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Battletoads was released in June 1991 and is an infamously difficult game to finish. There are some very fast auto-scrolling racing levels that require strict memorization, and a lot of jumping puzzles that lead to easy and repeated death. You play as Rash and Zitz, two toads on their way to rescue their friends Pimple and Angelica from 'The Dark Evil Queen'.


Run (Death Abuse): 0:16:31 by Stephen 'Icthus' Smith

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Before anything else, I'd like to give a huge shout out and thank you to the guys who run SDA, both past and present. You've not only made SDA a place to come and watch people play games quickly, but have used that niche hobby to raise money for good causes, and in a very entertaining way at that.

I'd also like to thank the previous runners of this game, especially PJ. He gave me a lot of useful tips and tricks, particularly on improving the wall jump at the beginning of the terra tubes.

I'd also like to give a shout-out to my beautiful fiancee, without whom I probably would not have made this run: Even if only on account of the extra kick I got from knowing that once I'm married I don't intend to spend any more time speedrunning.

Battletoads is an excellent game, one that I loved to play as a kid, even back when I could never get past the third stage. While I definitely got extremely frustrated playing it both back then and perhaps moreso in speedrunning it recently, I always enjoyed the challenge and the feeling of victory that accompanied beating it. I'm also impressed at all that the developers were able to put in this game. The varying styles of enjoyable gameplay and graphics that the programmers implemented even back in the days of the NES is astounding. Battletoads is certainly amongst the highest quality of NES games (and games in general) in my opinion.

Anyway, enough on me waxing nostalgic, let's get to the run. I made this run after noticing that amongst all the runs on SDA, I actually thought I could stand to improve this one and perhaps by a lot at that. So, after I spent a crazy long time casually practicing and finding out new strategies, techniques and tricks, I ended up with one that beat the encumbent run by a little over three minutes.

Individual level notes:

Level 1 - Ragnarok's Canyon: Not much here, just headbutt the first pig to the right, and get the warp. I always knew that I did a decent job getting the warp if I got it before it started contracting again.

Level 3 - Turbo Tunnel: I had to reset way too many times on account of accidentally kicking these rats instead of giving them the big boot. As for the space invaders, I dispatch them in the fastest way I could think of: The game doesn't start scrolling until you pick up the last energy block stolen from you, so I hit the last guy low so I can quickly jump up and get it. The rest of the stage before the race itself involves trying to make short jumps, run in between jumps, and boot the rats. Sadly I miss the mega-jump at the start of the race.

Note about the turbo tunnel race: I hate it. A lot. I am very tired of running this stupid race. Every single run honestly doesn't start until 3 minutes in (after the race), and it isn't even 3 minutes of just sitting and watching an intro movie: No, it's 3 minutes of having to not die, with the guarantee that no matter how well you do, it's still always the same time as the last time you ran it.

Anyway, I don't take the warp because the arctic caverns are faster.

Level 4 - Arctic Caverns: This level has a lot of opportunities for little speed tricks. I punch that snowman at the beginning because it prevents game lag. Overall this level is just about perfect for my standards, and my favorite part perhaps in this entire run is the very end where I slide under the stalactite and jump off the platform.

Level 6 - Karnath's lair: Very straightforward, I do some dancing, catch the warp.

Level 8 - Intruder Excluder: This level is probably my favorite overall just because of how awesome it looks when you speedrun it right. I make a mistake about halfway up and get electrocuted, but it actually doesn't slow me down that much if at all: The timing for the electrical zaps on the yellow platforms and the fans is on a universal timer that starts when you begin the level, and when I got electrocuted halfway up I just ended up not having to wait later on in the level when I usually do (right before the fans). Getting up the very last 4 platforms in one phase cuts out a few seconds too, which actually made this run among my fastest on level 9.

I try to juggle Robo-manus continuously by jumping and attacking him when my next headbutt would have put me into the wall and killed my juggling, but I manage to not be quite close enough once and get shot. That loses me a few seconds, but overall the fight is still pretty good. I headbutt myself into the wall the last time because it always takes 21 shots.

Level 9 - Terra Tubes: Bah, this level gets me good. The glitch at the beginning is accomplished by just holding down the jump button as you start the level, and you can actually fall down the left side of the wall, skipping those two enemies and the spinners. The problem is that in doing that you have to A) dodge the electrical zaps on the spinners going up from the enemies you didn't kill, and B) unless you get the very unpredictable timing of when to cross the checkpoint, sometimes the gear doesn't spawn and you have to kill yourself, which is what happens here. I lose about 9 seconds here on account of having to suicide, which really stinks and is the biggest problem in the entire run. The rest of the level goes very well. I get hit by a couple guppies, but no deaths.

The last checkpoint is a big run killer, as it has the starting spinner skip which has a very small margin of error, the ducks, the last guppy that I swear always screws me up (and hits me in this run too) and the very end where I skip the spinner and die at the end but cross the finish line in doing so. All things considered, the last checkpoint goes almost perfectly.

If you're wondering about how I am headbutting enemies while I'm in water: Whenever the toad goes behind those red bars in the foreground of the level, it turns out that the game doesn't actually have hard-coded whether those areas are completely submerged, halfway submerged, or normal for walking: As a result, the game just assumes that whatever amount of water you are in when you travel behind those red bars is what you're supposed to be the entire time you're behind those red bars: So if you jump as you walk behind them, the game thinks you're above water. I use this to my advantage in the beginning of the level where I headbutt the robot and the end where I headbutt the two ducks.

Level 10 - Rat Race: My timing strategy works, and I couldn't ask for more.

Level 11 - Clinger Winger: Oddly enough this is the time of the run where I get to relax, even though I always used to use all my continues on this level as a kid. The boss fight goes very well: I've had a few better, but also had much much worse in other runs when the ball just wanted to jump a lot. I throw him to the right at the beginning because headbutting him to the left causes you to get electrocuted whereas headbutting him to the right is safe up until the 5th hit.

Level 12 - The Revolution: I practiced this level a -lot,- because I didn't want any good runs to end on this level. Despite that, I still manage to screw up running in one area, which causes me to miss a kick on a pig, which causes me to jump too early on a platform and have to jump again. I lose about 4-5 seconds as a result there, but, the second green cloud is -extremely- cooperative, which can make or break a run easily. The green vanishing platforms are also on a universal timer like the electrocuting platforms in Intruder Excluder, so honestly this run isn't far behind my best for this level either given how well the second green cloud went. At the end I also nearly have a heart attack when I mess up the final cloud, but I manage to quickly get him in a good place again before I head into the Dark Queen fight.

Level 13 - Armageddon: The Dark Queen used to be the big random factor in battletoads speedruns up until this point, but as you can see she's manipulatable. If you can get in front of her directly after hitting her, she'll go into her knee attack pattern and give you time to hit her again before she starts her whirlwind move. The easiest ways to do this are to either headbutt her late, headbutt/attack her into a wall, or attack her as you're jumping through her sprite if she manages to get into the air. As a result you can usually down her in 30 seconds or so. I almost let her get into a tornado move before the final blow (also 21 hits), but manage to get lucky despite my nervousness and the run ends on an excellent note! I do a dance to commemorate this joyous occasion.

Overall, this run has about 15 seconds of mistakes by my estimates, but I also don't know of many humanly possible tricks that I didn't try to include within it. I know that it can certainly be improved, yet I most certainly tried and came up empty. I may still try to best it, but at this point even though my goal was sub 16:30, I'm content with this run as it stands.

I hope you enjoyed my run and the comments!

-Stephen "Icthus" Smith

100% run (Death Abuse): 0:33:34 by Chris 'Shadowknife' Foreman

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This run was actually recorded back in 2008, but at the time had a mistake that I considered too ugly to submit, even though it beat the current time by a good margin. Two years later I've realized that I probably won't have the time or energy to improve upon it, so here it is...
Run (EU, Death Abuse): 0:21:36 by Brandon 'Baraka' Sanford

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Level 1: Both pigs are headbutted to the right. This is basically the fastest way to get to the warp.

Level 3: Everything went well and I choose to take the warp, because I can finish level 5 really fast.

Level 5: I hit the tree trunk and touch the whirlpool to get low health. This way, the enemies that appear first when you get out of the water won't be able to grab any healthblocks and they disappear quickly. The rest speaks for itself. Level 4 cannot be done any faster in a non-tool-assisted way, even when you do everything perfectly.

Level 6: I'm a minimalist, 'nuff said.

Level 8: I race through this stage in an insanely fast manner. One enemy hits me and it takes one or two seconds, but luckily I don't die. The bossfight is pretty much flawless as well.

Level 9: I run into the first enemy and die. However, that was no accident - the game forced me to suicide, as the screen wouldn't scroll down and the game does not allow you to progress when that happens. The only thing you can do at that point is suicide as quickly as possible, so that the screen will scroll down when you reappear (look closely and you will see what I mean). Also, in the PAL version of Battletoads you are not able to glitchjump through the wall on the left as soon as the level starts (like PJ did during the marathon). The rest of the level is pretty much played the same way Chris Foreman did. I tried improving it at points but nothing really came out of that.

Level 10: Missing the rat pretty much ruins your run (specially a run with the use of warps) so obviously I get really nervous when I reach the bomb and I still do sometimes kick past the rat. However, I don’t miss this time and I can relax again for a while.

Level 11: Once you master it, this is the easiest level of the whole game. The boss can be quite annoying by jumping out of the screen a lot and I've beaten him a lot faster in other runs. He hits me once, but at least I don't die. There is a better tactic for beating the boss by the way, but at the time I was recording I did not know about it yet.

Level 12: I used some new tricks and took a lot of risk. This level can hardly be done any faster. I recently found out that you can headbutt the yellow rhino’s though and so a bit of time can be saved by killing them that way.

Level 13: Luckily the Dark Queen only leaves the screen once and so I was able to kill her quickly. This is one of my best bossfights so far and I'm really happy with it.

Conclusion: This run is nearly flawless in my opinion, but after I recorded it I found out about a couple of new tricks (mainly because of PJ) and so it is definitely possible to improve the run. The only death is a forced death and it will be hard to improve the total time, especially because the fight with the Dark Queen went so ridiculously well. The main reason I decided to record a single-player run is that our co-op run was rejected for reasons that I don’t agree with. Playing this game with 2 players is just extremely hard compared to playing it solo.

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