Paul Machacek is a former Rare dev, and he recently took part in an interview with RareFanDaBase. In the interview, Machacek was asked about any cancelled Rare projects that he wishes had been released. Well, he revealed that there was a Battletoads game on the Game Boy that was cancelled because “the arcade game had underperformed in market and Tradewest pulled the plug on the whole franchise”. Here’s what Machacek said about the matter:
RFDB: Were there any canned projects that you were particularly fond of that you really wish had come to fruition?
Paul: Probably the most annoying is Super Battletoads on the Gameboy. Heard of it? No, nor has almost anyone else. It was the fourth one I’d written in the serious, was a spinoff from the arcade game of the same name, and was 100% finished and signed off by Test. 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.
In 2015, during Rare Replay development, with long-term members of Rare saying to me “don’t be silly, that game never existed”, we found it sitting on an old disc. A finished copy of the game. One of the engineers here happened to have a Gameboy emulator and we dragged the file into it and waited with bated breath. 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.
Then we needed to see exactly what was there and being a rock hard Battletoad game that no one had played in over 20 years it wasn’t going to be easy. However, I still had the sourcecode (which I had no way of compiling anymore but could look through anyway). I worked out an infinite lives cheat, applied it to the binary file by “poking” it and got one of our team to play through the whole thing in one go and record the video. It took a little over an hour (with infinite lives) but was all there. A 100% completed game. Apparently, no bugs were seen.