Hey all. Mike here, also known as "sotenga" on that wacky Internet. I talked to Kurt about whatever I could write for a post, so I asked him "can I write about Battletoads?" He more or less approved the idea as long as it was relatively focused. I figured I'd give it some focus by looking at all twelve levels of the infamous Rare platformer. So, without further to do, here be a quick look at all twelve levels of Battletoads!
1: Ragnarok's Canyon = Beat up the baddies and trash the Big Walker at the end!
Straightforward beat-em-uppery applies here. There's not all that much to it; just beat on the pigs and walkers and dragons until they give up; or, alternatively, jump on one of the dragons and ride them around! The only serious danger is being booted off the waterfall. Other than that, I'm sure most gamers could at least pass this level if they tried well enough. The Big Walker at the end is a joke; just stay out of its way and toss the rocks back at it. Really, it's not all that bad.
2: Wookie Hole = Descend into a vertical cavern while taking care of the crows, plants, and robots on the way!
If you want to survive the rest of the game, it pays to do well here. If you hit one of the crows enough times, he gives a free 1-up. If you do this with several crows, you'll have lots lives to supplant you for much of the game. It can be hard to juggle the jerks, but it's a bit easier if you get one of the "beak blades" from one of the crows that can snip your rope and kill you instantly. To destroy the plants, the "Wrecking Ball" attack where you launch from the wall works wonders. The only big challenge I find in this stage is avoiding the laser gates; other than that, this one's not too bad. Though, I usually restart if I don't get enough lives from the crows.
3: Turbo Tunnel = After whomping a few antagonists on foot, take up the Speeder and blaze through a tunnel lined with momentum-halting walls!
THE stage that everyone knows and fears, the TT is daunting to many people, and I can see why. However, if you play through the stage enough times and have a decent reaction time, it's really not THAT bad. Oh, it's still bad enough, but later stages are much worse than this. Just keep your eyes peeled for the floating blue walls and ramps, stay back and leap over the mini-rockets, and just keep going up-and-down rapidly through the final segment. I'll admit that last part still trips me up, but if you've got a good rhythm to it, you'll pass through it eventually. Oh, and if you want to skip the next level, run into the tenth wall at the final segment. ;)
4: Arctic Caverns = Slip and slide through a geological nightmare while avoiding malicious snowmen and spiky crystals!
THIS one is harder than the Turbo Tunnel in my opinion. Slippery ice invariably makes for an obnoxious stage in a platformer, and that's no exception here, particularly with all of the instant death spikes and killer snowmen about. To break down the gates, you either need to toss ice cubes at them, throw snowballs, or coax a snowman into throwing the balls for you. Jumping straight up halts your slide, but be careful of spikes overhead. And for the love of jeebus, don't stand next to the snowmen for more than a second. This is a frustrating stage; all I can recommend is to keep practicing it to know where all of its traps buggle you.
5: Surf City = Ride the waves over logs, whirlpools, and mines, and kick Big Blag's bubble butt!
The surf parts, while odd to control and suitably annoying, aren't too bad in my opinion. They're like the Turbo Tunnel but a bit slower. Granted, the mines in the second bit are instantly fatal and can be tough to dodge sometimes, but there's an infinitely-spawning 1-up in that segment which dulls the sting of losing, so I can deal with it. What DOES cheese me off is the mid-section where you fight against Big Blag, who is a damn cheater. You die INSTANTLY if you get crushed beneath his heft, and he pokes you with his tail if he gets close to you. I'd say keep far away from him until you see a good opportunity to run forth and smash him with a headbutt. If you're uber-bold, you can juggle him with several headbutts, but screwing up this chain results in a death squish. Blag will likely lose you a couple of lives, but if you beat him, the rest of the stage (with the aforementioned mines) is not that bad to me.
6: Karnath's Lair = Board several giant snakes who refuse to take a straight exit through spike-laden caverns!
This stage is MEAN, and it takes some quick reflexes (and a bit of prior practice, especially in the last segment) to win the deal. The first segment is a breather; there aren't even any spikes you can die upon. The snakes themselves cannot harm you, only annoy you with all the bends and loops they take. However, all snakes follow the exact same pattern every time, and once you realize their movements, you'll pass the first bit. The second bit has some spikes, but I don't find it too bad either. It's the third part where you have to worry, as one slip-up means instant death. There's also a really mean jump you have to make between two spikes at some point, and the snakes get really fast at the end. The last segment is just nasty; one bit forces you to cling on a snake until the very last millisecond so you can land on it while you're being threatened with a spike ball above. It will take practice and technique, perhaps even a bit of trial and error, but it IS beatable.
7: Volkmire's Inferno = Jump on logs to avoid landing in a dubious purple substance and ride aero jets through electric barriers, fireballs, and concussion missiles!
This level is the Turbo Tunnel's bigger and meaner brother; even the starting segment on foot where you have to leap upon logs can be a bit tricky, though not too bad with good timing. However, riding the jet is a part that takes some fast maneuvering and a bit of trial-and-error memorization to clear. The initial barriers aren't bad, the fireballs I honestly don't find too tough (look for a 1up), and the missiles are best avoided by staying in the middle of the screen (though you get another 1up near the top of the screen near the end of the missile assault). But the last two segments involve some wicked gate-flying, some of which open and close just as they appear. The very last move you need involves VERY precise movement to pass, and it can take a few tries, so stay focused and keep trying until it works. Tough, but passable.
8: Intruder Excluder = Robot sentries, deadly gas, electricity, and killer fans all impede your upward climb to the top of the shaft where Robo Manus awaits!
The fact that it's relatively easy to fall to your death constantly may seem daunting, but this level isn't too bad in my opinion. The instant death gas sucks, but they're easily punctuated in how they blow. The robots' bolts can be ducked under even when you're RIGHT next to them. And if you're an experienced platform gamer, jumping shouldn't be too much of an ordeal. Just be careful with accidentally double-tapping, initiating a run off into the void as I've done sometimes. Robo Manus is a tough fight, but I think he's a bit easier than Big Blag. It's instant death for getting jumped on, and nigh-instant if hit with his machine gun, but he always fires it every time he jumps and it can be ducked under. He moves more as he takes more damage, so get it as many sequential headbutts as you can early on. From there, just do your best to be careful and headbutt him as he's coming down from a jump but before he fires. Once you beat him, take some aspirin. You will need it.
9: Terra Tubes = It's the obligatory sewer level! PRAY!!!
This. Level. Sucks. I hate it. I hate it. I hate it I hate it I hate it I hate it I hate it. The robots explode and kill you instantly if you don't hit them fist first. The wheels kill you instantly and it sometimes takes more than one life to figure out where they stop. The orange fish can very easily bump you into a spike and kill you instantly. The sharks can attack you quickly and kill you nigh-instantly. The eels can petrify you and have you fall onto a spike which will kill you instantly. The rubber ducks KILL YOU INSTANTLY AND ARE INVINCIBLE... though they can be stunned. So, if you don't get the idea, EVERYTHING CAN KILL YOU INSTANTLY IN THIS F@#$ING STAGE. All I can really offer for advice is... keep trying. Hell, cheat with a level skip and practice this stage repeatedly until you can do it without losing more than ten lives. Just do your best, and good luck. If you beat it, the rest of the game pales in comparison. Still a massive challenge, though. What, you expected a BREAK? This is BATTLETOADS. You will DIE. So very MUCH. IT HAPPENS. DEAL WITH IT.
... whoo, sorry about that. On to the last quarter!
10: Rat Race = Beat Scuzz to the bomb before he flips the killswitch and beat the snot out of General Slaughter at the finish line!
This is an incredibly frustrating stage, albeit with a novel concept. You have to run down three vertical shafts and kick off the bomb lying at the bottom, beating your rival Scuzz to it. The first two races aren't too bad, they simply require some savvy B-Toad maneuvering down a conveniently-patterned set of gaps. However, the third race is frustratingly tough and almost requires a flawless run down the gaps. There is a trick that you can time to benefit your odds; if Scuzz is in your line of sight, running and headbutting him will bounce him up, causing him to jump over and miss the gap until he runs back across it. Other than that, it'll probably take you a few tries to do it right. Get through it and you fight General Slaughter at the bottom; he's about as tough as Robo Manus, though without the gunfire. He gets faster the more you beat him up, so keep your eyes peeled about where he'll head after you bounce him into the air. Getting crushed is death, of course, so it might take a few lives, but he'll collapse eventually.
Level 11: Clinger Wingers = Speed across a zany course with more turns than a revolving door and get revenge on your pursuer, the Hypno Orb!
There is honestly no advice I can give about the racing portion of the stage. You have to hold your d-pad in the direction in which you're heading, and you'll have to change this direction many many times. Just don't stop holding under any circumstance and change direction the instant you drive over a corner. All it takes is a pair of laser-focused eyeballs to win. The Hypno Orb at the end is a boss who's relatively easy compared to most other big bads in the game; it can shock you with just a touch, but it is pretty easy to trap in the corner and score several hits. Just be careful when it starts bouncing high to instantly crush you. I personally think this stage is a breather before the vicious final level.
Level 12: The Revolution = The Dark Queen beckons your presence a mile above terra firma, and all that stands between you and her is a massive tower rife with death!
This is a very damn hard final level, but at least it's not total bullshit like the Terra Tubes. It's a bit lax with checkpoints and final lives, though, so you need to be on your best game to destroy it. There aren't too many segments that require advance knowledge to pass; what you see is as it is. It takes many jumps on springs to reach the top, some of which move around. The yellow rhinos can be annoying, but not as bad as the red ones which devour you for a whole life. Also, the cloud blow instant death bubbles, but their pattern of flying repeatedly around the tower is easy to see. There's not much else I can say, other than the Dark Queen cheats frequently with her tornado-morphing ability and can be nigh-impossible to avoid at times. Oh, and, but of of course, you die if she lands on you. Just make the final fight a battle of attrition and don't give up, keep on fighting until victory is yours!
... hmm... well, despite being "quick," this took me a while to write. Don't that beat all? Oh well, hope you enjoyed my examination of Battletoads. Makes me think I should write an article on the series someday. Until then, this is Mike, slightly less sane for having beaten the damn game. Twice, even. I don't expect you to believe me, but I can't open my head to show you the mental scars I've suffered from it. :D