If you look at all the licensing deals Ocean have done this must have been a contender for the one most likely to produce a turkey of a game. In fact, it is one of the most attractive, addictive, humorous and long-lasting games that a licensing deal has produced. All achieved without six months advertising hype of the character involved.
There's no Gotham City or KRUNCHU, KAPOW!*?£!, THWOK*£?! fights; just a single caped crusader in search of the seven pieces of the Batmobile that will allow him to rescue his kidnapped sidekick Robin. Batman appears by sliding down the Batpole into the Batcave, which consists of over 150 locations drawn in marvellous 3D, colour and detail. Ultimate fans will probably scream "rip-off" again - but they couldn't be further from the truth. The improvement in colour, screen design and, most importantly, the puzzling involved make this something really special.
Batman's first task is to find four pieces of equipment which he will need to get him through his quest. Jet Batboots allow him to jump, while the Bat-thruster and Bat-belt enhance this control. The Bat-bag allows him to pick an object up and move it about. As well as this, Batman can push objects around, jump on them and even pick up and jump in the same move.
Once he's got the equipment, he has the necessary skills to get the seven car parts. Sometimes you'll find that hard to believe though, because the puzzles and screens are so wickedly devious and full of surprises. Extra help and powers are given along the way though in the form of Bat-pills that give Batman super speed, invulnerability or super jumping power, each for a short period of time. These look like little Batmen and are very handy in certain difficult sections.
Movement between rooms can be achieved in several ways: through doors, just by walking off the edge of the visible floor, by going off the top of the screen and by falling through the floor. When in a room, other things may move Batty around - conveyor belts, moving blocks, lifts, slippery floors, disappearing blocks and helpful droids. Which does what and where has to be discovered by trial and error: just expect the unexpected and the most difficult.
Nearly all the rooms have a purpose to them as an obstacle to be overcome, a skill to be learnt or an object to be picked up. There is a massive variety of rooms which will keep you puzzling and the wall, carpet and scenery designs are extremely impressive. They can also be deadly though because all sorts of nasty monsters, spiked floors and killer objects will appear to make life difficult.
Batman starts with eight lives but bonus lives can be found and occasionally the game gives you an extra 'dog's life' just when you thought it was finished. Another nice touch is the reincarnation stones that, when picked up, will allow you to return to that point after you have lost all your lives and try again. This only happens once for each stone but it means games can be run together so that the amount of exploring you can do is increased.
At first sight, the game seems fairly ordinary but as you start getting into it and collect all four pieces of equipment, it really opens out into a challenge of great style and interest. The graphics are superb with some of the best detailed, multicolour rooms I've seen. The sound is the only annoying thing though with a nauseating version of the theme tune. But a rhythmic tapping accompanies Batman's walking action and this is much nicer on the ears. Ocean's best yet - never mind the hype, here's the quality.
A superb arcade adventure with just about everything you could want except shooting. And, if I remember right, that was never Batman's style. Style is what this program has got a lot of: it's a joy to watch and great fun to play.
Not much like the DC comic strip, but an awful lot like the TV series - this game is very witty and totally absurd. It's also ingenious, wickedly difficult and graphically miraculous - it's got everything. Except Commissioner Gordon, that is. Oh, and then there's the batphone, and the bat shark-repellent, and...
P. Over 150 locations.
P. Beautifully designed screens with lots of variety.
P. Really wicked puzzles to solve.
P. Plenty of joystick as well as mental action.
P. Lots of nice touches and humour.
N. Games like Rambo get all the hype and not this one.
Green Screen View
All the objects are clear enough - but you really need colour to appreciate this game.