Sunday, September 30, 2012

"Battletoads", 1991.

It's easy to forget just how huge the transparently derivative Battletoads phenomenon was in gaming circles (derivative in turn of the transparently derivative Teenaged Mutant Ninja/Hero Turtles, themselves a paper-thin pastiche of a young Frank Miller's best work in Daredevil -- but typically I must save the digression for the end of the post or else we'll never get there!) and how odd it seems in retrospect that a) they were genuinely platform-exclusive despite not being owned by their console's mother corp whoops, guess not and b) they haven't yet seen a dark, gritty or ironic revival. But Rare's back catalogue is full of stuff like this -- lovingly crafted intellectual property that they'll happily set aside for two or twenty years, only to pick back up where they left off as if they had just nipped off down the way for a bag of chips. We've seen it with Solar Jetpac, Sabre Wulf, and Banjo-Kazooie (and if anything, they do it even more successfully with the IP of others -- cf. Donkey Kong Country and Goldeneye), so don't be surprised if we eventually see a return of these tragical Poochie '90s amphibians.

COMPARED TO BATTLETOADS, TURTLES SEEM LIKE POND SCUM.

DUDE, IF YOU'RE READY FOR A GAME THAT TOADALLY KICKS BUTT, GET BATTLETOADS. WITH 12 LEAPIN' LEVELS OF FIERCE FIGHTING AND RADICAL RACING, FOR ONE OR TWO PLAYERS.
TRADEWEST
IT'S INTERESTING... wait, sorry, caps lock off -- got stuck in eXtreme ANGRY CAPS MODE -- to see that again, the main elements are a) the box art (why not just blow up the box to full-page and leave out the weak text, which boasts no selling point beyond tepid alliteration? I dig the cartoonish visual emphasis the game also employs -- big fist, big foot, big attitude!) and b) trash-talking their primary influence. (If the Great Giana Sisters advertised by slamming Super Mario Bros., it would be similarly conspicuous.)
Also interesting is the publisher's decision to make good use of the margins to plug a few other wholly unrelated titles -- Off-Road and Double Dragon didn't need any more page space to assert their self-evident virtues, their presence more a reminder If You Don't Have These Carts Yet, You Should Remember To Do So. The other games I can't speak much to, but suffice it to say they were no Battletoads.