Battletoads Preview – Zitz and all

The Battletoads series was originally developed to compete with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles arcade beat-up games of the late ’80s and early’ 90s. While the four fraternal turtles have evolved through different TV shows, films and video games of varying quality and remained in the mainstream consciousness, the Battletoads have almost disappeared. After years of teasing Xbox the Battletoads finally appeared again at E3 2019.

Battletoads plays for good and for bad, much like the games that started the franchise. The three toads Rash, Zitz and Pimple can and will jump into any confrontation without thinking about it for a second. Collecting enemies between the three brothers is the culmination of my experience with Battletoads as the enemies bounce across the screen like adorable pinball machines. You can attack in a variety of ways, but I like holding down a button and triggering a charged morphing attack – Rash’s foot grows tremendously as he steps, while Pimple’s massive body changes to resemble a move as he moves through the enemies are plowing in front of him.

When playing through the various encounters, however, it becomes clear that the side scrolling beat em up genre has not yet made the transition to modernity. Sure, the graphics look better and the controls are a bit smoother, but the encounters all have a touch of “done”, which makes sense, as you can wave on waves of the same three or four opponents with a limited Moveset for the entire fight Level. The encounters are blurring, and there is little that distinguishes them from an occasional new type of enemy.

Fortunately, a boss fight interrupts the somewhat monotonous action of the stage. Porkshank is such a tank of an enemy that it can invulnerably attack you until you let it wear down with its own blows. However, I’m learning the hard way that his size will not only be flaunted if I dodge a bit too late and he takes a significant amount of my health off a combination. If this huge pig is not a problem enough, he also has the constant support of servant characters. With a little stamina and a lot of time, we finally pull down Porkshank and embark on a high-altitude leg.

Players of the original Battletoads games are likely to remember Hoverbike because of its fast-paced and punitive nature. While hoverbike tracks do not roll sideways like in the 8-bit era, they are not exactly a walk through the park. The camera now swings behind your bikes, giving you an oncoming look at the obstacles and pitfalls. With a lot of experience with racing games I thought that this would be a breeze. However, thanks to a groundbreaking sense of speed and an enormous accumulation of staggered obstacles, jumps and pits, the bike of my poor toad bursts into flames more often than I would like to admit.

The fans demand that the Battletoad brothers return after a long break. Although I have left my practical time behind me, but I’m glad that these symbols are back in action.

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