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SummaryClassic Beat-'em-up that's even better than the movie it's based upon.
The GoodLet us start:
Graphics: The backgrounds have a lot of depth and detail, all the Stages follow scenes from the movie, and each and every one is refined and lovely to look at. My favourite is Stage 4 (The Penguin's Trap) where Batman has to fight his way in a dark building, with excellent use of low-key lighting and shadowing.
Sounds and Music: the hits and everything else are well-done, but the music is the cream of the crop. Almost every tune from Danny Elfman's terrific score is reproduced here and are clearly recognisable, the only popular Bat-game I remember to do so
Controls and Gameplay: If compared to TMHT IV: Turtles in Time (another Konami masterpiece), Batman moves a little slow, his jump is abrupt and cannot run. But that's not necessary as the levels are shorter, Batman can block, throw enemies into walls, glass windows and park benches, and his special move does not drain as much life as in Turtles in Time, and can use test tubes to break a crowd or hurt bosses. The controls are simple and responsive and you should not feel any problems with the interface at all as you can adjust them. Also, what distinguishes this game from other Beat 'em ups is the platformer-like sub-levels where Batman can use his batarangs to kill enemies and use his grappling gun to get through tough spots.
The BadIt's not very challenging, even on Mania mode and with limited continues, as you can coast through the game within 90 minutes or 2 hours on the harder settings. You take less time finishing the game than watching the movie itself. The only exceptions are Cat-woman and the Penguin, both of whom are extremely difficult as they have dashing attacks which you cannot block and can take away an entire life in one hit.
The Bottom LineThis one is the best of all the Batman Returns games. In my opinion, it's tied with the original Batman on the NES as the best Bat-game and is also one of the best movie-games ever made. In a genre where 90% of games based on movies are dreadful uses of licences, this one is a diamond in the rough and you'll want to play it again and again, even after you finish it.
I didn't like the movie that much for its overtly gloomy atmosphere, but the game is satisfying as hell.