(Bandai/Troma, 1991)

For this Dud of the month we take a special look back at the infamous NES era and one of the many license titles that came out during that period (sorry, it isn't Total Recall yet). If you owned a 8-bit Nintendo Entertainment System then there is a good chance you knew about Ultra's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and how it was selling like crazy despite getting only mediocre reviews. Kids love to see their favourite cartoon heroes in a video game and the Turtles games were easily some of the most popular titles on the NES without question. No, this review isn't about the original Ninja Turtles game because despite some problems here and there, the game was still fairly fun to play. This review is about one of the many copycats that turned into a well forgotten disaster. The game is called Toxic Crusaders.

Toxic Crusaders was a cartoon show at one time too (I remember seeing one of the shows on the Canadian YTV channel) and turning into a game sound like a no-brainer so here is Bandai's attempt to make some easy cash. TC stars a once normal teenager who got mutated by toxic waste one day and now he is a hideous green freak with a deformed face and huge muscles. Naturally he becomes 'Toxie' a super hero that uses his mop to clean up the city from evil polluters like the sinister Dr. Killemoff (yes, his name is 'Kill em off'). Toxie was ready to go to a party with his friends but then he discovers that they have all been kidnapped by Dr. Killemoff. Now you must punch your way through tons of Killemoff's biohazard minions to save your buddies.

Toxie's quest is not a easy one (although it is rather short) but you can destroy rolling drums to find power ups to make things a little easier. The problem with the other wise fine power up system here is that you lose your cool new upgrades as soon as you take damage so you don't get to enjoy them for very long. Your enemies are no pushovers either because most of them are easy enough to kill but they also travel in large groups of three and they often use unfair projectile attacks while you stuck with stupid punches. Your enemies can also safely run through toxic waste while you are forced to take damage. It's Not Fair! The level structure is also quite boring since you are fighting the same couple of opponents every single time. Big yawn! The whole game quickly feels meaningless.

The graphics are actually fairly good considering the game play is so awful. The characters are large well defined and the colours in the backgrounds are OK for a NES title but the trade off is that animation isn't quite as impressive. The game's music is quite annoying and very repetitive so it will have you reaching for that mute button in a hurry.

Toxic Crusaders follows the basics when a big company tries to create a licenced video game. Turn the game into a Final Fight clone and then add your respective licensed characters to complete the product and then Wham! Instant video game! The potential was definitely there to create a winner with it's so-so graphics and interesting characters but it's too bad the game play is so redundant and so cheap that makes it no almost fun to play at all. Toxic Crusaders is a mess of a game in more ways then one.

Thanks again to one of my readers for recommending this horrible, HORRIBLE game for Dud of the Month. Now the world knows to leave this in the discount bin where it belongs.



overall rating : 31/100
Find this game on eBay here!

For 1 player only
graphics: 5/10
sound: 3/10
gameplay: 5/10
replay: 3/10

(Ryan Genno) 2004

See other Total Recall duds of the month