This week I’m going back to one of the greatest, or at least it could have been one of the greatest, crossover moments in video game history, Battletoads Double Dragon – The Ultimate Team for Super Nintendo. Crossovers are always fun whether it’s in movies, TV shows, comics, or video games. We always love watching or playing something when all of sudden something familiar to us from something else pops in and combines our entertainment worlds. Steve Urkel showed up in an episode of Full House, The Transformers and Spider-Man teamed up in a comic book, and Freddy and Jason Vorhees shared the silver screen together in Freddy vs. Jason. What could be better for video game fans than combining the worlds of Battletoads and Double Dragon? Turns out pretty much anything.
Battletoads Double Dragon was first released in June of 1993 for the NES. Later that same year, the game was released for the Sega Genesis, Super Nintendo, and Game Boy. It was developed by Rare games, the studio responsible for the Original Battletoads game. It was published by Tradewest which also published the original Battletoads. The original developer of Double Dragon, Technos Japan, had no involvement in the production of the crossover game beyond granting licensing for the use of the Double Dragon characters. With such revered franchises being brought together, it was important for Rare to stay true to the already established world of Double Dragon and blend it with the world of their own characters in Battletoads.
The crossover idea was a good one for these two franchises but unfortunately that’s the only thing that was good about it, the idea. The game is disappointing on a couple different levels and the only fun that can be had while playing it is when reminiscing about the original separate games. This hurt me as a gamer as I had such high hopes for this game when I played it on my Super Nintendo.
Battletoads Double Dragon is a 2D side scrolling beat ‘em up. You move from the left to right into areas of a level where you fight multiple enemies. After you clear an area of enemies, the screen moves forward where you fight another group of enemies. When you reach the end of a level, there’s the standard boss fight that takes place in order to complete the level. You can choose from any of the Battletoads or Double Dragon characters to play as in the game. Two players can play co-op through the game but if one of you dies, you both start back at the beginning of the level.
Battletoads Double Dragon – The Ultimate Team Game Play
The game is modeled after the original Battletoads game for the NES meaning that you can freely move about each section of a level from side to side and top to bottom. While this was a little tricky to get used to in the original Battletoads, it’s twice as difficult to adjust to in this game. It’s hard to tell which edges you can walk off of as it’s easy to lose track of your position while fighting off a group of enemies. When you fall off an edge, you don’t entirely fall down as you cling to the edge of whatever platform you were on. If the screen is clear of enemies this isn’t a big deal but if you’re surrounded, enemies won’t let you up easy as they can attack you even while your hanging for dear life. You can move from side to side while hanging from a platform and even kick with your legs if an enemy is hanging off a platform in a similar way. This extra freedom of movement can be handy but it’s mostly an annoyance and just adds to the frustration of this game.
This is a difficult game but for the dumbest reasons. This game is guilty of doing one of the cheapest things ever in a fighting game, unblockable punches. That’s right, you can’t block enemy punches and kicks. If you should happen be hit by one of these punches, the enemy will continue to throw punches and land them because there is no way of breaking an enemies combo. The only way out is to move in any direction right before the last and biggest punch the enemy throws at you. Enemy attacks seem to suck you in and you have to sit there and take it while yelling at the screen, it’s bullshit!
This game is also guilty of what seems to be purposeful enemy alignment and timing, I’ll explain. In the very first level, there are flying robot enemies that fire laser shots at you. Sometimes you have to battle two of these at the same time but they will fly in straight lines across from each other meaning that while you’re attacking one, the other is lined up for a perfect shot on you with your back turned. It takes a quick attack to kill one without getting hit by the other or you just have to wait for them to fly around and stop in positions where they’re not lined up with each other.
All the cheap shots this game takes at you sucks the fun right out of a game that has a ton of potential. Like I said earlier, this game is fun to play for all of the “Oh, I remember that from the old game!” stuff. Unfortunately, all the reminiscing isn’t enough to save the horrid game play of this game.
The Super Nintendo version of Battletoads Double Dragon doesn’t disappoint in the graphics department. There’s a pretty cool intro at the beginning of the game that explains how these two video game worlds came together. Being a Super Nintendo game, the SNES definitely shows off its ability to display millions of colors on screen with bright and colorful graphics which fits the look of the Battletoads and Double Dragon characters perfectly. Enemies, backgrounds, explosions, and basically everything else on the screen gets the full SNES treatment as this game looks great through out. If the actual game play were better this game could have been the complete package.
Battletoads Double Dragon Intro
The sound in this game is solid as well with good music and sound effects through out the entire game. The original Battletoads game for the NES delivered on sound as well. The SNES version of Battletoads Double Dragon just takes everything to the next level. This is definitely a game to play with the big speakers on. So, yet again, due to the bad game play, the good graphics and sound are left hanging out there on their own instead of being the finishing touches on a bad ass game.
Collectibility – Extremely Collectable
Um, what? Extremely collectible? Really? All versions of this game are highly sought after and I have no idea why. The fact that it features two of the most famous video game franchises from back in the day must be the driving factor behind its collectibility because there’s no way it’s because of its game play. If you spot this game reasonably priced in the wild, pick it up!
Average Value – $24 loose, $248 New in box
Rarity – Extremely collectible with a 74% rating on rarityguide.com
Happy Gaming and Happy Collecting!
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