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Battletoads also known as Battletoads Arcade or Super Battletoads, in Japan is the fifth and last game of the Battletoads series developed by Rare and published by Electronic Arts. It was released in 1994 for the arcade and maintains the beat-em-up gameplay similar to that from previous games. Up to three players, as the Battletoads, brawl aliens and mutant rodents through six levels to save the universe from the Dark Queen. The game also includes vertical and bonus levels. Each Toad has its own signature attack, and as customary for the series, players can knock enemies towards the screen, breaking the fourth wall. Around the time of the its release, Rare moved on to developing arcade titles. Releasing the game in arcades gave the company more freedom, allowing them to add mature themes that Rare wouldn't have been able to add into the game otherwise.

Rare took greater liberties with violence and gore in Battletoads Arcade since the product was not destined for home consoles. It was Rare's first game to use the 3D graphics technology that was implemented in Donkey Kong Country and Killer Instinct. Although the game playtested well and appeared financially viable, the publisher hesitated to release the game. A port for the Super NES was in production but canceled. The game received its console debut when it was emulated in the 2015 Rare Replay, a compilation of games from Rare's history for the Xbox One.

A Rare employee reported that the game was unsuccessful in the arcades. An AllGame reviewer found that the game was true to the original's style and had better graphics but was still a let down. Retro Gamer has stated that the game is obscure now but had all the hallmarks of a Rare release. Rare Replay reviewers were surprised by the quality of the game and some considered it a highlight of the package. Battletoads Arcade remains the last entry in the Battletoads series.


StoryEdit

In a turn of crazy events three ordinary joes were sucked into another dimension in which they were transformed into the Battletoads, as they arrived they were attacked by the Dark Queen and her forces but they were saved by Professor T. Bird and now the 'toads must battle the Dark Queen's forces trough all the galaxy

GameplayEdit

Battletoads Arcade is a coin-operated, scrolling beat 'em up arcade video game. Up to three players, as the Battletoads (Rash, Pimple, and Zitz), punch and kick oncoming enemies through six levels to save their alternate universe from the Dark Queen. Arcade was the first Battletoads game to feature three-player cooperative multiplayer. Players control their characters with eight-directional joysticks and two buttons (attack and jump). Characters can run if the player pushes the joystick twice in the same direction.

As opposed to past games, all the gameplay revolves around fighting enemies, mostly consisting of Rats and Psyko Pigs. As the 'Toads fight through the stage, they must weaken enemies with punches and kicks, then use a Smash Hit to finish the combo (unlike past games, Smash Hits don't guarantee instant kills). They can pick up crates, concrete clubs, and laser blasters to aid in crushing the opposition, and can replenish their life by snagging flies with their tongues. Almost every stage ends with a boss battle. As customary for the series, the Toads can knocked enemies offscreen such that they appear to fly towards the players, breaking the fourth wall. The Toads can also eat flies to regenerate health. Each Toad has its own signature exaggerated power and attack, in which their limbs turn into objects such as axes and drills. Enemies include aliens, mutant rodents, and snowmen.

All three 'Toads are playable, and each have unique attributes. Rash is the fastest runner and hitter, while Pimple is the opposite, who is slower, yet more powerful. Zitz strikes a balance between strength and speed, and focuses more on range with his attacks. Most system models allow for one or two players, but others allow for up to three players at once.

Each level has a unique theme, such as a "Christmas grotto", and a boss fights finale. Some bosses, such as General Slaughter, return from previous games. Some levels differ in presentation and gameplay. Some levels are Double Dragon-style 2.5D brawlers, while others are strictly two-dimensional. In one level, the Toads wear jetpacks and descend a tunnel, and in the final level, the Toads shoot enemies from a vehicle. Players can also destroy a spaceship in a Street Fighter II-style bonus stage. Battletoads Arcade is displayed in standard definition raster graphics in horizontal orientation with either mono or stereo sound within an upright arcade cabinet.

One of the biggest differences in comparison to earlier games is the increased amount of gratuitous violence. Visible blood splatters, decapitations on some enemies, and occasional toilet humor (literally; some Rats are actually sitting on toilets doing "business") make this a far more mature game for the arcade crowd.

StagesEdit

Stage 1 - Defend the Vulture: The action starts on T-Bird's battleship in space. As a fleet of similar ships engage in battle, the 'Toads must clear the deck before they can give the boss, General Slaughter, the boot.


Stage 2 -The Artic Caverns: The frozen mountains are slippery and make traction difficult. Watch out for Scammies and Rabid Roodolphs as you slide down to meet Karnath, King of the Snakes.


Stage 3 - The Dark Queen's Ship: The 'Toads are hitching a ride on the Dark Queen's battleship, where the Rats are on the decks, on the offense, and even on the can. Scuzz the Rat pilots the Robo-Rat at the end, with a surprisingly busty Dark Queen watching via hologram.


Bonus Stage -Destroy The Rat Fighter: The 'Toads take out their aggressions on a Rat Fighter. Try to destroy as much of it as possible before time runs out. Extra points are awarded to the first 'Toad who boots the pilot.


Stage 4 -The Hole: No Battletoads game is complete without a vertical descent stage. Armed with jetpacks, the 'Toads must fight off the deadly denizens. Pressing the Jump button unleashes a screen-clearing Super Smash Attack, though it has limited use. Oddly, there is no boss.


Stage 5 -Dark Queen's Mansion: This stage is a never-ending hallway where almost every enemy from earlier appears to stop you. As you fight, watch out for rolling boulders. The very end is where Big Blag waits.


Stage 6 -The Final Confrotation: In the only real vehicle stage of the game, the 'Toads ride a small spacecraft through the bowels of a mechanical fortress. Use their guns to shoot away enemies and grab power-ups to stay alive. Don't forget about the Super Smash Attack, either. The final boss of the game is Robo-Manus, and he provides a long and brutal battle.

DevelopmentEdit

The game was developed by Rare, published by Electronic Arts, and released in 1994 as the fifth game in the Battletoads series. Rare founders Tim and Chris Stamper created the series in response to interest in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The Battletoads series—especially the 1991 original Battletoads for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES)—became popular in its own right and led to a series of sequels. Since this sequel was in development for arcades rather than consoles, Rare took greater liberties in its depiction of violence, unlike their obligations in the rest of the series. While the original NES Battletoads censored blood, Battletoads Arcade showed gore and decapitation. The Dark Queen was also depicted in a more lascivious style. Rare had begun to experiment with 3D graphics around this time, and went with PowerAnimator (later Autodesk Maya). Battletoads Arcade was the first Rare game to use PowerAnimator, well before it was implemented in Killer Instinct and Donkey Kong Country. Rare's George Andreas had worked on the game and recalled it sitting around "for ages" despite being finished. Andreas could not discern why the game was unsuccessful, as it had playtested and sold well in their market tests. A port for the Super NES was planned but canceled, likely due to the game's mediocre reception in arcades. Rare's Brendan Gunn had worked on the port and said that the team had nearly finished the first level before the project was scrapped. He figured that the decision may have been linked to mediocre sales but was not sure. Battletoads Arcade is also known as Super Battletoads in Japan.

Battletoads received its first console release as Battletoads Arcade when it was emulated for the Xbox One as part of the 2015 Rare Replay compilation of 30 games from Rare's 30-year history. In the Rare Replay version, additional features include a setting for unlimited continues, the ability to "rewind" time (and replay a section), and the opportunity to save game progress at any time.

ReceptionEdit

In a 2013 interview, Rare's Chris Tilson said that the company had low expectations for future arcade releases after Battletoads Arcade "bombed badly". Sales were mediocre. Christopher Michael Baker (AllGame) wrote that the arcade release rode the success of its console game predecessor when the order is usually reversed. He found the two games similar in brawling style with simple controls, but felt that the arcade game had better graphics. He noted how both included the effect of knocking enemies towards the players off-screen. Baker felt that the signature attacks were interesting and added replay value. Overall, he was somewhat let down by the arcade game, having expected something more, but rated Battletoads Arcade four of five stars. AllGame compared Battletoads Arcade to Turtles in Time and The Simpsons Arcade Game.

Retro Gamer retrospectively wrote that Battletoads Arcade was a "relatively obscure" game, but the best in the series. They described it as "unmistakeable" Rare: "bombastic, colorful, and well-designed". Retro Gamer put it on par with the arcade games of Konami and Sega and praised its humor, combat, and character. They added that Arcade was a swan song for the series, with numerous references to moments and levels from previous games. For example, the first stage atop the Dark Queen's ship was similar to the opening of Battletoads/Double Dragon and the jetpack level was reminiscent of the "Wookie Hole" level in the original Battletoads. The magazine added that the level of gore set it apart from previous series entries and that the game had a mediocre reception in arcades. They called its console cancellation "a tragedy".

Chris Carter (Destructoid) wrote that the game was an unexpected favorite in his Rare Replay review. Philip Kollar (Polygon) was also "surprised" by the game, which he found incredibly fun. Kollar ranked the game near the middle of the Rare Replay collection. Timothy Seppala (Engadget) was grateful to be introduced to Battletoads Arcade on Rare Replay. He considered the game among Rare's "finest moments" and one of two retro titles worth playing. Sam Machkovech (Ars Technica) described the game as one of the rarest in the compilation.

LegacyEdit

As of 2011, Battletoads Arcade remains the last Battletoads game released. Rare had begun planning on a possible sequel in the mid-2000s but ultimately decided that there was no original direction for the game apart from its past. They did not want to repeat the failed Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reboot. Battletoads Arcade served as an inspiration for the cooperative play mode in the 2011 Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One. Kotaku included Battletoads Arcade in its list of 16-bit era beat 'em ups with the best graphics.

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