Top 100 SNES: #55 – Battletoads in BattleManiacs (1993)

Cheap Kills, No Thrills.

A knock-off of another cold-blooded, reptilian franchise, they decided not to imitate their best feature: fun. 

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Sydlexia’s Ranking: #55/100
My Rating: cropped-smooth-star-e1545862962550

Imagine, for a moment, that you are about to enjoy breakfast with your favorite cereal. To your chagrin, you see that someone accidentally bought you the Great Value version. When you finally pour it, it’s actually been replaced with cockroaches.

This is Battletoads for the SNES. It’s not a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles video game. It’s not even a video game like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Hell, it isn’t even a video game. It’s a reaction time test where a series of impossible tasks have been curated for no one’s enjoyment.

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The Toads end up going to Tibet to test out a virtual reality gaming system when an ancient pig of the apocalypse captures a daughter of a CEO who then is held captive by the Dark Queen.*



This game is theoretically presented in six different stages. I say theoretically because I have too much self-respect as a person to figure out if that’s true or not.

Stage one is fine. It’s more of a boring but classic-style side-scroller where you ward of enemies with a few attacks and combos. There is some foreshadowing of what is to come; the playable surface is a 3-D pitfall where you can fall off the platform from all sides. This leads to some very cheap kills, and the final boss can kill you in one hit. And before you know it — you’ve already hit the apex of Battletoads for the SNES. After this, the game becomes insufferable. 

Stage two happens within the core of a tree (As an aside, what really boiled my blood is the fact nothing matters — characters, stories, locations are all pulled out of an abyss). At the end, you are descending on a platform and have to avoid one-hit kills from two sharp logs pointed inward from both sides (please show me a tree that grows this way). You have about half a character width on either side to avoid instant death. The game speeds up and sends you through a tortuous path that zigzags all over.

The result? You die.

Each time, you learn a little bit more of the predetermined path. You then die again, inching further and further. You have a few lives before you have a continue, and then you try again. Then you run out of continues and start at stage one. Eventually, your basal ganglia, motor cortex, and spiritual destiny align and you come out unscathed after a 100 lives are burned.

Somehow, this can’t even compare to what happens next – a speed racer while dodging walls.

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Remember to go up, down, left, left, down, up, up, up, right, right, low, high, jump, right, left, up, down, left, left, down, up, up, up, right, right, low, high, jump, right, left, up, down, left, left, down, up, up, up, right, right, low, high, jump, right, left to win.

Stage three is when I finally realized: this might the worst game ever made. 

That’s actually too fair because that implies it could be used as an example of what a video game is. Battletoads isn’t a video game. You know those websites that turn a color and you click the mouse to figure out your reaction time? That’s very similar to Battletoads, just with more graphics.

Most game do switcharoo things in dodging levels, but usually it is well played and an honor. You say ” you got me game,” have a hearty laugh, and vow to not make that mistake twice. Most games do this by lulling you into a repeated pattern then throwing in an unexpected twist.The game never lulls you into anything because every puzzle is a trick within a trick: ramps are important until they are not; you have to jump until you don’t; things come in pairs then stop.

This is Battletoad’s gameplay:

  1. You survive to see one extra obstacle.
  2. You avoid that obstacle next replay to see the next one where you perish again.
  3. You run out of lives and continues and restart from stage one.
  4. With an estimated number of 10,000 obstacles, you’ll be finished by the time the Earth travels 584 million miles around the sun.
  5. Or more likely, you’ll be playing this game until the sun explodes, consuming Earth and all of life on it.
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I refuse to try and explain anymore of this garbage.


I programmed better games in high school with qbasic than this.

Other People’s Takes:

  • RVGFanatic“But as soon as that bloody second level hits, the game takes off its mask and says, “HA! TRICKED YA! THANKS FOR THE FIFTY BUCKS, BITCHES!”
  • Game Freaks: Then it becomes even more incredibly, suicidally difficult to get through each successive stage, until finally you are crushed into a withered little speck of pitiful humanity.

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