In Batman of the Future (or Batman Beyond depending on where you are) the identity of Batman is assumed by Terry McGinnis with Bruce Wayne having retired from the role. The animated film Batman of the Future: Return of the Joker - which this beat-em-up was released to coincide with - sees a comeback for Batman's archenemy of old, though Bruce is certain it cannot be him so it is up to Batman to investigate.
Before a level begins you get to choose from one of four Bat Suits: Standard, Defensive, Offensive and Nimble - each with their varying abilities as well as unique moves. You can put some moves together but unfortunately a severe lack of balance has meant that a number of attacks are near useless. Ironically, it is the Defensive outfit which edges it in terms of dishing out damage.
As a beat-em-up the combat is far from satisfying. Batman goes down easily whereas the villains don't which is a problem when surrounded, and this encourages Batman to hit and run as well as resort to using just a single attack repeatedly despite having multiple attacks. It is not difficult to see where the game is failing here. The areas in which you fight feel restrictive and some of the villains seem reluctant to hit Batman.
The controls for the N64 could have been managed better; the directional-pad is for changing suits which, during a fight would call for a third arm - something which not even Batman himself possesses. Then there are the levels which all feel similar with some weak platform sections thrown in. One particular level sees Batman having to make his way past moving obstacles which are set out to push Batman off to his death.
There are infinite continues should those deaths prove troublesome but the game only has five levels, which is no laughing matter. Actually, I can smile about that as this means the game will last me not even half an hour. It wasn't until my second attempt however that I did finish it - my initial impression of the game was that poor. Batman of the Future: Return of the Joker does provide a challenge on the harder difficulty setting but there is nothing to unlock even if you are quite the superhero.
Graphically it's bland, the music is downright nasty, the necessary hooks to keep you playing are not there and the game is devoid of replay value - where is the high score system? Not that it would have saved the day in any case. If there are any positives then I wouldn't mind seeing the film even if I do know what happens, but the game itself should never have seen the light of day.
Nintendo are the company that make sure the games that appear on their console is top quality. The Nintendo seal of quality tells us this game is good. But occasionally something slips through the net. And this is one of those games. The Graphics This game is based around the animated series of the cartoon and it is quite nice to see that Ubi Soft has included the graphics from the cartoon in the cut scenes so those are pleasant enough. But the in game graphics are just plain awful and it isn't even in proper 3D. Drab, dull and with no detail the graphics in the game gets a heavy thumb down. These are the things we expect on the 32 bit Playstation not on a 64 bit wonder machine. Graphics rating 4/10 The storyline What you should know though is that graphics isn't everything but what Ubi Soft has tried and failed to do is create the feeling that you are actually in the cartoon by making you listen in on conversations in the next room ect... The story is that the Joker is trying to burn a smiley face in to Gotham city! What were they on when they decided this? Gameplay There is though something in Batman that does make it a little good, the power suits. The quick one makes it possible for Batman to jump and glide better, The defense one is good for protection, The normal one is good for weaponry and the offensive for making rude comments. But with 2 hours gameplay and going from identical room to identical room, thumping and kicking bad guys and then moving onto the next is hardly enticing. Gameplay value: 3/10 The music It starts off with excellent cool music in the menu but then you get into the game and sigh once again you are let down. Music rating = 2/10 Final Verdict Ok it looked as if they tried a little to make this but this game is awful, repetitive and boring this is one game to steer clear of.