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Battletoads in Battlemaniacs




Battletoads in Battlemaniacs was Rare/Trademark's attempt to boost the award-winning, inspiring Battletoads from the NES to the SNES, with brighter graphics and more insane playability - but even with the upgrades, this "sequel" feels empty and not nearly as fun as the 8-bit original. More of a rehash than a proper sequel.


I don't remember there being any plot in the first Battletoads - you were just a big mean mutant toad thing, who ran from level to level taking part in all a manner of arcade fighting sequences and different forms of gameplay. Essentially, this was what made Battletoads so much fun! With so many different levels and different ways to play without any plot to get in the way, it was just fun, and then more fun. Including the big, ridiculous bosses, and the multiplayer, it was one of the most worthwhile games for the NES - but the SNES version falls flat.


Taking two of the 'toads, Rash and Pimple, and throwing them into a "gamescape" to save their friends from the evil Silas Volkmire (possibly the most stupid looking video game enemy ever - he's essentially a tree) and the sexy scary Dark Queen, 



Battletoads in Battlemaniacs copies the routine of five of the original Battletoads levels and notches up the graphics.


The first level is the most interesting of Battlemaniacs - taking place across a field of lava and collapsing mountains, you can bash and pelt a whole lot of enemies, all large fat pigs who take a nice beating by either Rash or Pimple. The fighting is fun and a brief amusement, but 


with the lack of combo moves and without breaking from the routine of "fight, move on, fight, move on, dodge falling ground, move on", it gets bland quickly. Following this, levels take place in an enormous tree in which the Battletoads go down into the depths on hoverboards, then they race on speeder bikes, fight across large snakes, then take to a monsterous roller coaster race.




The levels are longer than the original Battletoads levels, which isn't a good thing. The general gameplay can get boring, as does repeating a level from the start again after losing all of your lives. Further, the difficulty is easy for the first two levels, but quickly becomes terribly insane after the speeder bikes - the final level is horribly difficult and not fun at all. In the original, because the levels were short it meant that if you didn't like the gameplay, it wouldn't matter because the next would be different and it wouldn't take so long to get there but since each level in Battlemaniacs is a fifth of the game, it doesn't work like in that way.


To give Rare credit, they did do some things right with Battletoads in Battlemaniacs. The graphics have improved, with nice big, colorful sprites for the enemies, and they're varied enough to be interesting. I really like the huge rock pig boss from the first level, and the Battletoads themselves are awesome. I particularly like the nifty moves that they do. Before dispatching the enemies, they do a super punch or kick in which their limbs become enormous weapons to dispatch the enemies. These look very cool, although they don't save the gameplay, they provide an entertaining gimmick. The controls are also easy to learn, building on the original Battletoads control, and the multiplayer is fun for a while.


But with the positives are all the negatives, and there are plenty of problems with Battlemaniacs that were avoidable. The multiplayer, for example, is great fun for the first two levels - until the speeder bikes. Then the game becomes impossible without two highly skilled pilots. With the dual racing, if one of the two players dies, the other automatically dies too. It becomes painfully repetitive and if you brave this level, the next is almost as bad, hopelessly trying to stay both on the same screen as the snakes move all around the level at high speeds.


The plot is terrible and unneeded - barely mentioned in the actual game, as the only thing separating the level is Professor Birdbrain (not actual name) giving you a useless hint to complete the next level, and the Dark Queen yelling pointless abuse at you which has nothing to do with the game.


Battlemaniacs feels unpolished and, although worth a rental back in the days of the SNES, isn't worth a look nowadays, except to smash through the first level destroying pigs. For some better Battletoads action, go back to the NES and check out Battletoads - the original and the best.


- Shocka

(November 17, 2002)


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