Battletoads & Double Dragon Soundtrack (SNES), David Wise, 1993
In 1993, the Battletoads franchise was in a slightly curious spot. The 1991 NES original had been successful enough to spawn several ports. There was also Battletoads in Battlemaniacs, a SNES (and later Sega Master System) game that ultimately felt like a remix of the 1991 NES title. So where to next for the burgeoning, but not quite yet established franchise? Publisher Tradewest had released Battletoads on several platforms and held the home license for the venerable Double Dragon franchise. Why not combine two forces of nature in one amazing game? The match seemed to be an entirely natural one, given that Kevin Bayliss, co-designer of Battletoads, was a big Double Dragon fan.
However, things didn’t quite pan out as expected. For starters, with Rare developing the game, Battletoads & Double Dragon felt like it was shoehorning the world of Billy and Jimmy Lee into the more comic-like antics of a Battletoads game. It didn’t help that Double Dragon characters made appearances under the wrong names. Ultimately, Battletoads & Double Dragon garnered respectable but rarely enthusiastic reviews at the time of its release. That impression seems to continue with more recent assessments of the game: a decent enough brawler that doesn’t live up to the potential of the franchise crossover.