Rare Replay for Xbox One spans over 30 years of games from the talented developer. Whether you prefer the shooting action of Perfect Dark, crazy platforming of Conker's Bad Fur Day or the car-building joy of Banjo Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts, there's something for you.
Regardless of personal preference, you should check the two Battletoads games, the 1989 original that first arrived on the NES, and the arcade game that followed in 1994. Both offer plenty of beat-em-up action, whether you go it alone or team up with friends to save the galaxy.
What's the big deal about Battletoads? Well, they star in some of Rare's best games. With this in mind, here are more reasons why these characters and games deserve your time.
Surprising Amount of Depth
If you played any of the Battletoads games, you're aware they’re more than simple beat-em-ups. Sure, it's fun to flatten an enemy pig with a ram-horned head-butt, or send it flying with a football-like punt, but the Battletoads games offer diverse level designs that challenge the player at every turn.
Case in point, the original 1989 effort. Not only will you pummel enemies, but also surf in an underground lair while timing your jumps to avoid obstacles, ride around on an out-of-control mini-bike resembling a speedy lawnmower, descend into a danger-filled canyon while kicking the crap out of birds and of course, ride speeder bikes, avoiding obstacles while making leaps of faith.
Other releases, including the arcade game, Battletoads in Battlemaniacs for the SNES and Battletoads/Double Dragon: The Ultimate Team for various consoles offered unique twists, ranging from riding on a cannon-laden platform and shooting enemies (Arcade) to taking on a mini-game similar to Asteroids, complete with continuous waves of foes (Battletoads/Double Dragon).
Challenging, But Not Impossible
If you crave a challenge, look no further than Battletoads. Players didn't have the luxury of accessing an extra lives code (although holding down on the D-pad and pressing A, B and Start on the main menu boosted lives from three to five) or password. That meant having to get through crazy stages with only a handful of continues and zero save points.
Rare knew how to balance the difficulty with these games. While hard, they’re not impossible. One particular point where players might lose their cool is the speeder bike level (stage 3) in the original game. In the final stretch, an ongoing wave of obstacles appear, forcing players to have precision timing to get through unscathed.
That's old school gaming for you, having to memorize certain parts to avoid losing a life, or learning a strategy in order to get through it and continue to an even tougher stage.
However, if you must have an easy Battletoads game, the best way to go is Battletoads/Double Dragon. While not in this collection, it’s an ideal game to play with a friend, since it's a cakewalk compared to the original Battletoads. That said, you have unlimited continues with Battletoads Arcade, so you can plow through the game with a buddy in one sitting.
They Have Plenty of Character
Although the Battletoads aren't as well known as the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, they’re almost as likable. Whether transforming their limbs into giant objects to pound enemies (like a hammer, or our personal favorite, a large fist resembling one of those green Incredible Hulk hands), they provide kick-ass action with distinctive character – something you don't see too often in a routine beat-em-up.
What's more, animations help define their personality, showcasing a startled look when a boss showed up (bug-eyed and all), eating flies with no sense of decorum (when you're hungry, you're hungry) or passing along insults to opponents they defeat with the help of their pilot, Professor T. Bird.
It's a shame they didn't receive TV shows or movies, because they provide the kind of gusto and no-nonsense attitude that would've made for good episodes of an animated series. At least we have Rash in Killer Instinct, which was announced this week.