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Battletoads and Double Dragon: the Ultimate Team
Console: Nintendo Game Boy
Developer: Rareware
Publisher: Tradewest
Number of Players: 2
Release Date: December 1993

Story | Codes | Characters


By Cloudmann
Contributing Writer


When Rare released this game on three different consoles, it made an addictive beat-em-up with a whole lot of potential.  All three ports were very faithful to each other and all three had pretty much identical game play.  Rare decided to go mobile with this game.  In 1993 there were only three portable systems: the all but dead Lynx, the dying Game Gear and the immortal Game Boy.  While the NES and Game Boy architecture are very similar and porting this game should have been pie, there are some differences that hurt the Game Boy version.  But all in all, this is a pretty faithful version of a kick-ass game.

Graphics: B+

The game looks really good, though a few other Game Boy titles have better graphics.  It's pretty obvious that the graphics in this game are a direct port of the NES version.  Right down to the goofy character art, everything originated from the NES.  The lack of color is the most obvious difference.  While this is no big consideration, it does at times make seeing enemy sprites a bit difficult.  There's a little flicker here and there, but really nothing to worry about.  The big problem is the screen resolution.  This game suffers from the same problem the Lynx conversion of Double Dragon was plagued by: the sprites are too large as compared to the background.  This means that it's hard to see your enemies from off screen, and when fighting a boss there's really nowhere to run.  This problem tied to the lack of color caused me to lose a few lives.  Overall, though this is done pretty well... but shrink those sprites!

Sound: B+

Like the graphics, the sound and music are ported right from the NES.  The same skippy beats and decent sound effects are on the road, though the tinny little Game Boy speaker makes the game sound worse than it should.  That's a Game Boy problem though, and not a game problem.  Overall, very nice.

Enemies: B-

This is a bit of a mixed bag.  While the enemies are all here and look good, the sprites are just too big.  There's no room to move around!  Another problem I'll go into further later is a bit of a SNAFU with the sprite collision programming.  I've been able to hit enemies I'm close to but not within range of.  That's good, but the enemies can do the same to you.  That's bad.  The sloppy programming loses this game a few kudos here.


Weapons: B+

Aside from dynamite and being able to throw some enemies at other enemies, the only weapon you'll get is the stick that's left after destroying a walker.  That said, the stick works really well.  I love how you kill some of the enemies with it, just like the NES version.


Controls and Moves: A-

Here's that mixed bag again.  The controls, using just the two buttons on any conversion, translated perfectly, but the whole sprite collision issue makes this game more frustrating than needed.  Again, the combos come off automatically, and the Toads have their flashy moves still.  But the lack of solid collision detection hurts an otherwise incredible control scheme.


Modes: C+

Well, there's no link up mode.  That sucked.  You have only one version of the game because of that.  Since all the toads are the same and both dragons are the same, you effectively have only two playable characters.  The lack of two player mode hurts this one.  Beating up your buddy was half the fun.


Conclusion/Overall: B

Overall, this game is done really well.  While I absolutely prefer the Genesis or SNES conversions (they're very slightly different from each other), this game along with the NES version were well done.  Problem was, I think Rare saw how well the NES port turned out and just crammed it into a Game Boy cart without really compensating for the screen resolution or colors.  The spotty sprite collision was just plain sloppy programming.  Period.  Not too shabby, but a little polish would have made this just as good as the superior NES port.