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Battletoads - (Xbox, PC) Coming August 20th, 2020


Romier S
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11 hours ago, Graeme said:

I’m ok with the art style. The disappointing thing for me is that it looks like a pretty standard side scrolling beat’em up, which is not what the original game was at all, save for the first level.  

 

There was a section in there that looked like the turbo tunnel, so hopefully there's some variety in this iteration of the game.  We'll see how it turns out-might be fun to play with the kids. 

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Battletoads is a weird franchise for me. I have some nostalgia for the original game, which I received as a Christmas gift one year. I played it -- a lot. And though it took me a few years, I did beat it. It felt awesome, like I had overcome some great video game trial.

 

The thing is that Battletoads was so brutally difficult that whenever a sequel arrived -- something like Battletoads/Double Dragon on NES or Battletoads in Battlemaniacs for SNES -- I wasn't interested. I didn't feel like punishing myself with another Battletoads game. I did at one point, on a lark, pick up a used copy of Battlemaniacs for cheap at Funcoland. I couldn't even get past the first level. I put the game down and haven't touched it since.

 

Part of me thinks it would be cool to see a new Battletoads made for modern consoles that incorporates all the technology and design sensibilities that have developed over the past 25 years. But I'm not itching to play a new game in the series either. No, really, I'm good. Thank you.

 

I guess this is a really long-winded way of saying this game looks like shit.

 

 

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  • 1 year later...
  • 4 weeks later...

So it's...OK?  I played a couple of levels last night, and the brawler levels are about what you'd expect.  There's a little more there than the original game, but if you told me this was an old Konami arcade brawler I might believe you.  I only played streets of rage 4 for a little while, but it seems about on that level for combat, at least to start with.  There is definitely a turbo tunnel level though, and it's just as hard as you'd expect.  When the respawn/restart is that fast, you know they intend for you to fail a lot...  It's at least a little forgiving, where if you're playing solo, you have three chances to make it through a section (swapping characters each time), but the timing is really tight. 

 

Based on what I've played so far, I don't know that I'd recommend going out and buying it, but on gamepass, it's worth a look at least? 

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This game is nowhere near “on the level” with Streets of Rage 4 combat wise or well anything else wise, frankly. It lacks the impact and visual feedback from its combo system. Most basic enemies are too damage spongy for their own good and take too long to kill. Even then, combat comes down to using the dash to hit and run. The screen is so busy with effects work, animation and enemies that at times it’s difficult to feel as though you have some level of control over what’s actually happening in certain levels. Also, the over dependence on holding the LT button to trigger a variety of moves doesn’t feel particularly natural. When something as simple as eating a fly to recover health takes muscle memory, it just becomes easier to simply swap out the Toad you’re using or just let them die and have the game do it for you.

 

All of that having been said, I do agree that the game isn’t the disaster it appeared to be in the initial showing. It’s actually pretty “Ok” indeed. I enjoy the “throw the kitchen sink at it” approach to the gameplay variety. The silly little mini-games make for a nice break from the beat-em-up segments. There’s nothing deep about them but they are amusing including the “Toad-Sham-Bo” gag.

 

The turbo tunnel levels have been the highlight for me. They are indeed challenging but they control like a dream and are a heck of a lot of fun to boot.

 

I’m almost in the middle of Act 2 so far and the animation/story is straight out of a 90’s cartoon. Including the 90’s ‘tude that so exemplified the era. Most of the humor doesn’t land but it has its moments and I did laugh out loud at a couple things. It’s far from offensive and I’ll say that the art style has grown on me since I started playing. 
 

Like Chris said, as a freebie for Game Pass users, there’s no downside to spending some time with it.
 

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Finished this last night. Act II is really the last time the game has any focus on brawling at all, frankly. As you progress through into Act III (which is lengthy), it quickly transitions even more into a series of mini-games and genre switching scenarios. I personally liked that as I found the brawling in the game quickly became repetitive due to the limited move set and lack of an interesting combo system.

 

There is a great little bullet hell shooter in here that you’ll spend some time with in the later levels that will present a good challenge. It’s a combo of Raiden and Geometry Wars and it definitely clicked with me. The gladiator arena and Olympic style mini-games were fun and elicited a few good laughs as well. There’s also a section where Pimple inadvertently has to break up with some friends who aren’t what they seem that leads to some hilarious mini-games where you’re switching from punching people out of the air, to chopping down trees and the then taking cellphone pictures of baddies mid-air. It’s weird and wacky but it works. They also managed to work in a few pretty good puzzle platformer levels in between the mini-games that are well executed.

 

The last section of the game has you repairing your damaged ship from a full dashboard of mini-games with a timer and I’d like to punch whomever the fuck thought that this was good game design. You have to match the symbols at the top of the screen to the section of the dashboard and the do the little mini-games on each before moving to the next part of the dashboard. I get what they were going for but the screen is so busy and the games are so forgettable that I absolutely hated it even as I got better at it. At least it’s pretty forgiving but it’s legit the worst content in the game bar none.

 

The last boss battle is ok but probably one of the weakest in the game as well which is a bit disappointing. The level preceding it includes one last turbo tunnel style level (which is too short) and a descending escape level that reminded me of the second level in the NES where the Toads descended down on ropes taking out crows and robots. The gameplay differs here in many ways but it was a nice callback to the NES game.

 

This is a flawed but ultimately fun little game. The things I disliked about it have little to nothing to do with its art direction or 90’s cartoon attitude. Both actually work pretty well. The brawler stuff is undercooked and too busy for its own good. The throw everything at the wall approach will be annoying to some and there’s plenty that doesn’t stick but I appreciated the constant variety of gameplay on offer. The bullet hell shooter levels and the Turbo tunnel level were particular favorites of mine. In a year where Streets of Rage 4 didn’t exist, it may have had less of a hill to climb to impress despite it not being completely brawler centric. However, what’s here is worth a try on Game Pass at least.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I actually ended up going back and finishing it, and the brawler sections really are one of the worst bits about this game.  It's still really tough near the end (I thought that last turbo bike section was a little long with no checkpoints, but I managed to get through it after probably 25 attempts.  At least the reload/restart is instantaneous? 

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