So, Batman Forever, then, eh? And now, with striking boldness, Acclaim have turned it into... a scrolling beat-'em-up.
And, phew, what a scrolling beat-'em-up it is. It's been put together by Probe, the people who brought us the snes versions of the Mortal Kombat games, and it shows. Just like in Mortal Kombat, they've videotaped real actors and transferred the images directly into the game, making for ultra-smooth animation. And the characters are just as versatile as the ones in Mortal Kombat, too, with a whole range of moves and special weapons which you activate by pressing Down, Towards, A, and so on.
|Before each level, you get to choose a pair of weapons for each character.|
Except, of course, that it scrolls. As you uppercut and roundhouse your way through the baddies, you also progress through Arkham Asylum, the circus, the subway, Wayne Manor, the Batcave and, eventually, the Riddler's hideout.
And you can not only 'be' Batman, but Robin too. Or both if you haul in a pal. So it's... No Aaarghh. ('Reviewer' takes several punches to the head and body and collapses to the ground. His face, Which turns out to be a clever latex mask, is peeled off to reveal a man with slicked back hair, an expensive suit and a portable phone.)
(Reader's voice: Gasp. It's that evil super-criminal, the Marketer.)
And I'd have got away with it too, etc. Phew. It's a good job I arrived when I did, readers. For hidden beneath Batman Forever's admittedly slick graphics is a desperately poor game which you should refrain from buying.
The dark, moody graphics? The backdrops are great when viewed in isolation, with lots of detail and parallax scrolling. Join them altogether, however, and the result is screen after screen of relentless murk. Batman's meant to be dark, certainly, but not all the way through. Any desire to keep playing to see what comes next swiftly evaporates.
The motion-o-captured baddies, or whatever they're called? Again, in isolation they each look great - solid and smoothly animated, like the characters in Mortal Kombat. But they're only a couple of inches high, making them no fun to beat up. There are never more than a couple on the screen at once. Being based on real people, they all look much the same, with no variation in shape or size, and only their clothes to distinguish them. And there are only a handful of different ones so you find yourself killing the same people over and over again. There aren't even any through hundreds of identical-looking screens hitting hundreds of identical-looking characters, and getting more and more bored.
True, you've got a generous range of moves to try out, but after doing each one a couple of times you'll find it easier to stick with punches and kicks. And the various lame attempts to incorporate Riddler-type puzzles add nothing in the way of fun.
This is a humourless, soulles game. It hasn't been designed to be fun. It exists merely to fill boxes marked 'Batman Forever', and to sound impressive when its specifications are reeled off in board meetings. Motion-o captured graphics! Eight levels! Special moves! No, no no. A fight with a baddy.
Verdict: A great deal of effort has clearly been expended in making Batman Forever look the part. And, on paper at least, it seems to have all the ingredients of the ultimate scrolling beat-'em-up. But it's no fun.
|The thrilling confrontation with the Riddler (He's the one on the left.)
There are some levers to pull too.