Friday, March 27, 2015

Stage Level Start - Battletoads (NES) - Stage 3 - Speeder Level

To get in the right frame of mind for this post, I've provided this convenient animated gif.  Then please refer to the MIDI Week Singles post for the accompanying music. 

The speeder level is everybody's (least) favorite, or at the very least, most memorable Battletoads level.  That's just how it is.  For one thing - it's really, really hard.  But for another:  it's really, really fun.  It's that rare combination of impossibly, frustratingly, hair-pulling-ly difficult and yet a ton of fun and I just want to do it again.

I beat it a couple times.  I used Nintendo Power, I followed the maps to see what was ahead of me.   I even figured out that you can jump a full-sized wall, if you time it just right.

But... oh man, the first time I got to that final run, when the speed doubles;   It's like the naked at school dream.  Suddenly, the bottom drops out.  Wha?  They actually expect me to do this?  This has to be some sort of joke.

But it's not a joke.  And you can do it.  I did do it.  More than once.  All that careful timing from before boils down to rhythm.  Up, down, up, down, up, down, up, down, up, down, up down.  Keep it consistent, if you are a fraction of a second late, you will die.  It's a rush!

Battletoads was a product of its time.  Apart from being a blatant TMNT ripoff, it suffered from some classically-shitty NES design features.  For example, at the beginning of stage 3, before you get to the speeders, you can just sort of fall to your doom executing a very simple jump.  It is maddening, because you need to save your lives for the nigh-impossible feat ahead of you.  But no, some sort of weird collision detection issue will send you into the bouncing balls of death. 

Despite these sorts of design flaws, it was a lot of fun, and very ambitious.  Who doesn't like the idea of racing an anthropomorphic frog through some sort of brain/intestine tunnel at breakneck speeds?

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