Last month during E3 Microsoft revealed Rare is working on the return of Zitz, Pimple and Rash, the Battletoads of NES fame — the amphibians who came to define the words “Nintendo Hard.” The original game, despite its difficulty, was successful enough to spawn several sequels, but one of them never made it out — despite being completed.
Paul Machacek, former developer at Rare, spoke about the missing game during an interview with the fansite RareFanDaBase. The released Battletoads games include Battletoads and Double Dragon for multiple systems, Battletoads in Battlemaniacs for the SNES, and three Game Boy games — but there was a fourth.
The final Battletoad-branded product released by Rare was the arcade game in 1994. At the time, Machachek was working on a Game Boy port of said game. “It was 100% finished and signed off [on] by Test,” he said. “Then it got cancelled shortly after I moved onto Donkey Kong Land because the arcade game had underperformed in market and Tradewest pulled the plug on the whole franchise.”
Years later, Rare Replay was in development and several of the original programmers got back together. But when Machachek mentioned his Game Boy game, nobody else believed it was real! “One of the engineers here happened to have a Game Boy emulator and we dragged the file into it and waited with bated breath,” he said. “It ran! I couldn’t believe it, no one had seen this game in about 22 years, and I was the only person who recalled its existence at all.”
Machachek talked more about the game in Rare’s “Five things you never knew about Battletoads” video. It’s here that you can see footage of the game itself. Oddly, despite discovering the game during development of Rare Replay, the team did not include it in the package, missing their one opportunity to get it out there.