Battletoads, before you consider exciting yourself over the emergence of the most long awaited game in Amiga history, is cack. Our seeds of suspicion that this might be the case were sown by the fact that Mindscape did not even see fit to send us a review copy. Were they just have a busy week? Had they just forgotten? Or does it rather suggest that they thought if they put it in a nice box and got it into the shops before we at AP had a chance to dissuade you otherwise, it might just sell? (Who can tell? - Ed).
We can only hope that none of you acted before sensibly waiting for a word or two from us because, rather embarrassingly, we did not even know Battletoads was out until I inadvertently walked into a computer shop in Bristol the other day (to try to get recognised - still no luck, though) and, in an unguarded moment, saw it on the shelf. Or more correctly, reduced to £10 in the Bargain Bin, a large-scale version of which surely be constructed, and into which all copies of Battletoads should be flung to rot for ever more.
We often tell you here at AMIGA POWER that games are 'crap', but if there was ever a reason for relaxing Future Publishing's rules on swearing, then Battletoads is it: this game is not so much crap as ("Quite clearly - Ed") terrible.
Battletoads is divided into twelve levels. The first is a scrolling beat em up, very much a poor man's Golden Axe (walk up to baddies and press Fire), the second is like that bit in Ghostbusters 2 (the game) were you are lowered down a cavern on a rope (swing into baddies and press Fire), the third has you in a spaceship flying through a scrolling tunnel (move up and down to avoid the rocks and press Fire), the fourth is a vertically scrolling version of the first and, from what I gather from the positively ancient NES original (on which this is based), it carries on in pretty much the same vein from here on.
"Everything" is of course the answer to the question "Okay, but what exactly is the problem?". The sprites are tiny with only three frames of animation, the scrolling brings tears to the eyes, the sound effects are so bad they would make a Speccy blush and (if you have not already thrown a brick through the screen in disgust at the appalling backdrops) the music would have seriously considering ripping the speaker out of your television.
There are programming bugs (jump over a gap and the screen might not scroll in time to let you over; you can kill baddies off-screen, and sometimes even walk off yourself) there are blatant design flaws (you can fall off the edge of level one - great) and the manual is awful, filling you in for eight pages on the toads' ages, histories, hobbies, favourite flavours of Cornetto, etc, and then cramming the controls into seven lines (with no mention of how to barge into people on level on, or how to turn into a bashing ball while swinging down the ropes on level two. Cheers).
Having such a varied line-up of levels was stupid (you cannot help thinking that if they had got the beat em-up right and moderated the rest into sub-games, it would not be quite so bad). (Er, Rich is obviously complaining about the variety of levels being poor, rather than dismissing the variety itself as a silly idea. - Ed) and, oh, I give up.
Battletoads is cack, right, and if it gets ten percent it ought to count itself extremely lucky.