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Ocean Software Ltd
1989
Arcade: Action
£9.99
£3.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K/128K
Multiple schemes (see individual downloads)

Other Links


48
Eugene Lacey
Chris Bourne

Ocean relicensed to clean up - again.

This must be the first time I can honestly say "Great game shame about the film".

No, I didn't like the movie. Not that it matters much as everyone has seen it by now anyway and (regardless of what I thought of it) there is no doubt that it provides excellent material for converting into computer entertainment.

This is the last of the mid-89 film blockbusters to be converted to the home computer screen. We've had James Bond, Indiana Jones, and now the Caped Crusader from Gotham City enters the fray in what is by far the best of 'em all in terms of computer entertainment.

Right from the opening screens you can see and hear the quality of the conversion and get to grips with the Batgear you have always longed to have a go on. There is the famous Bat-rope with its Bat-anchor that latches onto window ledges and enables our hero to swing into action. As well as the Batshurikens that the super hero can lob at the villains to "Kapow" them out of the action.

The game commences in the warehouse of Axis Chemicals where all sorts of toxic substances are leaking from pipes and dangerous gasses being exuded into the air. The Joker's men are everywhere and Batman needs to be nimble to avoid them. His Batsuit has been made impregnable to bullets - up to a certain number. He is, however, helpless against the bombs being lobbed at him by the green suited villain. These will knock him off his rope or kill him should they make contact enough times.

This opening platform level makes for an absorbing game in its own right. Swinging around on the ropes is excellent fun - and nothing has ever been done like it before in a platform game - unless you count Cuthbert in The Jungle, in which case you're probably too busy collecting a pension to play this game. Of course there have been other ropes before but nothing as sophisticated as this. You have to be a sure shot when you throw your rope in order to swing into the right position, kicking a few villains into the middle of next week as you fly through the air.

Another neat graphical touch is the way the Bat-cap flies up when you jump to a platform below. The game has quality written all over it.

There are five levels in total. As well as the Axis Factory you will see action in the Bat Cave, Batmobile, Batwing, and face a final showdown with the Joker in Gotham Cathedral.

All of the sections of the game are entertaining and rewarding but the real thrill of the game is when you sit behind the wheel of the Batmobile. Ocean have correctly given this most attention of all - and what an excellent job they have made of it.

It plays like a sort of Bat-style Chase HQ coin-op which - considering Ocean have the rights to that coin-op - bodes well for more thrills to come from the Mancunian games house. The aim of the game here is to sort out the Joker's van which is speeding through the streets of Gotham City.

Taking the controls of the Batwing launches another 3D game which has been superbly executed. Reminiscent of Afterburner as you swoop low over the carnival taking out the balloons (filled with nerve gas) that the Joker is using to hold Gotham City to ransom.

The final confrontation with the Joker takes place in Gotham Cathedral. This is another platform affair which is very similar to the Axis Factory. The map is different though - and equally vast - so be prepared to jot down a few simple sketch maps to help you find your way around as you track down the opposition.

Ocean have captured all of the atmosphere of the film but have sensibly concentrated on a few of the action sequences. This makes for five entertaining and challenging arcade games at the end of which (if you're successful) you'll triumph over the Joker without having to go through a complex arcade-adventure style challenge as you do.for example, in the recent Indy Action game. Maybe other licensee's will learn a lesson here.

Ocean are to be congratulated for putting so much effort into an excellent arcade game - especially when, given the Bat-hype, even Bat-shaped Space invaders would have won them the number one slot on all formats. Proves that cynical commercialism does not always triumph over high personal and professional standards.

Reviewer: Eugene Lacey

RELEASE BOX
Atari ST, £19.99dk, Imminent
Amiga, £24.99dk, Out Now
Spec, £9.99cs, £14.99dk, Imminent
C64/128, £9.99cs, £14.99dk, Imminent

It'll take you a while to sort out the Joker. It is good fun doing so, but ultimately Bat hype will pass as will the appeal of this game.

7/10
7/10
8/10
8/10
911/1000

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SPECTRUM VERSION

Only two colours on certain levels but retaining the same game play as the other versions. The Batmobile level is slightly different on the Spectrum in that it is a horizontally scrolling race - as opposed to the 3D version described above. Every bit as much fun to play as the 16-bit versions.

AMIGA VERSION

Full of sound and graphical frills. There is a delightful screen when Jack Nicholson's Joker appears laughing, and later asks if you "have ever danced in the pale moonlight". Far superior sound and speed to all other versions as the Amiga flexes its muscles and shows its superiority in the Caped Crusader game.

Graphics: 8/10

Audio: 8/10

IQ Factor: 8/10

Fun Factor: 9/10

Ace Rating: 922/1000

Predicted Interest Curve

1 min: 80/100

1 hour: 90/100

1 day: 95/100

1 week: 100/100

1 month: 50/100

1 year: 0/100

Screenshot Text

The mask tells you who is winning.

Batmobile enters the 16bit Grand Prix.

Amiga Batman - Commodore's joker in the pack to sell Amiga's this Xmas.