battletoads nes

When it comes to classic gaming, notorious difficulty often goes hand in hand with the polarizing sensations of nostalgia. With dozens, if not hundreds, of stiff challenges present in the old school libraries, there are certain titles that reign supreme in infamy. Battletoads on the original Nintendo is amongst the cream of the crop when reminiscing on the most teeth gnashing, controller smashing difficult games in existence.

Playing through Battletoads on single player is enough to have it place toward the top, if not #1, on dozens of Hardest Games Of All Time lists. Battletoads on 2-player though? You would be shocked to realize that the game is over twice as hard.

Imagine playing through one of the most demanding games ever created, now with a second player’s sprite running and jumping as distraction, along with the potent fact that if EITHER player dies in many of the game’s hardest moments, you are BOTH sent back to the last checkpoint. Friendly fire, as in, being able to one-hit kill the other player over the slightest miscommunication, is just another thing out there to punish less than perfect teamwork… but the worst of all is level cut off. If one player jumps or runs ahead, the other player will die from the edge of the screen and you both are sent back to the last checkpoint.

Personally, beating Battletoads on 2 player has been on my bucket list for over 10 years… it took on and off practice for a couple months to beat it on single player. It was always a dream to not only meet somebody else that’s beaten the game, but most importantly, a player that had skills and an immense amount of patience capable of putting together a successful 2 player run. While I met somebody a few years older than me in UW-Eau Claire, nicknamed by me, “Battletoads Alex”, our few attempts over the span of a few weeks were ultimately in vein. We got further each time, and on our last attempt we reached our true game overs on level 12. Then, finals were over… the school year ended. We had to go our separate ways, with this gaping hole in my heart knowing how close it felt that we were to our goal.

Little did I know that it would be over a decade later before Battletoads on 2-player would finally be vanquished, and little did I know that level 12 on 2-player was going to become the single most putrid, horrendous, merciless, and disturbingly demanding challenge of all. A challenge that would keep me and my new Battletoads partner from glory for nearly 3 years of on and off play.

After moving from Wisconsin to North Carolina, biggest question I had for myself was, where in the world am I going to meet somebody that would be worthy of this unfinished conquest? I never would’ve guessed that it was a CEO, David Klingler, of a game development business, Solanimus Inc., that I walked into to attempt to sell office supplies. Luckily for me, they had an XBOX controller in sight, which lead to my attempt of breaking the ice, as any trained salesman would do. This ice breaker of “working hard, or hardly working? What else do you have around here?” lead to Smash Bros Melee, and eventually NES discussion… this is ultimately where our journey to defeat Battletoads on 2 player was born.

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