Batman: The Movie logo Format Gold

OCEAN £24.99 * Joystick or Keyboard

The Dark Knight has returned. The success of Frank Miller's groundbreaking graphic novel has revitalised a hero presumed extinct. Further novels, repeats of the TV series and a new film have followed. Now there is the game of the film, pitting Batman against the Joker in what can only be called a cataclysmic confrontation.

The battle takes place over five sections, related to scenes in the film. Curtain up on the Axis chemical factory which is being attacked by jack Napier and his cronies. Batman has to find his way through the plant to Jack and deposit him into the acid vat that turns him into the Joker.

The factory is depicted by a 2D, multi-directional scrolling system of rooms and platforms. The place is absolutely crawling with Napier's henchmen. They patrol the platforms attacking the Bat with guns and grenades. There are also acid and gas leaks which can deplete energy if run into. The trusty Batarang can protect you fro the henchpersons, while the Batrope is used to climb up to platforms above.

The first section is tough, but a bit of perseverance reveals the route to jack and the exit to the next section. The real art becomes getting through it without losing one of the three lives.

Section Two is on the streets of Gotham City in the Batmobile. It is a race back to the Batcave before time runs out or the car conks out. As you thunder through the streets the traffic blocks the way and damages the car when it hits them. Roadside objects should also be avoided. A direction arrow points the way home, indicating when the Batmobile needs to take a turn. The only way to turn is to shoot a grapnel round a lamppost and slingshot round it. However, if you miss three turns-offs, you run straight into a roadblock: and that is the end of your life I am affair, Batperson.

Back in the Batcave, the Joker's Smilex poison has to be isolated by mixing three objects. There are eight objects to choose from and a limited time to mix them. It is solved just like the old game Mastermind: select three objects and you are told how many are correct, but not which ones.

Section Four is back to the streets of Gotham, this time in the Batwing. It is carnival time now and the Joker has lined the streets with deadly gas balloons. They are floating from cakes and all Batty boy has to do is fly through the ropes to release the balloons into the air. Hitting the balloons, cakes or roadside obstacles damages the Batwing and going too slowly introduces the risk of running out of time to reach home. If you can survive all that, the final section is set in Gotham cathedral. It is similar to the first section in the factory, with henchmen attacking. There are additional hazards like crumbling floors to complicate the task even more.

At the top of the cathedral the Joker awaits. Defeat him here or he will escape in a helicopter and you will have to do the game over again, won't you?

GRAPHICS AND SOUND

The 2D sections are competent in terms of graphics - functional rather than stunning. The street scenes are another matter. Whizzing along Gotham's darkened streets is much better to look at and extremely batmospheric. The rolling road and all the objects are fast and well drawn: a definite touch of class. Watch out for those 90-degree turns. Smashing.

JUDGEMENT

The five sections hang together well as a game. Each one is tricky and takes some mastering. It is unfortunate that if all lives are lost you have to restart from the chemical factory, but that certainly proves a challenge. It is edge of the seat excitement that grips you solidly. It is addictive, certainly, and though it is also frustrating at times and you could tire of it after a while, Batfans will not be disappointed.
Batbob Wade


Batman: The Movie logo Amiga Joker Hit

Schon mal was von BATMAN gehört? Wie, ungefähr tausendmal? Okay, okay, ist ja schon gut, wir können das Fledermaus-Logo schön langsam auch nicht mehr sehen! Aber Film hin, Hype her, das neue Ocean-Game muss man gesehen haben!

Gotham City - Axis Chemical Plant. Bruce Wayne hat soeben erfahren, daß Jack Napier mit seinen Leuten die Chemiefabrik überfallen will. Sofort hüpft der eifrige Millionär in seinen Fledermaus-Dress und macht sich auf dem Weg, um der Gerechtigkeit erneut zum Sieg zu verhelfen...

In der Fabrik begrüßen ihn die Gangster auch schon mit Schießeisen und Handgranäten; Batman verteidigt sich mit dem Batarang und versucht, zum Ausgang zu gelängen, wo Napier bereist auf ihn Wartet. Die Sequenz erinnert stark an "Bionic Commando", da man sich hier wie dort von Plattform zu Plattform hangeln muß, während die Angreifer reichlich von ihren Waffen Gebrauch machen.

Sollte unser Flattermann zu viele Treffer einkassieren oder öfter mit herabtropfender Säure sowie lecken Gasleitungen Bekanntschaft machen, so verändert sich sein Gesicht am unteren Bildschirmrand deutlich, und bald ist eines der anfänglich drei Leben dahin. Gelingt es hingegen, sich bis zum fiesen Napier durchzuschlagen und den Finsterling zu besiegen, fällt dieser in einen Tank mit toxischer Flüssigkeit, was dem guten Mann gar nicht bekommt: Grüne Haare, weißes Gesicht und irrer Blick - der JOKER ist geboren! (nicht verwandt und nicht verschwägert mit dem Amiga Joker!).

Im nächsten der fünf Level ist ein Auto-Rennen im "Out Run"-Stil angesagt: Einfach den Richtungspfeilen des Radarsystems folgen, abbremsen ist überflüssig, da auch das Batmobil mittels Bat-Seil um die Kurven flitzt! Die gelungene Animation macht die Raserei zum puren Vergnügen, dennoch sollte man vor Begeisterung nicht den rechtzeitigen Richtungswechsel verpassen - sonst landet man unversehens in einer von der Polizei gesperrten Sackgasse! Aber Beeilung: Time is money - nur wer unter dem Zeitlimit bleibt, kassiert kräftig Punkte!

Ein Zwischenaufenthalt führt uns in das Labor der Bathöhle, wo es zur Abwechslung mal eine kleine Denksportaufgabe zu lösen gibt: Der Joker hat verschiedene alltägliche Gebrauchsgegenstände mit seinem tödlichen Lach-Gift verseucht. Mit Hilfe von Batmans Computer (doch sicher ein Amiga, oder?) muß man herausfinden, welche Objekte infiziert sind. Alles in allem ein hübsches Puzzlespiel, bei dem besonders der gelungene Sound zu überzeugen weiß.

In den letzten beide Spielabschnitten ist dann eigentlich nichts Neues mehr geboten: Zunächst wird wieder durch Gotham's Straßen gehetzt, nur diesmal mit dem Batwing, einer Art Mini-Düsenjäger. Dabei sollen Ballons zum Davonfliegen gebracht werden, indem man die Halteleinen kappt (ziemlich ähnlich dem Bonuslevel von "Gee Bee Air Rally"...). Zum Abschluß geht's wieder ans Gangsterkillen - eine Neuauflage von Level eins, mit etwas anderer Grafik, neuer Musik, und natürlich eine ganze Ecke schwieriger!

Wie schon eingangs erwähnt: Man kann über den Film (und besonders den dazugehörigen Monster-Werbefeldzug!) geteilter Meinung sein, aber das Spiel ist gelungen! Zwar werden sich geübte Joystick-Artisten erheblich leichter tun als Newcomer, jedoch garantiert das hochgradig faire Gameplay eine lang anhaltende Motivation. Grafik und Scrolling sind über (fast) jeden Zweifel erhaben, schade nur, daß auf PAL-Screen verzichtet wurde. Ein weiterer Schönheitsfehler ist, daß die Highscores nicht gesaved werden, und man bei vorzeitigem Heldentod wieder bei Adam und Eva anfangen muß. Über derlei Kleinigkeiten wird der begeisterte Action-Fan jedoch sicher gerne hinwegsehen. Anders ausgedrückt: "Now the legend has really returned!" (mm)


Batman: The Movie logo CU Amiga Screen Star

Ocean
Price: £24.99

No, I did not buy the boxer shorts (£6.99), or read the comic books (£5.99). I did not even see the film until September 11th and I was not remarkably impressed with that either. Give me the good old days any time, when Adam West was faced with Caesar Romero and an army of easily KO'd bad guys. Nowadays it is all these fancy gizmos and five million dollar pay packets. The Batman - the Movie game, however, is truly something special.

The first sequence of the game takes place in the Axis chemical plant with Batman battling Jack Napier (Jack Nicholson, $6,000,000). In case not anybody knew, Jack Napier goes on to become the Joker and signs a lucrative deal for "Batman 2". Armed with an endless supply of Batarangs and the Bathook, Batman swings from platform to platform, often encountering walls, pipes and bad guys in the process. But thanks to his body armour he can take quite a bit of damage. Among other hazards to face are dripping acids, clouds of toxic fumes, machine gun armed villains and the green-coated sidekick with infinite supplies of anti-superhero grenades.

The next section is amazing. Batman is now behind the wheel of his Batmobile and is racing through the streets of Gotham City trying to avoid the police, who are charging him with being a vigilante. This is not just a straightforward driving game, you can turn corners as well. A handy arrow flashes up on the screen telling you there is a turn-off coming, and a quick tap of the fire button launches a grappling hook which connects with a lamp post and conveniently swings you around the bend. Miss too many turn-offs, and you are guaranteed to run into a police roadblock. The most amazing thing about this sequence is the speed and quality of the graphics: they are far superior to anything yet seen on a home computer driving game, and a hopeful indicator as to what Ocean's Chase HQ might look like.

When Batman makes it back to the Batcave he then has to use the Batcomputer to work out which combination of toiletries are being used to poison Gotham City's clean folk. Not a particularly interesting section, a bit like the photo-fit sequence in Robocop. Once he has done that it is back on the streets in his Batwing.

Similar to the excellent driving sequence, Batman has to pilot the Batwing down Gotham City's main highway trying to deactivate poison gas balloons. If you do not make the proper connection with the balloons you start to take damage, indicated by the wings burning.

The last section finds Batman going after the Joker in Gotham City cathedral. It is very similar to level one with plenty of platforms and bad guys to negotiate. And at the end, there is the final confrontation with the Joker himself.

Batman - The Movie is a tremendous game, it follows the plot closely but does not sacrifice any gameplay. The graphics are of a high standard throughout and very well designed. The theme tune contains samples from the film and has a very funky feel to it. A highly playable and entertaining game.


Batman: The Movie logo

It's here - the Amiga version of Ocean's stunner has emerged from the Batcave! Sean Kelly threw on his batcape and cut through the bat-hype with his batarang to bring you the Batman review all you Amigans have been waiting for.

Amiga reviewRight, no faffing about with a really predictable "Holy something or other" start - let's just launch straight into the gullet of Ocean's little number, squidge about in the giblets a bit, and pass a verdict as we emerge, refreshed, at the other end. (Not sure I like the sound of this one. Ed.)

The first section is set in the Axis Chemical Plant, and to secure victory the ol' guano maker just use the batrope to work his way up and down the levels of the factory. Along the way Jack Napier's henchmen must be disposed of - the most effective method being the batarang in the belly. (heuch!) Victory in the final confrontation on this level will result in Jack being dumped in a mixture of Ol' Dugturd's Original Pale Ale, Sellafield sludge and mineral water - an experience which will result in his becoming The Joker. (Woooooh!)

In the next section Batman jumps in his trusty batmobile and makes good his escape from The Joker through the streets of Gotham, avoiding both police roadbocks and the smiling one's minions Outrun style. Corners are negotiated by a timely chuck of the grapnel hook to twang round using lamp posts.

The middle section will find you back in the batcave attempting to isolate three substances which have been impregnated with The Joker's lethal smilex chemical. Yikes!

For the penultimate section it's back to the mean streets of Gotham City, this time flying in the Batwing. Balloons have been filled with smilex gas (boo! by The Joker (hiss!) and you must fly the Batwing through the mooring ropes of the balloons, causing them to float harmlessly away (hurrah!).

And finally Cyril... and finally Esther, it's the big showdown with The Joker, set against the backdrop of the Gotham City Cathedral. Similar to the first section, this time crumbling floors and vicious rats must be avoided before an even more final confrontation with The Joker on the roof of the cathedral. So that's that. Did Ocean belt out a pile of guano, or did the wily ol' dogs have an eye on the licence for Batman II and hence produce a decent game?

Batman is, fortunately, an excellent game. The first and fifth sections are excellent examples of how to produce a brilliant arcade adventure, whilst the driving and flying sequences are almost games in their own right. Where most games attempting to pack in several sections tend to leave out playability in order to squeeze all the code in, Batman doesn't, and manages to be both fantastically addictive and slickly programmed.

Each section is colourfully designed and it's obvious that someone has taken a lot of pride in getting the details just right. All the figures are well animated - watching our hero chuck out the batrope and climb it, is still visually satisfying several hours into playing the game.

Similarly the gloomy, brooding streets of Gotham City are well portrayed in the driving and flying sequences. Sound comes courtesy of a neat little tune and the usual thuddy noises and sampled gunshots.

There's a bit of time wasted in pointless disk accessing, but this doesn't affect the playability of the actual game, though, and this is where Batman is outstanding. A well though out adaptation of the movie, and brilliantly programmed to boot. Every batfan should have a copy. Actually, everybody with an Amiga should have one. Go and invest in a copy this instant or the joker's on you.


Batman: The Movie logo Zzap! Gold Medal

Ocean, Amiga £24.99

Two days after our deadline, Amiga Batman swung into the ZZAP! Offices and blown us all away. The first stage has a similar layout to the C64, but more acid drops, steam jets and criminals make it tougher, in addition the criminals fire faster and aim when you're under them - not nice!

The Batmobile section has you racing into the screen in full 3-D perspective with incredibly detailed buildings whizzing past at great speed. As on all the stages, there is a choice of superb sound or brilliant FX. The drone of the Batmobile engine, and the thump as it comes down after bouncing over a hill is great. You race through traffic against a time limit, turning left or right where indicated. Miss a turning and you get two more chances before running into a roadblock.

The Batcave section is the same, only with less slots to put your guesses in. Then it's the Batwing section, again in full 3-D. Cut the balloons free to save Gotham before time runs out.

The final section is the Cathedral with appropriate graphics, new criminals and lots of rats!


PHIL: I was expecting the detailed backgrounds and sprites, but what came as a surprise was the increased difficulty. Level one is a lot tougher, as is the totally brilliant 3-D Batmobile section - an astonishing game itself! All five levels are extremely playable with plenty of gameplay variety, making this a true Amiga classic.
RH: The fantastic thing about Batman is that it really is an Amiga game and not just a conversion. The first level is a better challenge, but the Batmobile section - well, words fail me - the 3-D effect has more speed and detail than I thought possible. The sound effects are good but it is the music that really got me excited - the Batmobile section has a stunning rock track and the Batcave a panic inducing up-tempo tune. Overall, unbelievable!
STU: Up until now, Ocean has failed to produce a massive state-of-the-art 16-bit game. Now they have, and it is amazing. Racing along in the Batmobile with the sound turned way up is just so good, in fact presentation is overwhelming all the way through. Each section is so enjoyable to play that it is hard to pick favourites. This is one Amiga game that more than justifies its price. Awesome.