Review: Batman

Batman

ST Format Review

My Review
For this review I’m running Steem with my usual 1MB STFM. I’m using Automation 224, in which we get a digitised image, some wibbly text and some scrolly text. The chiptune isn’t bad.

So this is Issue 6’s big ticket item, with a million adverts everywhere for the game. Review scores were good, but the big question is: Is the game good or shit?

This Batman game is based on the 1989 movie, frankly the best Batman (fight me).

The movie was quite a departure from the mainstream public image of Batman which was still shaped by the 60s TV series, moving it in the dark direction of the comics and continued with the modern films. It was hyped beyond belief at the time, I mean it was fucking everywhere. It probably paved the way for the brilliant Batman: The Animated Series which appeared a couple of years later. It was a big deal. But what of the game?

The intro screen has some… not very good music with a reasonably well-drawn logo and Joker but slightly wonky looking Batman. Pressing fire to start I get quite a nice little cut-scene. Let’s see how the game goes.

Arriving into the game – the graphics are very muddy – too much background patterning in the same colours as the Batman sprite isn’t a great start. THe actual scrollable area is pretty small with a large border and the scores at the bottom taking up a lot of space. This was obviously done to keep speed up but it’s still a shame. With that said, it’s smooth, controls well and the grapple-hook mechanic is pretty cool in that it offers something I don’t think I’ve seen in any other ST games – it adds a new dimension to movement. Once in motion the muddy graphics are less of an issue, and the responsive character makes it easy to do exactly what you intend to do.

Controls are logical, enemies well-placed (no swarms) and the platform section is basically a rock-solid implementation of this kind of thing. The game gives you plenty of ways to tackle your enemies – you can grapple-hook up onto their platform or drop down onto them, or you can rely on projectile attacks.

The driving section is interesting. For starters it offers a different take on the rolling road, gaining its sense of speed through road markings rather than the traditional stripes. It’s well-animated and I would put it on a par with Super Hang-on. What’s really interesting however is the use of the grappling hook to corner, again something of a departure from the standard formula. It’s a race against the clock, with collisions only slowing you down, no crashes of the type found in Super Hang-On or Outrun (scenery seems to be fine to just clip through).

Next we get a puzzle minigame where you must select from 8 items to find 3 specific ones – you get a few goes and each time you’re told how many you got right. Trial and error basically. Not too taxing.

We get another minigame, this time flying above the road, before being deposited back to some more platform action.

The funny thing is this is actually a good game. I was honestly expecting it to be shit, a film tie-in given an inappropriately high score, but it’s actually good. It isn’t a game that changed the world but it had its own small innovations which added nice extra touches to the gameplay and I’m grateful for those. All in all, further evidence that outside of the brilliant 60s Batman, 1989 Batman is the best.

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