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Batman: The Video Game Reviewed by Matthew Clarke on . Rating: 64%
  1. 1987
  2. 1988
  3. 1989
  4. 1990
  5. 1991
Batman: The Video Game
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Batman: The Video Game Batman: The Video Game Batman: The Video Game
  • Review Score:

  • B-
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.

Batman: The Video Game (Game Boy)

The game feels familiar to Super Mario Land in its looks and has the same kind of small sprites and blocky tile arrangement for many of the free floating platforms. It shows that the game came out at a time when developers were only just starting to get to grips with the Game Boy's hardware. In keeping with its comic book and on-screen heritage, SunSoft kindly included some well-drawn and sparsely animated cut scenes that help bring everything into context and to elevate both the atmosphere and overall quality. The catchy soundtrack also sets the tone well with full and memorable ditties that play comfortably along with the action.

All of the game's twelve levels are certainly well crafted, but that's more that can be said for the enemy A.I., which is very basic. Most notably so for the robots as these poor bulky machines are set on such a rigid path that in some cases it can lead them straight down pits off screen before they can ever reach you. What a terrible waste of an evil criminal mastermind's resources ... so many scrapped in vain! Suicidal Robo-Henchbots aside, the game still has enough decent platform action and a fair difficulty curve to make it a worthy playthrough.

Batman: The Video Game (Game Boy)

The gameplay is made most interesting by the array of weapons and upgrades to be discovered by blasting the free floating platform blocks. These useful powers include a deadly multiple Batarang attack, a useful spinning bat protector which also damages enemies on contact, among others. You will eventually encounter a couple of standard style boss battles and oh yes sir it's that good 'ole pattern learning time again, just like grandma used to make 'em! A welcome horizontal shooter section played out by piloting the batwing is also on offer and is solid enough to feel like a true part of the action, not just a tacked on extra. It all climaxes with the game's final showdown in a bell tower fighting the joker. This brawl will require fast and accurate use of your favoured weapon to see those final credits roll.

This really is one of those middle ground games that tries nothing ground breaking or progressive in any way, but like a comfortable old pair of slippers or a nice long bath, you'll keep returning to it for some soothing Gotham City justice. Better Batman games were created long after this one (along with some pretty awful ones), but this remains a fairly well regarded entry that finds a way to gain merit by simply being an enjoyable mini adventure.
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