There are a lot of hard games on the NES, but few have become as notorious for their difficulty as Battletoads. From front to back, this 8-bit beat 'em up platformer is a continuum between challenging and cruel. Level 3 in particular will likely evoke memories of broken controllers to anyone who's played through the game, mainly because of the dreaded Turbo Tunnel. Well, today it seems the famed Turbo Tunnel has finally met its match in a speedrunner who managed to clear the level blindfolded, all without losing a single life.
Part of Battletoad's third level, Turbo Tunnel takes players through an accelerated course littered with obstacles, leaving them with little time to steer or jump their hoverbike away from harm. Ramps are also placed throughout the course, which players have to hit in order to proceed. Seasoned veterans and newcomers alike have continuously met their fates within Turbo Tunnel, earning its reputation as one of the hardest levels in the entire NES catalog.
Turbo Tunnel's legacy makes this speedrunner's accomplishment all the more stunning, even prompting Piotr Delgado “The Mexican Runner” Kusielczuk to shout, "You must be f------ kidding me" as he crossed the finish line. Kusielczuk credits his success to audio cues, which he uses to precisely time his reactions.
Kusielczuk made history at the European Speedrunner Assembly yesterday in Malmö, Sweden, where at one point he was challenged by a nearby commentator to run through Turbo Tunnel with a bag over his head.
“There’s one problem with the turbo tunnel blindfolded,” Kusielczuk said. “I cannot know how high or how low I am. So, that’s a big problem because it’s not as simple as pressing up or down." Kusielczuk speaks as though the collective gaming community isn't already in utter awe, mouths agape, at his performance.
For those that just can't get enough punishment, a new Battletoads game has been announced for Xbox One, and it's coming in 2019. An announcement trailer was revealed at E3 2018 that detailed what players can expect without actually showing any gameplay. Nonetheless, it's probably a safe bet that it'll be another exercise in patience and determination.
Battletoads is available for the NES.