Released in June 1991 at the height of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle craze, Battletoads for the NES was the vanguard release in a competing series that featured the titular battletoads as they duked it out across space against the evil Dark Queen and her legions of minions. Whereas the TMNT turtles took their names from renaissance painters, the battletoads took their monikers from various skin conditions – Rash, Zitz, and Pimple (who spends the game kidnapped alongside Princess Angelica) – in a demonstration of the early 1990s fascination with gross-out humor.

While the Battletoads didn’t quite become the multimedia sensation their creators had planned, they did release an epic video game for the Nintendo Entertainment System that went on to become one of the system’s best and most difficult games. E3 2018 even showed a revamped Battletoads franchise making its way to consoles in the near future, and you can thank the NES edition’s legendary difficulty for this franchise remaining relevant.
In many ways the definition of NES hard, Battletoads actually goes beyond that and delves into the realm of the maddening. Mastery of this game doesn’t necessarily mean you will beat it and there are a ton of chance elements, something that is readily apparent when you watch a speedrun of the game. Ostensibly a beat ‘em up game, Battletoads, like other NES games, combines a lot of different genres, sometimes at incredibly awkward moments, creating a melange of difficulty that keeps you on your toes and makes the game a rollercoaster of challenge.
Racing in Battletoads
One of the best examples of this are the racing sequences. The game switches from a side scrolling beat ‘em up game to a pod racer in a snap of a finger. And it isn’t just any type of racer – it’s one of

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