Batman: The Movie Review

Batman: The Movie NES box art

Batman faces grave dangers in order to save the day.

Story

The Chemical Plant has been overtaken by Jack Napier and his henchmen. Bruce Wayne knows what must be done, and arrives soon as Batman on the scene. Violent confrontations are about to commence. Which criminal mastermind lurks behind the scenes this time?

The Game

This is a game that’s based on the Batman movie from 1989. The game features multi-directionally-scrolling levels and levels where you pilot the Batwing or the Batmobile. For the most part you’ll be playing as Batman on foot though.

The game offers some freedom of movement as you are free to explore the levels in any way you want, and there are many paths that simply lead to dead ends. You’ll be able to climb up and down and walk in both directions as you search for the correct way out.

Content

The game has four levels all in all. There are bad guys all over the place who are set out to kill Batman. You can do some different moves like throwing the Batarang to kill enemies and use the Batrope as a grappling hook. The controls are very easy to get into, so they aren’t likely to cause any problems. What’s worse though, is that you aren’t allowed to see very far due to that there is no scrolling of the camera unless you move in that direction. This results in that you have to take some insane risks, sometimes by dropping down into the unknown and finding out the hard way what’s there.

You’ll need to keep an eye out for other dangers such as dripping acid, and steam coming from pipes. Batman can take some hits before he goes down, but ironically what seems to hurt him most is swinging into a wall and falling from heights. You’re allowed three lives, and that’s a bit stringy. The levels are designed in a way that you have to explore them thoroughly in order to find the right path. This procedure is sure to wear you down because of all the dangers that are there – so you’d stand a better chance if you map out the level manually as you play or learn it by heart so that next time you won’t have to take the wrong routes.batmanthemobie4

Once Batman rescues Vicky Vale, they need to escape from The Joker into the batcave with the Batmobile and you as the player get to control it. This particular part of the game really ruins much of the fun. The driving is very poorly done and the scene is painfully long. You drive down a street from left to right, and you must avoid all cars as they happily chug away at your energy bar if you touch them. Not only must you avoid the traffic, you must also pay attention to the arrow that points to the direction you’re supposed to go. To make quick turns you can use your Batrope and hook to one of the lampposts – pulling this off is incredibly hard and you’re lucky if you succeed. If you happen to miss the right street you’re supposed to go, you need to turn around and face the oncoming traffic. Yeah, this is suicide even if you happen to be Batman.

As the game won’t give you any chances to continue it means that when you lose all your lives, you have to start the game all over again from the first stage. This doesn’t feel fair at all, and only takes away from the enjoyment of playing the game. This probably is some kind of stupid oversight on the developers’ part, or they simply figure that with four levels, people are supposed to be able to beat it with just three lives. It’s too bad really as otherwise this is probably one of the better games produced that’s based on a move available on Commodore 64. It’s fun to swing around on platforms and killing bad guys.

Graphics

The graphics are nice and has a dark atmosphere to it, and the animations are very smooth. The vehicle driving parts do not look as good as the other stages though, but there are plenty of details to enjoy throughout the game.

Sound

Before you start the game you can select if you want background music or if you want sound effects. The music adds to the atmosphere in spades and is very good – probably the best part of the whole game, so the choice is an easy one.

Summary

Playing Batman on the Commodore 64 would have been a great experience if it wasn’t for those infernal vehicle scenes. The other parts are fun and the game has indeed both action, suspense and exploration aspects.

Developed By: Ocean
Published By: Ocean
Version Reviewed: Commodore 64
Genre: Platform
Players: 1
Also Available On: Amiga 500, Atari ST, ZX Spectrum
Released: 1989

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