Batman Returns

Moby ID: 3620

Critic Reviews add missing review

Average score: 67% (based on 8 ratings)

Player Reviews

Average score: 3.0 out of 5 (based on 12 ratings with 2 reviews)

Boring game, great Batman-simulator

The Good
This version of Batman Returns is quite odd, sure the console games followed the standard rule at the time and were just a bunch of Final Fight clones with the Batman license slapped over them... groan. However, the DOS version denied us the bat-bashing action of the 8 and 16 bit adaptations, and instead gave us a weird adventure game that focused on the detective-like qualities of the Dark Knight. Basically the game starts you off with the first events that appeared in the movie (the clown gang's attack) and has you following the main events from that point on not by beating the crap out of every gang member that crosses your path, but rather by monitoring events all over Gotham City and collecting clues that help you foil the Penguin's plot to destroy the city with some rocket-launching penguins! And this is what makes it so unique as a Batman game: the fact that it simulates to an extent the detective side of the Dark Knight by allowing you to tap into police and news flashes from your the Batcave, connect and analyse the different types of evidence you gather (from videotapes to blood samples to incriminating documents) and then launch to fight crime by selecting the suit you'll use (each has a depletable amount of armor, so managing them correctly is a must) as well as the gadgets you'll take into battle which include all sorts of smoke and gas bombs as well as different versions of the classic batarang and other assorted goodies. What weapondry you carry with you makes a difference since you may want to interrogate your opponents, feat which is impossible to do if they end up with their heads bashed in. All of these features are controlled from your Batcave hub which works as a series of nice hotspot-loaded backgrounds which take you to different submenus and from which you launch towards the many movie-sanctioned locations that work in the same way. This changes of course when you have to the Bat-twist with the many Gotham City gang members and then the game switches to a fighting game-like perspective with you and your current opponent in each corner for you to duke it out. Combat however is completely a directly controlled affair, and besides some standard arcadey rudimentary control you have to select the actions to be taken by Bats from a lower menu shaped like the bat-belt and watch the action unfold. Not exactly a super-exciting approach, but fitting nonetheless for what's essentially an adventure game.

The production values were pretty impressive for the game at the time, I remember struggling for an entire afternoon with my cousin to try and get the bastard to run properly, but once it did we were graced with some truly amazing (for the time anyway) graphics that captured the great look of the film with lush VGA backgrounds of a snowy Gotham and lovingly drawn sprites and cutscenes, which were also complemented with great sounds and music to complete the general vibe.

The Bad
The sad truth is that regardless of it's cool features the game itself isn't really that amazing. For starters there is a remarkable lack of direction and dynamism, in other words, it's just boring. Most of the time you are just waiting for something to happen and then engage in the same fights against the same bozos with the hope that some revealing clue pops up, and that my friends takes me to a killer flaw in the game design. The entire game revolves around randomly appearing clues that enable you to continue the plot or keep you locked in a perpetual state of nothingness. If the stars aligned for you that day, when you visit the Penguin's penthouse you'll find a videotape of him explaining his masterplan, otherwise you'll just waste your time and will have to wander the streets of Gotham until the available days run out and the Penguin strikes, with the obvious consequences to your bat-popularity.

If things do work out for you, then you just engage in a rather simple connect-the-dots adventure game with little to no challenge to anyone regardless of their gaming experience. There are some little action sequences that involve piloting Bat's Batmovile and Bat-uh...sewer speed boat? But regardless of that you'll be seeing the ending cutscene with Bats speeding away in his Batmovile in no time.

The Bottom Line
A rather boring game that at best is a weak adventure game that poses near zero challenge to anyone and at worst a perpetual exercise in bat-boredom where you just wait around until some game-saving clue falls from the sky and let's you move on with the difference all lying on that randomly-appearing clue. Still it's great production values make the whole experience very palatable, and the interesting approach the game takes towards the simulation of the Dark Knight's more esoteric skills by providing you with access to the batcave's many functions and giving you a more in-depth look at the many gadgets and items Bats has to deal with on a daily basis instead of just punching a badguy's nose in turns the whole experience into a much more interesting thing that the game itself.

Recommended for collectors, people that like to dwelve into adventure gaming's lesser-known waters, and Bat-fans of every kind. NOT for those that just want to enjoy a good game.

DOS · by Zovni (10504) · 2003

Pretty cool back in the days.

The Good
It's a totally different Batman than on the other platforms. It's an adventure with a tiny bit of combat strategy. The first time I played the game, I was amazed by the graphics and sound effects that sounded quite realistic on the PC speaker.

The Bad
The strategy (i.e. fighting) part of the game was boring and sometimes unpredictable. I wished I could just take full control of Batman and beat the crap out of the clowns.

The Bottom Line
It's a detective kind of adventure game, with puzzles that borrows much from the movie. If you've seen the movie, it's solvable without needing a walkthrough. The story doesn't start from A to Z. It begins somewhere near the middle of the movie where the Penguin's members started attacking the city. As Batman, you are to thwart the mysterious villains by doing helluva lot of investigation and occasionally fist fight in auto-mode.

DOS · by 1NDecent (2) · 2014

Contributors to this Entry

Critic reviews added by Crawly, Tim Janssen, Patrick Bregger.