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Ocean Software Ltd
Arcade: Action
ZX Spectrum 48K
Multiple schemes (see individual downloads)

Other Links

Andy Smith
Chris Bourne

Batman licences? Ocean Gotham...

Not a sequel to the Jon Ritman game by any means, this begins a new generation of Batman licences, the first in what is rapidly set to turn into a series - the next one is going to be Batman The Movie.

This comic-strip style arcade adventure is essentially two games in one. One side of the tape has you up against arch-villain The Joker a caper called A Fete Worse Than Death, and the flip side of the tape pits the player against The Penguin in A Bird in The Hand. In the Penguin game, the dastardly criminal plans to dominate Gotham City by unleashing an army of mechanical penguins that he's manufacturing in an old umbrella factory. In the Joker game, Batman has to prevent bombs that have been placed under the Batcave from exploding while rescuing his youthful assistant Robin from the clutches of villains.

Both adventures start at the Batcave. Taking control of Batman, you wander around the game area collecting items (which sit on the floor flashing), before using them in the correct locations in order to progress. An element of combat is involved, but true to the original stones, no-one actually dies.

There are two main screen displays, and pulling down on the joystick with fire pressed toggles between them. In the main display mode, each location is viewed side-on, the size of the display depending on the size of the location and whether there are any objects in it. Leaving a location causes another frame to be laid over the old one on-screen - this continues until you either use or pick up an object, when the overlays clear and the display starts afresh. The other main screen mode is the static utilities screen which reveals health, strength, stamina and so on. It also contains a group of icons including a "use" icon and a "drop" icon, surrounded by the objects collected on your travels. To use an object, select it and click on the use icon.

As well as wandering around collecting objects, there are the criminal's minions to avoid or fight. Be careful though, because fighting takes energy which can only be replaced by collecting and eating (using) food, which is sometimes difficult to find.

Of the two games, the Penguin one is the easier. Comic strip captions often give you clues as to which object should be used where. There aren't so many clues when you're playing against the Joker though, so beware.

Batman The Caped Crusader is great fun to play. The puzzles can be tricky but with a little bit of lateral thinking they get easier.

Reviewer: Andy Smith

Atari ST, £19.95dk, Imminent
Amiga, £24.95dk, Imminent
Spectrum, £8.95cs, £14 95dk, Out Now
Amstrad, £9.95cs, £14.95dk, Imminent
C64/128, £9.95cs. £14.95dk, Imminent
IBM PC, Under development

Predicted Interest Curve

1 min: 88/100
1 hour: 90/100
1 day: 95/100
1 week: /80100
1 month: 60/100
1 year: 20/100

Start solving the puzzles, and it gets very involving.


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The screen display is great - there's even an option to play with the backgrounds in mono or full colour. The game plays well, though it is sometimes annoying to try a low kick on an opponent and end up in the utilities screen. Overall, it's fun to play, and will keep arcade (and Batman) fans happy for a long time.

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The Joker game - in living colour.

The Penguin game. Knowing when and where you use the objects is key.