It's that time of year again, a time when Defunct Games celebrates the holidays by posting a daily theme article that should inform and delight gamers all over the world. This year we're taking a look at 31 of the best-known bonus stages in all of video games. Each day we're going to look at a different level and review it, while also trying to figure out what makes it tick. Join us as we post a new episode of the 31 Bonus Levels of Christmas every day leading up to the biggest holiday of the year!
Battletoads in Battlemaniacs: Slippery Puck Ride
[ Console: Super NES | Year: 1993 | Grade: C+ ]
I'm convinced that Battletoads in Battlemaniacs was developed during a drunken bender!
In this Super NES sequel, the Battletoads are back to battle the busty Dark Queen and her partner Silas Volkmire. This time around the Toads are forced to jump into Psicone Corporation's virtual reality video game and save the day. The result is a wild adventure full of cutting edge 16-bit graphics. At the end of the day this is nothing more than a 2D brawler, where you kick and punch a path to victory. But at least the game looks good. Much like the original 8-bit release, Battletoads in Battlemaniacs is an extremely difficult game that is bound to send controls flying through the air. Thankfully this bonus stage shows up to help the player earn a few extra lives.
At least the Battletoads are modest!
In this slippery stage, the Battletoads speed through a nightmarish chess-inspired world on a gigantic hockey puck. The player is tasked with picking up as many bowling pins as possible, including some that will offer valuable 1ups. But it's not as easy as it sounds. The toads will need to put up with all kinds of crazy obstacles, all trying to prevent our heroes from picking up the bowling pins. Complete the challenge and earn pick points and extra guys.
This is a fun variation on the first game's infamous race stage; a sequence so punishing it is still remembered as one of the hardest levels in video game history. This stage is simple enough, even with the addition of rodent enemies and evil bowling pins. I'm not a fan of the length of this bonus stage. It goes for a good four minutes, much longer than needed. A little of this stage goes a long way, so
Forget reviving the Battletoads, all I want is a game based on the Dark Queen!
you can only imagine how bored I was by the time the points are added up. Still, this bonus stage looks great and the concept is certainly original. This bonus level is a great representation of just how off the wall this series was.
Completely Missing the Point:
With names like Pimple and Rash, the Battletoads are definitely a relic of their time. While I certainly appreciated what Rare was trying to do with these insanely difficult brawlers, I always felt like they were setting the bar a little too low. The Toads always felt like a cynical ploy to target the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Market, and the scatological names only helped push me away. Of course, none of this matters when the Dark Queen shows up on screen. At least Rare managed to get something right when come up with character designs.