Battle Toads & Double Dragon was a game that my bro and I played a ton when we were kids. We never owned the game, but borrowed it from friends. We also never beat the game – it was damn hard. But the game always had us coming back for more, and each time we got a bit further. Today I will be revisiting this game to see if it stands up to the test of time. Is this game still fun to play now?
In terms of story, its pretty zany but sets to backdrop for the ultimate 90’s Super Nintendo team-up. Essentially, the battle toads defeated the Dark Queen at the end of the original Battle Toads, and she was sent fleeing from earth. Years pass, and she returns to earth in a giant spaceship known as Colossus and enlists the help from the Sahdow Warriors (from the Double Dragon series) to help take over the galaxy and take revenge! The Battle Toads realize that the Dark Queen is back after she neutralizes earth’s military defenses, and then they enlist the help of Billy and Jimmy (from the Double Dragon) series to even the odds. Thus the ultimate team-up is born!
In terms of game design, its primarily a 2D beat’em up with influences from platformers, action games, and shooters. You control one of five heroes, beating up enemies and tackling various level-dependent challenges, and ending each level with an epic boss. Players can run, jump, and smash their opponents either with their fists & kicks or with weapons pickled up from damaged enemies! By combining different combinations of buttons, players can also do dash attacks that help take out large enemies and bosses. While the game is fun alone, it’s so much more fun playing with a friend – just be careful not to attack your teammate!
Each level has different gameplay challenges that help to make each one feel unique. The first stage players out similar to the first level in Battle Toads on the NES – beat up the bad guys and destroy the boss! The second stage introduces new elements including racing sections where players are required to dodge objects! The third stage still keeps the beat’em up action but keeps it on a strict 2D plane with a focus on platforming jumping and obstacle dodging. Later levels also have section where you control a space ship and must avoid obstacles.
Overall, I enjoyed the variety that the gameplay brought to the game, although felt that the furthe the developers got away from beat-em up action, the less fun I was having. I have only got past the space shooter level a couple times, which I found disappointing as I really liked playing the other levels but rarely got to play them. While the game is challenging – and I enjoy a challenge – I felt that the deaths from falling where a bit too harsh and happened too often (especially on the third stage). The game is also substantially more easy with two players as enemy counts don’t seem to change whether you are playing alone of with a friend. This makes encounters during one player much more challenging as enemies gang up on you.
Bosses were a bit of a mixed bag in Battle Toads & Double Dragon – I found the mini bosses really engaging and fun throughout the game – especially the 1st level with the coloured hands, and the 2nd level dynamite guy. Both of these mini-bosses changed up gameplay and kept you on your toes. The major bosses at the end of each level were LARGE but less interesting and generally just needed to by continuously dash attacked to get rid of them. While I haven’t beaten the game, the further I gots the harder and more interesting the bosses became, so its possible the last couple levels have really engaging fights.
In terms of graphics, the game still looks good! The sprites are a bit small though, although are hilarious and well-executed. I was particularly impressed with the smash attack animations when the Toads kick their opponents off the screen with GIANT BOOTS! It really helps bring a certain attitude to the game that these heroes aren’t messing around and will mess you up if you are bad! The levels have some nice variety as well ranging from outer space levels, to factories and industrial areas. I would have liked to have seen a couple more outdoor areas to changes things up a bit – but that’s just personal preference.
The music of the game has a catchy intro theme. The music is pretty awesome too with some chill tracks and lots of bass! I was really surprised how well the music still holds up today. The sound effects are good and bring a sense of power behind each attack you send towards your enemies!
In summary, Battle Toads & Double Dragon is a fun cooperative beat’em up that still holds up well that does a great job bringing together two awesome franchises! There are some challenging sections (especially later in the game) and it has a couple less fun stages when the game moves away from the beat’em up mechanics, but is overall still a fun to play. I give this game a final score of 7/10.
Final Score: 7/10