BGS 2019 Hands-on – Battletoads
My borderline demented love for Rare never managed to make me like the Battletoads series that much. I’ve played a few games in the past: the Master System and Game Gear ports of the original, Battletoads & Double Dragon for the Super Nintendo, as well as the port of the arcade version that was included in Rare Replay. None of them have ever managed to captivate me. I always thought they all suffered from sluggish controls and difficulty spikes that were just game design failures. There was an excessive amount of much better beat ’em ups available at the time.
When Microsoft announced a reboot of Battletoads at E3 2018, I can’t say I felt excited about it. Sure, the cartoonish animations looked charming, but the gameplay looked extremely similar to the original games, meaning that we were going to get the same underwhelming brawler has been overhyped for years, just with another coat of paint. Then again, I did enjoy the quality of the animations, giving the franchise a much needed injection of personality.
A demo of Battletoads was available at Microsoft’s booth at Brasil Game Show 2019. It basically confirmed everything I was expecting. Battletoads is… more Battletoads. Even though the combat has been slightly improved, with the addition of a few new combos, a grappling tongue mechanic, and different stats amongst the three titular characters, I felt like I was playing just yet another brawler that pushed absolutely no gameplay boundaries. Of course, there was also a vehicular segment that suffered from terrible controls.
If there’s one thing I enjoyed from the demo, however, that was the humor. Battletoads‘ jokes and overall (im)mature humor reminded me a lot of cartoons like Ren & Stimpy. I laughed a few times during the demo, that has to be said. If there is one thing that might convince me to give the game a try once it comes out, that thing will probably be witnessing how crass the jokes will be. I love some dumb humor every now and then.
The Battletoads demo ended up being as good as previous iterations of Battletoads I’ve played in the past. That being said, I never thought the series has ever been good, always suffering from a shallow combat system, sluggish controls, and plain bad vehicular levels. With that being said, I don’t blame the developers for coming up with a game that didn’t impress me at all. There’s not a lot you can do with such a below average source material. The cartoonish animations and raunchy jokes helped a bit, however. Battletoads might actually become the best game in the series, only because the rest of the franchise is just so subpar.