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Game music of the day: Battlemaniacs

Game: Battletoads in Battlemaniacs

Song: Ragnarok Canyon

Composer: David Wise

       
Above: Ragnarok Canyon from Battlemaniacs

Recently we rattled off 14 forgotten franchises we want back, and first on that misty-eyed list was Rare's long-defunct Battletoads. From 1991 to 1994, this series looked like it was going to skyrocket - partially because of its blatant copycatting of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, but mostly due to its exaggerated, violent-cartoon combat. It was a strong and much-loved title on the NES, but the SNES sequel, Battlemaniacs, sealed the deal with huge, distinct character sprites, ridiculous attacks and a rockin' space-metal soundtrack.

The game's first level (Ragnarok Canyon) sums up the Battletoads universe pretty well - 'roided out frogs fighting pig monsters decked out in form-fitting leather and GWAR-style spikes, all while a MIDI classic-rock-ish groove plays underneath. It seems utterly idiotic and is a painfully obvious attempt to tap into the TMNT craze of the day, but looking back, the excess actually worked for the game and made Battlemaniacs a cleverer (and plain better) game than just about any Ninja Turtles game to date. I mean, the Battletoads fly a helicopter in space - how can you not give in to the stupid?


Above: The title screen goes from an inspiring trumpet solo to YYYYEAAAH


Above: Late in the game you'll come to the Dark Tower, and this song made the already tense action feel even more epic. The perfect song for a last level

I couldn't find anything that specifically said David Wise was behind the music, but considering his roles with Rare and the original Battletoads, I'd say it's a fair bet he handled Battlemaniacs as well. In fact, I think the Dark Tower song, at times, sounds straight out of Wizards & Warriors, and this Snake Pit track hints what Wise would do with Donkey Kong Country just a couple of years later.

Personal anecdote about Ragnarok Canyon: this particular song was stuck in my head for about a week in 2002 as I roamed my college campus trying to find all my classes. I'd burned a VGM CD and even though it held about 100 or so tracks, this is the one that I hummed for days. Let me know next week if that happened to you after hearing this (or lie!).

 

Game music of the day: Snake Eater
The Bond-ish theme song from Norihiko Hibino

 

 

Game music of the day: Panzer Dragoon
Whimsical "Flight" by Yoshitaka Azuma

 

 

Game music of the day: Wizards & Warriors
Amazing title screen by David Wise

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10 comments

  • philipshaw - September 28, 2010 11:06 a.m.

    This brings back memories of watching my cousin play his SNES. Don't remember if I played the game because I was 4 at the time but I defo remember seeing it and the kick ass soundtrack
  • batmanboy11 - September 28, 2010 1:15 a.m.

    Great choice, Elston!
  • thedutewaw - September 27, 2010 11:42 p.m.

    I was only 2 in 1994 so I wasn't exactly of the age to be playing Battletoads but after the episode of Tdar that featured tons of David Wise's music I came to appreciate just how good he is. So thanks Brett, because of you and Talkradar I've been able to really appreciate David Wise and all of his fantastic music.
  • Strangleme - September 27, 2010 10:59 p.m.

    These are actually awesome songs but when I was growing up I hated anything that had to do with Battletoads. It was such an obvious rip off of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, which I still worship to this day!! I refused, as a child, to be tricked into a shitty knock off!!! Sorry Brett, great choice today.
  • flabslapper - September 27, 2010 10:31 p.m.

    hey did anyone think that the second song sounded a little like the beginning of the Neon Genesis Evangelion opening theme?
  • Cleanser247 - September 27, 2010 10:23 p.m.

    Great song Brett!
  • CH3BURASHKA - September 27, 2010 9:50 p.m.

    David Wise is getting a crapload of loving recently. Any news on a GMotD written by him, as was planned some time ago?
  • Tenfey - September 27, 2010 9:46 p.m.

    Makes me want to kick someone with my axe feet.
  • SeattleSound - September 27, 2010 9:42 p.m.

    David Wise is the MAN!
  • Littleyoshi4 - September 27, 2010 9:32 p.m.

    First!! =p

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