People seem to like crossovers. For instance, despite being mostly panned by critics, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Freddie vs. Jason cleaned up to the sum of more than triple their budgets. Perhaps because they actually are critically acclaimed, the Avengers movies were even more successful.
So in 1993, Tradewest decided to cross one of the most popular video game series of the 1980s — Double Dragon — with… actually, what turned out to be a fad of a 1990s — Battletoads. Since Battletoads was by far the hotter brand, Battletoads & Double Dragon has more that feel. Does it work? Yes, and I dare say that this is far better than the NES original.
Plot: 7 out of 10
The Dark Queen has teamed up with the Shadow Boss, and together they have built a spaceship called The Colossus to conquer the world. The Battletoads form their own team with Billy and Jimmy Lee, the Double Dragons. So basically, it’s one of those, “here’s the bad guys, now go kick their asses” kind of stories.
Still, humor derived from the Battletoads side of things definitely helps, as does the inclusion of just about every major character to ever appear in more than two of these games. Rash, Zitz, Pimple, Billy, Jimmy, shadow marines, giblets, Lindas, Lopars, Abobo, Big Blag…
I cannot believe I remember all that. I wasn’t even a fan of either series. Somehow, I memorized all that from magazines regardless but somehow wasn’t an “A” student…
Graphics: 8 out of 10
This is an upgraded version of a NES game. It’s impossible for such a game to make full use of the SNES’ capabilities. That said, it still looks pretty good and has a real Battletoads look to it.
Sound: 9 out of 10
Definitely the best music either series has to offer. Dramatic and catchy tunes add a lot to experience. Plus, the awful, fart-like pause sounds from the original Battletoads are gone. They just keep the current song going.
Gameplay: 8 out of 10
Compared to Battletoads, this game is a purer beat-’em-up. the Speed Bikes of the infamous Turbo Tunnel are back and there’s a space shooting level, but other than that, you spend the entire time beating up thugs with the Battletoads control scheme.
Level design is very sophisticated and inventive, for instance, the section of the fifth level that has you dodging the thrusts of flamethrowers.
Challenge: 9 out of 10
The biggest problem with the original was its difficulty. The average gamer won’t go far in it, especially since it doesn’t even have unlimited continues. Battletoads and Double Dragon isn’t nearly as hard. It’s not easy by any stretch of the imagination, just challenging without being outrageously so. I remember enjoying this game for weeks before finally completing it.
Overall: 9 out of 10
Probably the best title in either series, Battletoads & Double Dragon is an overlooked classic, and I dare say that if the original Battletoads had been made more this way, its success wouldn’t have been so short-lived.