Review by Nemo4ever

Reviewed: 11/11/02 | Updated: 12/05/02

Pretty good, for a Batman game anyway

Batman has been suffering from some lackluster games in the past few years. From “Batman Forever” (SNES) to “Batman Beyond” (PS), the Caped Crusader’s adventures have been average at best. “Batman Vengeance” is easily the best Batman game to come along in years, but the experience is hampered by a few glaring problems.

The story behind “Batman Vengeance” follows the superhero as he battles the Joker and his female sidekick, Harlequin. However, Poison Ivy and Mister Freeze quickly become involved in the conflict and it becomes obvious that there’s more to the case than what’s on the surface. The resulting adventure takes Batman all over Gotham in an effort to a foil a plan that could destroy the entire city. Overall, the story is pretty entertaining and occasionally funny, although not terrible original.

Batman Vengeance is based off the WB cartoon series that ran throughout the nineties and its graphical style is very faithful to the show. The show was known for its simple, dark environments, so the game isn’t overly stunning in terms of visuals, but it maintains a steady framerate. The music is very reminiscent of the show as well, and matches the game’s shadowy environments. “Batman Vengeance” even employs the voices of the actors from the animated series, who fit their parts perfectly.

Controls are fairly easy to learn, especially since the game has a nice tutorial at the beginning. One button punches while another controls jumping and kicking. Other buttons control smoke bombs and the Bat Communicator. Most of the time you play in third-person mode with the camera following Batman from behind, but frequently you’ll have to switch to first-person mode to throw batarangs and fire the grappling hook. First-person mode can be frustrating as it’s hard to center your aim on a target. Switching to and from first-person can be awkward, too, and one has to wonder why the developers didn’t simply implement an auto-aiming feature for projectiles.

Combat is a hit-or-miss affair, but the misses can be a real pain. Whether or not you hit your opponent seems completely random, but eventually you’ll learn to block and then counterattack. If you want to you can jump over most enemies and completely avoid confrontations. On the other hand, boss battles are diverse and exciting, frequently
forcing you use your head to defeat supervillains.

Occasionally you’ll take control of the Batmobile and the Batwing to pursue your foes. While these levels are fun and fast-paced, they’re also mercilessly unforgiving. Missing one turn or hitting one building instantly ends the stage and you’re forced to start over from the last checkpoint. Even so, you’ll probably adapt to this annoyance and find the chase scenes refreshing.

Overall, “Batman Vengeance” is an impressive, but flawed game that succeeds well at capturing the world of the DC hero. The game punishes you for mistakes, forcing you repeat large section of stages over again. However the varied gameplay and moody atmosphere could maintain your interest if you can see past these nagging drawbacks. Be on the lookout for “Batman: Dark Tomorrow”, which is based off of the comic book series in the next few months.

Rating:   2.5 - Playable

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