SNES A Day 204: Battletoads in Battlemaniacs

Approximate Release Month: June 1993
Genre: Action
Developer: Rare
Publisher: Tradewinds

Battletoads in Battlemaniacs is a pretty but unnecessary retread of the original Battletoads game for the NES.

I’ve never been a fan of the Battletoads series. The discussion around the NES release tends to revolve around how difficult it is. That’s never been an attractive quality in a video game for me. And since Battletoads in Battlemaniacs is almost a remake of the previous game, that applies to this one, too.

Each stage in Battletoads in Battlemaniacs is a different genre of game. The first stage is a beat-em-up. The second is a vertical auto-scrolling action stage. The third stage is basically an exact replica of the infamous speeder stage from the first game where you hop into some bikes and dodge barriers that appear in front of you. The fourth stage, where I tapped out at, is a platformer where you must jump on snakes that come out of the walls to make it to the exit. The variety is commendable.

Unfortunately, none of that variety is fun.

I’m finding it difficult to write about Battletoads in Battlemaniacs. Like… this is a game where within moments of the start of each level you know how to beat it. In level one, you know that you’re going to move to the right side of the screen while punching dudes. There’s going to be a boss at the end. That’s fine, but there are no surprises that aren’t cheap shots to drain your life away. When the ground disappears under your feet and you lose a life because you cannot react fast enough, it’s frustrating, and all you gain is that you know next time you play not to step there.

Battletoads in Battlemaniacs is a two-button game; there are no combos, and there’s no notable depth to the controls or systems. Any improvement in my gameplay didn’t come from mastery, but instead from memorization. This is a crutch that old games often leaned on but was definitely more common on the NES. That’s where the Battletoads should have stayed.

Next time: I wasn’t aware of the cartoon Family Dog is based on, mostly because it got canceled a month after it first aired on CBS. Yikes!

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