Battletoads is a beat 'em up video game created by Tim and Chris Stamper and developed by Rare Ltd. Starring three anthropomorphic toads named after skin conditions (Rash, Zitz and Pimple), the game was created to rival the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles games.
The first game was developed by Rare for the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1991. It was subsequently ported by Mindscape to the Amiga in 1992, by Sega to the Sega Mega Drive/Genesis and Sega Game Gear both in 1993, by Rare to the Game Boy in 1993 retitled as Battletoads in Ragnarok's World, and by Mindscape to the Amiga CD32 in 1994. Ports for IBM PC and Atari ST were planned by Mindscape but never released. A fully developed Sega Master System version was also kept unreleased by Sega.
It is arguably one of the most graphically advanced video games ever released for the NES, at a time when the video game market was turning to the Sega Mega Drive/Genesis and Super Nintendo Entertainment System. The game became famous for its extreme difficulty and humorous ways of beating enemies, as during finishing attacks, the character's body parts transform into gigantic, exaggerated appendages for devastating attacks and comic effect.
Battletoads spun off a half-hour animated television special produced by Canadian DIC Entertainment, that aired in syndication in the United States on the weekend of Thanksgiving 1992 in an attempt to capitalize on the popularity of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (DiC would try this again later on by producing Street Sharks and then later Extreme Dinosaurs). However, only the pilot episode made it to the airwaves; it was never picked up as a full animated series, despite comic-style ads in GamePro magazine claiming otherwise. A VHS tape with the pilot was released in the United States on January 15, 1994.
The story served as a prequel to the video game franchise. Set in Oxnard, California, it stars three junior high schoolers. The trio is given the ability to transform into anthropomorphic toads with superhuman strength and the ability to change their arms and legs into weapons in techniques called "Smash Hits". They are charged with protecting Professor T. Bird and Princess Angelica from the Dark Queen, who wants to steal Angelica's magical amulet for her plans of universal conquest.
The cartoon was adapted and written by David Wise (Wise has no relation to the Battletoads video games composer of the same name, but was the main writer of the 1987 TMNT TV cartoon series). A comic with the backstory of Battletoads, written by Rare employee Guy Miller, was also published in Nintendo Power.