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Fixing the NES game Battletoads


The original NES Battletoads could be a great game with only a few tweaks.


It started out as a great game, but from the third level it became a notoriously hard game within that generation of games that are now known as “NES Hard”.

At the time I thought the problem was that it went from a fighting game to a puzzle game, but that wasn't the real problem. The real problem is that it was too easy to die, and you would have to start over from the beginning too often. Even worse: In two-player mode, which was lots of fun in those first two levels, you would have to start over from the beginning if either player died.

The two-player-mode maluses can be fixed with two new rule changes:

  1. If any player dies in an area where the second player cannot respawn immediately, the other player is allowed to progress further.
  2. If that other player reaches a checkpoint, the dead player will respawn if this player has any extra lives.

General game changes

Infinite continues

  • You have infinite continues. You get the Dark Queen's you-died taunts if all players lose their last lives in the same level.
  • If you make it to the end after all players continued 5 times, the Dark Queen has already escaped and the bird tells you that you'll have to be faster next time. A player that joins the game late is penalized one continue per 2 levels skipped for determining whether the Dark Queen escaped.
  • Game modes:
    • Less Hard Mode: 5 lives per continue. The Dark Queen always escapes at the end.
    • Hard Mode: 3 lives per continue.
    • If the new code allows, the old rules may be kept as a “NES Hard” difficulty.

New endings:

New content is needed to reward players for winning on Hard and Harder, even if it is only the bird congratulating you.

  • Bad - If you did not get any better ending, you do not fight the Dark Queen. The Dark Queen escapes with her prisoners.
  • Normal - If you win with fewer than 5 continues for each toad, but you did not achieve a better ending: you fight the Dark Queen. She escapes after the fight, but you rescue the prisoners. She says that you actually fought a clone of her or a robot or a robotic clone or something.
  • Best - If you win on Hard Mode with fewer than 3 continues for each Toad: You fight the Dark Queen. You capture her after the fight, but you have to release her so that you can make money on the sequels.

Changes to specific levels

Level 1

  • In the boss fight, let the rock be blasted from the wall or ground instead of fired from the gun.

Level 3 (cars)

  • If either player survives to the next checkpoint, any player who died and has lives left will respawn at the checkpoint.

Level 4 (Ice level)

  • Dead players respawn at the nearest platform.

Level 5 (Surfing)

  • Like the cars level, the game progresses if either player reaches the next checkpoint.

Level 6 (Snakes)

  • Falling does not kill a player unless the player lands on spikes.
  • The remake may be for a mobile device so each player will have a separate screen, so falling out of the other player's view will not be fatal.
  • If either player makes it to the exit, the surviving player has sixty seconds to reach the exit (or die) or else the player will be eaten by a snake.

Level 8 (Elevator)

  • Falling no longer kills you, you only scroll down.
  • On any death, you respawn on a lower platform that has no threats.

Level 9 (Sewers)

  • Getting crushed by a gear will respawn you in place. You still need to beat the level without losing all of your lives.

Level 10 (Rat Race)

  • If the rat gets to the bomb before you, it is slightly slower next time. If the same rat reaches the bomb before you twice, it is given a new set of sprites with a walker or a cane.

Level 11 (Orb)

  • After getting zapped, you respawn ahead of the orb and automatically move at the fastest speed for two seconds.

Level 12 (Tower)

  • Falling a great height will still kill you because you are falling off the tower. There is a new sprite to express this.

All obstacle levels

  • In Easy mode, if all players wipe out in the same sub-level, the obstacles that killed them are removed when they revive.


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battletoadsmodifications.txt · Last modified: 2013/11/28 06:28 by deltatango