A Toxic Environment? Hell, Yeah – It’s The Toxic Crusaders Demo

The classic 90s cartoon that never got a season 2 but gets its own 2024 game on Steam, Toxic Crusaders will make their almighty return.

Toxic Croo-sayders, Toxic Croo-sayders. That’s how I remember the theme tune, but don’t trust me on that – listen to it here. Anyhoo, Toxic Crusaders is coming to Steam in 2024, and at the time of writing this, there’s a playable demo.

I’ve just finished it and must say, it’s something I’m keen to play in due course. As we’ve seen with Streets of Rage 4 and the recent Shredder’s Revenge, side-scrolling retro beat ’em ups still have a stage, and if done right, they’ve got a good amount of replay value in them. Take Fight ‘N Rage, for instance. Good plug, me. 

Toxic Crusaders, by Retroware, is a side-scrolling fighter for up to four players co-op, featuring a roster of seven. In the demo, there are three characters to choose from: Toxie, Junkyard, and possibly Major Disaster, but I only played the main hero as I’m super busy, influential, and other made-up stuff. 

Toxic Crusaders Demo - What's cookin
What’s cookin’? Source: Steam

Toxic Crusaders Demo

Going back to Streets of Rage 4, the same mechanics apply where each time you use a special attack, it eats into your health. Toxic Crusaders also has the same cavalier attitude to eating cooked chicken off the floor to replenish health. At least our heroes munch on an apple, too. That’ll keep the doctor away and keep ’em regular. It’s a shame nothing can be done about the radiation damage.

Oh, you mean you don’t know much about the franchise – which is definitely the wrong term. Toxic Crusaders was a TMNT alternative based on characters from the Troma Entertainment universe. Christ, this isn’t a history lesson. If you’re a film fan with a penchant for cult indies and low-budget, you’ll know who Lloyd Kaufman is. One of his earlier films, The Toxic Avenger, is the basis for these heroes.

Anyhoo, some radioactive goop mutates some hapless idiots into unsuspecting heroes, featuring lots of wacky characters, bright colours, and nostalgia for Saturday morning cartoons, Nerds and Slush Puppies. When they tasted good. Each hero is a caricature of their demeanour – Toxie being a former janitor armed with a mop, No-Zone, a big-nosed stunt pilot with his plane’s wheel embedded in his leg. Yep.

Reliving One’s Childhood

I had all the figures back in the day and was gutted when a second season of the show never materialised, as I thought it was better than TMNT. The next best thing, though perhaps a little late, is the Toxic Crusaders game. It’s in the same mould as the titles mentioned at the start, but even though it’s a demo, I did find it a little monotonous early on. No doubt a co-op option should liven it up.

Writing about a demo after a couple of beers, reminiscing about one’s childhood, watching YouTube commercials and scenes from a cartoon you used to love isn’t the most productive thing to do for an article. Still, this write-up is based on a demo. It won’t cost you anything to try it out on Steam. I’ve already added it to my wishlist.