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

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.

Video games


The Battletoads appear in a bonus boss encounter in the Xbox One and PC versions of Shovel Knight.[7][8] Battletoads and Battletoads Arcade are included in Rare Replay, a compilation of 30 Rare games released for the Xbox One in 2015.[9] Rash appears as a playable guest character in the third season of the fighting game Killer Instinct, available on Xbox One and Windows.[10] Rash also appears as an action figure in Grounded.[11]

History of production

A sequel/remake game was being developed for the Game Boy Advance, but was ultimately canceled.[12][13] 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.[14] In 2014, "Battletoads" was re-trademarked in the United States.[15] Spencer appeared publicly in a Battletoads T-shirt in 2015,[16] 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".[17]


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 series

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
No. of episodes1
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)/Thanksgiving weekend 1992

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. It received an official YouTube release on August 5, 2014,[18] on a YouTube channel run by the Canadian company DHX Media (now WildBrain), which currently owns the rights to most of 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.

Voice cast


In 2010, Game Informer included Battletoads among ten gaming franchises that deserve a revival, and precisely, "a true HD sequel".[19] 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.[20] The series' return was also demanded by other outlets,[21][22] including Complex, Maxim and GameRevolution.[23][24][25]

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.[26]

Prank call

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.[27][28] Battletoads developer Rare has acknowledged the prank via an achievement named "Do You Have Battletoads?" in their 2015 game compilation Rare Replay.[29]


  1. ^ Battletoads Retrospective | What happened to Rare's popular hardcore beat-'em-up Archived 2012-03-29 at the Wayback Machine, IGN, January 13, 2009.
  2. ^ " Battletoads, Famicom (Japanese Import): Video Games". Archived from the original on 2022-08-28. Retrieved 2018-06-24.
  3. ^ Juba, Joe (9 June 2019). "The Battletoads Are Back In A New Trailer". Game Informer. Archived from the original on 29 January 2021. Retrieved 10 June 2019.
  4. ^ "Battletoads announced for Xbox One, Windows 10". 10 June 2018. Archived from the original on 23 June 2018. Retrieved 23 June 2018.
  5. ^ Good, Owen S. (10 June 2018). "Battletoads is coming back to Xbox One". Polygon. Archived from the original on 14 June 2018. Retrieved 28 June 2018.
  6. ^ Bryant, Adam (12 June 2019). "The first proper trailer and gameplay details for the Battletoads Xbox One revival are here". GamesRadar. Archived from the original on 12 June 2019. Retrieved 2 August 2019.
  7. ^ "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. Archived from the original on 2021-01-21. Retrieved 2015-08-24.
  8. ^ "Update Notes – Yacht Club Games". Archived from the original on 6 October 2017. Retrieved 23 March 2018.
  9. ^ "David Arnold – OHMSS Orchestral Cover VERY RARE VERSION". YouTube. 2014-12-29. Archived from the original on 2021-12-21. Retrieved 2015-08-24.
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  11. ^ "Look at this big-ass Battletoad in Grounded!". Destructoid. 23 July 2020. Archived from the original on 29 January 2021. Retrieved 31 July 2020.
  12. ^ "Battletoads GBA – Proto / Cancelled". Unseen 64. 2 August 2008. Archived from the original on 2013-05-27. Retrieved 2013-08-25.
  13. ^ "Battletoads GBA". RareWareCentral. 2011-11-13. Archived from the original on 2013-12-02. Retrieved 2013-08-25.
  14. ^ "Microsoft asks fans what Rare should do next, points towards Battletoads". 2013-09-12. Archived from the original on 2021-01-29. Retrieved 2013-12-09.
  15. ^ "New Battletoads Trademark Appears In United States Trademark Database". Archived from the original on 2014-11-12. Retrieved 2014-11-10.
  16. ^ "Xbox Boss Phil Spencer Teases New Battletoads Game – Niche Gamer". 21 January 2015. Archived from the original on 23 January 2015. Retrieved 23 January 2015.
  17. ^ "Microsoft has Plans for Rare Games like Banjo Kazooie, Perfect Dark, & Battletoads – Niche Gamer". 12 January 2015. Archived from the original on 23 January 2015. Retrieved 23 January 2015.
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  20. ^ "5 Video Game Franchises That Need To Come Back From The Dead". Forbes. 2012-09-23. Archived from the original on 2013-10-10. Retrieved 2013-08-25.
  21. ^ Melton, Steve (2010-07-24). "XBLA's Most Wanted: Battletoads". Archived from the original on 2014-12-25. Retrieved 2014-06-29.
  22. ^ "Back from the dead: Five franchises the Xbox 360 could resurrect". Siliconera. 2006-02-16. Archived from the original on 2014-11-11. Retrieved 2014-06-29.
  23. ^ "Battle Toads — 20 Game Franchises We Want to See Make a Triumphant Comeback". Complex. Archived from the original on 2013-06-29. Retrieved 2013-08-25.
  24. ^ "5 Classic Video Games That Deserve Awesome Remakes". Maxim. 2013-10-04. Archived from the original on 2013-12-22. Retrieved 2013-12-20.
  25. ^ "Xbox One: A Rare Opportunity". 30 May 2013. Archived from the original on 2014-11-10. Retrieved 2014-06-29.
  26. ^ Rob Bricken (17 November 2008). "The 5 Best (and 5 Worst) One-Shot TV Cartoons Ever Made". Topless Robot. Archived from the original on 28 September 2015. Retrieved 12 November 2010.
  27. ^ "ReadyToPrank". YouTube. ReadyToPrank. Archived from the original on 2021-12-21. Retrieved 30 April 2015.
  28. ^ PrankCallsByReV. "Prank Call ReV Calls (Pawn Stars) Rick Harrison Cellphone # "Battletoads"". YouTube. Archived from the original on 2021-12-21.
  29. ^ Good, Owen S. (June 27, 2015). "Rare Replay does offer 10,000 Gamerscore — from a certain point of view". Polygon. Archived from the original on January 30, 2021. Retrieved November 5, 2019.