Save the Bat-Receipt!!!
Gotham City — dark, dank alleys full of criminal scum. It’s only hope: a mere mortal in a costume, striking fear into the hearts of Gotham’s underworld. His task: hopeless. His life: tragic. His nipples: molded plastic?
Batman: Forever was released awhile ago, but I felt it needed a review. That was, of course, until I played the game. There’s only one thing to be said for a game whose ‘Character Select’ screen is the pinnacle of its achievement. Unfortunately, I can’t say it in front of our younger readers.
The plot of the game follows the movie in most respects. Riddler and Two-Face are up to no good and must be stopped by a guy wearing an eighty pound suit of molded plastic and his young sidekick. Your mission: stop the badguys any way possible. Batman Forever has no interesting plot, it’s not even coherent at times, but who buys a Batman game with a plot? (I would, but they’ve never made one.)
Now we get down to the nitty-gritty. Any seven year-old knows that Batman has no super powers. That’s one of the things that make him so slick as a superhero. Unfortunately, no one told that to the geniuses at Acclaim. In Batman Forever, you explode, freeze your enemies, multiply yourself, enter a ‘battle frenzy’, and various other actions that don’t involve the use of your utility belt. Now you might think I’m just being nit-picky, but when you float in the air surrounded by a pyrotechnic show worthy of Chinese New Year, you begin to wonder if Acclaim just substituted Batman in for a game they already had designed in order to capitalize on his popularity.
Enough of the ranting on their gross misinterpretation of Batman’s character, let’s talk about the game itself. When you press start, you’re shown a beautifully rendered image of Batman or Robin. You can even recognize that they modeled it after Val Kilmer and Chris O’Donnell. This screen has the slickest graphics I’ve ever seen on the Saturn. The Character Select screen raises your hopes and fools you into believing that this might be a good game. Unfortunately, that pipe dream is shattered the moment you push the start button again.
The character animation is just plain bad. That characters don’t walk, they slide across the bottom of the screen. While this would have been fantastic if you were playing The Wily Adventures of Gumby. in Batman Forever, it just seems out of place. The artists also seemed to have a problem with perspective. Many times, the people in the background look to be a good foot or two taller than both Batman and Robin. If I recall, you don’t normally see pictures of people looking down at a midget Batman. He would be a lot less intimidating. The designers also liked the idea of having the characters shrink at different parts of the game. Whenever Two-Face’s coin lands on “Evil”, the Dynamic Duo shrink to about a third of their normal height (no mushrooms needed here). It just didn’t make any sense. In fact, most of the game made very little sense.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but there are eight buttons on the Saturn controller, right? Well, why then does Batman Forever only use three? Punch, Kick, and Jump are your only options. If you collect a special weapon, kiss punch goodbye until you’ve used up your weapon. The Genesis has three buttons, not the Saturn. Such an obvious flaw shows how little time they spent programming this game.
On top of all that, the game is remarkably easy. By doing the same move, over and over and over, I was able to perform up to 181 hit combos! Sometimes, the character would just freak out and continue to hit the enemy long after I had stopped pressing any buttons.
With the release of the new Batman & Robin movie, we were afraid some of our readers might get caught up in the fever and want to by Batman: Forever. Hopefully, I have dissuaded you. Kudos to the artists who did the rendered images in the beginning, but the rest of the game belongs in a bargain bin (or another kind of bin).
(A video game for Batman & Robin is already in the works, and the alpha looks magnificent. Hopefully they’ll put some time and effort into that one.)