Review by The Crow

Reviewed: 12/07/02 | Updated: 12/07/02

"I'm not gonna kill ya. I want you to do me a favor. I want you to tell all your friends about me..."

Batman games are a strange breed. Prior to this game, there were only three companies with winners under their belt for the franchise: Sunsoft(The classic NES and Genesis versions of Batman), Sega (The Adventures of Batman and Robin for Genesis, despite being TOUGHER THAN HELL::dies::), and Konami (Batman Returns and Adventures of Batman and Robin for SNES). Anyone else who's taken a shot (::coughAcclaimcough::) has failed miserably. Until now.

Batman Vengeance isn't going to inspire the same amount of reverence as some of the aforementioned titles do years down the road, but Ubi Soft has managed to pull something cool out of the hat after years of waiting.

Remember the credits sequence in Batman:Mask of the Phantasm? It was the first time we saw Gotham in 3-D....this game simply takes it to the next logical level. Although the blocky style does take a little getting used to(then again, so did the squarish look of the cartoon back when we first saw it 10 years, I'm gettin' old ::dies again::), it fits the mood perfectly. The character motions are fluid, always moving at a solid 60 fps, and slowdown is virtually non-existent, not even during the Batplane chase through Gotham, which is absolutely loaded with obstacles that conventional logic would tell you should grind the game to a screeching halt

Mark Hamill, anyone? I tell ya, this guy IS The Joker. No disrespect to Nicholson, but Mark Hamill OWNS that voice now. Hands down.....oh, thats right...the game's sound.
Obviously, the fact that all the voices from the animated series have returned is a huge plus. Hell, it always is, even with the Sega CD Spy-Hunter-on-Valium Batman and Robin, the appearance of this group of voices was what kept you going. Fortunately, unlike that game, theres more to love than that.
The basic theme from the cartoon doesn't show up here, but what is here doesnt betray the feel of the series in the least. All orchestral suspense type stuff that fits the mood nicely.
All the other sounds are carried out nicely, with nothing to offend the ears to be found. The only bit of strangeness is that from time to time, some soundbytes drop in volume for no reason(especially during the Joker/Batman fight)...its counterbalanced by the subtitles(you knew there had to be a reason why you cant turn those damn things off), but its still a bit odd.

This is the one huge point of complaint. Yes, there's a training course, but its not nearly comprehensive enough to get you used to the control scheme before jumping into action. You do get used to it as time goes on, but it does take more time than normal to adjust to.

It looks complex(and yes, there is much to explore), but in reality, the gameplay is the most linear structure ive seen in a long while. Keep moving forward till you find enemies, a door, a key, a grappling point, or a boss. Thats it. Not that this is a bad thing in the least. Much as i love the complexity of newer games, every once in a while, i do long for one of those games i can just plop down in front of and start playing.(a friend letting me borrow Castlevania Chronicles for PS1 reminded me of that). This isnt quite one of them, as exampled by the control scheme, but it is very easy to get into, and thats a good thing.

As i said, the game doesnt really offer much new or groundbreaking, or maybe even memorable...but what this does offer is the most solid Bat-experience in quite a while. If you're tired of settling for less (i.e. the unworthy travesty that was the N64 Batman Beyond game), this should suit you just fine. The next big question becomes how will Dark Tomorrow stack up?

Buy or Rent--Buy
Because of the upcoming Dark Tomorrow game, you should be able to find this game, as i did, relatively cheap. And cheap is always good. You shouldnt be disappointed.

Rating:   4.0 - Great

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