Also available on Super Nintendo
This, ladies and gents, is one of the rarest games on the Sega Master System, and thanks to having the world's best roommate, I now have a copy. It's not THE rarest Master System game, but it's definitely one of them. I have been hunting this game for almost seven years, and in all that time I have it up for sale ONCE online. Battletoads in Battlemaniacs was, for most of the world, only released on Super Nintendo. Virgin Interactive, had plans to publish a Master System port in Europe, but they scrapped that at the last minute. Since the Master System has such popularity in Brazil, however, Tec-Toy and Virgin decided to release the Master System port exclusively in Brazil. Unfortunately for the Brazilians, what they got was an finished game.
In terms of visuals, it's not bad for the Master System. It definitely doesn't push the console to its limits, but it's not a muddled mess. The problem with the game's visuals comes in with the sprite flickering, and I don't mean the common 8-bit sprite flicker. You'd have enemies vanish from screen for a full half second. Environment models would vanish for a second or two at a time. On the infamous speed bike level, once it got going really fast in the last third or so of the level, it was just about impossible to tell what was going on because the whole world would randomly flicker in and out of existence, leading to invisible obstacles on an already brutally difficult level in a criminally difficult game.
While we're mentioning it, let's talk about difficulty. I've beaten Battletoads on NES and Game Boy. I've beaten Battletoads/Double Dragon on NES. I've beaten Battletoads Arcade on Xbox One. I've beaten Battletoads in Battlemaniacs on SNES. All without cheats. This Master System port is, without a doubt, the most difficult Battletoads game I've played, and that's not just because the game is intended to be hard. I also have NO problem admitting that I played through this with an infinite lives cheat because even with that cheat, not dying long enough to finish a level was a monumental challenge. The stone pig boss pictured above is a great example of why this game is difficult. If so much as one of your pixels even briefly brushes a single enemy pixel, you take damage. You have to make sure that your attacks are timed PERFECTLY so that you're not touching the enemy when you hit the button but also so that your attack connects to deal damage. Couple that with a hit detection system that's shoddy at best, and you're in for a rough time.
The sound is another interesting testament to the game's unfinished status. The first two levels of the game have music. The last three levels of the game have music. Levels 2 and 4 are randomly silent, however. They have sound effects, but no music. In addition to the lack of music in some levels, there's an absence of introductory storyline stills at the beginning of the game, and the game over screen is very abrupt. It's very clearly a game with which the publisher said "Eh, it's good enough. Let's just sell it as is." It does, however, shorten Pimple's name to "PIMP" in game (look on the top left of the screenshots).
As I wrap up my review of this, let me be clear about something - I am tickled to DEATH that this game is in my collection. The game itself it complete shit and should never be played on Master System rather than Super Nintendo, but this is the kind of game that collectors have wet dreams about. This is the kind of game that you covet as a collector and play when drunk at a parties. It's just not the kind of game you EVER play sober or to win. The Super Nintendo version is a fantastic game and a finished product; this, however, is an unfinished port to an inferior system, and that much is apparent in every aspect of the game.
My Rating - 1 Nep
I'm a teacher.
And I like to play video games. I like to collect video games. I like to talk about video games, and I like to write about video games. During the day, I teach high school history; during the night, I spend my spare time gaming. Then I write about it.