Battletoads is a video game media franchise by Rare that began with the original beat 'em up game Battletoads in 1991. Starring three anthropomorphic toads named after skin conditions, Rash, Zitz, and Pimple, the series was created to rival the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles games series.[1] The original Battletoads game for the NES was renowned for its extreme difficulty, but still received a cult following, spawning sequels for various platforms including a crossover with the Double Dragon series and a modern reboot after a 25 year gap in releases. In each of the games, the objective is to defeat the toads' nemesis the Dark Queen and her army of space mutants.

Battletoads logo.png
Genre(s)Beat 'em up, platform game
Creator(s)Tim and Chris Stamper
Platform(s)NES, LCD game, Game Boy, Super Nintendo Entertainment System, Sega Master System, Sega Genesis, Sega Game Gear, Amiga CD32, Arcade, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows
First releaseBattletoads
June 1, 1991
Latest releaseBattletoads
August 20, 2020

Video gamesEdit


  • Battletoads: The Battletoads have to defeat the evil Dark Queen on her planet and rescue their kidnapped partners, Pimple and Princess Angelica. Originally released for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) in 1991 by Rare (in Japan the game is distributed by Masaya Games,[2] in Europe and the USA the game is distributed by Tradewest) and subsequently ported by Mindscape to the Amiga in 1992 (but not released until 1994), by Arc System Works to the Sega Mega Drive/Genesis and Sega Game Gear both in 1993, by Rare to the Game Boy in 1993 (as Battletoads in Ragnarok's World), and by Mindscape to the Amiga CD32 in 1994.
  • Battletoads: An LCD game was released by Tiger Electronics in 1991.
  • Battletoads (Game Boy): A spin-off of the original NES game. Despite having the same box art and title as the original NES release, it is an entirely different game from the NES version.
  • Battletoads in Battlemaniacs: Released in 1993 for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) and developed in 1994 for the Sega Master System (but not released until 1996). In this game, Zitz and the daughter of Psicone Industries' CEO have been captured and it is up to Rash and Pimple to save them from being the Dark Queen. Different from the previous games, in this one each character has its own specific abilities and combos. Pimple is the powerhouse, big and boasting a large range with punches, while Rash is nimble and smaller, fighting using kicking attacks. Aside from cooperative play, a solo player is able to play as Rash by switching to the second controller.
  • Battletoads in Ragnarok's World: A 1993 port of the original game, made by Rare for the Game Boy.
  • Battletoads/Double Dragon: A crossover with the characters from the Double Dragon series with liberties taken. The Dark Queen and Shadow Boss team up and five heroes (the three toads, Zitz, Rash and Pimple, and the two Lee brothers, Billy and Jimmy) must stop them. For the first time in the series, the game offers players a character selection screen. Released in 1993 for the NES, Genesis, SNES and Game Boy.
  • Battletoads Arcade: An arcade game released in 1994, also known as Super Battletoads. The arcade game, unlike the other games, featured voice-overs and several other features that distinguish it from the other games, such as a vastly increased level of violence. It follows the Battletoads in Battlemaniacs updated formula of each character having his own design and specific abilities and combos, but this time featuring the three toads, Zitz, Rash and Pimple, as selectable characters: while Rash is kept as the nimble and smaller character and Pimple as the powerhouse, Zitz is represented as the intermediate and balanced character. Vehicle levels emphasize combat, rather than memorizing and avoiding obstacles.
  • Battletoads (2020): An Xbox One and Microsoft Windows game developed by Dlala Studios in collaboration with Rare,[3] released on August 20, 2020. It features three-player couch co-op multiplayer and high resolution hand-drawn 4K 2.5D graphics.[4][5][6] The first gameplay trailer for the game was revealed at E3 2019.[7]

The Battletoads appear in a bonus boss encounter in the Xbox One and PC versions of Shovel Knight.[8][9] Battletoads and Battletoads Arcade are included in Rare Replay, a compilation of 30 Rare games released for the Xbox One in 2015.[10] Rash appears as a playable guest character in the third season of the fighting game Killer Instinct, available on Xbox One and Windows.[11] Rash also appears as an action figure in Grounded.[12]

History of productionEdit

A sequel/remake game was being developed for the Game Boy Advance, but was ultimately canceled.[13][14] In 2013, Phil Spencer from Microsoft's Xbox team mentioned his fondness for Battletoads while asking the fans what Rare games should be brought back for the Xbox One.[15] In 2014, "Battletoads" was re-trademarked in the United States.[16] Spencer appeared publicly in a Battletoads T-shirt in 2015,[17] just days after Microsoft Studios' Ken Lobb (creator of 2013's Killer Instinct reboot) said they have plans to bring Battletoads and other classic Rare series back "someday".[18]


Battletoads: The Official Battlebook, the Tradewest-authorized guide to the Battletoads console games, was written by Steve Schwartz and published in 1994 by Prima Publishing. Detailed playing tips, strategies, and secrets were provided for the following games: Battletoads (NES and Genesis), Battletoads in Battlemaniacs (Super NES), and Battletoads/Double Dragon (NES, Genesis, and Super NES).

Animated seriesEdit

Title card
Created byTim and Chris Stamper (original characters)
Written byDavid Wise
Directed byKent Butterworth
Voices ofKathleen Barr
Ian James Corlett
Michael Donovan
Andrew Kavadas
Lalainia Lindbjerg
Scott McNeil
Jason Michas
Alvin Sanders
Theme music composerKip Lennon
Ron Hicklin
Susan Boyd
Jon Joyce
Jim Haas
Opening theme"Battletoads"
ComposersMurray McFadden
Michael Watts
Country of originUSA
Original languageEnglish
Executive producersAndy Heyward
Robby London
ProducerKent Butterworth
EditorsMark A. McNally
Cindy Horness
Running time22 minutes
Production companiesDIC Animation City
Tradewest, Inc.
Original networkSyndicated
Original releaseNovember 1992 (1992-11)

Battletoads spun off a half-hour animated television special produced by DIC Animation City in an attempt to capitalize on the popularity of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (DiC would try this again later on when producing Street Sharks and Extreme Dinosaurs). Intended as the pilot for a full-fledged series, the special aired in syndication in the United States on the weekend of Thanksgiving 1992. It was never picked up for a series however, despite comic-style ads in GamePro magazine claiming otherwise.

Buena Vista Home Video released the pilot on VHS in January 1994. Although the pilot hasn’t been released onto DVD, it did see an official YouTube release on August 5, 2014 on the Retro Gaming Shows, (which later changed its name to WildBrain Super Heroes),[19] a YouTube channel run by the Canadian company DHX Media, which currently owns the rights to DIC's cartoon library.

The story served as a prequel to the video game franchise. Set in Oxnard, California, it stars three junior high schoolers. The trio is given the ability to transform into anthropomorphic toads with superhuman strength and the ability to change their arms and legs into weapons in techniques called "Smash Hits". They are charged with protecting Professor T. Bird and Princess Angelica from the Dark Queen, who wants to steal Angelica's magical amulet for her plans of universal conquest.

The cartoon was adapted and written by David Wise (no relation to the Battletoads video games' composer of the same name). A comic with the backstory of Battletoads, written by Rare employee Guy Millar, was also published in Nintendo Power.


In 2010, Game Informer included Battletoads among ten gaming franchises that deserve a revival, and precisely, "a true HD sequel".[20] In 2012, Forbes listed it as one of five video game franchises "that need to come back from the dead", adding that a modern Battletoads "should retain its side-scroller qualities while adopting the 2.5D style" similar to Mark of the Ninja.[21] The series' return was also demanded by other outlets,[22][23] including Complex, Maxim and GameRevolution.[24][25][26]

On the other hand, the animated version of Battletoads was very badly received. It was included on the lists of five "worst one-shot TV cartoons ever made" by Topless Robot in 2008.[27]

Prank callEdit

Beginning in early 2011, 4chan users organized a mass prank calling to the Gold and Silver pawn shop, home to the popular television show Pawn Stars. The callers would repeatedly ask the employees if they sold Battletoads. This call led Rick Harrison, star of Pawn Stars and owner of the store, to repeatedly swear and yell at the callers, who recorded this and uploaded it to YouTube. This originated a series of many other similar videos of pranksters dialing random establishments and asking about Battletoads.[28][29] Battletoads developer Rare has acknowledged the prank via an achievement named "Do You Have Battletoads?" in their 2015 game compilation Rare Replay.[30]


  1. ^ Battletoads Retrospective | What happened to Rare's popular hardcore beat-'em-up, IGN, January 13, 2009.
  2. ^ " Battletoads, Famicom (Japanese Import): Video Games".
  3. ^ Juba, Joe (9 June 2019). "The Battletoads Are Back In A New Trailer". Game Informer.
  4. ^ Webster, Andrew (10 June 2018). "The biggest announcements for Microsoft Xbox at E3 2018". The Verge.
  5. ^ "Battletoads announced for Xbox One, Windows 10". 10 June 2018.
  6. ^ Good, Owen S. (10 June 2018). "Battletoads is coming back to Xbox One". Polygon.
  7. ^ Bryant, Adam (12 June 2019). "The first proper trailer and gameplay details for the Battletoads Xbox One revival are here". GamesRadar. Retrieved 2 August 2019.
  8. ^ "Yacht Club Games on Twitter: "The Battletoads drop in for a fight! Shovel Knight is headed to Xbox One and meets up with @RareLtd brawling trio!". 2015-03-04. Retrieved 2015-08-24.
  9. ^ "Update Notes – Yacht Club Games". Retrieved 23 March 2018.
  10. ^ "David Arnold – OHMSS Orchestral Cover VERY RARE VERSION". YouTube. 2014-12-29. Archived from the original on 2021-12-21. Retrieved 2015-08-24.
  11. ^ "Killer Instinct season 3 coming in 2016, Battletoads' Rash joins the game today". Polygon. Retrieved 2015-08-24.
  12. ^ "Look at this big-ass Battletoad in Grounded!". Destructoid.
  13. ^ "Battletoads GBA – Proto / Cancelled". Unseen 64. Retrieved 2013-08-25.
  14. ^ "Battletoads GBA". RareWareCentral. 2011-11-13. Archived from the original on 2013-12-02. Retrieved 2013-08-25.
  15. ^ "Microsoft asks fans what Rare should do next, points towards Battletoads". 2013-09-12. Retrieved 2013-12-09.
  16. ^ "New Battletoads Trademark Appears In United States Trademark Database". Retrieved 2014-11-10.
  17. ^ "Xbox Boss Phil Spencer Teases New Battletoads Game – Niche Gamer".
  18. ^ "Microsoft has Plans for Rare Games like Banjo Kazooie, Perfect Dark, & Battletoads – Niche Gamer".
  19. ^ "Battletoads on WildBrain Super Heroes". YouTube. 2014-08-15. Archived from the original on 2021-12-21. Retrieved 2017-01-13.
  20. ^ "Ten Franchises That Deserve A Revival – Features". 2010-06-30. Retrieved 2013-08-25.
  21. ^ "5 Video Game Franchises That Need To Come Back From The Dead". Forbes. 2012-09-23. Retrieved 2013-08-25.
  22. ^ Melton, Steve (2010-07-24). "XBLA's Most Wanted: Battletoads". Retrieved 2014-06-29.
  23. ^ "Back from the dead: Five franchises the Xbox 360 could resurrect". Siliconera. 2006-02-16. Retrieved 2014-06-29.
  24. ^ "Battle Toads — 20 Game Franchises We Want to See Make a Triumphant Comeback". Complex. Retrieved 2013-08-25.
  25. ^ "5 Classic Video Games That Deserve Awesome Remakes". Maxim. 2013-10-04. Retrieved 2013-12-20.
  26. ^ "Xbox One: A Rare Opportunity". Retrieved 2014-06-29.
  27. ^ Rob Bricken. "The 5 Best (and 5 Worst) One-Shot TV Cartoons Ever Made". Topless Robot.
  28. ^ "ReadyToPrank". YouTube. ReadyToPrank. Archived from the original on 2021-12-21. Retrieved 30 April 2015.
  29. ^ PrankCallsByReV. "Prank Call ReV Calls (Pawn Stars) Rick Harrison Cellphone # "Battletoads"". YouTube. Archived from the original on 2021-12-21.
  30. ^ Good, Owen S. (June 27, 2015). "Rare Replay does offer 10,000 Gamerscore — from a certain point of view". Polygon. Retrieved November 5, 2019.

External linksEdit