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Batman Returns Reviewed by Cyril Lachel on . Rating: 71%
Batman Returns
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  • Review 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.

Batman Returns (Sega CD)

Even with the improved technology, the 3D isn't very fluid and causes the same out-of-control feeling you're used to from pre-polygonal racing games. The backgrounds, while full of detail, are all flat objects, making it look like you're driving through a world made completely of cardboard standees.

Despite the two-dimensional design, the visuals in the driving stages are superb. Even if you didn't see the Batmobile, you would instantly know this had something to do with Tim Burton's Batman films. Best of all, the driving stages offer something new every time we come back to them. Early stages have you driving through an industrial park, while in another stage you'll drive through the snowy forests. You'll eventually take control of the Batboat, allowing for some harrowing sewer fights.

Unfortunately, the end-game sewer stages are where the driving sections start to break down. While these are the most visually arresting areas in the entire package, too much of the challenge relies on memorization. You'll have only a split second to reaction, leading to a lot of frustrating deaths late in the game.

Batman Returns (Sega CD)

When you're not driving around Gotham City, you'll be platforming in a very traditional 2D action game. Incidentally, this is the same game that wowed Sega fans on the Genesis. Here you fight your way through bombed-out buildings, on a train, in the Gotham City mall, through a circus and down into a very smell sewer. The levels are full of tough platforming challenges, making this a lot more exciting than its predecessor.

This time around Batman has a few new tricks. Not only can he grapple to higher levels, but he is also able to swing about. Batman is also able to glide from platform to platform, something he does a lot of in the movies. There are also other objects to throw, just in case you get sick of the trusty batarangs.

Batman Returns (Sega CD)

On its own, this platforming action game isn't that interesting. The controls are solid and the level layouts are interesting, but there's something about the action that lacks urgency. The visuals are bland and every stage has the same color scheme. However, the driving segments help break up the monotony and turn Batman Returns into another worthwhile Sega CD release. Just in case you're not interested in the unique two-games-in-one approach, Sega allows you to play only the platforming half or the driving stages.

Neither part of Batman Returns is great; the driving feels a little too loose and the platforming is boring. Still, the two halves manage to complement each other and form a solid Batman game. It's clear that Sega wasn't sure what to do with the 2D bits, but the grappling hook is an inspire choice that adds some depth to the gameplay. While some of the pieces may feel a bit outdated, Batman Returns is yet another fun game for the Sega CD.
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