HomeMoviesPAX EAST 2023 | "Toxic Crusaders"

PAX EAST 2023 | "Toxic Crusaders"

PAX EAST 2023 | "Toxic Crusaders"

I was full of happiness when Retroware announced Toxic Crusaders a couple of weeks ago. As a lover of all things Troma, the thought of Toxie and his gang getting a proper video game (you now, unlike those bad NES ones) was something that felt like a longtime coming. After all, with the success of new Streets of Rage and Ninja Turtles titles, it’s clear that now’s the time to strike the hot nostalgic iron. On the PAX East floor, I was able to experience the first level of Toxic Crusaders, which was chock full of wackiness galore!

Although the game was set up for four-player co-op, I took the opportunity to go the solo route with Toxie. The first level, which was split into three areas, had its share of screaming bystanders and wacky villains. From stabbers and flame-throwing scoundrels, there was a great variety of baddies that I could put in their proper place. Like many arcade-like beat-em ups, you have your main attack, a super attack (Toxie’s mop spin, in my case), and the ability to pick up items to chuck at your enemies.

Keeping true to its silly attitude, I found the ability to just pick up an enemy at any time and use them as a weapon to be a riot to watch unfold. Seeing them wiggle overhead as you throw them at his comrades was a sight that felt true to the spirit of syndicated cartoons. However, one issue I did find with throwing items was whether or not they’d hit the target. For the most part, it was difficult to measure the distance or angle of the other enemies. As a result, I often missed rather than gained a hit. (Yes, even when tossing a massive car at them.)

Despite this minor hiccup, the gameplay of Toxic Crusaders was both fun and smooth. Taking on villains — even in large droves — never felt overwhelming, thanks in part to Toxie’s heavier attacks. It’s when the boss battle comes to play — here, a giant purple goop creature — when a strategy is needed. Simply running in and attacking could result in a lost live if not careful, so it’s very important to read the boss’s moves before going in for the kill.

There’s a lot to like about what Toxic Crusaders has to offer. On top of the fun arcade style, the sights and sounds of the game will no doubt leave newcomers and longtime Troma fans laughing along as they play. With nods to both the movies and other Troma properties due to be featured, it’s clear that Retrowave is placing a lot of love into one of the most disgusting heroes of all-time. Even if you’ve never seen a Lloyd Kaufman film in your life, there’s bound to be plenty in Toxic Crusaders for any fan of arcade games to get their sludge on!

Toxic Crusaders is due for PC and consoles later this year. If Retroware can’t keep that promise, then Sgt. Kabukiman will arrest them posthaste.


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The J-POP king of America, Evan has been bringing the hottest sounds of the Land of the Rising Sun to the English-speaking public since his college radio days. He's also an expert in the gaming, anime, & manga realms, never afraid to get critical when the times call for it. Born & bred in Boston, he achieved his biggest dream yet by making the big move to Tokyo, Japan in Summer 2023! For personal inquiries, contact Evan at evan@b3crew.com. For press/band inquiries, write to us at thebastards@bostonbastardbrigade.com. (Drawing by AFLM of Wicked Anime)