Rare brings another delightful experience to the table. This time, it’s in the form of a lovable, two-player beat’em up. Who can resist the charm of our favourite battletoads Zits(TM), Rash(TM) and Pimple(TM)? This time they’re out to save the world from being turned into an evil virtual reality! Oh noes! Oh, and of course to rescue one of the three, and the helpless female, cause having 3-player support world be awkward for the SNES.
The game is predictably about being awesome. What else would you be as a giant ass-kicking toad? You move through levels karate chopping big bad pigs!
You double-punch the cheap ones!
And you bash up the annoying ones good!
The game is full of great times for two players. You can select between two modes. In one mode, you can hit your teammate. In the other mode, you can’t it each other. The first is great for trash talking. The second is great for actually making it anywhere in the game. It’s rather hard to beat each other up when you need every last life for those awkward jumps.
The game primarily fails in its mixing of platform with beat’em up. The beat’em up part of the game is entirely marginalized by the fact that you can lose all of your lives on a single jump because of the difficult positioning and hard-to-see relative distances into the depth of the ground layout. You can die three times in 1 second and game over. The beat’em up part, you can take quite a beating, for a while, and not lose a life, so they really act as interludes between the jumping puzzles.
The game is nearly impossible without cheat codes. Even with cheat codes, the game can still be frustrating, especially in the second stage where you have to navigate through awkward vertical spaces.
It brings forward some amount of game design from the NES era where games had to be difficult to make them last. However, it’s good times. It’s fun, even when it’s frustrating. You have to memorize a stage in order to pass it. There’s no time to react unless you know what’s coming.
So break open a couple of beers, load up the Game Genie, and have some good times. Don’t worry if you die a whole lot. If you get annoyed, just switch game modes, and take your frustrations out on each other. Turn it into a sort of improvised fighting game. Oh, and of course, hawt chicks.
Verdict: Battlemaniacs is a classic. It brings the difficulty of NES games into the SNES era, but preserves the fun format of the silly, wacky combat genre. It makes decent use of the SNES’ graphics engine, and the music creates a fun atmosphere. It’s a must for inclusion in the SNES two-player party game list, but doesn’t have as much long-term single player value. You wouldn’t want to break this game out if you were looking for something with depth.