Commodore User

Batman: The Caped Crusader

Author: Mark Patterson
Publisher: Ocean
Machine: Commodore 64

Published in Commodore User #63

Batman: The Caped Crusader

Over the past twelve months Batman has experienced something of a revival after being shown on breakfast TV and featuring as The Dark Knight in Frank Miller's excellent graphic novel. There's even a film in production, and of course now there's this little piece of software.

In the first of two parts, Batman finds a message on the batcomputer that Robin has been kidnapped by the Riddler and chained to a roller coaster in the fun park - and that's not all! Hidden under the park are twelve high explosive bombs waiting for the arrival of Batman so they can set themselves off.

This is where Batman will appeal to all you mappers. Batman can walk left/right up/down and even backwards and forwards through the multitude of well-known screens. A sewer, a fun house and a lot of other locations do a great job at hiding the dozen bombs.

Batman: The Caped Crusader

Not surprisingly, every screen bar the Batcave is full of nasties from the Riddler himself right down to jet propelled teddy bears, who, after obligingly smashing themselves against your head lie stunned for a few seconds on the floor. There are shades here of Alan Moore's one-off 'The Killing Joke'. Naturally, the programmers would hate to see anything bad befall Batman, so he has been given the gift of the fist and can punch his way out of some of the more awkward situations, though true to Batman's ethics he can't kill.

Like all arcade adventures plenty of objects are to be found lying in various locations, some with logical uses, like a gas mask for the sewers or the false teeth so Batman can eat food to top up his energy. Other items like the camera do pointless things like print up a picture of the villains.

The second part of the adventure has the Penguin attempting to take over the world with little robot penguins. This is the harder of the two scenarios, but is still very similar in gameplay.

Batman: The Caped Crusader

One novel feature is the use of windows. Every time you enter a new screen the previous one 'blues out', helpful for identifying where you've been for the last couple of moves.

Batman is one step above being a run-of-the-mill logic puzzle arcade adventure. Some of the graphics are really neat for their comparative size. A cheerful ditty plays throughout the game, though it can be switched off. Otherwise, sound is minimal.

A very good game with plenty going for it. My profit sniffer tells me this should do well.

Mark Patterson

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