It's the time of the year when the days get shorter, retailers stay open longer, big games are released and there seems to be a holiday every other week. Defunct Games wants to ring in this festive season with a look at the most memorable video game themes of all time. For five weeks straight, Cyril Lachel and Kevin Bailey will share their thoughts on themes from the last thirty years. Join us every day between November 22 and December 25 for The 34 Game Themes of Christmas!
[ Company: Sunsoft | Year: 1990 | Console: NES ]
In 1989, people actually doubted the viability of Tim Burton's Batman. They worried about putting too much money into something as unproven as a comic book movie. Oh sure, there had been a few hits before that (mostly involving an alien who flies around in underwear), but the super hero genre was still an unproven market. The gamble paid off and Batman opened a new generation of comic book films. This game is loosely based on the movie. The theme, on the other hand, is brand new.
Between Tim Burton's 1989 movie, the popular cartoon series and even Adam West TV series, Batman is known for having memorable theme songs. Of course, it's hard to go wrong with Danny Elfman or stuttering. Instead of opting to remake or pay homage to the movie score, Sunsoft opted for this original song that is both short and wholly uninteresting. Most of the song is build-up to a climax that never arrives. Notes at the end hint at a better song, but there's nothing about this Batman theme you'll remember. I take that back. You'll remember that the painfully long extended notes sound like your system is about to explode. On the other hand, that does sound like the kind of prank The Joker would play.
Did my NES just lock up? Oh, there it goes. That first sustained tone just sounds like it froze. I'm not really sure what to think of Batman's theme song here. It honestly doesn't even strike me as a theme song until it's half over and it becomes obvious that it's building up to something. Unfortunately, that something is a very abrupt ending. It doesn't feel like there's much here. It has potential to go somewhere big, but then stops cold. The opening tones really don't sound right to me. They make me think the game has frozen, as opposed to the chill of excitement they were probably aiming for. Things get better as it builds, but it just ends suddenly. A revision or two on those sustain tones and somewhere for the build to go would have made it very good.
Tomorrow's game has absolutely nothing to do with guns or any recent mass-shooting tragedies. It sounds violent, but is actually one of the tamest games on the market. This overhead dual-stick shooter does not have an opinion on gun control.