Battletoads and Double Dragon: The Ultimate Team, released in 1993 on the Nintendo Entertainment System, is a satisfying beat ‘em up that combines Rare’s Battletoads and Technos Japan’s Double Dragon franchises. Now, you’re probably scratching your head and thinking, “Why mix these iconic games?” While both franchises are a treat on their own, but together? They are more epic than peanut butter and chocolate. I’ll explain why in this article.

In the late ’80s and early ’90s, we saw the humble beginnings of many beat ‘em up franchises. Double Dragon set the standard, and Battletoads cranked it up to 11 with wacky levels, great sprite animations, and brutal difficulty (That speeder bike level still gives me nightmares 😰). What brought them together, oddly enough, was a single publisher – Tradewest. At the time, the now-dissolved publisher owned both IPs and brought them together to form the ultimate team.

While Rare spearheaded development, Technos Japan provided the Double Dragon license. Rare took what made Battletoads successful and improved upon that formula, making this game an unofficial sequel. This game begins shortly after the Dark Queen’s defeat in the original game. The Colussus, a massive spaceship, emerged from the moon and neutralized Earth’s military. The Dark Queen is back, and she allied herself with Shadow Boss and his minions to exact her revenge.

The Ultimate MashupThe Battletoads, Rash, Zitz, and Pimple, spring into action. To even the odds, they enlist the aid of the twin martial artists, Billy and Jimmy Lee. Together, they fly the Battlecopter into space to stop the Dark Queen. This game contains seven levels and features different gimmicks and playstyles to keep the gameplay fresh. There are side-scrolling sections, rappelling sections, Asteroids-esque space battles, and, of course, a speeder bike level. However, this one is much easier to complete.

What I truly loved about the original Battletoads are the over-the-top fight animations. They were hilariously over-the-top on the NES hardware. True to fashion, Rare kept this style and reimagined the Lee brothers’ Sou-Setsu-Ken fighting style. Even though you have only one button to attack, these fight animations change depending on which foes you fight.

This game was ported to the SNES, Genesis, and Game Boy, reskinning the original. However, the NES version has a lot of charm. In 2022, Retro-bit released an updated physical version of the game as a limited run. While this version doesn’t touch the gameplay or graphics, it gives some love to the cartridge, box, and instruction manual. This comes with a custom acrylic stand and is the cherry on top for this collector’s edition. While I can go on about this game, You should get out there and get a copy for your collection. This is a gem to be enjoyed alongside your favorite bag of Reese’s peanut butter cups 😃.

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Scott Dyer Scott Dyer (3 Posts)

Scott Dyer is just your friendly neighborhood gamer geek. By day, he works as a marketing communications consultant for a major automobile manufacturer. By night, he moonlights as an avid gamer geek on many levels. Whether video, tabletop, card, or anything in between, you can bet he's tried almost everything. When he's not playing games, Scott's modding video game consoles and accessories, building plastic models, traveling back in time to the Renaissance Faire, and now writing about his favorite gaming topics in Old School Gamer Magazine.