The Toxic Crusaders demo is out! It gives us a few locations to fight through, a boss battle, and four characters to try out. So, does this retro beat-em-up satisfy fans of the short-lived Troma cartoon? Let’s check it out.
We get to pick from Toxie, Yvonne, Major Disaster, and Junkyard. Sadly, No-Zone was left out. Although you may not get to play as the core four Toxic Crusaders, the roster is diverse enough to give a slightly different experience on each playthrough.
The pixel art is outstanding, capturing the cartoon’s style perfectly while incorporating The Toxic Avenger’s aesthetics. Speaking of the original movie, there are lots of Easter eggs spread throughout the demo. You’ll encounter a few colorful villains from the 1984 film: Leroy, Rico, and Frank from the taco restaurant fight scene.
The game certainly needs a bit of polishing and maybe a little more depth regarding the fighting. Unlike TMNT: Shredder’s Revenge, there’s no leveling up and unlocking new moves. The core fighting mechanics are all you’ll get throughout the game. Thankfully, the character animations are very well done and help disguise the shallow move sets.
Each character has a special attack that drains a meter indicated below the life bar. These moves vary from character to character to character, but all appear to do similar AoE damage. Toxie spins around on his mop, Yvonne belts out powerful notes, Junkyard howls, and Major Disaster unleashes giant thorns from the ground. The attacks all appear to have the same range and effectiveness. Some are more flashy than others, though. The bar refills as you fight or when you’re standing in a puddle of radioactive waste.
When the meter is full, pressing both shoulder buttons together will unleash Rad Mode. Oddly enough, I ignored this during my playthrough because it never felt necessary to use. It might have been helpful if the enemies had been a tad more aggressive. As it stands, the basic core attacks suffice for every encounter.
I noticed that the hitboxes for enemies were not very generous. On multiple occasions, I would throw an object at Radiation Rangers, and they wouldn’t be affected because I would have to be on the same plane as my target. However, standard attacks didn’t always have this issue. Hopefully, this will be tightened up by next year.
The enemy AI would sometimes be wonky, too. There was a point where I stopped moving for a few seconds, and a nearby Radiation Ranger stopped dead in its tracks, unsure how to approach me.
One of the game’s best aspects is the inclusion of semi-animated cut scenes and the return of several voice actors to provide a surprising amount of dialog during gameplay. It feels like a continuation of the show, which was Retroware’s goal.
Toxic Crusaders will make for a fun multiplayer experience, but it’s unclear if there will be enough to warrant multiple playthroughs.
Check out our previous story on the Toxic Crusaders game for more info.[Source: Steam]
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