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The Toxic Crusaders Video Games – Toxic Retro Gaming Troma Style

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The Toxic Crusaders Video Games – Toxic Retro Gaming Troma Style

Toxie in the Game Boy version of The Toxic Crusaders

Screenshot © Bandai

The History of The Toxic Crusaders:

Long before Captain Planet came onto the scene, the very first super hero to battle baddies bent on polluting the planet was the Toxic Avenger. This “hideously deformed creature of super human size and strength” unleashed his toxins in theaters in a b-movie horror/sleaze gore-fest created by Troma Studios, the longest running independent film studio in America. The Toxic Avenger was a smash hit for Troma, with “Toxie” quickly becoming their flagship franchise and mascot.

By 1992 Toxie had starred in three feature films, plus his own Marvel comic book series and was ready to make his transition to mainstream via an environmentally conscious, but totally wacky animated series, The Toxic Crusaders.

Unlike its big screen counterpart, Toxic Crusaders was family friendly. While the gross out humor and wacky mutated characters remained intact, gone were the sex, drugs, and gore that the franchise was originally built. The show was still quite edgy and weird for it’s time, but maintained softer, safer side for the kiddies. The one thing both the cartoon and its hard “R” counterpart consistently shared was Toxie’s never-ending battle to stop criminals and corporations from polluting the planet and destroying the environment.

Each member of the Toxic Crusaders gained their super powers though environmental disasters.

The Heroes:

  • Toxie: Melvin Junko, a hapless nerd falls into a vat of toxic waste, transforming him into the Toxie (aka the Toxic Avenger), leader of the Toxic Crusaders.
  • Major Disaster: Military man slipped into a swamp polluted with radioactivity, he merges with the foliage to turn into the Swamp Thing-like Major.
  • Headbanger: Crotchety old Dr. Bender merged bodies with surfer dude Fender, when the blond haired beachcomber bumped into the Doc’s latest experiment.
  • NoZone: Ace pilot flies though the hole in the Ozone and crashes in a pepper factory. Now his big honker has super sensitive smell and a sneeze that blows enemies away.

When the bizarre gang first met, they weren’t so hot on becoming super heroes simply out of a sense of responsibility or humanity. Their decision to fight evil came once they met Toxie’s girlfriend, the severely nearsighted, tone-deaf singer Yvonne and realized that being a super hero might land them chicks as well. From this spawned the shows tagline “Their gross, but they still get girls”.

The Baddies:

The Toxic Crusader’s archenemies were also a group of freaks and geeks, originating from the planet Smogula. Unable to breath the fresh air of planet earth, the evil Dr. Killemoff and Czar Zosta can only survive our atmosphere by breathing apparatuses filled with smog. Disguised as corporate tycoons, their mission is to pollute the planet enough so an invading Smogula army can take over, and they start things off with Toxie’s hometown of Tromaville. Along the way they recruit the biochemical being Psycho, the toxic zombie Bonehead (born from acid rain), and the corrupt Mayor of Tromaville, Mayor Grody.

During it’s brief run the Toxic Crusaders spawned merchandising galore including a line of action figures, trading cards, and of course video games.

The Video Games::

For a show that lasted one single season with only 13 episodes produced, it saw a surprising number of video game releases for multiple consoles. Instead of one game being ported across different systems, each game held unique designs and separate developers while all sharing the same name.
  • The Toxic Crusaders
    Platform: Nintendo Entertainment System
    Publisher: Bandi
    Developer: TOSE
    Release Date: 1992
  • When the Toxic Crusaders are kidnapped by the Dr. Killemoff and his polluting gang of baddies, it’s up to the Toxie and his mop to stop them in a simple beat-‘em-up side-scrolling platformer with nuclear waste tossing enemies. Each level ends with a corny environmental tip such as “Don’t Waist Paper – Reuse Your Tissue Twice!”

  • The Toxic Crusaders
    Platform: SEGA Genesis
    Publisher: Infogrames
    Developer: SEGA
    Release Date: 1992

    No real storyline here, but in the Genesis incarnation you get to play as all the different Toxic Crusaders in more elaborately designed levels with better graphics and a variety of gameplay unique to each Crusader.

  • The Toxic Crusaders
    Platform: Game Boy
    Publisher: Bandi
    Developer: Realtime Associates
    Release Date: 1992

    A simplified hybrid of the NES and Genesis versions is a single level linear beat-‘em-up with no platforms, and few bells or whistles, however between each level players can select the Crusader they want to play, each of which have their own unique special power.

Up until the Toxic Crusaders video games, Troma handled all ownership, development, and distribution of their properties, including the Toxic Crusaders cartoon. The video games are the first the Troma Team had no hand in or ownership of; they just sold the rights to use the characters to the respective publishers. This is probably why none of the games truly capture the weirdness of this incredibly weird, but environmentally conscious, kiddie show.

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