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Video Game / Battletoads

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It's toadally awesome!

Describe Battle-Jerks here, vermin, if you dare! Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha!

A side-scroller which hitched a ride on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles craze of the late 80s and early 90s. This was Rare's first major franchise.

Set in outer space, Battletoads is the story of Zitz, Pimple, and Rash, three poorly-named heroes who battle the Dark Queen with the assistance of their Mentor, Professor T. Bird. When Pimple gets kidnapped along with Princess Angelica, Zitz and Rash rush to the rescue.

Battletoads routinely shows up in Top Ten Lists of the hardest Nintendo Entertainment System games, and is one of a few titles where 2-player mode actually makes the game harder. Contrary to reputation, it's not the most difficult game ever produced at that time (Ninja Gaiden, Ghosts 'n Goblins, Silver Surfer, and The Adventures of Bayou Billy were all keeping up); however, the amount of rote memorization demanded by Battletoads is extremely taxing on adult gamers, never mind its target audience. As the NES generation grew older, Battletoads naturally became a font of memes, to the point where the creator of I Wanna Be the Guy went on record claiming that it was a romhack of Battletoads and daring people to complete the game if they wanted to prove him a liar.

Nintendo Power ran a comic based on the game that was divergent in several areas, which was later used as backstory for later incarnations of the franchise. There was also a failed pilot for a Battletoads Animated Adaptation which used a notably different backstory, one derived from magazine ads which ran for the game at the time.

While the game did have several sequels (including a Intercontinuity Crossover with Double Dragon and an arcade game which played as a straight Beat 'em Up), most of these were not nearly as popular, and for the most part only the original is remembered at all. Despite the rapid downturn of popularity — but not necessarily quality — of later entries, quite a few people still want to see the franchise revived. In 2015, the NES original and the arcade game were chosen to be part of the 30-game line-up of Rare Replay, a Compilation Re-release celebrating Rare’s history that finally brought the series to modern hardware, and around the same time, Rash was released as a Guest Fighter in Killer Instinct (2013). After twenty-six years, a new entry with hand-drawn graphics simply entitled Battletoads (2020) released on August 20, 2020.

If you prefer a bit more tongue-in-cheek humor with your Merchandise-Driven game characters, see Earthworm Jim.

This series has examples of:

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    Multiple Games / Series in General 
  • Accessory-Wearing Cartoon Animal: The toads wear some shin guards and bracers and nothing else. Subverts the classical trope to make them more Stripperiffic and dripping with testosterone.
  • Acrofatic: Big Blag is impossibly fast and agile for someone so morbidly obese, enough for him to try to crush the 'Toads under his weight.
  • All There in the Manual: Oddly enough, the origin story depicted in Nintendo Power's one-shot comic remains canonical (unlike, say, the Sonic the Hedgehog promotional comic). In it, Pimple, Rash, and Zitz are ordinary human teens who work in a video game company as game testers, and the Battletoads are their gaming avatars in what seems to be a virtual-reality simulator but is really an alternate dimension where the Dark Queen and her fleet live. A jealous programmer named Silas Volkmire sabotages the device and traps the teens in the alternate dimension as their Battletoads avatars.
  • Back from the Dead: Robo-Manus. He's been blown apart and/or decapitated several times throughout the series' run, but he always comes back.
  • Badass in Distress: Each one of the toads has been kidnapped and needed to be rescued at least once. In general, this happens often enough that anytime the toads are actually all selectable, it's a pleasant surprise.
  • Balance, Speed, Strength Trio: While you can't always manage the three of them, the usual setting is Rash as the balance, Zitz as the speed and Pimple as the strength.
  • Batman Can Breathe in Space: Several levels takes place on spaceship exteriors, but none of the characters have trouble talking or breathing in space. Even the Double Dragon cast seems to fair well enough without problems.
  • Big Bad: The Dark Queen in the classic games. The Topians in the reboot.
  • Bottomless Pits: Turbo Tunnel has bottomless pits which are deadly to fall in.
  • Cap: Part of the difficulty lies in the limit of nine extra lives in some versions (not applicable to the NES and SNES versions, particularly as the second level is a perfect place to rack up more).
  • Captain Ersatz: A clone of Jessica Rabbit spliced with Elvira, the Dark Queen is so haphazardly designed that her cowl isn't even connected to anything. (Nope, not even her neck. Look again.)
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Silas Volkmire, a.k.a. the bloke with the big brain, is another antagonist of the Battletoads. In the hierarchy of villains, he shares equal footing with the Queen (And indeed, the pair joined forces in Battlemaniacs, before cashing in their chips and fleeing the Queen's exploding ship). He's obliquely referenced in the other games, but no more. Even Robo-Manus has clocked more screentime.
  • Co-Dragons: Robo-Manus and Big Blag, with the former being the more powerful of the two. The intro to the first game even has the Dark Queen telling you to beat them before getting to her. Due to warps, however, you can actually beat the game without ever beating Big Blag.
  • Color-Coded Multiplayer: The SNES and Arcade use these distinct colors to differentiate (other 2-player versions just use green and brown):
    • Green: Rash
    • Teal: Zitz
    • Brown: Pimple
  • Conspicuous Electric Obstacle:
    • Racing segment of Volkmire's Inferno has electric bolts that need to be dodged. Some have gaps that close in, some have gaps that widen.
    • Intruder Extruder level has floor gaps where electricity periodically flows through.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Rash may seem like a conceited douchebag, but he can kick just as much butt as the other Toads.
  • Cyber Cyclops: In his earlier appearances, Robo-Manus is usually depicted with a Cylon-like visor complete with a glowing red or purple eye. His later appearances tend to give him a more angular visor complete with two eyes.
  • Cyborg: Robo-Manus. This is most evident in the arcade game where he bleeds after his hands and brain are damaged despite being part machine. A good portion of his character art also shows him with battle damage and visible flesh underneath parts of his metal shell.
  • Dark Is Evil: The Dark Queen, natch. She wears dark colors and she is evil.
  • Degraded Boss:
    • A rare game to game example. General Vermin, originally a boss in the first Battletoads on Game Boy, was demoted to a Giant Mook in the arcade game.
    • General Slaughter suffers this to a degree as well. After his appearance as the boss of Stage 10 of the original game, he was only seen in later games as either a Warmup Boss or a Mini-Boss.
  • Diseased Name: The main characters — Rash, Pimple, and Zitz — are all named for skin afflictions, which is a reference to the old wives' tale that touching frogs and toads will give you skin problems. (It doesn't.)
  • Distressed Dude: Unless you're playing the arcade game or one of the versions of the Double Dragon crossover, odds are one of the Battletoads has gotten himself captured.
  • Divergent Character Evolution: In Battlemaniacs, Pimple and Rash have different combos and finishing moves. In the arcade game, all three toads have different moves and attributes.
  • The Dragon: Robo-Manus appears to be this to the Dark Queen. While he shares the role with Big Blag, Robo-Manus is consistently depicted as being the more dangerous of the two, and has even served as the Final Boss in the Dark Queen's stead on two occasions.
  • Dressed Like a Dominatrix: The Big Bad Dark Queen wears a black leather leotard, thigh-high high-heeled boots, opera gloves, and a cape.
  • Excuse Plot: Save the Princess and its variations amount to what resembles plot in these games. Not that what plot there is particularly matters much.
  • Fat Bastard: The aptly-named Big Blag. A mammoth rat with steroid-infused arms and a greasy pompadour. Like the worst character in a fighting game, he uses his girth to trap you in the screen's corners.
  • Fireballs: Flying section in Volkmire's Inferno has parts where the player must dodge balls of fire.
  • Final Boss: The Dark Queen and, in two games, Robo-Manus.
  • Finishing Move: Rather vivid ones for the time period, which contributed to the game's popularity. They're named Smash Hits, predating Super Smash Bros. by almost a decade.
  • Frog Men: The eponymous heroes are anthropomorphic frogs.
  • Galactic Conquerer: The Dark Queen commands a massive army of Biker Mice—er, rodents, with which she aims to dominate the universe. That's pretty much it. And in the latest game, she does manage to get the galaxy!
  • Gameplay Roulette: Pretty much every level is different. Sometimes it's a beat-'em-up, sometimes it's a platformer, sometimes it's an obstacle course where you're on a vehicle, sometimes it's a race against an enemy.
  • Giant Woman: Despite her profile putting her at six feet tall, the Dark Queen is generally depicted as being at least twice as tall as the Battletoads.
  • God Save Us from the Queen!: The Dark Queen, whose aims are nothing less than domination of the entire universe.
  • Goomba Stomp: Big Blag, Robo-Manus, General Slaughter, and the Hypno Orb can all do this to the player.
  • Guest Fighter:
  • Hammered into the Ground: Some enemies can be driven to the ground by the Battletoads' attacks.
  • Hard Levels, Easy Bosses: Beating the bosses is generally much easier than getting to them. Unless it's Robo-Manus. (Not having to go back to a checkpoint each time a boss kills you helps, though.)
  • Jaw Drop: When toads encounter bosses or some other obstacle, their jaws almost drop to the ground level.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Zitz and Rash in the reboot are both self-absorbed and callous, with the former having an outright sadistic streak, but are ultimately heroic and are willing to give their lives to save the galaxy. They also sincerely care for Pimple who is decidedly a lot nicer.
  • Lady of Black Magic: Dark Queen, who is dressed in little black leather and has an array of magical powers.
  • Leather Man: Some of those outfits almost have to be more than just a little Hell-Bent for Leather badass. In particular, The Dragons General Slaughter, General Vermin and Big Blag, especially in the arcade game.
  • Long Neck: Robo-Manus is commonly depicted with a ball-jointed mechanical neck that allows him to swing his head about while he fires off laser blasts. While mainly depicted in Battletoads and Double Dragon, he also seems to have this in the Gameboy version of Battletoads as well.
  • Mascot with Attitude: The titular 'toads, especially Rash (dig those shades!).
  • Megaton Punch: Kiss My Fist, one of the Smash Hits.
  • Mission Control Is Off Its Meds: Professor T Bird will not hesitate to verbally tear you a new one if you get a game over.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Basically, almost any villain worth their salt has one, including Big Blag, General Slaughter, General Vermin, the Dark Queen...
  • Never Recycle Your Schemes: Played with; while the Dark Queen's plans tend to boil down to "kidnap one or two Battletoads and lure whoever's left into a trap", the actual end goals vary a little (i.e. kidnap an planet ambassador's princess, merge the Earth with a VR game). The arcade game is a straight-up war with no kidnapping, while the crossover simply has her try to conquer/blow up the Earth.
  • Nintendo Hard: Extremely. The first game is widely considered one of, if not the hardest ever made (just the single player, as two player is broken). True to the trope name, the Nintendo version of the game is the worst by far (see Difficulty by Region). The sequels are only a tad easier.
    El Sandifer: Let me stress this, because it really bears mentioning. I cheated to play this game. I cheated heavily. And I could not beat it. The third to last level has a racing section that is as close to impossible as I have experienced in a video game. It is a festival of ruthless brutality.
    Cracked: You played as Rash, Zitz, or Pimple, because we really were that dumb as kids, and their quest was to defeat the Dark Queen, because it's really easy to manipulate dumb kids. Battletoads wasn't a game, it was a secret project to electronically destroy the human soul. The game was harder than a diamond strap-on and did similar things to you when you played with it.
  • No Plot? No Problem!: Did you expect a game called Battletoads to be known for its deep canon and tight scripting?
  • Oh, Crap!: When the toads have this reaction, it's boss fight time! They don't do this when they see vehicles though.
  • Ominous Opera Cape: The Dark Queen always wears it during her pre-level taunts. The cape hovers inexplicably behind her at all times, regardless of which way she's facing.
  • Only a Flesh Wound: Robo-Manus, most notably in the Gameboy game and Arcade game, is capable of fighting, even after losing a limb or two. In fact, in the Gameboy game, he can fight even after being decapitated.
  • Orcus on His Throne: The Dark Queen exists mainly to goad the player and hurl insults through Professor T's monitor. Interestingly, this is reflected even in the Queen's low sprite count: She barely moves, preferring to turn into a cyclone or (in the SNES version) hurl skulls while warping around the arena. In the arcade version, she appears as an apparition whilst observing the boss battle with Robo-Rat. She's a little more proactive in Battletoads & Double Dragon, engaging the Toads/Lees in fisticuffs.
    Eric Provenza: Usually serving as final boss in the games, the Dark Queen is basically a sexy Shredder, right down to her between-level taunts.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: A Fantastic Racism variant: The Dark Queen likes to call the toads "snotskins"
  • Rank Scales with Asskicking: The Dark Queen is the leader of her army and generally serves as the final boss in the games. Galaxy leaders the Topians also put up a strong final boss fight.
  • Recycled Title: Battletoads could refer to the original game first released for the NES in 1991, the Game Boy version released during the same year (not to be confused with the Game Boy port of the NES version titled Battletoads in Ragnarok's World), the 1994 arcade game distributed by Electronic Arts, or the 2020 Reboot.
  • Royal Brat: Battletoads is rightly famous, but not for its deep canon or characterization. That said, what little we see of the Dark Queen suggests a spoiled brat who just happens to command armies and possess magic.
  • Save the Princess: Not that they really explain what she's the princess of.
  • Sea Mine: Surf City level in the original game has spherical naval sea mines floating in the river.
  • Sensible Heroes, Skimpy Villains: The Toads fall under Half-Dressed Cartoon Animal, so their clothes standard is lax, but even just comparing humans the Dark Queen's outfit is notably skimpier than Angelica's.
  • Shapeshifter Weapon: The toads morph their arms and legs into various weapons to attack. When they attack by butting enemies with their heads, their heads will sprout ram horns when they connect.
    • Later games attribute a style to each Toad. Battlemaniacs establishes that Rash likes blades and spikes, while Pimple prefers blunt, heavy objects. The arcade game adds in that Zitz's favored attacks involve turning his limbs into machinery like drills and chainsaws.
    • The 2020 game goes up to eleven on this trope. Not only can they turn their limbs into many new things (kitchen sink, dead fish, jackhammer...), but they also can fully transform for special attacks (For instance, Pimple can turn in a sarcophagus and Rash in a shark).
  • Shoulders of Doom: Robo-Manus is consistently depicted with these, usually battle-damaged and exposing some kind of grotesque, brain-like tissue.
  • Snake People: Why did it have to be snakes? The dreaded Snake Level are a cornerstone of these games, and in the final installment, you get to meet the progenitor of the snake pits.
  • Sore Loser: The Dark Queen, natch. In particular, after you destroy the Colossus Ratship in Battletoads & Double Dragon, her next course of action is to use the missile it shoots out and blow up the Earth, purely out of spite.
  • Spike Balls of Doom: Spiky damaging balls in this series are present in many of their levels. Often they are rather irregular in shape.
  • Spikes of Doom: In the first game, Terra Tubes features actual spikes, often inconveniently placed at the bottom of the said tubes.
  • Statuesque Stunner: According to the arcade game, the Dark Queen is six feet tall, though she appears considerably larger in-game.
  • Stripperiffic:
    • The Dark Queen.
    • While we're at it, how about nearly every male character (particularly with Big Blag).
  • Sunglasses at Night: Rash would wear sunglasses in outer space. They even change shape according to Rash's mood.
  • Teenage Mutant Samurai Wombats: As mentioned above, this game was riding the coattails of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
  • Trial-and-Error Gameplay: Most of the obstacles are based on a pattern, and learning them is key to get through the game.
  • Unexpected Gameplay Change: The vehicle levels, which is part of why they're most frequently cited as That One Level.
  • Unexpected Shmup Level: The final level of the arcade game plays like a rail shooter with the Battletoads shooting from the roof of their cruiser through an aircraft leading up to a battle with Robo-Manus. The 2020 reboot also has shmup levels in it.
  • Ugly Hero, Good-Looking Villain: The Battletoads, are, well toad people, whereas the Dark Queen is a sexy dominatrix-esque woman.
  • Verbal Tic: *BZZT* Robo-Manus has a particularly *FZZT* noticeable one.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: Although every Battletoads game has this, the Arcade version is the most noteworthy example.
  • Villainous Breakdown: A bit of a tradition. The Dark Queen throws a temper tantrum as you reach her final level in each game she appears in, as do the Topians as detailed in the 2020 Reboot folder.
  • Walking Armory: Robo-Manus, whose weapons generally consist of optic blasts, arm-mounted blasters, missiles, flamethrowers and bombs among other things, all of which are parts of his cybernetic body.
  • Warrior vs. Sorcerer: The Dark Queen is a villainous Lady of Black Magic opposed by a trio of heroic warrior toads.
  • Welcome to Corneria: Inverted. The intra-level NPC text is different from game-to-game.
    • Some games also have random varying quotes right after the Dark Queen's defeat.
  • X-Ray Sparks: Used in Battletoads and Double Dragon (but only in the SNES port) and brought back in the arcade game.
  • You Dirty Rat!: The Dark Queen's Mooks known as the Mutant Ratpack, lead by Big Blag.
  • You Don't Look Like You: Robo-Manus has a tendency to change noticeably in appearance in each game, becoming nigh unrecognizable by his Arcade appearance, which lacks his trademark Shoulders of Doom and extensible mechanical neck.
  • Your Size May Vary:
    • Robo-Manus goes from being at least twice as tall as the 'Toads in the first game and Double Dragon crossover to over 76 feet tall in the arcade game.
    • Big Blag is either twice as large as the 'Toads as seen in the Game Boy game and crossover or a head taller in the first game, although the arcade game shows that he can enlarge himself to squash the 'Toads.
    • The Dark Queen is stated to be 6 feet tall in the arcade game, meaning she's supposedly smaller than the 'Toads.note  However, in all cases where she's fought directly, she's either twice as tall or slightly shorter than Pimple who's the tallest Battletoad.

    The NES Original and its ports 
  • Anti-Frustration Features: Rare Replay is a godsend in this regard. You can change it to Infinite Lives, and you can rewind up to 30 seconds at a time. This makes levels like Turbo Tunnel MUCH easier.
  • Art Evolution: The cover of the NES version was obviously drawn while the game was still in development, before the designs of the Toads were finalized. As a result, every toad on the cover looks like Zitz.
  • Bait-and-Switch: The first level, often intended to give a general overview of what players are in for, is very different to the rest of the game (and that's not speaking in terms of difficulty, either). Ragnarok's Canyon is the only level with an isometric perspective that focuses solely on beat-'em-up action. Other levels replace the ability to walk up and down with the ability to crouch and are more platforming-oriented. While Turbo Tunnel, Surf City and Volkmire's Inferno are also isometric, the vehicle mini-games are what take the center stage in those levels and actually beating up enemies is minimal.
  • Bookends: The story begins with a message from Professor T. Bird, followed by the toads descending from the SS Vulture, and ends with a message from Professor T. Bird, with the toads climbing back into the SS Vulture.
  • Boss-Only Level: The final stage is merely the Dark Queen's arena. Oddly, you won't discover this unless you get a Game Over fighting the Dark Queen, as there's no transitional cut-scenes between The Revolution & Armageddon.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: The Space Invader-esque creatures, if left alone, will steal pieces of your health bar and leave.
  • Checkpoint Starvation: Even with infinite lives, the NES version is not a cakewalk due to this, especially in later levels such as Intruder Excluder and Terra Tubes. Then there's Clinger Winger which has no checkpoints until the boss. The easier versions of Battletoads don't have more checkpoints, but the relaxed difficulty takes away from this trope.
  • Crosshair Aware: The Giant Walker boss has an aiming reticle the Toads shouldn't be able to see, but since the fight is done in second-person view, the player sees through the Walker's HUD and can easily tell where it's aiming.
  • Difficulty by Region: The Famicom version is easier compared to its NES counterpart. The Genesis version, which was ported by a Japanese team, used the Famicom version as its base.
  • Down the Drain: Terra Tubes, the ninth level, which is basically an immense sewer system.
  • Easy Level Trick: It's still not what you'd call easy, but keeping near the center of the track makes weaving between the barriers in the Turbo Tunnel much more feasible once the course takes its gloves off and they start coming towards you at ludicrous speed.
    • There is a way you can end Rat Race early. While actually rather difficult to pull off, some might vouch for it being the worthwhile option over getting through the rest of the level and dealing with the dreaded third rat.
    • All of the game's vehicle sections are susceptible to Pause Scumming. Clinger-Winger in particular is where this technique makes an otherwise very frustrating level a bit of a cinch, where pausing at every corner before inputting the required direction gives the player a massive advantage.
    • The most difficult final part of Karnath's Lair can be avoided with a single well-timed jump. Once you're on the snake with the pink and yellow stripes, climb it, stay on its apex instead of going downwards and wait until its head reaches the goal. Just as you're about to fall off, leap over the spikes to land on the snake and get to the exit.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Say what you will about the Dark Queen, but she knows when to put her foot down. Sure, she's evil, but she doesn't use cheat codes.
  • Everything Trying to Kill You:
    • Given the difficulty, not terribly surprising. This also includes the second player thanks to uncontrollable moves and friendly fire. Later games had the option of turning friendly fire off; this doesn't help the SNES version, where player deaths during the racing, snake, and clinger winger levels force both restarting from the last check point.
    • Friendly fire isn't even close to the worst thing about two-player. Moving the screen too far up, or not jumping down at exactly the same time when there's a chasm you have to fall into with OHKO spikes on both sides and an icicle that makes you bounce upwards if it hits you, causing you to pull up the screen and kill your partner? If one of you runs out of lives, you're both kicked to the Game Over screen immediately, but the surviving player only keeps the lives they had? Two-player mode is just unbearable.
  • Evil Is Visceral: The background of Turbo Tunnel looks like a brain.
  • Fake Longevity: The game takes around half an hour to complete, assuming only a handful of deaths from start to finish, and that's ignoring the numerous level skips and tricks. Naturally, this makes the Trial-and-Error Gameplay slightly more justified, where a good portion of your time is spent familiarizing yourself with what the game throws your way, after which it isn't too strenuous of an experience (the developers even stated that the game should be perfectly doable after enough attempts). This artificial extension is thought to have encouraged people to buy the game rather than temporarily renting it.
  • From Bad to Worse: Just when you thought things couldn't possibly get any harder, the next level will prove you wrong. For as much as its difficulty gets brought up, the few hardass gamers who've passed the speeder bike challenge can vouch that it is most certainly not the hardest part of the game.
  • Game-Breaking Bug:
    • The game is impossible in two-player mode because a bug prevents the second player from even moving when you reach the second-to-last level. This was fixed for the European version, as well as the version featured in the compilation game Rare Replay.
    • In Intruder Excluder, if you don't get onto the second to last platform in the proper manner (your toad will immediately jump up from it), you'll fail to actually reach the boss platform and die. And die. And die. This is because you respawn below the bottom of the screen, and as a result, die immediately with no way to get up to where you're supposed to be. Hope you have a continue left and can get by without whatever lives you may have stocked up on.
    • In Rat Race, there's a chance that the rat might not fall down and send you to the next part of the level after you disarm a bomb. This leaves you stuck with no way to die, forcing you to reset (though this bug is only on the NES version, it doesn't appear on the Game Boy, Game Gear or Genesis/Mega-Drive versions). This is a very rare instance of multiplayer friendly fire actually coming in handy, albeit unintentionally, where by hitting the other player enough times to kill them can enable you to retry this section.
  • The Great Serpent: Karnath is a giant villainous snake who appeared in the first game in the level named after him. He shows up as a boss in the Battle Toads arcade game.
  • Hitbox Dissonance: Many instances, most of which are shockingly in the player's favor.
    • The player's collision area is significantly smaller than player sprites.
    • Many of the large spikes in levels 4, 6 and 9 only have a hitbox around the top half, giving your toad a wider area to maneuver around them than may be evident.
    • The Sharks in Terra Tubes have quite a large area above their sprite where you can spike them in relative safety. You can't take them out unless you pummel them while they're down, though.
  • Infinite 1-Ups:
    • It's pretty bad when the second stage has one and people still get stuck on the third level.
    • Terra Tubes almost has one. You can earn infinite points off the rubber duckies, earning an extra life every 100,000 points. However, there's a point cap, so it's not quite infinite.
    • Rat Race has one. Headbutting a rat will earn you 1,000 points, so you could do this over and over again on one of the longer platforms to earn extra lives, headbutting every time the rat turns around after reaching a wall. However, this is risky as if your timing is the slightest bit off, the rat will pass you, which may very well result in you losing a life.
    • Intruder Excluder has one, with arguably the safest and most reliable point-farming spot in the entire game. You must have your toad equipped with a pole in order to make use of it, though, one of which you can grab at the beginning of the level. All the player has to do is to make their way to where yellow ball obstacles are infinitely spawned down a set of beams, and stay at the bottom where the balls disintegrate. Shortly before they do so, you can either whack them with the pole or ram them (with the pole in hand), giving you 750 or 2,000 points respectively. This can be repeated until you max out your points or until you lose the pole from accidentally taking damage; not to worry though, there is a spare one just below you.
  • It's All Upstairs From Here: The final level is climbing the Dark Queen's tower.
  • Kaizo Trap: The Dark Queen does one final spin attack after you defeat her. If you happened to be standing in the center of the arena at the time, pray you weren't on one health and your last life...
    • This can happen on Intruder Excluder as well. If you reach the top of the level standing too far on the right side of the screen, Robo-Manus will drop down and immediately Goomba Stomp you before the fight actually begins, instantly taking away a life. As above, you'd best hope it's not your last one.
  • Killer Rabbit: By the time they appear the player will have learnt to assume everything can One-Hit Kill, but Terra Tubes takes the cake with seemingly-innocent rubber ducks that do One-Hit Kill the player.
  • Leap of Faith: Ad nauseam, especially in the Turbo Tunnel and Karnath's Lair. Terra Tubes is the worst in this regard, however. In the sections where you're under pressure from being chased by a gear, you have to drop down and risk colliding with the spikes below, which you avoid by holding left or right beforehand. Once you find out that spikes are present there at all on a first-time play through...'s almost certainly too late to react and you will lose a life.
  • Luck-Based Mission: The last Rat Race. If you get down there and the shock gap is active, you lose. Period.
  • Marathon Level: In some levels, you're really starting to wonder when the level is going to end.
  • The Millstone: If you're playing with a second player, chances are the two of you will be this to each other.
  • Misbegotten Multiplayer Mode: As pointed out by the AVGN.
  • Mystical 108: There are 108 obstacles to dodge in the first hoverbike section. Appropriately.
  • No Fair Cheating: If you use cheat codes, expect to be chastised by the Dark Queen.
  • Random Number God: Thankfully averted... for the most part. There is no consistent path you can take to avoid the onslaught of mines in Surf City or the barrage of fireballs in Volkmire's Inferno, as they will be different in each run.
  • Recycled Soundtrack: The song from the Ice Cavern level is very similar to another song from one of Rare's previous games, Digger T. Rock: The Legend of the Lost City.
  • Serial Escalation: Put simply : How much more Nintendo Hard can this game get? Once you reach the third level, Turbo Tunnel, you might think there's no way the game can get any harder. But then you get to Karnath's Lair, also known as the Snake Pit. And then Volkmire's Inferno. And Terra Tubes. Then the Rat Race. And if you somehow manage to get past those too, there's still Clinger Winger. Considering most of the game is one ginormous obstacle course, it is theoretically possible to finish the game reliably if you memorize all the necessary movements by rote. It mainly gets less predictable during boss fights, like against Big Blag.
  • Shout-Out: The Space Invaders aliens appear as enemies. The little bastards harm you by flying up to the HUD and stealing pieces of your life meter.
  • Slippy-Slidey Ice World: Arctic Caverns, the fourth level.
  • Spike Balls of Doom: In the level 12, yellow spike balls orbit around the tower.
  • Spikes of Doom: Most notable in level 6, where almost the entire level was coated with them.
  • Springs, Springs Everywhere: Especially during the final level.
  • Steam Vent Obstacle: Variation: the game has vents producing small puffs of poisonous gas that travel a short distance before dispersing harmlessly.
  • Threatening Shark: The Sharks in Terra Tubes swim really quickly, can combo you to death in a matter of seconds, can traverse through the spikes that will instantly kill you, can knock you INTO those spikes and take an absurd amount of hits to kill.
  • Timed Mission: The Rat Race level; you have to beat an Invincible Minor Minion to the bottom of the stage (three times!), or you lose. A well-timed smack will delay him, however (and will make the runs much easier, if you can pull it off). It's possible to beat the rat to all the bombs without striking it once, but the rat is so fast, you need to perfect the third run, because it falls faster and moves faster than you do.
    • Technically speaking, you can kill him. Just let him get into the room with the bomb (but make sure you get there first) and kick the bomb out. He will flip over, and if you manage to ram him twice before he leaves the screen, you will end up kicking him out just like the other rats, the "level beaten" ditty plays, and you fall through the floor (but beat the level nonetheless).
  • Turns Red: Robo Manus and General Slaughter speed up the less HP they have. While it doesn't make General Slaughter that much harder, the same cannot be said for Robo Manus who starts to constantly and erratically jump around the arena on his last bit of health, causing you to get flattened under him as soon as you become a touch too careless.
  • Unintentionally Unwinnable: The American NES version is unwinnable from the start if you select the co-op function. Once you reach level 11 (as mentioned in the Game-Breaking Bug section), player two's clinger-winger doesn't even move, which means the boss of the level always runs you over. Rinse and repeat until you run out of lives (you can just continue on your own after player 2 is gone, but player 2 can rejoin on The Revolution if they were not on their last continue). The European NES version, other system versions, and the Rare Replay version all fix this.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: You can continue to pummel the birds in level 2 after you've knocked them out. It's encouraged, seeing as how juggling them long enough scores you points and eventually a 1UP independent of your score, but it's also easier said than done, given that you'll usually have other things bearing down on you.
  • Warp Zone: The game has four "mega warps" in total (in Levels 1, 3, 4 and 6) which, when taken, skip past two levels, meaning that you can skip practically half the game by using them. Seems quite magnanimous for "Battletoads", but keep in mind that the means of reaching them are pretty obscure, which didn't help in the days before walkthroughs and the internet. They are also on a timer, i.e. they disappear if on-screen for too long, forcing players to get to them quickly.
  • A Winner Is You: The ending is somewhat of a letdown, but that's to be expected. After the punishment that this game dishes out, even the most awesome ending in the world would still feel like a letdown (not to say they didn't phone it in anyway, though). The Genesis version takes this further by removing the ending cutscene.
  • Womb Level: The texture of the walls and ceiling in Turbo Tunnel resemble those of a brain's, and the pit is made of large spherical cells.

    The Game Boy Game 
  • Shared Life-Meter: The second boss has a first form with one life bar, but requiring the player to destroy multiple turrets on it before moving on to the second form.
  • The Unfought: The Dark Queen is never encountered as a boss. Robo-Manus takes her place as the final boss.

    Battletoads in Battlemaniacs 
  • Bonus Stage: Battlemaniacs has a recurring level where you slide across a checkers-esque floor and try to grab as many bowling pins as possible, while avoiding enemies who take pins away.
  • Multiple Endings: Two-fold - at the end of the game, the Dark Queen will say two out of a pool of eight different lines at random, and then Volkmire will escape to a UFO while the Battletoads chase him in a helicopter - at this point, a mini game will play out where the player has to shoot down the UFO, and the ending text will change on if he escapes or not.
  • Recycled Premise: The SNES version is similar to the NES original in terms of overall aesthetic, just with more polish. In terms of gameplay, it's nearly identical to the arcade game.
  • Set a Mook to Kill a Mook: Should anyone dare to hit a skeleton, it will vindictively chase after the offender and will beat it to death. It is entirely possible to leap out of the way of a skeleton's attack so it hits another, then stand back and watch the two fight to the finish. They will ignore the players until they've extracted their vengeance.
  • Shout-Out: One of the possible messages the Dark Queen can say in the ending is "What strength! But don't forget, there are many tyrants like me all over the world!"
  • The Unfought: Silas Volkmire, though you get a chance to try and shoot down his escape ship IF you beat the game.

    Battletoads & Double Dragon 
  • Guest Fighter: Although Battletoads & Double Dragon is a cross over, the game engine is pure Battletoads game mechanics.
  • Remember the New Guy?: Shadow Boss, one of the Big Bad Duumvirate. He's presented as the Lees' archenemy, despite the fact that he's never appeared in a video game before (he's based on the Shadow Master from the Double Dragon cartoon, which only superficially resembles the previous video games).
  • Unexpected Gameplay Change: Stage 4 has the players pilot ships to shoot down the Dark Queen's fleet.

    The Arcade Game 
  • Alliterative Name: The Korpse Kount. The 'Toad who gets the most kills can be:
    • The Collector of Corpses.
    • The Dealer of Death.
    • The Duke of Destruction.
    • The King of Karnage.
    • The Master of Mayhem.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: Robo-Manus inexplicably becomes 76 feet tall and puts on six and a half tons for his appearance in the arcade game, as opposed to his considerably smaller appearances in the previous games.
  • Bloodier and Gorier: This game includes decapitations, vomiting and blood spills with every hit. You can even drill through downed rats if you're playing as Zitz.
  • Bloody Hilarious: The bloody and gory arcade game.
  • Book Ends: The first and final levels share the same theme.
  • Boss Remix: The boss theme is a rearrangement of the first stage's theme.
  • Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: Defeating the regular-sized rat enemies will leave a skeleton colored based on which Toad got the kill.
  • End-Game Results Screen: The game gives your mission time after the ending.
  • Eye Scream: Stage 4 has enemies called Ugly Mugs that need to have their eyes knocked out before whacking them in their ugly mugs.
  • Groin Attack: General Vermin is an unfortunate victim of this.
  • I Shall Return: Robo-Manus declares "I'll be back!" after being defeated and blown apart.
  • Lampshade Hanging: The arcade game's ending goes out of its way to point out the Toads' suspiciously convenient teleportation devices that they just so happened to have on them.
  • Ludicrous Gibs: Stage 4 features enemies named Snappa and Ugly Mug that will explode in a shower of blood when killed.
  • Market-Based Title: Super Battletoads in Japan.
  • Meaningless Lives: When the game was rereleased as part of Rare Replay, the credits system was removed due to now being on a console, and the game simply acts as if you have infinite credits. As a result, death means absolutely nothing and players have infinite lives, able to come back with a press of a button and with no progress lost.
  • Medley: The music for the game's second-to-last stage rather subtly weaves in the first four stage's themes.
  • Off with His Head!: This occurs to Karnath and Robo-Manus after they're defeated. It can also happen to some of the rat enemies if they're killed with a jump attack.
  • Rearrange the Song: The Korpse Kount theme rather subtly remixes "Ragnarok's Canyon" from the first game.
  • Shout-Out: When sufficiently damaged, Robo Manus starts singing Daisy Bell in text form, much like HAL.
  • Shows Damage: General Slaughter in the arcade game will receive cuts, broken horns, and a missing tooth as he takes damage.
  • Slippy-Slidey Ice World: The second level is similar to the NES ice level with snowmen, icy floors and Snowy Sleigh Bells in its theme song.
  • Taking You with Me: Robo-Manus attempts this at the end of the game by firing a bunch of energy blasts at the Battletoads' ship as he's in the midst of exploding. Of course, with the Battletoads being the heroes of the franchise and all, they survive unscathed.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: You finish off Karnath by decapitating him and kicking his head like a giant soccer ball. Over-the-top brutal but he kinda deserves it.
  • Timed Mission: The bonus stage has you destroying a jet within 99 seconds. The player that kicks it offscreen gets a 50 kills termination bonus.
  • Ultra Super Death Gorefest Chainsawer 3000: The finishers are at their goriest for the series, the end level score result is called "Korpse Kount" (probably a nod to Mortal Kombat), and there is a little more adult and dirty humor. The only reason this game probably passed the Moral Guardians' radars was because games like Doom and Mortal Kombat were taking all the heat during the 90s.
  • The Unfought: As in the Game Boy game, The Dark Queen is never encountered and Robo-Manus claims the Final Boss spot.
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot: Swat Rats puke when they stand up after being knocked down.
  • Womb Level: Planned but ultimately scrapped: Brain Chase.