Hearing the name 'Rare' likely makes you instinctively jump towards nostalgic thoughts of games like Banjo-Kazooie, GoldenEye 007, and Donkey Kong 64; the studio's partnership with Nintendo throughout the '90s generated some truly classic titles that are still adored today. Another iconic franchise from this era is Battletoads - a game perhaps best well known for its immense difficulty - but did you ever play the one called Super Battletoads? Sadly, no one did.
Speaking to RareFanDaBase, video game engineer, producer, and Rare veteran Paul Machacek has spoken about a long lost Battletoads game that sadly never saw the light of day. Super Battletoads was designed for the Game Boy, and was 100% complete, but the project was ultimately cancelled.
"Probably the most annoying is Super Battletoads on the Gameboy. Heard of it? No, nor has almost anyone else. It was the fourth one I’d written in the serious, was a spinoff from the arcade game of the same name, and was 100% finished and signed off by Test. Then it got cancelled shortly after I moved onto Donkey Kong Land because the arcade game had underperformed in market and Tradewest pulled the plug on the whole franchise."
Amazingly, the game was re-found after 20 years despite Machacek being the only one who remembered its existence.
"In 2015, during Rare Replay development, with long term members of Rare saying to me “don’t be silly, that game never existed”, we found it sitting on an old disc. A finished copy of the game. One of the engineers here happened to have a Gameboy emulator and we dragged the file into it and waited with bated breath. It ran!...
I worked out an infinite lives cheat, applied it to the binary file by “poking” it and got one of our team to play through the whole thing in one go and record the video. It took a little over an hour (with infinite lives) but was all there. A 100% completed game. Apparently, no bugs were seen. "
So there you have it, we almost had another Battletoads game on Game Boy that we'll likely never get to see. As an interesting side note, Machacek also went into detail about the development process behind Battletoads games, explaining how they made them be so frustratingly difficult. If you want to read the interview in full, make sure to check it out here.
"As I’d develop I’d boot the game directly into the level I was working on and obviously played it to death. Each time I completed a level (to ensure it worked) I’d then tweak something to make it harder, then I’d get a member of our test team to sit next to me and if they completed the level I’d make it a bit harder. So, we deliberately create individual levels that were designed to be “rock hard” on their own, let alone strung together into a sequence of nine that made up a game. Good luck everyone."
Are you a Battletoads fan? Feel free to share your Battletoads stories and memories with us in the comments below.