C&VG


Batman

Author: Tony Dillon
Publisher: Ocean
Machine: Spectrum 48K

 
Published in Computer & Video Games #88

Batman

Oh me. I could have a lot of fun with this opening. After all, there must be hundreds of different Batman cliches I can use to open and pad out this piece. But I won't. I'll get on with the review.

This is the second Batman undertaking that Ocean have, well, undertook, the first being that wonderful Filmation production. This one is, strangely enough, a conversion of the movie (?), due for release sometime next year, just as soon as they start filming it.

You play the Caped Crusader himself, minus Robin the Boy Wonder (as usual), as he battles through not one, but two adventures in his struggle to uphold justice in this unjust society we live in.

Batman: The Caped Crusader

Firstly, the Penguin is making a nuisance of himself. Batman sets out to put a stop to his 'demented squawkings'. Once he's done that, it's down to the fun house at the local funfair for a do or die battle with the Joker.

Rather than use that plot and come up with an arcade game which, let's face it, would have worked quite well, Special FX have come up with an arcade adventure. The map is arranged as a semi 3D scroller. Left to right is smooth scrolling, and at certain points in the scenery (doors and suchlike) you can flip in or out of the screen. As it's an arcade adventure, it's obvious you're not going to get anywhere until you find some objects, and these are to be found in boxes with the bat-symbol on the side. The batarang is a handy item, as is the lockpick.

To stop you from getting anywhere are various kinds of enemy. The smallest, and least harmful are the robot penguins. These roll around, no taller than your waist, occasionally spitting out the odd bullet here and there. Then there are the knife throwers. These will only throw from a distance, so stay close to them, and they're harmless. Hardest of the lot are the armed guards. These will stand anywhere and shoot you. The problem is, you're Batman. Anyone who knows their Batman will know that it's against his code to kill anyone. He can't even hurt anyone. All he's allowed to do is to hit them to stun them for a short while so's he can get past.

Batman: The Caped Crusader

The main manipulation is fairly simple. Face front, pull down and press Fire and you go into the menu system. There are five icons in the centre of the screen and all round the screen are pictures of anything you've collected. The five icons are: turn tune on/off, drop object, return to game, use object and quit game.

The graphics are 'Holy bat socks' good. The detail and animation of all the sprites is crisp and the screen flips smoothly. As you move onto new screens, the next overlays the former one, but never perfectly, giving that 'comic book' impression. A tune plays throughout, but is nothing more than a parody of the Batman tune. In-game effects are nice, not brilliant, but nice.

Quite a fun game but, to my mind, not nearly as good as the first one. Nice packaging, though.

Tony Dillon

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