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One of Rare's least successful ventures, the 1994 brawler Battletoads Arcade provides three amphibians to choose between and is exceptionally tough even for an arcade game. No ports were ever made until the inclusion in the "Rare Replay"-collection of 2015 for the Xbox One. Other than being more gorey than the rest, the game offers similar gameplay. A piece of trivia: Battletoads Arcade was the first outing of the graphics technology that fueled the Donkey Kong Country and Killer Instinct series.

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With Rash: 0:40:20 by Patrick 'PJ' DiCesare

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Author's comments:

Please refer to my comments for the Pimple run for thanks and general (rather detailed, actually) notes about the game and run. They will probably help to clarify any confusion.

Rash is my least favorite toad of the three in general, but in this game I like him even less. He has the fastest movement speed (including in level 6!), and his attacks are quite fast. The unfortunate thing is that his attacks are really balanced, which means there isn't an exceptionally advantageous attack that I can rely on when I really need to escape danger or set up enemies reliably. Pimple's aerial attack has a phenomenal hitbox, and Zitz's dash attack is equally good. Rash has pretty OK hitboxes on both of those, but they're not great. In a game where a single flubbed attack can cost you a life, that's not a great situation to be in.

Rash's spiked boot thrust (super dash attack) has the same property as Pimple's headbutt in that he passes through enemies when he hits them. This is an extremely useful property for certain AI loops like the General Vermin loop. It also has a very short animation so I can cancel it safely in most situations. The biggest issue is just getting close enough to trigger the attack without getting hit or grabbed myself.

The biggest downfall of Rash is in level 4. I mention it in the general overview in Pimple's comments, but whenever Rash attacks in that stage, his hitbox extends outwards, making himself actually MORE vulnerable. As a result, the only possible way to clear this level with any degree of consistency is to use two supers early in the level and then suicide to refresh them for the end of the level. Having to intentionally sacrifice one life when I only have two for the entire run is really scary, but it has to be done.

This run is really good except for missing the quick kill on Big Blag. There are loads of other minor errors and even more exceptionally good parts, but that is the main reason that I will eventually return to improve this run. Even with missing that, this run beats my Pimple time by 2 seconds, which should speak to the strength of the routing and execution here. My eventually goal for Rash will be sub-40 (IGT of course).

I hope you enjoy this run! Look forward to the improvement. ^_^

With Zitz: 0:39:38 by Patrick 'PJ' DiCesare

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Author's comments:

Please refer to my comments for the Pimple run for thanks and general (rather detailed, actually) notes about the game and run. They will probably help to clarify any confusion.

Zitz is completely unstoppable in this game. Not only does he have the fastest attack animations out of all the toads, but he is also the strongest character in the game! His movement speed is faster than Pimple and slower than Rash, which is a really nice balance in terms of having complete control while still being able to dodge. For some reason, Zitz also fires more bullets with the gun (6 bullets vs 4 for the other toads), which gives him a lot of flexibility with missing shots on enemies. In some situations, it allows him to do completely unique strats because he requires one less shot to clear waves. As a trade-off, it does make the window for shooting the General Vermin incredibly small.

I could go on and on for hours about how good Zitz is, but it's not terribly important. You'll understand when you watch.

This run is 45 seconds faster than my next best Zitz time, and most of that is because I got the Big Blag quick kill and killed Robo-Manus faster than I have ever killed him before. That Robo-Manus kill is the reason I will never try to improve this run. This is definitely not without mistakes; I missed almost every shot in the 2x General Vermin wave at the end of stage 3, and I had to let Big Blag kill me to ensure I got the quick kill, both of which cost a significant amount of time. The amount of time I save from that Robo-Manus fight is completely unreal, though.

Zitz is a really fun toad and I will probably play with him more, but I am definitely not going to try to top this run. I hope you enjoy this!

With Pimple: 0:40:22 by Patrick 'PJ' DiCesare

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Author's comments:

Thanks to every at SDA for everything you guys do to keep things running smoothly! I really appreciate having such a stable site to host high-quality videos. ^_^

Also thanks to Murphagator for his constant support of my running of this game and some really good ideas, and a huge thanks to Frasterize for finding out how the boss health works in this game, in particular for Big Blag. This game was pushed way further than I ever expected it to, and it was thanks to your help. Also, a big thanks to Youtuber atrocity3010. He had a full run of Zitz on his channel, and when I watched it several years ago I didn't think it would be possible to do better. Here we are today, and my Zitz time is 7 minutes faster on a higher difficulty, without continuing. His run was a huge inspiration to me, though, and did give me several ideas to test.

Battletoads Arcade is one of the least fair games I have ever played in my life. To make matters worse, I am playing on the hardest difficulty and require a 1cc (1-credit clear, aka no continues) for a finished speed run. In Battletoads Arcade, there is never a safe wave of enemies. Missing a single attack can cost an entire health bar. That is not even remotely a joke. The basic jabs from the weakest enemies in the game are strong enough to take away a full health bar if two rats hit simultaneously. There is also no superjoy in this game, so if you get into trouble you simply die. Health recovery is very very limited on the hardest difficulty since you don't recover health between stages, so I basically have to play this entire game without making any mistakes.

As a result, I was forced to devote a lot of time to routing this. Nearly every single wave has a fixed number of enemies that come from a fixed position on screen. Most enemies also are forced to walk a set distance onto the screen before their AI takes over. I had to route basically every wave to eliminate the possibility of any enemy escaping at any point. For most waves, I grab or hit an enemy before he is able to move, and manipulate all of the other enemies into walking into a boot or getting hit by a throw. If my boot misses an enemy, usually my manipulation collapses and I become extremely vulnerable.

That is essentially my approach to most of the waves of normal rats. For waves with the Grunties or Mace Grunties, I have to approach each one differently. In general, I want to kill all the non-Grunty enemies first and then handle them afterwards. With waves of 2+ Grunties (like the triple Mace Grunty wave in stage 5!), things get really tricky. While you are booting one Grunty, the other Grunty will just stand next to you and wait for you to become vulnerable before clobbering you. If you buffer a dash perfectly, you can hit the Grunty before he actualy connects, but the window is really small. In the triple Mace Grunty wave in stage 5, missing this hit instantly costs one life.

Lastly, for the waves of General Vermins, my approach is also different. General Vermins are programmed to hard counter after being hit twice in quick succession. It is impossible to hit them through this counterattack (they counterattack once you get within range OR after a setup amount of time, whichever comes soonest), so I instead rely on this neat AI loop where I hit with a dash attack and then a forward-moving reverse aerial to knock them away from me while they counterattack me. There are a few different ways to handle these waves. The best way to fight them is by using the gun (will explain more in a bit) and just completely kill them. If no gun is available, constantly chaining the nutcracker attack is the fastest way to kill them. With waves of 2 General Vermin, I either try to completely kill one of them with the gun and then nutcracker the second, or I weaken them both equally with the gun and use the AI loop to kill them at the same time, or I just use the AI loop from the start. It depends on where I fight the pair and how I did with the gun carries. One last note about these enemies: if you get hit by the counterattack, all active General Vermins take time to laugh at you. During this time, you have SOME flexibility to set up the AI loop again. I take advantage of this in the Zitz run to consistently set up the AI loop on the last pair of General Vermin in stage 5.

I suppose I should mention the items in this game. There are three pickups: explosive crates, laser gun, and the stick/rebar. Explosive crates aren't terribly damaging, but they can hit twice and cover a LOT of screen space. I use these during many of the rat waves to quickly clear them all. The stick/rebar does the damage of one smash attack and expires after 4 hits. During the swing you are completely invincible. This is really useful for grouping rats, consistently setting up the AI loop on General Vermin, and just abusing the invincibility to buy some time or dodge bowling balls. It is a really useful weapon, but doesn't do much damage. The gun, on the other hand, is ridiculously powerful. It fires 4 bullets (or 6 bullets if you are Zitz!!), but only the last bullet does damage. It can clear out normal rats really quickly, but the true power is killing General Vermins. General Vermins have 8/16/24 smash attacks of health depending on their color. A nutcracker does 4 smash attacks worth of damage to them. The last bullet of the gun also does 4 smash attacks of damage to them, but because of the way their counterattack system works, I have to fire it in a very specific way. If it just fire it normally at them, the first two 0-damage bullets will trigger the counterattack and make the remaining bullets just fly through harmlessly. To actually damage them with the gun I either need two General Vermin to stack together so the first one screens the first two bullets for the second General Vermin (doesn't work for Zitz), or I can just jump and fire the non-damaging bullets over their head and hope that I timed it well enough to hit with the last bullet. It saves a TON of time but the timing is very tricky.

That more or less handles my routing for stages 1, 2, 3, and 5, but stages 4 and 6 are a bit different. In stage 4, I have just one attack that I can use, and the jump button is a full-screen super attack. You start with 2 super attacks, and if you die with less than 2 remaining, the game refreshes your total back to 2. If you have more than 2 (the game only displays 3 but you can store more than 3), the game keeps your total if you die. I absolutely need to save 3 supers for the last two waves of Groggs because it is simply not possible to survive those waves without it on hardest difficulty. My only attack is a basic jab that transforms into a smash attack if the enemy has low enough health. I take advantage of some mechanics of this by weakening one enemy and then timing my smash attack in such a way that it hits other full-health Groggs and instantly kills them. I can even do this off the powerup at the end of the stage to clear half of a wave of purple Groggs instantly. This is generally the strat for Pimple or Zitz. Rash is incredibly useless in this stage because his hitbox shifts forward whenever he tries to kick an enemy, so he actually becomes MORE vulnerable when he attacks. His jab is also incredibly slow and his smash attack has a lot of delay afterwards. All of this combined makes it astronomically rare to clear the level without dying. As a result, I incorporated an intended suicide into his route to get two more supers for the end of the stage and let me use some earlier to clear difficult waves.

In stage 6, my only option is to fire the gun. I cannot move along the ship while the fire button is held, so I have to release the fire button if I need to dodge anything. There are powerups along the way that grant me a new weapon for a set amount of time, but the mechanics are the same. It is very important to note that the powerups spawn at fixed times throughout this level. Sometimes they reset the drop sequence for certain waves (i.e. the falling debris section will always give you a flamethrower), but then the following drops are time-based. Pressing the jump button does this spinning attack that clears the entire screen and grants invincibility. I need to save as many of these as possible for the red drone wave at the very end of the stage. There are a LOT of these supers that I can collect throughout the stage if I shoot certain tiles or damage the ratcopters enough during their first appearance, so it is generally OK.

Lastly, I'll go over how the bosses work in this game. I swear this is the last thing I need to mention! Haha.

General Slaughter (stage 1): He simply takes 10 smash attacks to kill. If he is on the ground, you can boot him into the foreground but this is definitely not faster.

Karnath (stage 2): This is a unique boss. Frasterize found out that he is actually completely invincible for the first 30 seconds of the fight, and then he takes 24 smash hits to kill. Weak hits (i.e. attacks that do not transform your toad) do no damage at all to him. Every time you hit him, he accelerates until he reaches his maximum velocity. The maximum velocity is based on the difficulty you are playing on. On maximum difficulty, he reaches maximum velocity after 13 hits. After every time you hit him, he will recoil to the background and then strike the position at which you were standing when he was fully recoiled. Zitz and Rash recover fast enough after their smash attacks that they are able to dodge regardless of how/when they hit Karnath, but Pimple does not recover fast enough to dodge Karnath's hit. In fact, Karnath will strike the ground 8 frames before Pimple regains control after his dash attack. Therefore, I need to hit Karnath from far enough away that my dash attack moves me forward for the entire animation and forces him to target a position that is BEHIND me. If I attack from too far away, it will not be a smash attack, and if I am too close, I will bump into Karnath before he recoils to the background. That stops me from moving forward and creates an unblockable situation. Karnath does 9 bars of damage on max dificulty.

My strat for this fight is to fully accelerate him while he is invincible and then just not screw up after his is vulnerable. Strictly speaking, it would be faster to not hit him at all until he is vulnerable, since I can hit him more frequently when he is at his slowest speed, but this makes the battle very boring to watch.

Robo-Rat (stage 3): Robo-Rat has 4 phases, each of which has 10 seconds of invincibility at the start of the phase. My strat here is simply to initiate an infinite AI loop on each phase as early as possible and just keep it up until he dies. The strats are different for each toad. I could elaborate about those for days, but I'll just leave it at that.

Big Blag (stage 5): Big Blag has 6 phases. He has 7 seconds of invincibility at the start of each phase. After being hit 5 times after that invincibility is over, he will transform. He starts small, then grows large, then shrinks again. A standard fight has 3 small phases and 3 large phases. He can only die when he is large. Even if he has zero health in a small phase, he will not die until being hit once on his next large phase. However, I found a quick kill for him that skips the last two phases. By hitting him with a very precise sequence of attacks, I can do enough damage to kill him in his second large phase. The setup used to be very tricky, but thanks to Frasterize I was able to find a simpler method.

Robo-Manus (stage 6): This fight has 6 phases. The powers spawn based on time. I do my best to manipulate the phases/spawns to get them in a very particular phase of the fight. I could explain this fight for 1000 years, but again I'll just leave it at that. I try to bring two supers to this fight to speed things up. It is fastest to use one in phase 2 and one at the start of his second drone attack in phase 3. I can save or lose a HUGE amount of time in this fight with a very minimal error, so this is actually a very critical part of the game to manipulate. My Robo-Manus fights in all of my submitted runs are really good (the Zitz run has the fastest fight I've ever had!).

Ok! That is enough overview. In fact, I don't really have much else to add for Pimple's run. This was my second ever 1cc of the game, which is really surprising to think about. I never thought I'd get even a single 1cc on hardest difficulty, but I did and then decided to try for a better time.

This run doesn't miss any of the boss quick kills, and handles the stages themselves rather well. In fact, I had an extra life going into stage 6, so I opted to burn some extra supers during the stage and suicide at the very end of the red drone wave to refill supers for the Robo-Manus fight. At the time, this was my fastest ever Robo-Manus fight, but I have since significantly improved my performance here.

I can definitely improve this run with some of the strats I learned from doing the Rash and Zitz runs, but this is still a very strong run of which I am very proud. I hope you all enjoy watching it!

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