Monday, October 29, 2012

PlayStation All-Stars: Controls, Attacks, Gameplay as Compared to Smash Bros.

It was inevitable that PlayStation All-Stars: Battle Royale would be compared to the Super Smash Bros. series since they both are fighters that take characters, levels, and items from a variety of franchises. They look pretty similar at a glance too, but we do know that some fundamental things are different:

In Super Smash Bros., you win by attacking and trying to knock each other off the stage. The more damage a player incurs, the further they fly when hit. You can either play under a time limit for the most kills or a survival match with a limited stock of lives (and there are also several other modes that are more unique but less played). In PlayStation All-Stars, dealing damage increases your AP meter which you use for special attacks. The specials have three levels, and you can choose to use your special whenever it's filled up to at least level one; a level three special attack is best, but takes longer to charge. These specials are the only way to kill your opponents, so the goal of the game is to charge your special, use it to kill the other players, and get the most kills.

Already, that's pretty darn different from Smash Bros.. Does it work? So far, yes, and it's quite fun. Requiring you to use super attacks also requires you to be aggressive and makes it impossible to steal someone else's kill. But what I'm more interested in and what I haven't seen others cover in detail, are the more technical aspects of the gameplay. For a comparison, here's a rundown of how fighting works in modern Smash Bros. games:
The difference between a "tilt" and a smash attack. Source: Smash Bros. Dojo
There are special attacks and normal attacks, which are used by pressing a direction and B or A, respectively. Normal attacks can vary based on: being in the air, being on ground, whether you tilt the control stick beforehand as opposed to mashing it simultaneously (which results in a chargeable "smash attack"), whether you're running or not, and of course, which direction you attack. Special attacks usually just vary by direction, but tend to have more unique effects that are especially unique to each character. There are also grabs and throws, which vary by which direction you throw your opponent. For dodging, you can either hold a button to shield, which will protect you from attacks except for grabs, or you can roll side to side or dodge in place, which grants you a second or less of invincibility. These simple button plus direction controls make it so there's a good variety of moves but also so that these attacks are easy to remember and execute quickly. The challenge then comes in learning how to use each move effectively and knowing the details of how each works; one character's forward throw may be far worse than their backward throw, and some moves do more damage or give greater knock-back if they hit in a particular place.
The official website provides a move list for each character.
In PlayStation All-Stars, the attacks are performed similarly, except there are three attack buttons which can be combined with a direction. A few of these perform differently when in the air, but not all. Also, there are no "tilts" as there are in Smash Bros.. Also, there don't seem to be any "sweet spots" for landing attacks. A hit is a hit, and it doesn't matter where you hit. There also aren't any different attacks performed when running. In fact, there really isn't any running at all, and for the size of the levels, movement feels slow. Throws, of course, are also in the game, but you can only throw in three directions (you can't throw backward), unlike the four in Smash Bros.. These throws are performed using the right stick, which ends up being a lot more awkward than using a button. Shielding works much the same way as in Smash, but there is less of a visual cue when you are simply guarding and the opponent still builds their AP meter a little even if you guard (but not if you dodge). Unlike Smash Bros., PlayStation All-Stars, does not allow you to dodge in place. Another thing to note is that there are a few items that you can pick up and use during the fight. There will be an option to turn them off for those who want to, but something I noticed from playing the beta is that the items are very awkward to pick up. Not only do you have to be standing right on top of the item, but it also seems to take a longer than expected amount of time to pick the item up, which usually results in you being knocked away.

While I like that there are three attack buttons and I think that the goal of killing with supers is fun, I couldn't help but feel like this game's controls just weren't as tight as those in Super Smash Bros.. It isn't anything major, but the little things add up to a feeling that it could have been more polished. Whether it's the inability to run at different speeds, quickly change direction while running, fast-fall, the hard-to-follow character models, unclear guarding animation, and clumsy grabs and item pickup, PlayStation All-Stars just doesn't give the player the control that would have been ideal for such a fast paced and chaotic game. Don't get me wrong, I'm loving the beta and think it's a blast to play, but there are some subtle improvements that would have bee nice. It's too soon to say whether character balance will hold up or how the rest of the game is, but I'm interested to see how it will fare with competitive gamers when the full game is released on November 20th. 

Monday, October 22, 2012

5 Puzzle Games with Puzzlingly Good Soundtracks

Plug in your headphones because this week I'm bringing the tunes. All of the games in this list are puzzle games of the falling block sort (rather than the Myst or Professor Layton sort). Maybe it shouldn't surprise me that these games have such great soundtracks. Since puzzle games tend to lack the adventure and scenery of most other genres I suppose it's natural that they put more focus into the aspects they do have at their disposal: gameplay, presentation, and music. 

I've tried to limit these games to those which you can't add your own music to, and to those that have, for the most part, original music. That means the Kirby puzzle games won't qualify and neither will Audiosurf. Now then. Let's get this started!

5. Meteos (by Seiji Momoi, produced by Tetsuya Mizuguchi)
If you're familiar with Rez, you'll understand why the soundtrack of Meteos is so unique; it's by the same producer after all. Rather than being the sort of soundtrack you'd sit down and listen to by itself, the soundtrack in Meteos is dynamically formed as you play the game. Each planet in the game not only has a different appearance, distribution of tiles, and physics, but the music is, of course, different as well. The music is typically just a fairly simple loop however every action you take and match you make plays a sound effect that blends with the music. This means that not only does the music get cooler the better you do, but it also seamlessly gets more frantic as the gameplay does. It might not be the most exciting to listen to by itself, but in-game it's quite a satisfying effect.

4. Lumines (by various artists, produced by Tetsuya Mizuguchi)
Lumines has a soundtrack by... wait a minute- it's produced by Tetsuya Mizuguchi again?! What is this madness? Well let me answer my own question by saying the audio in Lumines changes dynamically as you play, much like Meteos and Rez. Just like in Meteos, there are a variety of "skins" that change the graphics and background music, and also like Meteos, whenever you make a match with the tiles additional sounds and tones will play which blend right in with the music. The better you do, the more complicated and awesome they get. If you get a really good combo going, you'll be rewarded with cooler music to jam to as long as you can keep it up. Once again, the best way to experience this is to play it yourself or see it in action, but I'd say it does make better listening music by itself than the soundtrack of Meteos.

3. Tetris series (by Hirokazu Tanaka and others)
If you're familiar with any puzzle game music, it's likely to be the Tetris themes from the GameBoy version. If you ever questioned whether the famous "Type A" music was originally composed for the game, your suspicions would be founded as it is actually an instrumental version of a Russian folk song. The "Type B" theme is nearly as iconic and was likely composed by Hirokazu Tanaka, who also composed for classic NES games including Metroid, Balloon Fight, Kid Icarus, and Dr. Mario as well as for EarthBound

But that isn't the only good Tetris music out there. Tetris Battle Gaiden, which was released only in Japan, has music that goes along with its battle-themed gameplay. Here's a playlist of that soundtrack, of which I personally recommend "Ninja" and "Wolfman". Then there was Tetris Attack, the English localized version of Panel de Pon, which had pretty mellow music for the most part. From the full playlist, my personal favorite is "Lip's Theme", which I'm familiar with from its newly arranged version in Super Smash Bros. Brawl.

I'm sure there is plenty of other music from the Tetris series as well, but in order to prevent this post from focusing entirely on Tetris music, I'll finish up and draw your attention lastly to Tetrisphere. Differing from other Tetris soundtracks, Tetrisphere sports a pretty awesome electronic/techno soundtrack. Even if 90s techno isn't quite your thing, this soundtrack still is worth a listen.

2. Intelligent Qube aka Kurushi (by Takayuki Hattori)
When I first played Intelligent Qube, I laughed. I laughed partly because I was playing the Japanese version and my friend and I were struggling to figure out how to play, but the main reason I laughed was because this game's music is far more epic than the game itself is. The game is a fairly unique puzzle game where you control a little guy and have to destroy certain blocks while not destroying others and all the while making sure you don't get crushed. It was an early Playstation game so there isn't much more to it than that. Apparently the memo the composer got was "Write some music for a new Star Wars movie" because what this game got was epic, triumphant, movie quality music. Maybe there is no greater purpose to solving these puzzles, but the soundtrack would have you believe there is. Even if the fun and original gameplay isn't enough to keep you playing, you'll find that it's a joy to play just for the music. This soundtrack truly deserves your attention.

1. Mr. Driller: Drill Land (by Masaru (Go) Shiina)
Masaru Shiina, also known as Go Shiina, is one of my favorite game music composers and only misses out on being my definite favorite because I can't commit to choosing one. I don't own a whole lot of physical CDs, but two of my favorites that I do own are soundtracks by Masaru Shiina. I received the Tales of Legendia soundtrack as a gift after having listened to it online and before I even owned a PS2 on which to play the game it was from. My eventual purchase of the game was much influenced by my love of the soundtrack. The first time I studied abroad in Japan I also picked up Shiina's soundtrack for God Eater, which I also haven't played. So with that said, let me assure you that not having played this Japan-exclusive puzzler for GameCube will not in the least diminish your enjoyment of the soundtrack, which in my opinion, is some of Shiina's best. His unique, but varied, and often jazzy style of music takes full advantage of the varied locations in Drill Land and the many instruments at his disposal. If you can't listen to the whole soundtrack, my personal recommendations are "The Dragon's Feed is the People", "Heading Back to Town", and "Swordray", but really, it's all great. And go ahead and check out the rest of his music while you're at it!
Bonus 1: Shatter (by Module) Submitted by Eldiran.
Whoa, how did I forget Shatter? (That's a rhetorical question and I don't know the answer myself.) Not only does Shatter reinvent the arcade brick-breaking genre to great effect, but its soundtrack is also fantastic. It's got nice long electronic tracks for every level in the game that just don't get old. Whether they're putting you into a zen state during the game or while you're driving down the highway, the Shatter soundtrack deserves a place in your mp3 player. 

Did I miss any? If so, let me know in the comments and I may even add it into the post.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Kill Sauron with Bacon in Air Fortress

I found out about Air Fortress earlier this year when I was looking through a list of games made by HAL Laboratory, the developer responsible for Kirby and Super Smash Bros.. It turns out they've been around a lot longer than I thought: since 1980. I tried out Air Fortress along with a few other games and decided that this would be a good one to get and review in greater detail.

Pop bubble, receive bacon.
The game itself can be explained pretty simply. Each level is divided into two parts: a traditional space shooter part and an on foot part. During the space segment, you ride on (not in) a spaceship and approach the air fortress, which really is a space fortress. While doing so, you must shoot enemies and dodge obstacles, like the giant turd-shaped asteroids that appear to be in the background but aren't. But more importantly, you collect bubbles of E and B which will prepare you for the second segment. One's first assumption might be that E stands for Energy and B stands for Bombs, but there's nothing that confirms this. I first assumed that the E stood for Earwax, but later I realized that E and B could only possibly stand for Eggs and Bacon.

Once inside the fortress, you're on foot, armed with a gun, your collected bacon, and a jetpack that runs on eggs. The goal here is to find and destroy the Eye of Sauron which powers the space station, then find the exit before the fortress explodes with you in it. Of course there are enemies to worry about too and as the levels go on, the air fortresses become more and more mazelike.
For Frodo!!

Navigating with the jetpack is pretty cool, and when you shoot it kicks you back realistically. Any movement or shooting decreases your eggs, but standing still makes them quickly recharge. If you get hit by an enemy your maximum number eggs decreases, and if you run out of eggs, you die. The bacon acts as a limited use explosive shot, which explains why so many mistakenly believe that the B stands for bomb.

Every level works pretty much the same way and rapidly gets harder until, when you get to level 5 or 6, it's nearly impossible. I don't see how you'd ever be able to finish them all, but there 8 levels and then second quest versions of each level. Thankfully, there is a password system in this game so you don't have to do it all in one go. Seriously, some of these levels all but require you to map them out so you don't waste all your eggs wandering around and so that you can actually escape when you get to that point.

The music is pretty much the same throughout and has just two main tracks, one for each section, so by the third or fourth level you'll have them hopelessly stuck in your head. The graphics are pretty old looking, but not bad. They don't vary much by level though. The most impressive part comes when you destroy an air fortress's core (Sauron), which makes the lights  flicker, the music go creepy, and the screen gradually start to shake as you dash to the exit. It's scary and panic inducing as there is no countdown clock to your destruction besides judging from the amount of shaking and noise.

Well, with that summary out of the way, you can now watch it in action in the videos below:

Monday, October 8, 2012

Why You Shouldn't Get Rid of Your Wii

[Note: This article is kinda old. You can still read it if you want though.]
The Wii U has been announced and it's coming soon, so perhaps you're considering selling your Wii to get some extra cash (you'd better think this through!). Or maybe you already did sell your Wii (I'll make you regret it!), or worse, never had a Wii to begin with (you missed out!). In any of these cases, I hope to make it clear why it's worth it to have a Wii and continue to have one, even with the next generation of consoles fast approaching.

The Games
The Wii has quite a lot of games for it. Sure, there's a lot of crappy shovelware in its library, but people tend to buy Nintendo consoles for Nintendo's first party games, and there were a lot of those too. In fact, unless you only owned a Wii and fully dedicated yourself to playing all the best games throughout this generation, I highly doubt you played all the Wii games worth playing. I can't review them all right here, so allow me to astound you with the sheer number of them. Before you move onto the next generation, don't let these games pass you by.

And Yet It Moves
Animal Crossing: City Folk
Art Style: Light Trax
Art Style: Rotohex
Bit.Trip Core
Bit.Trip Flux
Bit.Trip Void
The Conduit
Donkey Kong Country Returns
Excite Truck
Fatal Frame: Mask of the Lunar Eclipse
Fortune Street
GoldenEye 007
Harvest Moon: Magical Melody
Kirby's Epic Yarn
Last Story
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
Lost in Shadow
Mario Party 8
Mario Sports Mix
Mario Super Sluggers
Mega Man 10
Metroid Prime 3: Corruption
Monster Hunter Tri
Naruto Shippuden
NiGHTS Journey of Dreams
No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle
Pandora's Tower
Rayman Origins
Resident Evil 4: Wii Edition
Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles
Rock Band 1, 2, and 3
Rune Factory: Tides of Destiny
Samba de Amigo
Sin and Punishment: Star Successor
Sonic Colors
Sonic Unleashed
SSX Blur
Super Mario Galaxy 2
Super Paper Mario
Tales of Graces
Tales of Monkey Island
Tetris Party
Trauma Center: New Blood
Trauma Team
WarioWare: Smooth Moves
World of Goo
Another Code: R - A Journey Into Lost Memories
Art Style: Cubello
Art Style: Orbient
Bit.Trip Beat
Bit.Trip Fate
Bit.Trip Runner
Cave Story
The Conduit 2
Excitebots: Trick Racing
Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn
Fragile Dreams: Farewell Ruins of the Moon
Harvest Moon: Tree of Tranquility
Harvest Moon: Animal Parade
Kirby's Return to Dreamland
The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess
Mario Kart Wii
Mario Party 9
Mario Strikers Charged
Mega Man 9
Metal Slug Anthology
Metroid: Other M
Muramasa: The Demon Blade
New Super Mario Bros. Wii
No More Heroes
NyxQuest: Kindred Spirits
Red Steel 2
Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles
Rhythm Heaven Fever
Rune Factory Frontier
Sam & Max: Season 1
Silent Hill: Shattered Memories
Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure
Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity
Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1
Super Mario Galaxy
Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz
Super Smash Bros. Brawl
Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World
Tatsunoko vs. Capcom: Ultimate All-Stars
Toki Tori
Trauma Center: Second Opinion
Wario Land: Shake It!
Wii Sports Resort
Xenoblade Chronicles
Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbaros' Treasure

Oh, sorry, did I forget a couple? You'll have to let me know in the comments because I'm sure I did. And that list isn't the end of what you can play on the Wii either; I could do the same thing and make a list of great GameCube games too because - guess what - unless you have the new smaller Wii model, you can play those on your Wii too. Also, while I included Wii Ware games in that list, I didn't include any of the many classic games available for Virtual Console. Yeah, I know you'll be able to play Wii games and downloaded games on the Wii U (assuming you keep your Wii long enough to transfer the downloads), but why get a whole new console when there are old, cheaper games you could still be playing? And you won't be able to play a whole generation worth of GameCube games on the Wii U. 

Even if somehow you've played all the games worth playing for Wii and GameCube, chances are that in 10 to 15 years you're going to want to play them again. Just as NES, SNES, and N64 games are classic and nostalgic now, the games for GCN and Wii will be too. Rather than repurchasing them digitally in the future, why not just hang onto them so you can play them on their original console?

What's that? You say a few of those games aren't available in your country? It's too bad the Wii is region locked, huh? Oh wait. It's not. Not any more...

You can hack it, and it's easier than ever
If your Wii isn't hacked, you're missing out on a lot of good stuff. Maybe the Wii U will get hacked too, but maybe not; the 3DS still hasn't been after all. Until it is, it's a good idea to hang onto your Wii if only due to the benefits of having it hacked. All you need is an SD card and it'll hardly take you 10 minutes to do it. (Update: The Virtual Wii on Wii U can now also be hacked, so you'll be able to do the listed hacks on Wii U as well. But you still won't be able to play with GCN controllers without a 3rd party adapter.)

But after you've installed the Homebrew Channel and possibly BootMii is when the real fun comes in. As I alluded to above, you'll be able to play Wii and GCN games from other regions. You'll also be able to watch DVDs on your Wii, run any homebrew app or game that you want, and back up your Wii games to a hard drive so you can play them without swapping out disks all the time. 

Those things are just nifty amusements, however, when compared with what you can do with Gecko OS and Riivolution. Gecko OS is one of the apps that will let you play imported games, but its other use is to let you play with codes. It basically gives you all the functionality of a game genie / game shark / action replay and it's free. There are tons of codes available and if you own a USB Gecko (a bit hard to come by now) and know a little about hex editing, you can even make your own codes. These codes include everything from the usual infinite health and ammo to moon jumping and modifying Samus' breast size (not that I've tried it of course). There are even codes to fix glitches (like the door that sometimes wouldn't open in Metroid Other M) or improve controls (like mapping Wii remote shaking to a button in Donkey Kong Country Returns). You don't have to use these things to cheat; you can just have fun with them or tweak the game to make it better. So you can say goodbye to low battery notifications and those irritating notifications the first time you pick up a bug or treasure in Skyward Sword.
Yes, that's the Metal Mario stage from SSB64 and Fierce Deity Link.
In fact, these codes ended up getting so advanced that it became possible to load files off of an SD card during the game, using that data instead of the data on the disk. For example, loading a custom texture for Wario in Super Smash Bros. Brawl to make him look like Dr. Eggman/Robotnik. Or loading whole new characters entirely, with whole new movesets. Or new levels or music. Brawl is so popular that there are entire sets of hacks that balance the characters and tweak the gameplay so it's even better than it was originally.

Brawl isn't the only game with custom content; New Super Mario Bros. Wii has a full level editor available for it now and a large library of custom levels to play, some even more creative and definitely more challenging than those that came with the original game.
Super Mario Galaxy 2 also has some new content in the form of new levels and new versions of old levels. For example, there's a ridiculously hard version of Grandmaster Galaxy. Then there's brand new items for Animal Crossing: City Folk which include lightsabers. There's a board editor for Fortune Street. And also custom tracks and ported old tracks for Mario Kart Wii which are even playable online with other people using the same hacks. Each of these games now have enough new content that it's like having a whole new game.

Until the Wii U gets hacked, you won't be able to do any of these hacks on the Wii U, so getting rid of your Wii at this point would be getting rid of a lot of functionality that you simply won't have when playing Wii games on the Wii U.

Still not convinced? Well as far as I know, the Forecast Channel, News Channel, Everybody Votes Channel, Photo Channel, and Check Mii Out Channel haven't been confirmed for Wii U. This doesn't mean they won't be available in "Wii mode" on the Wii U, but we can't know for sure. Life without those super-handy apps just isn't a life worth living. If that doesn't convince you, nothing will. (Yes, I'm being sarcastic, just for this paragraph.) At the very least, keep your Wii until you can transfer your data to the Wii U and don't get ripped off by trading it in to a game store.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Why Battletoads is a Great Game

If you've heard of Battletoads, you probably know it because of its notorious difficulty. Indeed, Battletoads is incredibly difficult, but this game deserves some more recognition for its other aspects as well, which are also quite impressive. So let's dig into this, piece by piece.

The Difficulty
I'll start with the difficulty since that's what it's known for, but instead of just saying "omg, I never finished level 3", let me tell you why the difficulty level in Battletoads is actually well designed. For one, the controls are pretty tight and responsive, even though it has a wide variety of gameplay, rarely are your deaths due to faulty controls. Unlike many classic beat 'em up games, in Battletoads, I almost never have trouble hitting enemies due to not being perfectly lined up with them or getting damaged from unclear contact boxes. If you get hit, it's usually your own fault. 

Just as importantly, the game gradually introduces you to new elements and doesn't just throw death at you unexpectedly. This game isn't like I Wanna Be the Guy which requires you to memorize every trap by trial and error; the difficulty in Battletoads is fair. It is such that for the most part you will know how the game works, know what you have to do, and theoretically, if you were good enough, you would be able to survive on your first try just by your skill. But don't feel too bad; no one in the world is good enough to beat this on their first try. Sure, there are a few points that may induce unexpected deaths, but for the most part, each obstacle is introduced slowly, so you know what you have to do when it gets harder later in the level. The infamous Level 3 is a perfect example. It doesn't just start throwing obstacles at you that you have to memorize; it starts off slow and quickly speeds up once you understand the basics. It even indicates where incoming obstacles will be, so all you have to blame for your death is your own lack of skill.

There are even fairly regular checkpoints in each level. The only points I'll concede are that the inability to save and limited continues are a bit unfair. There are also a few glitches, which certainly aren't representative of the game as a whole, and the fact that you can attack your partner while playing 2-player also detracts a bit from the experience. But for the time, that sort of thing was pretty standard. If the game had been released today, the glitches at least could have been patched and saving would be simple.

The Graphics
Looking back, the graphics in Battletoads may not be all that exciting, but they're actually some of the best on the NES. Not only are all the characters, enemies, objects, and backgrounds really detailed, but the art direction is unique and there's even some parallax scrolling going on (as seen in the Turbo Tunnel video above). As for the unique art direction, that comes in mostly with the toads' attacks, which often involve their arms and legs becoming comically huge as they smash the enemies or even them growing ram horns as they headbutt enemies. In some levels you can even pound enemies into the ground and then kick them and in another you can momentarily transform into a wrecking ball. It doesn't make any sense, but it makes destroying your enemies all the more satisfying.
Turning into a wrecking ball isn't normal. But on Battletoads it is.
Unlike other games which tend to recycle the same enemies and backgrounds for the whole game, Battletoads uses completely original stuff for every level and has a wide variety even within each level. Probably the most impressive is the last level, The Revolution, which I doubt many players have ever made it to without cheating; I sure didn't. This is a level you have to see in motion to understand why it's cool:
It spins! As you run side to side, the tower moves to give the impression that you're running around it! How cool is that!? The enemies and platforms move with it too for a believable effect that was way cool for the time. The only other place I had seen something like this was in Kirby's Adventure, which also had some of the best graphics on NES, but the effect in Battletoads goes above and beyond even Kirby in this case. That Kirby example wasn't even in the GBA remake of Kirby's Adventure, because they were either unable or unwilling to do the same awesome effect again on a new system. So that just shows how special and impressive it is.

The Music
The music... is also pretty good. It's original, it's catchy, and there's a fair bit of it too. And in a game this hard, it's extra important to have good music, because you'll be hearing it until you finish the level. At least while you're dying you can be bobbing your head to some good and memorable music. I guess I can't claim that it's all fantastic music, but I'd say about half of it is really good. Oh, and by the way, it's composed by David Wise, the same composer who made the music for the Donkey Kong Country games. 

Anyway, here are a couple samples, since listening to it will serve you better than my description:

Also, the pause screen has music. It doesn't get much better than this:

The Variety of Gameplay
Just as almost every level has original music and art, they also have a wide variety of gameplay. This game is only partially a beat em' up game; the rest is swinging on rope, riding hoverbikes, throwing snowballs, racing rats, riding snakes, flying a jet, surfing, and defying gravity on a one-wheeled vehicle while being chased by a ball of energy. Any other NES game would've taken just one of these ideas and made a whole game out of it, but Battletoads explores each, makes them challenging, and then swiftly moves on to something new before anything becomes too stale. Many of the levels introduce small new things too that are used only in that level, like springboards or ice blocks that slide. These new elements are consistently well executed and are the biggest factor that makes Battletoads so great. When you finish a level, you deserve something for your trouble, and what you get is practically a new game in itself. 

Then there's really neat and clever things throughout, like the boss of the first level which is fought in 2nd person, that is, from the boss's perspective. I can't say for certain that this doesn't exist in any other game, but I certainly don't remember it from any other games I've played. There's also an enemy that looks like a classic Space Invader that actually steals your health directly from your health bar. In order to regain the stolen health, you have to hit them before they get away and then catch the squares of health they drop to make them go back up to the health bar where they belong. It's really unique and interesting stuff and it makes the game even more fun to play.

The Final Word
Battletoads may only have 12 levels (13 if you count the final boss), but they are absolutely packed with content. With tons of unique graphics, enemies, gameplay, music, and challenges that are rarely unfair, Battletoads deserves to have a reputation as a great game rather than just a hard game. Here's hoping for another sequel someday.

If you like Battletoads, check out:
5 Ridiculous Couples That Could Totally Work (A Battletoads character is featured!)
TheMexicanRunner, one of the best Battletoads players in the world who speedruns the game on Twitch. Thanks for linking to this post!
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