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Battletoads: Were Critics Into This 8-Bit Brawler Back in 1991?
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on July 21, 2014   |   Episode 71 (Show Archive)  

   

Battletoads (Nintendo Entertainment System)
Ever wonder what Electronic Gaming Monthly, GamePro and other popular magazines thought of your favorite 8-, 16- and 32-bit games? Now you can find out, thanks to Review Crew! This is the only show on the internet that is willing to go back in time to find out what old school critics thought of retro games at the time. Did they pan your favorite game? Did they love something terrible? Find out every week as Defunct Games presents Review Crew!

Forget the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, because Zitz, Rash and Pimple are here to raise the bar for 8-bit brawlers. Developed by Rare and published by Tradewest, Battletoads transported players to a new world full of loveable characters, devious bad guys and hard-as-hell driving stages. Were critics into this beat-em-up when it first came out, or did the Turbo Tunnel get the best of them? We dig through old issues of GamePro, CVG, Nintendo Power and Electronic Gaming Monthly for the answers.

(NOTE: Although we occasionally cut for length, no other edits are made to the review. Defunct Games does not change any of the wording, grammar or punctuation use. Also keep in mind that our score is the average of all critics at the time, not just the sample that is reprinted on this page. If you still have more questions, I recommend you check out the Review Crew FAQ, where we address the review guidelines, converting scores, magazine covers and more.)

Battletoads
[ Company: Tradewest | Console: NES ]

GAMEPRO (May 1991)
5 out of 5

"Zitz! Rash! Pimple! Sounds like a teenager's worst nightmare, but they're actually the names of the Battletoads, the most outrageous gang of star-trekking amphibians to hop through the NES in a long time. Battletoads is a monster! Sixteen-bit game systems making you nervous about the longevity of your humble NES? If NES carts to come can be this good and this much fun, you can hold off on that upgrade a while longer." -Boogie Man

COMPUTER + VIDEO GAMES #125
91% out of 100%

"We first saw Battletoads months ago, when the Turtles phenomenon was still very much in evidence. Now that fad has passed, leaving room for Rash, Zitz and Pimple to move in - and haven't they just! There is some really funny animation. Music and sound matches the graphical quality, with a host of fitting tunes and thumping spot effects. There's even a ditty when you pause the game!" -Paul Rand

NINTENDO MAGAZINE SYSTEM #1
91% out of 100%

"Join Rash, Zitz and Pimple - the Battletoads! These dudes are out to smash the evil Dark Queen over a number of beat 'em up and shoot 'em up levels. Battletoads is a truly outstanding piece of software, with brilliant graphics, stomping sounds and ultra-addictive gameplay. Rare come up trumps AGAIN with another essential Nintendo game!"

ELECTRONIC GAMING MONTHLY #23
9 out of 10

"This is without a doubt one of the best video games I've played on any system in recent memory! Battle-toads [sic] combines a great story line with superb graphics, adequate sound and smashing game play! It's sort of an extended Double Dragon with personality. A winner all the way!" -Steve

VIDEO GAMES & COMPUTER
ENTERTAINMENT (May 1991)
9 out of 10

"It's pretty obvious that the 'toads are a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles spoof, right down to their skin color, but these guys don't mess around with any fancy ninja weaponry. Battletoads has it all; charismatic characters, gorgeous graphics, innovative play options, a perfectly balanced difficulty level and a wonderfully inane sense of humor. There's no doubt in my mind that this is going to be the biggest NES game of 1991."

NINTENDO POWER (June 1991)
4.5 out of 5

"This is it! We've been psyched about the Battletoads since we first heard about thatm! With all the super moves the Toads have, the bad guys don't stand a chance. The Big Bad Boot and Kiss My First moves will enable the Toads to mulch, mince, mutilate, man-handle and maim the Dark Queen's monstrous menagerie (and that's just for starters)."

ELECTRONIC GAMING MONTHLY #23
9 out of 10

"Excellent! Radical! Most Triumphant!! If Battletoads doesn't make you laugh at the hysterical animations, or fry your brain cells with utter amazement, you are reading the wrong mag! The amount of work that went into this game is phenomenal! This'll make up for Double Dragon." -Sushi X
REVIEW CREW AVERAGE: 92% - How good is Battletoads? According to Electronic Gaming Monthly, this brawler may give players second thoughts on buying one of those new 16-bit systems. While I wouldn't go that far, it's clear that the critics loved Battletoads when it first appeared on the Nintendo Entertainment System. You can search all you want, but you won't be able to find a single bad review of this Tradewest cartridge.

While it's no surprise that critics loved Battletoads, what I found shocking was Computer + Video Games calling the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles a passing "fad." Don't believe the hype, because those heroes in a half-shell still had plenty of movies, games, TV shows and Christmas specials to star in. And here we are, nearly a quarter-century later, and the Turtles have a new TV series and big-budget Hollywood movie.

It's also worth noting that none of the critics seemed to mind the nearly-impossible driving levels, the one thing everybody seems to remember about this beat-em-up. Instead of talking about the insane spikes in difficulty, the critics gushed over the "hysterical" animations and cool special moves. With everybody falling head over heels for the Battletoads, it's no wonder the game earns an impressive 92%.

ON WEDNESDAY'S EPISODE: Now that we're done with Battletoads, I have to admit that I don't feel good. I could be dying. Oh no! I should probably call a doctor. But instead of seeking medical attention, I'm going to wait until Wednesday, when the Review Crew will cover Dr. Mario for the Game Boy. Were critics thrilled to have another puzzler on the go, or did they reject Dr. Mario's medicine? We dig through old issues of Electronic Gaming Monthly, Raze, Nintendo Power and Nintendo Magazine System for the answers. Make sure and check out the Review Crew archive for more old school reviews, and don't forget to tweet me @DefunctGames to let me know what games you want to see next!

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