When the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles ruled the cartoon world with a slimy green fist, knock-offs of the heroes in a half-shell were springing up overnight. Street Sharks, Cowboys of Moo Mesa, and Extreme Dinosaurs all tried to ride the Turtles’ coattails, with middling success.
In the world of video games, a little developer known as Rare released a Turtles-inspired game called Battletoads, which put players in the webbed feet of tubular toads named Rash, Zitz, and Pimple as they fought the insidious Dark Queen. The game was a smash hit, leading to several ports, spin-offs, and sequels, but the Battletoads franchise eventually went M.I.A., with the last game in the series being released all the way back in 1994.
It only took a brutally difficult 8-bit platformer known as Shovel Knight to bring the toads back. When developer Yacht Club Games announced that Shovel Knight was being ported to Xbox One and Playstation 4, they teased console exclusive bosses that promised to surprise fans. It was eventually revealed that gamers on PS4 would get to go toe-to-toe with the God of War himself, Kratos, while Xbox One gamers would face off against the long-missing Battletoads.
But getting to Rash, Zitz, and Pimple is going to take some work. Like unlocking Kratos in the PS4 version, the Toads require a “double secret” to be completed before they’ll show their faces. The first part of this secret can be found in the Hall of Champion, on the far right side of the first floor. Break the sidewall to find a chest and a Music Sheet. Next, move to the farthest right-hand side of this secret room and perform a downward attack. This will cause Shovel Knight to plummet into a room containing a map emblazoned with the Battletoads symbol. Grabbing this map will cause the Toads to roam through the world map, waiting for Shovel Knight to bump into them.
Once the Toads have been encountered, the trio will offer Shovel Knight some training to prepare to take on the Enchantress. Once this training is accepted, Rash will shatter the ground and begin to battle. The first boss is Zitz, who tasks Shovel Knight with battling while rappelling down a long tunnel, a la the brutally difficult rappelling stages found in the original Battletoads. Zitz will throw ham-sized fists at our intrepid hero while occasionally morphing into a wrecking ball and swinging wildly. Shovel Knight will have to take on both Zitz and a menagerie of baddies, but upon dealing the final blow to the Toad, the next part of the battle will begin.
The big Toad Pimple is next, and his fight will also feel familiar to Battletoads fans: the Turbo Tunnel, long considered the most difficult part of the NES Battletoads game, is where the battle will be fought. Thankfully, there are several checkpoints in this fight, so careening into a wall won’t lead to the battle starting over from the beginning. This is easily the hardest fight of this section, forcing Shovel Knight to battle Pimple while avoiding walls that spell instant death. Once Pimple has been slashed enough, the Toad will retreat, leaving Shovel Knight to focus on the brutally difficult dodging. Eventually, Pimple will return, and a couple more hits will end this section and bring on the leader of the Battletoads, Rash.
For Rash, Shovel Knight won’t have to contend with rappelling or speeder bikes, but that doesn’t make this fight a cakewalk. Rash has charge attacks, jump attacks, and can even call in his Toad brothers to help lay the smack down. Thankfully, Shovel Knight is allowed to use items in this fight, ensuring Rash can be put down relatively quickly.
Upon besting Rash, the Toads will congratulate Shovel Knight on a job well down and reward the intrepid hero with the Toad Gear, a new green armor that allows Shovel Knight to perform an incredibly powerful running attack, in addition to boosting his speed. The Toads will then wish Shovel Knight well, remarking that they can always be revisited to talk or just to engage in a “Toadally Awesome” bose with the team.
Combining the steep difficulty of Shovel Knight (read our review) with the legendary toughness of Battletoads makes for one majorly difficult fight, but it’s definitely worth it for the great gear and the fun of seeing the Battletoads once again.