Review by Moochthemonkey

"A good movie does not necessarily make it a quality game."

Batman always has been a very successful superhero from his old days in the classic TV series, to his excellent movies and even in splendid cartoons for the young ones. The character is even flourishing in creating sets of action figures, costumes, and other toys. When the company decides to produce video games on the series, the results may be surprisingly different. Before buying this game for your child or even yourself, you may want to read ahead.

Though Batman Returns is based on the movie, the game only starts up until a certain point of the film. The infamous villain of the story, Penguin, has let loose a group of fierce bats upon an “ice princess”. Of course, everyone suspects that criminal is Batman. While Batman is caught up in Penguin’s clever scheme, the antagonist plans to take over Gotham City with his mob, the “Red Triangle Circus”. When things couldn’t get worse, the mysterious Catwoman has come along to make Batman falter in his attempt to save Gotham City. Play as the valiant hero in the adventure, with a supplement of classic weapons and unique gadgets, as you battle your way through over fifteen sinister levels. The idea of the movie/game is splendid, but when Sega tries to design a gameplay for this piece, it isn’t all that noteworthy.

Batman must use his basic attacks, which are kicking and punching to finish off enemies. When in times of desperation he may have to rely on using his assortment of weapons and gadgets. The original batarangs and grappling guns are good for finishing off your foes the simple way. If the enemies of Gotham City are just annoying you, feel free to toss a smoke bomb or two. In times of real danger you are going to need to use your accurate but limited supply of bat swarms and his special, super seeking batarangs. This game would be a real crime against Batman if you did not have access to his grappling hook. You are going to want to use this to swing around and to get to hard-to-reach areas. You also won’t plummet to the ground if you spread Batman’s wings. Like all bats, they will eventually get tired and not glide anymore. That is what makes Batman so unique; he doesn’t have any superpowers like flying or X-Ray vision.

Shamefully, the real detrimental flaw to this game is its tremendously slow pace. Batman moves so lethargic that he is almost not worthy of being a superhero. Maybe it just him getting weary of old age. Seriously though, this game runs at a very sluggish rate. Batman’s kicks and punches are untimely; it gets me frustrated when a juggler flips over me, one side to the other. It is like watching a college professor trying to catch a rascal Looney Tune. To make things worse, Batman cannot run! The bosses and enemies will also have much more power and health than Batman will. Slowness and superiority make this game very difficult. The gameplay system isn’t that bad really, but the slothfulness agitates me and therefore the game starts to get boring after awhile.

Batman will venture in five different dull places, such as Gotham City itself and Shrecks Wonderland. (No, Shreck does not have to do anything with Shrek, of course.) Each Stage will have different sections. In Gotham City you will battle in skyscrapers a well as an abandoned building. You will fight a variety of enemies like strange clowns and freaky gargoyles. At the end of the levels will be bosses, which I find to be pretty difficult. You will have to use witty tactics and strategies to put them to rest. What weird characters. And what weird level designs. I never thought a Genesis game could scare me.

The graphics are okay quality for a Genesis game. Though the background is motionless and unlively, I can still make out who Batman and Penguin are. Everything is dreadfully dark, and sullen. It may be what the creators hand in mind though. Sega definitely did overdo colors in this game, everything seems so purple. The only award this game will get is “The Most Violet Hue in a Game”.

To be on the bright side, the sound is satisfactory. The tunes and melodies on the levels definitely flow with the murky backgrounds and slow gameplay. The audio is a tad dire, but the composition of the music is acceptable. The queer harmonies just might get me to play a little bit longer.

However, I think I will put this game down for now. Very slow movements and hard control of Batman, as well as other blemishes, gives the game Batman Returns a mediocre score of 5/10. With a great idea of a game and with all of Batman’s distinctive gadgets, this game should have been better. Nevertheless, do not bother buying this game no matter how much of a dedicated fan you are. This game is just too pitiable, or maybe I don’t like it because the remarkable sidekick Robin isn’t in the game…

Reviewer's Rating:   2.5 - Playable

Originally Posted: 01/25/04

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