I was only playing on medium, I imagine if you want a taste of that classic nails gameplay, ramp things up to hard and hold on to your warts!
BattleToads is a heart-warming, charming and enjoyable return to from a franchise that has languished in cameos for far to long. Rash, Zitz and Pimple haven’t lost any of their charm and this is a must play for anyone who has access to a PC or Xbox!
I’m giving the Rebooted BattleToads 9/10
If you need a second opinion, be sure to head to youtube.com/Respawninguk on Sunday to see that Stu thought in this weeks Bears Den!