Last week we hid in terror as aliens attacked from all sides. Thankfully that won't be the case when we look at A Week Full of Four Letter Words! These are five of the most diverse games you'll ever see (featuring everything from robots to drug dealer to men in tights), each connected by one simple naming convention: Four letter titles! Who needs lengthy subtitles when four simple letters will do the trick?
CONTEST: Can you guess what games I'm reviewing? Below you will find clues for to all five games I'm looking at this week. Tweet me @DefunctGames with your guesses for a chance to win a download codes and other valuable prizes. The person that gets the most right before Friday wins!
We always want what we can't have. In 1989, Sega fans around the world were horrified to learn that they wouldn't be able to get their hands on Batman's first 16-bit adventure. Because of Nintendo's exclusivity clause, SunSoft was barred from publishing this Sega Genesis action game starring the Dark Knight. As a result, critics around the world lobbied for the game's release, turning it into something of a cause celebre.
Looking back at it now, we were excited about nothing. Batman for the Sega Genesis is a straight forward action game, in which players punch and throw batarangs at a never-ending supply of enemy clones. You walk from left to right, occasionally use your grappling hook and fight bosses that are vaguely inspired by the Tim Burton movie.
Batman Returns [ System: Sega CD | Pub: Sega | Release: 1993 | Score: B ]
Batman may have returned, but that doesn't mean he's ready to make up his mind. This Sega CD game is a mix of two disparate types of games -- 2D platforming and racing. You switch back and forth, making for a very conflicted experience. And yet, it somehow works. But don't go congratulating Two Face, because he had nothing to do with it. Instead it was Sega, hoping that Batman Returns would become the killer app for the fledgling Sega CD.
The Sega CD's scaling and rotation capabilities are in full display in the exclusive driving stages. Here players play a Batman-inspired version of OutRun, shooting enemy cars and avoiding running into obstacles lining the narrow road. These stages even offer boss fights, as well as eye-popping visuals that outshined anything on the market in 1993.
Released a year after the Tim Burton blockbuster, the Dark Knight makes his Game Boy debut in grand style. Batman has somehow been transformed to be a lot shorter, fatter and now strangely packing heat like a Wild West sheriff. Yes, that's right, when Mr. Wayne's alter ego takes to the streets in this game; he prefers to pop off a few rounds and projectiles instead of using the recent 'Arkham' game's grips and throws nor those classic Adam West 'Kapoww!' chops. At first this all feels uneasy and disconnected. You cannot help but question if maybe this was previously something else entirely from a Batman game in early development. Thankfully you soon settle into it though and find out it's just a simplistic but fun little platform shooter at heart.
The Joker is back and this time it's going to take a bigger, stronger and tougher Batman to send him scurrying to Arkham Asylum. Good thing that's what you get in Batman: Return of the Joker, SunSoft's pseudo-sequel to their 1989 classic. Without a movie license to worry about, SunSoft is able to provide a more ambitious adventure full of brutal action. But is it more fun? That's certainly up for debate.
Batman: Return of the Joker is SunSoft telling the world they've mastered the 8-bit Nintendo Entertainment System. Using every trick they can think of (including parallax scrolling backgrounds, transparent foregrounds, large sprites, etc.), this 1991 game is SunSoft showing off. This is a company ready for a new challenge; ready for 16-bit consoles.
Batman Forever for the Sega Genesis is the perfect movie adaptation. It's an ugly game with horrible production values, a miserable plot, stiff characters, bad design and a complete lack of original ideas. I didn't enjoy a single minute of it, instead finding it
to be a grueling experience from start to end. In other words, it's exactly like the Batman Forever movie.
After both SunSoft and Sega took stabs at the Dark Knight, it's time for Acclaim to have a shot. True to stereotype, Acclaim delivers a sub-standard action game with distractingly bad graphics, horrible controls and an unforgiving difficulty. Say what you will about SunSoft's Batman and Sega's Batman Returns, they are masterpieces when compared to this turd.