Battletoads & Double Dragon: The Ultimate Team *Warning* May induce AWESOMENESS!
When you were growing up, didn’t you always wish you could build your own kick-ass team? I know I did! Maybe it was G.I. Joe and He-Man fighting on the side of righteousness against the villainous Shredder and his clan of Foot Soldiers; perhaps you preferred to take the evil route and pit Megatron against the likes of the A-Team. Whatever your cup of tea was, I imagine you spent countless hours in the backyard devising destructive battles on a grand scale. In the world of video games you were always limited by what the developers envisioned; no more mix and match and no more “what-ifs”.
In this day and age there are a slew of cross over games to choose from (mostly dealing with brawlers and 2D fighters), many of them go unnoticed by me since I hate fighting games so much. Today, you have a wide range of electrifying and epic battle shenanigans to whet your appetite; games like Super Smash Bro. Brawl, Capcom vs. SNK, and Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe flood the shelves at your local retailer. It wasn’t always like this though. Back in a time when acne spotted my chin and a whole world of excitement lay in front of me; long before the “real world” kicked my naïve ass, there was a game – a game that took those often spoken of but never realized imaginative steps to bring two video game worlds into one. This was a game with such shear EPIC PROPORTIONS that the first three women who read this article will become pregnant. Sorry, Mom. Behold, heathens! I give you, Battletoads & Double Dragon: The Ultimate Team!
Sometimes, when I’ve had a few beers and I’m sitting here in my underwear surrounded by my video game collectibles, my mind comes into razor sharp focus. Its times like these that I’m able to recall why I never played certain outstanding games. It can be broken down to a simple equation; my parents hated me. You know, hate is such a strong word, I think I will lean more towards the theory that my parents threw away my Christmas lists each year as sort of a social experiment. Regardless of what REALLY happened, I never got a chance to play this wonderful title as a budding teenager. But thanks to eBay and a dwindling bank account, I was finally able to play this legend among games. By the way Mom, joke’s on you, hope you name your new kid Billy Lee.
The story of Battletoads & Double Dragon is an interesting one. The Battletoads have been fighting the evil Dark Queen on her home planet of Ragnarok for long time. After beating down the Dark Queen numerous times, the ‘Toads have finally emerged victorious and decide to take a much needed vacation. Of course in any video game story, this situation can never last too long. After an undisclosed amount of time and on the other side of the Galaxy, Earth is in a desperate fight for survival. During the war, Earth’s military was finally neutralized. Shortly thereafter a humongous spacecraft, uninspiringly named the Colossus, emerges from the moon. Apparently the Dark Queen has returned with another outlandish plan to dominate and conquer the known galaxy. She proceeds to recruit fighters from the Shadow Warriors (of Double Dragon fame) to supplement her forces in her attempt to take over Earth. The ‘Toads hear of this attack and head straight to Earth to enlist the help of Jimmy and Billy Lee. I guess since Earth’s military was in no way capable of defending the planet the duty falls on the shoulders of some beefcake toads and two brothers with girlfriend issues, this happens more often than not. All five of the combatants immediately head off into space on a mission to stop this impending threat.
Once you begin the game you are able to choose from any of the five main characters: Billy and Jimmy Lee (from Double Dragon), or Zitz, Pimple and Rash (from Battletoads). The brawlers don’t really have much variation among fighting styles though, the selection is mostly cosmetic in appearance. The game consists of you moving from left to right in a 2D playing field all the while using kicks, punches, and throws to counter the mad rush of enemies. At the end of each level you will be greeted with boss that must be overcome before proceeding onto the next level.
Since this game takes place on the spaceship Colossus it’s easy to understand why most of the levels are industrial in nature. You will spend a large amount of time traversing a metallic maze of hallways, elevator shafts, and science facilities. Have no fear young button masher; all is not lost when it comes to level design. Even though a lot of the levels have some sort of metal design you will still get a chance to see new areas. One of my favorite locations to fight in was on the first level. Since you must first get INTO the ship before doing any real damage you spend all of the level fighting on the outside of the massive craft. How you are able to do this without your eyeballs popping out like Arnold Schwarzenegger at the end of Total Recall is beyond me. Willing suspension of disbelief, I guess. Later on in the game you will also run into the dreaded “speeder bike” level that’s infamous in the Battletoad games. Thankfully, these sections are kind of tolerable and nowhere near as frustrating as in past Battletoads games. As for the enemies, you will encounter all of your favorite classics from both Battletoads and Double Dragon and each one will feel your mighty wrath. You know, it’s pretty amazing; I haven’t played Double Dragon in almost 20 years yet I still hate Abobo. Screw you, you mutated, bulbous-headed freak!
The music in Battletoads & Double Dragon is epic! Imagine if you took a fully loaded synthesizer, some 90’s heavy metal rock, and a monster truck rally then shoved that mess into a blender, out would pop the soundtrack. The music will get your blood flowing and before you know it, you’ll be tap dancing your feet along with the punches your character is throwing. I could easily see myself rocking out to this soundtrack on my iPod while driving to work. I just feel sorry for the first person to cut me off. I’m libel to do a flying roundhouse face smash to his car.
One thing I do need to touch on is the difficulty of this game. To anyone that has ever played a Double Dragon or Battletoads game, you know this game is not for the faint of heart. You really have to be on your “A-game” to even see past the first few levels. Playing with a friend does alleviate some of the difficulty but since you must share continues, I highly recommend a friend that knows what the hell he is doing. DO NOT, under any circumstances, let your girlfriend (who sucks at games) be your sidekick; it would certainly lead to a very violent breakup!
As for an added bonus to reading this article I will toss out a cheat code I found online. It doesn’t help that much but it will give you a chance to see more that the game has to offer. At the character select screen, press Up, Down, Down, Up, X, B, Y, A, this code will give you a level select and extra lives. Enjoy it, you ungrateful Console Jockies.
All in all this game is a total classic Battletoads brawler with the addition of Double Dragon characters. A lot of the same humor found in the older ‘Toad games make appearance throughout your adventures. From bulging and protruding eyeballs when your character sees something “mind-blowing”, to huge cartoonish-ly exaggerated fists and boots when defeating an enemy. You will be chuckling to yourself in-between bouts of frustrated rage.
That’s about it for this post, I hope I have inspired you to pick up an old school controller and relive some recessed memories. And Mom, please don’t name the kid Billy Lee, I would much prefer a Battletoad name like Pimple.
P.S. DON’T WATCH THE DOUBLE DRAGON MOVIE. Unless of course it’s on your list of s#!tty video game based movies you want to see before you die. If that’s the case, have at it.
Released on the SNES October, 1993
Published by Tradewest, INC.
Developed by Rare, LTD.
Edited by Sarah Bryson