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Battletoads was released in June 1991 and is an infamously difficult game to finish. There are some very fast auto-scrolling racing levels that require strict memorization, and a lot of jumping puzzles that lead to easy and repeated death. You play as Rash and Zitz, two toads on their way to rescue their friends Pimple and Angelica from 'The Dark Evil Queen'.


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0:12:57 by 'jc583'.

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Author's comments:

- First, a huge thank you to the team at SDA for getting me to start speedrunning, and many congratulations for all your past, present, and future accomplishments.

- Shoutout to all the guys past and present who have given their efforts in crushing Battletoads, including the runners and TASers, and even the non-runners who helped out with the route. You're all part of this run!

- Shoutout to the guys and gals at my twitch channel for sticking with me and never losing faith!


This is my second submission of the any% category of Battletoads, the first of which had a completion of 13 minutes 20 seconds. It was beaten within a month by TheMexicanRunner, so I decided to keep going. Since then, I have implemented about 18 seconds worth of TAS strategies into the route in order to help push the time under 13 minutes. It took a whole four months to chisel down the 21 seconds I needed to finally get a time under 13 minutes. Here is the final result. Enjoy!

Level 1: Ragnarok's Canyon

- Shortest stage in the game, only three and a half seconds.


Level 3: Turbo Tunnel

- The rat section of Turbo Tunnel, being so early in the run, is a pretty good practicing ground for newcomers and advanced speedrunners alike to reset back to this stage over and over and master the physics necessary to getting a fast time in this game.

- Dash jumps are a frame-perfect exploit that enables you to sprint while jumping. Normally, if you were to jump out of a sprint, your horizontal speed would instantly slow down to the 'walking' speed of a single directional input. The dash jump ignores this rule, and can be performed by hitting A on the exact same frame as the second 'tap' of a sprint input (double-tap).

- There are seven dash jumps in this stage, and I nailed them all. I'm very happy with that.

- Mid-air headbutts are performed by pressing B during a dash jump. In this stage, I used three mid-air headbutts for the three rats that spawn at ground level. The reason for this is because when an enemy is on the ground, a ground headbutt doesn't hit them during the latter half of the animation, so you can't enable a fast finishing boot by starting your ground headbutt a few feet away from them and recovering instantly to start the boot. With air headbutts, you can. It can save up to 0.3 seconds per rat, depending how fast you recover.

- This stage is our biggest run-killer, thanks to a rather difficult 2-minute skip discovered by the TAS folks, which we've now discovered can just barely be pulled off in real-time. The entire bike section can be skipped by bringing the bike down into the pit before crossing the first gate, which respawns the toad on the bike back in the rat section, and causes the level cutoff from stage 12 somehow appear via timed inputs and good RNG. If it all goes well, you'll be rewarded with an exploding flash of light while Rash turns into a toad wearing a turbo tunnel wall on his legs while holding on for dear life to the air above his head, causing the game to have a seizure and skip to stage 4. A perfect gatekeeper for the madness which still has yet to come.


Level 4: Arctic Caverns

- New trick: the dash-fall. It's possible to fall off a ledge at sprinting pace in the opposite direction by landing the second 'tap' of a sprint input in the opposite direction within a three-frame window as you begin the fall. You can see me screwing this up on the first downhill slope after the first iceblock, which is why I accidentally backtracked up the slope there, losing about half a second. The second one right after it was successful, which saved me from having to dodge a snowball.

-  The 5th section went well. This section destroys about as many runs as the turbo tunnel skip. It includes one of the more impressive skips in the game, the 'double-dash-jump' over the spike pit. Then there's the dash-jump underneath it, which utilizes a mid-air headbutt on the snowman, and has a high chance of ending my run on the spikes above if it is unsuccessful, or landing on a snowball if it is successful but just a few frames too early or too late. Very risky for the 1.5 seconds it saves, but it looks great and went flawlessly.

- I made ten out of eleven dash jumps successfully. The one I missed cost me nearly a half second. Try to find it. ;)


Level 6: Karnath's Lair

- I practice my dash-jumps, do some pointless mid-air headbutts, play around on the snakes, and then attempt to dash jump into the holes to reach them as fast as possible. I missed the first dash jump and made the second.

- I'm somewhat proud to have discovered the dash jump in snake room 2 to get to the warp, since it's 1.5 seconds faster than the current TAS.


Level 8: Intruder Excluder

- Flawless. What a great stage. Nothing to even nitpick here. Go Rash Go!


Level 9: Terra Tubes

- The new installment to the out-of-bounds wall skip goes very well (shoutout to Vykaros for finding a real-time method for this!), and looks really cool. It skips the upward spinner, which means all four spinners in the level can now be skipped.

- The 3rd section of this stage is the most RNG-dependent segment in the game. I got some bad luck on the eels, but didn't take any damage, so I'm okay with what little time I lost there to avoid getting hit.

- What makes the swimming in this game so difficult is how vertical scrolling works. You have to be inches from the top or bottom of the screen before it scrolls either direction, which causes you to bump into things you can't see very easily. The enemies that roam around the stage randomly and wreck your face whenever you get near them aren't much help.

- The spike skips are easier than they look, since the bottom half of each floating spike doesn't have a hitbox. You can pass directly through them as long as you don't touch the upper half.

- The final section of Terra Tubes is arguably one of the hardest and most frightening segments in the game. I could go on all day about this section, but I'll spare the details and let the run speak for itself, because it went really well.

- That last spike skip in the water is pixel-perfect. Unlike the easier spike skips before it, I can't expect to just waltz right through it straight away. I punch a few times there to lock my toad in one pixel against the wall, making absolutely sure I'm on the correct pixel before buffering that scary left+A through it.


Level 10: Rat Race

- One of the more well-known skips in the game: the rat skip. If you pay attention to the rat during the few frames his corpse is flying off screen, you'll notice that he is actually the stage 10 boss, General Slaughter, in disguise. That said, since the game thinks I delivered the final blow to General Slaughter, the level ends.

- If you can manage to free-fall throughout the race as much as possible without touching the platforms, the rat will usually land in a consistent location on the screen at a consistent time. This makes it easy to time the attack, and deliver the final boot.


Level 11: Clinger-Winger

- This stage is somewhat relaxing. There's no way to speed this up by rounding corners faster since I have to wait for the orb to get to the end anyway, so I take a minute and a half to just breathe, and mentally prepare for the long home stretch.

- The boss fight was pretty good. The jab after the 5th headbutt was unintentional, and it cost me the quick kill. The quick kill is 4 headbutts, reposition, then 9 headbutts in a row, but I only got 7 in a row and finished him off a couple seconds later instead. I almost never get the quick kill in a run anyway, as it's one of the hardest tricks in the game, so this is more than good enough.


Level 12: Revolution

- Not the best stage, but not bad. I wasn't expecting much, as I rarely get through this stage without mistakes. But I just wanna say, I really, really hate this stage. It's just a freaking nightmarishly huge climb with RNG hazards and extreme precision, and it's SO PUNISHING if you mess up just once.

- Those green disappearing platforms are on global timers. The optimal route just barely reaches those green platforms in time. So if you slip up just a teeny tiny bit, or execute this stage with anything short of absolute godlike perfection between one green platform and the next, you'll have no choice but to twiddle your thumbs for 2 seconds as you wait for the next green platform to appear. I really, really hate this stage.

- New trick: the dash-spring. If you can land the second 'tap' of a sprint input within a two-frame window as you bounce off the spring, you can launch yourself off the spring horizontally at a sprinting pace, getting you places much faster. I tried my damnedest to learn how to consistently dash to all 7 springs after the second rhino like the TAS does, but it's so damn precise and kept killing me in runs due to nerves, so I no longer do it. You do get to see me do it later in the stage though, at the final springs before the home stretch. Those aren't quite so precise, but it looks just as cool.

- I missed two very important dash jumps. One occurs early on at the yellow platforms, causing me to barely miss a cycle of the green platform after the second yellow rhino, so I lost 2 whole seconds there. The other occurs after the second red rhino, causing me to have to lose more time to avoid a gas bubble from the first red cloud, which then causes me to just barely miss the next green platform, costing me another 2 seconds. Yeah, like I said, this giant ass stage demands absolute perfection everywhere, or you will be punished severely for it.

- The second green cloud. I hate this f***ker. He spawns in an inconvenient spot where you can't kill him, and doesn't budge an inch until he feels like it. I've seen him take like 25 seconds to move. He's a butt. Luckily, he moves fast here and I'm able to dispatch him semi-quickly.

- I successfully landed 13 out of 15 dash-springs in this stage, so that's not bad. 8 out of 12 dash jumps isn't so great, especially when two of them cost me 4 seconds.

- Overall, I'd say this stage is about 4 seconds shy of optimal by my standards, but my best time ever in a run was 8 seconds faster. That's fine, the rest of the run more than made up for it.


Level 13: Armageddon

- So many wonderful things have happened up to this point, but this final boss fight has to be the best part of the run for me. I got some of the best luck possible with a well-timed double-fist attack that put her in a position to enable a fast easy combo (headbutt, punch, headbutt, punch) and I wound up with a most surprising gold split here. I actually got to this part assuming that I wouldn't cut 13 minutes due to a not-quite-optimal stage 12, but the luck I had in this fight made up for it with 1.6 seconds to spare.

- As you see, she's not flying away. This is because I'm manipulating her attack pattern. If you can headbutt close enough from the back to touch her front side, she'll trigger her knee attack, which resets her cycle and keeps her on the ground for a second or two. She'll also do this after an attack that causes her to bounce back at you from the side of the screen.

- Killing yourself at the end loses 27 frames,, so I chose not to.


And that's Battletoads. What a journey. If you have any questions about this game or what you've seen, send me a PM at jc583 on Twitch TV and I'll be happy to respond. I'll begin the grind to submit the first 'deathless' run to the site when I'm feeling up to it, and then I'll be done. Until then, see ya!

European version 0:21:36 by 'Baraka'.

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Author's comments:

Level 1: Both pigs are headbutted to the right. This is basically the fastest way to get to the warp.

Level 3: Everything went well and I choose to take the warp, because I can finish level 5 really fast.

Level 5: I hit the tree trunk and touch the whirlpool to get low health. This way, the enemies that appear first when you get out of the water won't be able to grab any healthblocks and they disappear quickly. The rest speaks for itself. Level 4 cannot be done any faster in a non-tool-assisted way, even when you do everything perfectly.

Level 6: I'm a minimalist, 'nuff said.

Level 8: I race through this stage in an insanely fast manner. One enemy hits me and it takes one or two seconds, but luckily I don't die. The bossfight is pretty much flawless as well.

Level 9: I run into the first enemy and die. However, that was no accident - the game forced me to suicide, as the screen wouldn't scroll down and the game does not allow you to progress when that happens. The only thing you can do at that point is suicide as quickly as possible, so that the screen will scroll down when you reappear (look closely and you will see what I mean). Also, in the PAL version of Battletoads you are not able to glitchjump through the wall on the left as soon as the level starts (like PJ did during the marathon). The rest of the level is pretty much played the same way Chris Foreman did. I tried improving it at points but nothing really came out of that.

Level 10: Missing the rat pretty much ruins your run (specially a run with the use of warps) so obviously I get really nervous when I reach the bomb and I still do sometimes kick past the rat. However, I don’t miss this time and I can relax again for a while.

Level 11: Once you master it, this is the easiest level of the whole game. The boss can be quite annoying by jumping out of the screen a lot and I've beaten him a lot faster in other runs. He hits me once, but at least I don't die. There is a better tactic for beating the boss by the way, but at the time I was recording I did not know about it yet.

Level 12: I used some new tricks and took a lot of risk. This level can hardly be done any faster. I recently found out that you can headbutt the yellow rhino’s though and so a bit of time can be saved by killing them that way.

Level 13: Luckily the Dark Queen only leaves the screen once and so I was able to kill her quickly. This is one of my best bossfights so far and I'm really happy with it.

Conclusion: This run is nearly flawless in my opinion, but after I recorded it I found out about a couple of new tricks (mainly because of PJ) and so it is definitely possible to improve the run. The only death is a forced death and it will be hard to improve the total time, especially because the fight with the Dark Queen went so ridiculously well. The main reason I decided to record a single-player run is that our co-op run was rejected for reasons that I don’t agree with. Playing this game with 2 players is just extremely hard compared to playing it solo.

No-warps 0:24:19 by Piotr Delgado Kusielczuk.

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Co-op 0:16:15 by Piotr Delgado Kusielczuk and 'jc583'.

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Author's comments:

Greetings! AGDQ 2015 has concluded, and boy do we have a treat for you. This is our very first Battletoads co-op submission, featuring TheMexicanRunner and JC583 (myself).

So, co-op Battletoads...

Much controversy surrounds this subject. Aside from being so ball-stompingly difficult to the point where certain websites declare it to be too difficult for any two human beings to ever be able to complete every stage (even one website set a bounty for anyone who could do it), it turns out that they were right. Not for the reasons they gave, no no, but as it turns out, when you get to stage 11 with two players, the yellow toad is frozen in place and cannot move. This results in the giant hypno-ball of death killing him over and over until all his lives are gone, and there's nothing he can do about it.

Rare, I love you, but you suck at beta testing.

It's okay though, because we can still technically clear the game with two players. By letting player 2's continue screen count down to 0 and letting player 1 finish off stage 11 solo, player 2 can come back into the game by hitting start during the dialogue screen of stage 12. So yeah, that's exactly what we did. One week at AGDQ was all the time we had to learn and practice the route we made for this, and by god, one week at AGDQ was all we needed! Enjoy.


Note: In this run, I control the green toad, TMR controls the yellow toad. I'll be referring to the two toads by our player names, TMR and myself, not by the character names Rash and Zitz.

Level 1: Ragnarok's Canyon

- Since this first stage is only 2 seconds long, I feel it's worth mentioning that we saved a lucky 6 frames by headbutting our pigs on the exact same frame. Good start.

Level 3: Turbo Tunnel

- Since it takes a while to recover from a headbutt, TMR takes charge of booting each rat as I headbutt them, proving that two players in Battletoads can at least sometimes be more efficient than one.

- Dash jumps are a frame-perfect exploit that enables you to sprint while jumping. Normally, if you were to jump out of a sprint, your horizontal speed would instantly slow down to the 'walking' speed of a single directional input. The dash jump ignores this rule, and can be performed by hitting A on the exact same frame as the second 'tap' of a sprint input (double-tap).

- As you can see, the last rat doesn't fully die, but we are able to progress anyway. Turns out you don't necessarily need to 'kill' enemies, you just need to bring their health to zero. This is the only spot in the game we know of where this saves time.

- The death before the final checkpoint of Turbo Tunnel is deliberate; TMR needs to find time-efficient ways throughout the run to bring his life count to zero in preparation for the inevitable game over in stage 11. Dying here also saves a few more frames by spawning the bikes ahead of the checkpoint immediately upon reaching it, essentially teleporting the autoscroller a few feet ahead. Shoutout to PJ for this find.

- Unlike our 1-player route, we actually took the warp to stage 5 here. We have a trick up our sleeve.

Stage 5: Surf City

- I'm happy to say, we both got the super jump at the beginning. You can do this simply by jumping directly before entering a vehicle and touching any of the upper y-pixels of the vehicle on the way up. No, it doesn't save time, it's just awesome. You can do it in the turbo tunnel as well, which we both missed.

- TMR deliberately hits the third whirlpool at the beginning, bringing his health to 1. Once we reach Big Blag, instead of having to hit him 16 times, I use the friendly fire on my partner to wind up a finishing blow to him since his health is so low. He dodges my fist, and my fist redirects to Big Blag, killing him instantly. I love using friendly fire to save time, don't you? Huge shoutouts to PJ again for this strat.

- Finish it off with swag circles on the ramps and an explosive swag death at the end, and you've got yourself a perfect stage.

Stage 6: Karnath's Lair

- Not much to say here. Dance around on the snakes, dash-jump to the warp, on to stage 8. We used to punch and throw each other on the snakes, but we kept losing runs this way, so now we just dance. Epic spike death before grabbing the warp for the swag.

Stage 8: Intruder Excluder

- Okay, this stage looked awesome in 1-player, but with 2 players it looks ten times awesomer. Go toads go!

- Normally, picking up the other player severely limits your movement and jumping ability, but TMR found out at AGDQ 2014 with andrewg that if you pick up the other player, then let a goo land on you, and then throw off that goo with the player still on you, you can carry the other player on your back with no movement limitations. This essentially becomes a 1-player climb to the boss with JC taking the reins.

- Robo-Manus is much easier with two players, so to enable two-player mode again, I knock TMR off of me before triggering the fight. We take him down easily. I have no idea what the goo is doing below us.

- I'm able to kill TMR right before the level ends, which shaves off another life in preparation for the inevitable.

Stage 9: Terra Tubes

- Normally, the toads begin stage 9 in the air and fall to the floor. By buffering the jump button after the dialogue is complete, the toads can begin the first frame of the stage with a mid-air jump. This enables us to jump into an area of the wall that has no coded boundary, and we travel out of bounds to the bottom of the checkpoint, saving us about 12 seconds, but forces us to dodge lasers while taking the propellor upward. We clear them perfectly.

- At the end of the first checkpoint, TMR dies on purpose in probably the most useful spot in the entire run. Dying here does several beneficial things for us. First, it saves time because we can trigger the gear faster, which is necessary for the game to progress. Second, it eliminates the chances of a fated 'half-spawn', which is when only half of the gear spawns and won't move, ultimately causing the game not to progress unless we force a death. Third, the respawn gives us an immediate visual cue to sprint together in perfect sync. Fourth, it shaves off another one of TMR's lives in preparation for the inevitable.

- The way we finish off stage 9 is so tense. We do the spinner skip together, which is way harder with two players due to the lag frames changing every attempt. We both manage to bring our corpses across the finish line, and since TMR dies first, his life count is now zero. This is the perfect setup for the inevitable.

Stage 10: Rat Race

- At the beginning, TMR picks me up and jumps. By doing this, my body is so high up in the air that the game screen wraps my body to the bottom of the screen, which immediately triggers the screen to scroll down with me and enables a complete free-fall to the bomb.

- TMR kicks the bomb, boots the rat, and skips three-quarters of the stage. This game is so good.

Stage 11: Clinger-Winger

- The inevitable. As explained earlier, TMR can't move, so he gets killed off, game overs, doesn't continue, and lets me solo the stage.

- I died twice on the boss, but only lost about 6 seconds for it. The fight still went okay, I just wish I hadn't died twice. :(

Stage 12: Revolution

- TMR pressed start at the dialogue screen, so he's back in the game.

- I whiffed an attack on the 2nd rhino, but TMR makes one hell of an epic save with a headbutt. That wasn't a backup strat, that was improvised, so it's worth mentioning how well-played that was. We didn't lose any time for it either, since even with a successful boot, we weren't going to clear the previous green platform cycle anyway.

- On the first green cloud, TMR's headbutt input fails him, and I miss a stick swing. We lost a couple seconds there.

- Right after the green cloud, we do the same glitch we did in stage 8. Only this time, TMR knocks me down, picks me up, and hand-feeds me to the red rhino just as he spawns. I die, but I don't trigger a respawn, so TMR is able to simply carry my corpse on his back all the way to the end of the stage with no movement restriction. I have no idea why this works, but I'm not complaining.

- The rest of the stage goes really well. The second green cloud could have been a few seconds faster, but that's about it.

- For some reason, the gold cloud at the end is completely broken. I don't know what causes this, but it seemed to happen frequently for us. It probably has something to do with the glitch, since I haven't seen this in any casual playthrough. Normally, he's supposed to push TMR off of the platforms as he gets close, but instead he just hyperventilates and can't make air come out. TMR justs strolls past him with no consequence.

- Personally, I hate this stage and it can go to hell, but TMR does a great job with it. An optimal time would be about 8 seconds faster.

Stage 13: Armageddon

- To kill the Dark Queen quickly, the main focus should be to never let her leave the ground. This is easier to accomplish with two players than with one, but we failed anyway. She knocks down TMR early on, we fix it, she knocks both of us down, and she flies away. This costs us about 10 seconds.

- Not a great fight, but I like how it finishes with an epic butt-sandwich. Good stuff.


And that's Battletoads co-op.

For one week of attempts, I'd say we did really well. It was mistake-free up until the orb boss, and the few mistakes we made after that were minor. We're definitely happy with this run, and we're pumped to finally bring a co-op submission to the site!

Thank you all for watching!!

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