Battletoads & Double Dragon: The Ultimate Team (NES) Review

By Athanasios 04.06.2021 4

Review for Battletoads & Double Dragon: The Ultimate Team on NES

Those who were unlucky enough to take a beating from Battletoads on the NES, might remember how it misled them into thinking that what they had on their hands was a typical side-scrawling brawler. In reality, this Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles wannabe was actually an assortment of various gameplay styles, which ranged from fighting and platforming, to racing and, quite likely, console throwing. Thankfully, the next entries would ditch all that, and simply focus on the beat 'em up aspect. Interestingly enough, one of the first titles that done so, was Battletoads & Double Dragon: The Ultimate Team, where Technōs' far more popular hoomans would team up with the not-so-famous toads. A marketing gimmick, or something more? Cubed3 remembers…

Battletoads & Double Dragon was developed solely by Rare, and it shows. It uses the Battletoads "engine," and sports the same visuals, sound, and overall vibe, with Technōs simply providing the rights to use the Dragon bros. It's fair to say that fans of the latter will actually get disappointed from this, as, apart from the fact that one can play as Billy or Jimmy, or how some bosses come from their "universe," this has none of Double Dragon's DNA in it. Even the plot still has you chasing the curvy behinds of the Dark Queen, who wants to rule the world…. or something. Without any exaggeration, Battletoads & Double Dragon is all Battletoads.

Screenshot for Battletoads & Double Dragon: The Ultimate Team on NES

No matter the character chosen, toad or dragon, your options are pretty much the same: you can punch, you can dash, and you can jump-attack, with no extra moves gained throughout your quest. All heroes are mechanically identical, with no differences in speed or strength, so it's probably all about choosing the one whose name sounds the less cringey. Yes, fellow nostalgia-stricken gamers, this crossover was nothing more than a money-milking bait - like most crossovers tend to be. Luckily for the rest, not only this is just a Battletoads game, but it's also a fun Battletoads game.

Yes, combat is beyond simplistic, but each hit is surprisingly satisfying, especially when it comes to the finishing punch, kick, or head-butt, due to the "oomph" sound that accompanies it, and because of how your hand/foot/head transforms into a giant fist, boot, or pair of antlers while at it. Being a Rare-made Battletoads game also means that it's technically mind-blowing, with levels using all kinds of tricks that you never though the NES could do, with colourful and purposely silly visuals that nail the comic book feel of it all, and an OST that may not be as catchy, but is certainly distinctive.

Screenshot for Battletoads & Double Dragon: The Ultimate Team on NES

The good news is that, unlike Battletoads which had a notoriously bad co-op mode, now players can play together without any problems, and are highly advised to, as Battletoads & Double Dragon was meant to be experienced as a two-player game, first and foremost. Just note that, while you start exactly where you died, whenever one loses all lives and continues, it's time for both players to start at the beginning of the current level, which means that playing with a weak player will hold you back. Oh, yeah. In case you weren't aware of that, like in most instalments in the Battletoads franchise, death will pay you many a visit.

Screenshot for Battletoads & Double Dragon: The Ultimate Team on NES

The good news… or bad, for those with a pain fetish (aka: freaking masochists), the difficulty has been substantially subdued. Of course, in any other game that would mean that Battletoads & Double Dragon has become easy - but no. It takes a lot to make something like Battletoads a walk in the park. In other words, this won't make you pull out your hair, scream like a lunatic, and put the NES on fire, but that isn't to say that it will go easy on you either. Be prepared for plenty of dying, with most of it coming instantly. That being said, the biggest enemy won't be them foes, but the actual levels!

While not as gimmicky as before, it still draws heavily from the original Battletoads, therefore, expect all sorts of different scenarios, ranging from platforming and driving segments, to a level that's an Asteroids-like shooter. Once again, that variety is admirable, and the NES version is surprisingly good when compared to its 16-bit counterparts, yet this could benefit greatly from dropping all that, and just expand on the pure, beat 'em up part, as it feels quite poor in here, and, as a result, gets extremely repetitive, and way too soon.

Screenshot for Battletoads & Double Dragon: The Ultimate Team on NES

Cubed3 Rating

6/10
Rated 6 out of 10

Good

Unpopular Opinion: Battletoads & Double Dragon: The Ultimate Team is better than Battletoads; better as a brawler, better as a co-op experience, and better in regards to its much more subsided challenge, and decreased reliance on non-fighting segments. That isn't to say that it's a great game, though. It's fun, but it's also highly repetitive and simplistic. Finally, it's disappointing as a crossover, as it doesn't borrow any gameplay elements from the Double Dragon franchise.

Developer

Rare

Publisher

Nintendo

Genre

Action

Players

2

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

Werent the double dragon guys just worse across the board?

Dragon0085 said:
Werent the double dragon guys just worse across the board?

If they were I diddn't notice to be honest

Can't a fella drink in peace?
                                -Farnham

you are on fire with these puns

Insanoflex said:
you are on fire with these puns

Still trying to beat you "r'lyeh good" one.

Can't a fella drink in peace?
                                -Farnham

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