It turns out that the long gap in-between Battletoads games was almost filled by a Game Boy port of the Battletoads Arcade game.
For those who don’t know, Battletoads Arcade was a 1994 arcade entry into the Battletoads franchise. Most people felt that the game was quite good, but it ultimately performed poorly in terms of revenue. While the developers realized they did a great job with the actual content, its financial failure put an end to the idea of any future Battletoads arcade games and the planned SNES port of the arcade game.
All of that is part of the established history of the Battletoads franchise. However, Rare developer Paul Machacek recently revealed to the fan website RareFanDaBase that the studio had also planned on releasing a Game Boy adaptation of the Battletoads Arcade game that has never really been talked about until now.
“It was the fourth one I’d written[,] was a spinoff from the arcade game of the same name, and was 100% finished and signed off [on] by Test,” said Machacek. “Then it got canceled shortly after I moved onto Donkey Kong Land because the arcade game had underperformed in [the] market and Tradewest pulled the plug on the whole franchise.”
Incredibly, Machacek says that even some long-time Rare developers didn’t know that the game existed. It wasn’t until the team was working on the Rare Replay collection that Machacek mentioned the work that went into the Game Boy adaptation. He found an old disc that contained the game’s code and used an emulator to show it off to the team. Machacek even rigged an infinite lives cheat for the game that let the team play through the title.
Given that the game was completed and that the version of the title that Machacek has on a disc is reportedly free of any bugs, we’d love it if this adaptation somehow found its way into the wild. Unfortunately, it’s highly doubtful that will happen given that there’s probably not a great way to release the game in a format that is license friendly.