Ah, woodpaneling... So very 70's. So very, Atari...
Battletoads and Double Dragon represented a novel and innovative concept for it’s time.
Bear in mind, this was long before the days of the Marvel vs. Capcom, Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe, and the general cross-overy nature of the Super Smash Bros. series.
Basically it's like this. I assure that's not 2 different kinds of poop.
By taking 2 action game franchises, and marrying their character rosters and gameplay styles, the folks over at Tradewest and Rare succeeded in accomplishing 2 things:
They made the easiest, and therefore most accessible Battletoads game, and they also made the simplest, and therefore worst traditional Double Dragon game.
Bear in mind, even the very worst of the Double Dragon series (which would be Double Dragon V: The Shadow Falls) is still pretty good.
Okay, I take that back. Double Dragon V was ass... The cartoon was kinda' fun though.
Put together, those 2 facts result in a game that is straightforward, fun, but ultimately kind of mediocre in comparison to the other games in it’s respective series’.
That being said, I spent a good portion of my youth playing Battletoads and Double Dragon, and I wouldn’t have had it any other way.
You see, when I said Battletoads and Double Dragon was the “most accessible” Battletoads game, what I really meant to say, was that it was the only game in the series that was playable to non-Super Saiyans or non-mutants.
Or Non-Super Saiyan Mutants!
The Battletoads series is well known throughout gaming circles as being SOME OF THE MOST DIFFICULT FUCKING SHIT KNOWN TO MAN, and as such, the majority of us mere mortals simply can’t play them without tearing out our hair and/or breaking the fucking controller.
Pictured: The Result of Attempting to "BEAST" Battletoads.
Personally, I was only able to get about halfway through both Battletoads and it’s Super NES sequel, Battletoads in Battlemaniacs, and to be perfectly honest, I don’t have a problem with that.
In fact I’m proud to say that I got as far as I did.
Pictured: The Day I Beat Battletoads.
Fortunately, Battletoads and Double Dragon is quite a bit easier than your traditional Battletoads game, resulting in my having beat it about a half dozen times or so.
I also beat the Battletoads arcade game way back in the day, but that was when my parents were feedin’ me quarters at a birthday party, so that doesn’t really count.
To be fair though, most of the time I was just playing Aliens vs. Predator AKA THE BEST BEAT 'EM UP EVER.
The one thing I always found be downright mean about Battletoads games, was the fact that they always bait you into thinking that the games’ gonna’ be fun and easy by giving you a cast of a colorful and cartoony characters to play as,
Zitz, Pimple and Rash: Corporate Whores.
and a laughably easy beat ‘em up intro stage:
Every fuckin’ game in the series does this, and as a kid you think that’s gonna’ be the whole extent of the gameplay experience, but no, they had to go and change up the gameplay for EVERY FUCKING STAGE.
True, for the time this was a fucking revelation in gameplay variety on a single cartridge, but for those of us who were too dumb to read the back of the box, or failing that, the instruction manual, this really fuckin’ FUCKED you over somethin’ fierce.
Needless to say, I had problems learning the goddamn Turbo Tunnel,
I had problems learning fuckin’ Karnath’s Lair,
and you can sure as hell bet I never had a chance in goddamn fuckin’ Volkmire’s Inferno:
That’s right, I remember the names of the levels.
Hard to forget when they STEAL YOUR SOUL.
Anyway, the fun part about about Battletoads and Double Dragon, was that it kept the varied gameplay of the Battletoads series, but placed more of an emphasis on the sidescrolling beat ‘em up action due to the inclusion of the Double Dragons.
Billy and Jimmy Lee: Proud Owners of Pimp-Ass Pompadours.
It should be noted however, that the general gameplay mechanics of the fighting are based purely off of the Battletoads games, meaning the movement controls are “slippery,” running attacks are king, and enemies can only be defeated via flashy, and sometimes dangerously slow, smash attacks.
Make no mistake, this is Battletoads and Double Dragon, not the other way around.
Some of the alternative gameplay functions that were carried over from the Battletoads series were:
A pathetically easy Turbo Tunnel segment,
Also known as, "A Complete Waste of Time."
and a brief rappelling segment akin to the Wookie Tunnel from the original Battletoads:
Complete with Toad 'Morphin Action!
In addition to this, there was also an absurdly difficult Asteroids inspired spaceship shooting sequence in one of the later stages in the game:
Believe it or not, this was the easy part of the stage!
I fuckin’ hated that stage…
Anyway, my fondest memories of Battletoads and Double Dragon, will always be playing it with my Korean buddy from up the street.
Pictured: Said Korean. He made this, not me.
For whatever reasons, he insisted on playing the game, in particular the 3rd stage, while blasting 50 Cent’s “In Da’ Club.”
Fortunately, through the wonders of technology, I can replicate the experience for you!
Anyway, the basic plot of the game involved the Battletoad’s eternal nemesis, the delicious Dark Queen, hopping in her new Rat-Ship, The Colossus, and headin’ on down to Earth to wreak some havok.
Along the way though, she recruits the aid of the Double Dragon’s regular punching bags, The Shadow Warriors and their leader, the Shadow Boss (they mean “Master”).
Oh Brock, we keep finding ways to slip you in...
This of course results in the Battletoads responding by giving Billy and Jimmy Lee a jingle.
Really!? THIS, was the best you could find?
With the “Ultimate Team” assembled, our heroes set off into the cosmos to whup the Shadow Boss/Master, and kick the Dark Queen right in her sweet, luscious ass.
*Ahem!* Pardon me…
That being said, let’s get down to the real business at hand.
The Best Track in Battletoads and Double Dragon is…
The Title Screen
If ever there was a track that better represented the Battletoad’s style, (aside from their theme music of course) it’d have to be the Title Screen music of Battletoads and Double Dragon.
Despite the game being the product of dual franchises, the music, graphical style, and gameplay of Battletoads and Double Dragon are almost uniformly based around the Battletoads aesthetic.
Indeed, every track in the game includes the heavy metal-ish simulated electric guitar work we’ve all come to expect from the Battletoads games, and I for one love that about it.
Seriously man, this track has wonderful sense of “let’s go kick some ass” to it that really gets you psyched to play the game.
At the same time however, it’s not an overly aggressive piece of music.
Much like the heavy metal-ish sound I just mentioned, the Title Screen track has an appropriate sense of “fun” to it that serves to remind you of the inherently cartoonish nature of the game you’re about to play.
My only complaint about the soundtrack of the game, is the fact that it doesn’t include any of either of the two franchises signature tracks.
Both the Double Dragon and Battletoad’s themes are absent from the game, as are any pieces of existing music from either franchise.
While it may seem fanboy-ish of me to say it, I’m actually surprised that Rare went ahead and made an entirely original soundtrack for the game despite the treasure trove of existing tracks they could have recycled.
Oh well, brownie points to them for putting in the extra hours.
Anyway, it’s been a long time coming, but that’s it for The Best Track in the Game #12.
To make up for the lack of Double Dragon factoids, (I felt I pretty much covered them in some of my earlier posts) here’s the intro of the old Saturday morning cartoon I used to watch way back when!:
Man that shit sucked balls…
I love how they actually went so far as to rhyme “dragon” with “braggin’.”
Also, the repetition of “You (blank) are dragon master, NOW” is just fucking awful…
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