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A reasonable beat-em-up that's worth a play
Batman Returns (PC)
Member Name: defiler
Batman Returns (PC)
Date: 04/04/01, updated on 04/04/01 (84 review reads)
Advantages: Good graphics (for its time), good side-scrolling beat-em-up
Disadvantages: Repetative, some annoying levels
Being a fan of this type of game and liking the movie it was based on I decided to give this game a try and wasn't disappointed at all.
The game follows the plot of the movie exactly, Gotham City is in trouble from the Pengium and Catwoman and Batman has to stop them (obviously this is *extremely* simplified, but if you want a better explanation you'll be better off looking at a movie review).
The game is basically a side scrolling beat-em-up, however there is slightly more variation in the levels than other games of this type (although most levels fall into 2 categories).
The first type is similar to Golden Axe, you control Batman and can move up/down/left/right and scroll right along the game world until you reach the end of the level (you may occasionally scroll left too, but the majority of the time you just move right). As you progress along the level you come across people who want to kill you and instead have to kill them first, this continues until you reach the end of the level where you usually come across some kind of boss that needs to be defeated to progress onto the next level. The idea is simple, the play is simple and while it's fun to play it does get repetative quite quickly.
In order to kill people you come across you need to use a variety of attacks, while I don't want to go into too many details (though probably will :) these are:
kick/punch - Standard attack, does a small amount of damage and stuns someone for a tiny amount of time.
jump kick - Knocks someone to the ground with minimal damage and a larger stun time.
Bat shape boomerang thing (OK I forgot it's name :) - Throw this at someone to stun them for a minimal time.
Grab - Grab someone, you can then either hit them, walk around the screen or try and grab someone else and bash both peoples head together. Fairly helpless to other peoples attacks while doing this.
The second type of
level is similar to a platform game, you can walk left and right but never up or down (can still jump though). Enemies die a lot quicker, but so do you. I personally found this level quite annoying as characters seem too big to make an easily controllable platform character and I overall preferred the previous type of level mentioned above. You have the same attacks as before available, however it is much easier to kill someone on this level.
There are also a few other variations on levels such as driving the Batmobile that make a welcome change to standard levels but aren't the sort of level you'd want to see more than once in the game.
For the time the game was made the graphics are impressive, while the cutscenes are fairly basic the actual in-game graphics are quite good and still interesting to date. The graphics did seem a bit colourful to me though which doesn't really fit the fairly dark atmosphere that was found in the film, however if you take the game as it's own product they are certainly fitting.
I did feel that the graphics on the platform-type levels were, while good, in general just too big. When I play a platform game I like to have my character as quite a small thing (such as Mario or Megaman) and have a wider view of the level so I can see what's around me easier. In this game however Batman is quite big and I found myself having to guess when enemies would appear rather than be able to react to them ahead of time, making it a case of playing through the levels a few times just to know where everything is, something I don't really find fun in a game.
Like the graphics the sound is good, but doesn't really fit the dark atmosphere of the film. Sounds seem a little bit too 'comical' to actually be realistic, although the reverse is also true with some sounds. In general though they fit the game quite well and aren't disappointing.
The music is good and does actually fit the darker atmosphere of the movie. Some of the music is based directly on music from the movie and is duplicated fairly well (although obviously limited by the quality of the computer in producing music). Very fitting with the game and not disappointing to me at all.
You get various options over the difficulty of the game, number of continues allowed and a few sound options that most people will never use. The continues is a nice feature but I feel that most people will simply set this to the highest possible value as lower values don't really offer anything extra except to people who *really* need a challenge. I like to see difficulty levels in a game, however I found that normal difficulty provided a reasonable enough challenge without being too easy or too tough.
The game is reasonably tough while still completable. Given a bit of playing you should finish this game easily enough on normal difficulty and probably won't be too bothered about playing it again due to the more annoying levels letting down the general quality of the game.
If you like side scrolling beat-em-ups this game is worth a try however it's let down by some of the more annoying (at least to me) levels and a lack of replayability once finished. Anyone who enjoyed the film may like to see it duplicated in computer game format, however the duplication is only average and brings nothing new to the film. Anyone who isn't actually into side scrolling beat-em-ups however will probably find this game boring and repetative and after a while this is how most people will find it.