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Batman: The Video Game (NES)

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Written by  :  Multimedia Mike (19999)
Written on  :  Aug 03, 2005
Rating  :  4.67 Stars4.67 Stars4.67 Stars4.67 Stars4.67 Stars

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Outstanding (and unprecedented) movie adaptation

The Good

Video game adaptations of popular blockbuster movies are notoriously awful (the reverse is often true as well). This rule was particularly true on the NES. Happily, Batman shattered that rule.

This is one of my all-time favorite action video games. I like everything about it: The graphics were top-notch for the NES. Everything is dark and grim, just like the franchise upon which the game is based. The attention to animation detail is phenomenal. Nowhere is this better evidenced than in the Dark Knight's cape-- it flows beautifully as the character moves and rests perfectly on stop.

Then there is the music. Excellent music on every game level that exquisitely highlights the dreary feel of Gotham City's sewer and the urgency of climbing the Gotham cathedral bell tower.

What about gameplay? Sharp and responsive. The Batman character is strong and reasonably quick. He also has a fantastic and versatile ability to bounce off walls to simulate a climb up narrow spaces. Weapons? Batman has 4 separate offensive options at his disposable. Each has benefits and drawbacks, forcing the player to consider weapon trade-offs during the game.

How about challenge? I have always considered the level of challenge to be just right-- not too hard, not too easy. You will have to work at it, but you should be able to complete it in a reasonable amount of time. And you will have a short but sweet ending sequence waiting for you at the end.

Then there is the matter of movie accuracy. The game sort of loosely follows the rough outline of the movie plot. That's a good thing. Too many movie-based video games try to follow the plot too carefully and it winds up being (one of many reasons for) a game's downfall. The game relates various plot points through the use of cinema cut scenes. Fortunately, these scenes are always short and to the point; a lesser game would have stretched the scenes out much farther.

The Bad

The level 5 music is the same as the level 1 music. Too bad there was not another tune since the audio composer, About.SS, writes some amazing tunes.

The Bottom Line

The NES adaptation of the 1989 Batman movie is one of the best action video games ever published, excelling in all areas that count for a video game.