Battletoads: Arcade Review (Xbox One)
(Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst review will be coming in the near future.)
Gameplay: 3½/5 – The gameplay’s not bad but it’s disappointingly stiff. That is to say, there isn’t a whole lot of strategy you can employ against most enemies. The big nasty rats can be pounded with Smash Hits and punching them in the balls (no, that’s not a joke) but even most boss fights eventually deteriorate into a furious button-mash. And as with most beat-em-ups, the game is probably a whole lot more fun with two or three players. There’s a little bit of gameplay variety with the last two levels (though not much) and each of the Toads at least feel mildly different to control – but not by a whole lot.
Graphics: 5/5 – Outstanding, the detail is vivid and the game has that edgy 90s look down. All the creatures look distinct and memorable and the Dark Queen looks just as sexy and bootylicious as always. The cartoony detail is just superb especially with the bosses.
Animation: 4½/5 – Perhaps not as outstanding as the graphics, but still very good. There’s plenty of unique detail on characters and especially with each of the Toads dispatching enemies with their own signature moves. However, there is a surprisingly high amount of still image usages over fully animated scenes but, thankfully, lots of cool little details as well (like the Dark Queen in the background of Robo Rodent battle).
Music: 4/5 – David Wise does his usual amazing job with the music but unfortunately a few of the tracks sound a bit mediocre (the snow level in particular). Still, the main theme gets you really pumped up and the little ditties are also nice. In all, it’s maybe just that the music doesn’t sound as distinct as most Rare titles which is really the problem.
Sound: 4/5 – The sound-effects are mostly good and the voice-clips work pretty well for the most part. However, some of the voice-clips will start to sound a little repetitive which is the only minus.
Difficulty: Hard – But that hardly matters as the Rare Replay Collection essentially gives you unlimited lives. The only challenge in the game is trying to survive without actually dying in the levels.
Replay value: 3/5 – The game is fun enough as a beat-em-up but doesn’t really have any supremely novel concepts. The Rare Replay Collection does offer an incentive to play the game through as all the Toads and due to its high production quality, it’s an enjoyable game. However, it’s not a classic of real longevity.
Score: 80% – The Battletoads: Arcade is a solid beat-em-up with great graphics and sound capabilities. Its only real weaknesses are its somewhat stiff controls and a lack of any truly unique gameplay content. The game is certainly very enjoyable and probably the most fun with multiple players. However, it even lacks the iconic difficulty of the NES original due to the Free Play option on the Rare Replay Collection. A good but not quite an excellent game.