# 7 – Battletoads/Double Dragon: The Ultimate Team! (Michael Bay’s Wet Dream!)

System: Super Nintendo Entertainment System

Release Date: December 1, 1993

First Played: Summer 2000

Status: DEFEATED – November 16, 2014

The late 80’s and early 90’s were the heyday of the “Beat’em up” video game. Streets of Rage, Bad Dudes, Final Fight, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (I don’t really count the first one for NES…) just to name a few. But arguably there are two franchises that raise a bloody fist above them all:

Double Dragon

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and Battletoads

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Individually, these franchises have produced some of the most difficult yet rewarding gaming experiences. The over the top fighting move sets blend perfectly with their paper thin plots, mainly: Bad guys did something bad, PUNCH THEM!!! So what happens when some brilliant somebody somewhere decides to COMBINE these two titanic heavyweights? Well, you get the ULTIMATE TEAM.

When First We Met

I’ve played basically all the games within the Double Dragon and Battletoads franchises. I own and have beaten Double Dragon 1 and 2, and Battletoads in Ragnarok’s World for the Game Boy, which is basically a remake of the original Battletoads for the NES (give or take a few levels they left out). These are among the toughest games I’ve ever played, but I loved to pick them up and play them from time to time despite the difficulty; especially Double Dragon 2. Growing up, since it was 2 players, Double Dragon 2 was great because my brother and I would be able to play at the same time. We’d always put it on 2-Player “B” which would let us attack each other! It was our weapon of choice for settling many brotherly feuds let me tell you…though I’d always end up in a “Figure 4 Leg Lock” no matter what the outcome. But I only had the one Battletoads game, and I wanted more, especially after seeing Super Battletoads at my local arcade…

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Back in my day, a quarter would get you at least 2 decapitations!

OOOHHH baby!!! I’d play this and get my ass handed to me…I had more fun watching veteran players go to town on all the rats and oversized bosses. None-the-less, this settled the matter, I NEEDED ANOTHER BATTLETOADS GAME NOW! I went to my usual haunts but came up empty handed; it wouldn’t be until the year 2000 that I would get my hands on one after discovering the wonderful world of eBay…and after getting a credit card…and to my delight I discovered that there was a game that contained not just Battletoads, but Double Dragons as well!! I had no idea this game existed!! MINE!! So, after a hefty $30 price tag (that includes shipping) I was the proud owner of Battletoads/Double Dragon: The Ultimate Team!!

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Look at those smug bastards, they know they’re awesome!!

2 to 3 weeks later, I finally get it!! Hazaa!!!?! A random thought crosses my mind: Why isn’t it Double Dragon/Battletoads? Double Dragon came out first right, so…you’d think they would be mentioned first? How then was it decided who got top billing? Was it alphabetical? Was it mathematical? (Three Battletoads > Double Dragons) I shake the thoughts out of my head; they’ll be time for that later! I slam the cartridge home in my SNES.

The action starts right away; a synthesised drum solo begins to play, followed by an awesome guitar riff as the title zooms towards the screen and then slams home! One of the Battletoads and a Dragon pop up behind the name!

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I love the synthesised heavy metal music! There’s no option screen, so I can’t adjust the controls or difficulty, and there is an option for 1 or 2 players; 2 players has the “A” and “B” options that I mentioned before. If you stay on the title screen long enough, eventually it fades away and shows you detailed screen shots of all the characters that are “Starring” in the game, including the main villain THE DARK QUEEN:

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¡Ay, caramba!

WOW…….That is a lot of detail for 16-t…er, bits…huh? *awkward pause* Ahem, I press start and am brought to the character select screen…

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Yeah! The art here is very impressive….but wait, does Zitz have teeth? The others do…and why does Billy looks like he’s 50? He looks like he’s actually Jimmy’s father and not his brother! What a twist! Also, is there a reason why all the Battletoads are named after skin conditions? (Call one “Bad-Back”!)But who to choose…Hmmm, well, Rash seems cool but rude and a party dude, so let’s go with him. I select Rash, skipping over the pre level cut scene and get right into the action!

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I’m on a space ship…and I mean ON, as in on top of a space ship flying through space! Some weird robot drones drop down nearby…I hope you jack-offs got some ointment, because you’re about to deal with a nasty RASH!!! I attack, dealing a vicious punching combo; the grand finale is quite possibly my favourite aspect of the Battletoads games. I wind up and punch with an oversized fist, sending the robot mofo flying! All the Battletoads have these weird moves, whether it’s ramming someone with Giant Ram Horns that suddenly sprout from your head or kicking someone with a Massive Military Boot that appears out of nowhere. It’s an absurd extreme that only adds to the crazy mêlée action! The second guy catches me off guard, and this is where the game becomes absolutely brutal. I’m caught in a flurry of punches that I can’t escape from; by the time he’s done with me my life bar is almost depleted! Any wrong move you make in this game is punished severely, either with a drastic loss of health or instant death. The game isn’t a total jerk; it provides these little grey containers that give you health, extra lives, invincibility or points…though they are very rare and mostly contain points which don’t really do anything…eventually, I run into a mini boss…

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Clown Hands are the best security system…

I recognize this boss from my other Battletoads game; you need to dodge the hand as it slams down and once it’s on the ground, you need to attack it with a ground attack! This is easier said than done, as the hand seems to hone in on my position no matter where I try to hide from it. I’m down a life by the time I’m through with it and I run into two of these things later before the boss fight…WITH ABOBO!!!

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I love the Looney Tunes eye popping of the Battletoads when Abobo busts through the wall! I run up and start wailing on him, but Abobo swats me aside, delivering some nasty punches and kicks and I’m down a life!! I punch and dodge as best I can, but lose another life before I give Abobo the boot, LITERALLY

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There’s a quick scene of a bird man telling you great job, though he says that “Even he could have beaten Abobo”. Harsh. Skipping past another cut scene, I’m in the interior of the ship, where I fight enemies from the Double Dragon franchise.

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Nothing is over challenging here at first; my favourite part by far is attacking these things that look like lightbulbs on stilts, TAKING THERE LEGS, and beating the living hell out of everyone!! There’s a fun part where some buff dude hides behind a wall and throws TNT at you. To defeat him just throw the TNT back at him! It took me a while to time the throws so the TNT would bounce into the door, but it’s not that difficult. Oh, but the game makes up for it during your trip on the turbo cycle!!

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WEEEEEEEEEE!!!!

If you crash into ANYTHING you die, if the other bikers manage to attack you…YOU DIE. It’s here I meet my first of many deaths, having to use 1 of my 3 continues. But by refusing to blink, I manage to get past this section onto…this…

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Sweet Baby Jesus!! What the fuck it that!?!?! This big guy will jump in the air and try to repeatedly crush you, and you guessed it, I needed some more continues!! But eventually he flops over and I deliver a massive kick, sending him flying off screen!

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Nice! Onto the next level…and the end of my journey…

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This level is terrible. There’s no room to jump half the time to avoid the whip ladies seen above, not to mention the metal pistons that will crash down from above out of nowhere, or the pits filled with birds and saws!!!

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So…is the saw also electric??? I’m not sure if that’s really necessary…

How…HOW is anyone supposed to pass this??? This level is incredibly long; I never got to see who the boss was!! I would try different toads and even the Dragons (though I mostly stuck with the Battletoads because I enjoyed their battle animations better!) But no matter what, I couldn’t make a dent in this level. This game is brutal, too brutal, so I gave up on it and decided to invest my time in something that wouldn’t give me grey hairs before I was 20!! I hate to say it, but the Ultimate Team was to extreme…

Meanwhile in the Present

Like Vectorman before this, I wasn’t overly thrilled to give this game a try. I like playing it, don’t get me wrong, but the point of this Quest is to beat the games on my list…and I honestly felt that victory would be impossible without some kind of cheat code or Game Genie. But having just defeated my Sega games, I really didn’t have much of a choice, so I poured myself some recently acquired birthday whiskey and began…

There is an opening movie of sorts that plays before you begin, something I always skipped over before, so I give it a watch. Plot wise, this game is even more ridiculous than the action! It starts with a message being sent to the Battletoads by an anthropomorphic bird named Professor T. Bird. I love that name, it sounds like the developers tried to come up with a fun name but gave up immediately…

Developer 1 – So we’ve ripped off the Ninja Turtles, how about Splinter?

Developer 2 – Ok, instead of a rat he could be…what’s the opposite of rats?

Developer 1 – BIRDS!

Developer 2 – Good! But he’s not a sensei, he’s a doctor.

Developer 1 – A PROFESSOR! They’re more extreme.

Developer 2 – Yeah! Now he needs a cool name…something like Professor Bird, but more creative.

Developer 1 – Professor…T………..Bird.

Developer 2 – GO WITH IT!!!!!!!!

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I bet the “T” stands for “The”

He is typing (yet talking?) a message to the Battletoads; the Dark Queen is back and is going to take over the earth with the help of the Shadow Boss!! The Battletoads respond…not sure if they are also type/talking…no problem! Let’s call our buds the Double Dragons!! Wait, they’re friends??? How??? Hey, do you know the Double Dragons? Those guys that hang out with the GIANT TOADS??? Also, is this how people communicate in this world, through computers where you talk with “Face-time” but you also have to type what you are talking??? Anyway, the Dragons are all too happy to help, “Pick us up at City Hall” they say. “Ok, we’ll pick you up with our Battletoads helicopter and fly into space!!!”

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The game should end here as the harsh atmosphere of space would not only prevent a helicopter from functioning but would instantly kill our heroes. But look, are we going to fight evil with “Facts” or “Fists”!?!?!? Like before, I select Rash, but I run into the exact same problems. I’m stuck on level 3!!! That’s when I decide to go with the Dragons…more specifically Jimmy

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Fun Fact: Jimmy was the main Bad Guy from the First Double Dragon game!! But…we don’t like to talk about that…

He’s got some Patrick Swayze hair going on and he wears red, so that’s why I picked him over his brother Billy. Other than looks, the Dragons are the exact same. The Dragons play a bit differently than the Battletoads, mainly, they are less cartoony. No giant fists or boots, just action! It’s with Jimmy that I discover the secret to besting the baddies quickly and efficiently…DROP KICKS. It’s tempting to want to go all out on bad guys and see awesome punching and kicking combos, but frankly you leave yourself open for counter attacks or having someone sneak up and catch you in an unbreakable attack pattern. Drop Kicks can either KO someone instantly, or send them flying backwards, giving you time to deal with other bad guys nearby. I blast through the first level and bust up Abobo without losing a life!

photo 1 Not AGAIN!!!

In between levels, there is a cut scene that shows you travelling to the next section of the game; at the bottom of the screen, the boss of that level taunts you with all the flair of a WWE Wrestler.

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Level 2 is bested just as easily, Drop Kicks are the best way to deal with the Giant Rat. I’m able to set up a rhythm where my Drop Kick makes him bounce off a wall right back at me, where I deliver another Drop Kick. Repeat till dead.

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I have much more luck with Level 3. I remembered a quick way of earning extra lives while in the pit sections (From my Game Boy Battletoads game). If you can hit a crow continuously ( Something like 8 times???) before it falls of the screen, you’ll get an extra life. I suggest doing this with as many crows as possible, because trust me YOU WILL NEED ALL THE LIVES YOU CAN GET. I finally see this levels boss: ROPER.

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GGGYYAAAHHH!!!! His gun is 3 times the size of me!!! However, his pattern is easy to see. Stick to the far side of the screen, whichever side is most comfy for you. When he fires, duck to dodge the bullets, when he crosses the halfway point, Drop Kick him and run away. Repeat. Before I know it, Roper is defeated and I jump into some readily available mini space ships. Which leads to the next level….which ended my journey….at least that’s what it felt like at first.

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The controls for this level are incredibly frustrating!! The controls are similar to the classic video game “Asteroids”; you fire out tiny bullets with “A”, holding the “A” button makes a crosshairs appear which lets you lock onto a target and fire a missile, which is easier said than done; the D-pad is used to turn your ship 360 and “B” activates your jets which push you in the direction you are facing. Now you need to navigate a screen that has a space ship (the one you were just one) firing the following at you: Asteroids, 2 sets of exploding mines (one set sends projectiles in a “t” pattern, the other an “x” pattern), metal orbs, 2 extra lives (very difficult to catch with the speed of your ship) and 5 UFO of increasing speed that fire missiles at you. And that’s just the first part of the level….

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It took me DAYS to get past this part. But that’s not the frustrating thing about this level…that’s part 2. It’s a straight out dog fight with the enemy space ship but the controls for your ship suddenly change! The D-Pad is used to move around the stage instead of just turning you around in circles, there’s no need to press an extra button to move around…WHY DIDN’T YOU JUST HAVE THE CONTROLS LIKE THAT IN THE FIRST PLACE?!!!?!?! The simpler controls make this fight more doable, and soon the ship explodes and turns into a missile that is heading for earth!!!

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Next you’re on the killer missile making your way to the cockpit to stop it before it collides with the earth. Thankfully there is no time limit, which a situation like this would imply. The enemies can be dealt with easily with Drop Kicks; the challenge comes from dodging the giant flames from the missiles propulsion rockets and this guy…

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He just charges at you repeatedly, and a constant barrage of Drop Kicks is the only way to beat him, and you have to face him 3 times throughout the level! BUT EVEN WORSE IS THE THING THAT IS PILOTING THE MISSILE…

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He’s called ROBO MANUS…and he’s terrible. He jumps around the screen firing lasers at you and hitting you with his head that can extend off its body!!! Your only chance at beating it is by using the strategy used on the giant Rat; just keep drop kicking him as he bounces off the side of the screen (though technically he should be flying off into space) until he blows up, but it takes freaking forever to make that happen!

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The missile lands, more like crashes, and you land in an underground base which is pretty straight forward, until you reach THE SHADOW BOSS…

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Greatest. Attack. Ever

If you stop, he will grab you and pummel your head into fine goo. He’s constantly trying to body check you, so just run and land a Drop Kick whenever you can. When you deal enough damage however…

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He turns into a spiked ball that is impossible to dodge unless you hang off of the lights that are swinging above you! These lights contain power ups and points, so at first I just smashed them all, which cost me dearly! It took me many tries to get his attack patterns down, but soon the Shadow Boss was sent to the endless black void…

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Then a moment I never thought possible happened…I WAS ON THE LAST LEVEL.

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Like the previous level, it’s pretty straight forward; it’s just a long space ship hallway lined with portraits of the Dark Queen, and at its end…after another floating hand boss…THE DARK QUEEN HERSELF.

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She’s more Death appeal than Sex appeal

She rises from the ground surrounded by FIRE! Like she wasn’t hot enough already! She glides back and forth across the stage, shooting fire at you as she goes. She submerges and reappears at different heights; so many times my Drop Kicks just sent me flying over her! If you touch her, you’ll BURN and receive heavy damage. Surprisingly, the machine at the far right occasionally shoots out item containers, so several times I was able to be invincible and launch a full scale assault!! That didn’t stop me from dying and using up my last continue…nonononoNOOOOGYAAAHH!!! I had to start over; how many times I had to play though this game, honestly, I lost track…but on that fateful evening on November 16, 2014, I found the zone and refused to be denied my victory!! During our battle, my hands cramped from my constant barrage of Drop Kicks (side, side, “B”, back, repeat) the Dark Queen suddenly reels back in pain! She falls to her knees defeated!!! She turns into a tiny ball of light and flies away…

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I did it…I DID IT!!! Ha HAAAA!!!! The game cuts to Professor T. Bird type/talking his congrats to the Battletoads and the Dragons

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You sure taught that dark Queen a lesson Boys! Well…..Jimmy did EVERYTHING, but, that’s fine, congrats everyone…At the bottom it shows how long it took me to beat the game…46 minutes and 50 seconds…wow, seemed like I was playing for longer! Now, this isn’t much of an ending, but mind you, there wasn’t much of a story to begin with, so I guess I can’t complain. There are no credits. Just….Fin.

Judgement

This game is a Michael Bay wet dream!! Minimal plot, huge explosions, nonstop action, hot babes, giant anthropomorphic creatures fighting even more gigantic anthropomorphic creatures!! Not one but Double Dragons!?!?!?!?!?!? It’s a hell of a lot of fun, but it is TOUGH. But it’s the good tough, the challenging tough, the kind of tough that makes you want to push forward to matter how bat shit crazy things get. The music is fun, but nothing overly catchy stands out in my mind. The ending is short and sweet, but I wasn’t expecting much. If you go to see a Schwarzenegger or a Stallone action movie, you’re not looking for Oscar worthy performances, you just want stuff to be blown up and cool action quips to be said. It’s an easy escape without having to worry about annoying details like, Plot or Logic.

The down side, definitely that space ship level. The controls are just plain wrong! I have no idea why they would make controls like that and then “fix” them later on in the same level! Also, I felt that the Eye Popping animation that is used when a boss approaches seemed out of place with the Dragons. Though just as ridiculous at times, the Double Dragon games felt more centred in reality than the Battletoads games do. I would have preferred something like an awesome battle stance, or some animation telling the boss to “Bring it”! Both of these series are in desperate need of a reboot! If you made a game with today’s graphics but kept the awesome side scrolling beat-um vibe, you’d have a sure fire hit on your hands!!

So what do you think? Are you extreme enough to tackle the unforgiving fury that is Battletoads/Double Dragon: The Ultimate Team!?!? Are you going to find more games from these 2 series and try to master them as well? Could the Dark Queen be the sexiest villainess in video game history!?!? Sound off in the comments below!

Stay tuned next time for number # 6 where we make another console leap, all the way to the Nintendo GameCube! He’s a greedy selfish bastard, and there are no limits to his insatiability hunger for gold in his first 3D adventure! I’ma gonna win!! WAAAAAAA!!!!!

Tah tah!

Adamus Prime

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