Game music of the day: Battlemaniacs

Game: Battletoads in Battlemaniacs

Song: Ragnarok Canyon

Composer: David Wise

Above: Ragnarok Canyon from Battlemaniacs

Recently we rattled off14 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 titleon the NES, but the SNES sequel, Battlemaniacs, sealed the deal with huge, distinct charactersprites,ridiculous attacksand 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) gamethan 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 withRare 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 thisSnake Pit trackhints 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!).

The Bond-ish theme song from Norihiko Hibino

Whimsical "Flight" by Yoshitaka Azuma

Amazing title screen by David Wise

Brett Elston

A fomer Executive Editor at GamesRadar, Brett also contributed content to many other Future gaming publications including Nintendo Power, PC Gamer and Official Xbox Magazine. Brett has worked at Capcom in several senior roles, is an experienced podcaster, and now works as a Senior Manager of Content Communications at PlayStation SIE.