Battletoads is one of those franchises that has always had a strong cult following, but nobody really knows why. They're blatant Ninja Turtle ripoffs. The games are ridiculously difficult. The characters have some of the grossest names in gaming history (Zitz, Pimple, and Rash). Nothing about the franchise makes sense whatsoever.
But people really like them. Myself included.
Battletoads in Battlemaniacs is, for my money, the best game in the series. At times it almost plays like a 16-bit remake of the NES original. The levels, enemies, and attack animations are similar, but they all look much, much better. While criticisms of it's controls, collision detection and difficulty are valid, nobody can say this game doesn't look gorgeous. It's like playing a really bad-ass cartoon. After recording this episode of the podcast and reflecting on the series, I think it's art style and "edginess" (for lack of a better word) are the primary reasons the series developed a following in the first place. It just feels like a cool video game.
Battlemaniacs is also home to undoubtably one of the best soundtracks of the 16-bit era. When I edit these podcasts, one of the highlights for me is going back and listening to the music from games I played growing up. The music from this game is so good that I actually downloaded some of it's songs to my phone, and plan to keep them there. Maybe that's part of the reason players keep coming back, despite knowing they can't win; that music makes you feel like a badass.
My buddy Patrick makes his podcast debut this week, and we had a great time looking at Battletoads in Battlemaniacs through a very critical lens. This game has it's faults, no question. But at the end of the day, it's just fun to play. Except maybe those fucking speed bikes....