Batman Returns logo

He's back and he's still wearing the same clothes. Though I'm sure they've been carefully laundered by Alfred.

Now then friends, we all know Batman is a superhero but here he is faced with such fiends as Catwoman, the Penguin and the oddly-named Red Triangle Circus Gang. (Remember the Red Hand Gang? Well, it's not them). And even the Dark Knight needs a helping hand. That's where you come in, if you buy the game, of course. And where the hell's Robin when you need him? Oh, he left to set up that restaurant, didn't he?

Not surprisingly, the latest shenanigans take place in the Caped Crusader's home, Gotham City. Not that he lives in the centre, the Batcave is located in a salubrious suburb. And a potent cocktal the action is too (Not! - well, Wayne's World is back), with elements of beat-em-up and shoot-em-up as well as the usual platform horsin' around. It's a serious business.

Five levels of madness await as the Batmeister journeys across the great city battling against acrobats, stilt-walkers and even mad motorcyclists. Weapons available to quell the fools include the Batrope, Baterang (very useful, sometimes), time bomb and Batdisk.

Batman Returns lacks excitement and atmosphere and it seems the money was spent to acquiring the official licence rather than on the game itself.

Graphically, it's poor and even though around a tenner less than most games, it's still a tremendous disappointment. Batman himself is small and extremely tough to control, and by jove, the in-game music is appalling. Very sad.

Zu spät geflättert

Batman Returns logo

Der Film ist schon fast vergessen, und das gleichnamige Movie-Adventure vom PC hat auch bereits ein Jahr am Buckel - da präsentiert uns Konami nun ein preiswertes Jump & Run in exakt der gleichen Verpackung.

Daß auch die Hintergrundstory dieser "Mogelpackung" wohlbekannt ist, kann indesse kaum verwundern: Immer noch will sich der böse Pinguin Gotham City unter die Flosse reißen, immer noch kann nur der maskierte Flattermann die Stadt retten...

Der Kampf zwischen Gut und Böse geht über fünf Levels, beginnt auf der Straße und endet in einem großen Showdown mit dem fiesen Wasservogel auf einem Hausdach. Dazwischen soll sich der Held zahlreicher Gegner (die oft genug von allen Seiten gleichzeitig über ihn herfallen) erwehren, wozu anfangs Hände und Füße genügen müssen.

Erschwerend kommt hinzu, daß nur die selbst erzielten, aber nicht die kassierten Treffer eindeutig zu erkennen sind, so daß man immer auf den Energiebalken schielen muß.

Im Lauf der Zeit stolpert man dann jedoch über diverse Bat-Gerätschaften wie Batarang, - seil oder -scheibe, die sich via Spacetaste anwählen lassen.

Außerdem gibt es Zusatzenergie und Punkteboni zum Aufklauben, sobald wieder eine Angriffswelle der Motorradrocker, Stelzenläufer etc. niedergeschlagen wurde - und für akute Notfälle die Continues.

Grafisch verspricht das Intro mehr, als das Game halten kann; Die Sprites sind klein und, mit Ausnahme des Helden, recht einfallslos animiert. Auch die Soundbegleitung und die träge Steuerung sorgen nicht gerade für Hochstimmung; das Beste an Batmans Rückkehr ist sicher der günstige Preis. Wer also ein durchschnittliches, aber relativ schweres Plattformgame sucht, soll tun, was ihn ja nicht allzuviel kostet. (ms)

Batman Returns logo

He's back, in black - The Dark Knight stalks the streets. And Batman, too.

This reeks of damage limitation. It looks like they bought the licence, started the game, realised they'd never get it out in time to catch the publicity wave, finished it off as quickly as possible and stuck it out quietly as possible and stuck it out quietly with the minimum of fuss and effort in the hope that it wouldn't lose too much money.

I wouldn't mind betting there's no more than about 500 copies in existence in the whole world, in a completely uninformed, stab-in-the-dark, I'm-only-saying-that-in-an-exaggerated-point-making kind of way, or course. I mean, we're talking about a game here that doesn't even have a title screen in the conventional sense. When you finish one game and enter your name on the high-score table, it just sits there flashing 'Press Fire To Start' at the bottom of the screen forever, until you start again.

There's no demo mode. No options screen. No picture saying 'Hey, This Is Batman Returns, Be Excited!'. Nothing. At all. (And if you do have another game, you don't even get a 'Game Over' screen when it's finished).

Now, obviously, that's not really a flaw as such. We wouldn't take any marks off for not having a pretty title screen between games. But all the same, it's a pretty good starting indication of the loving care and attention that's been lavished on this game, isn't it?

Okay, nobody's being exactly conned - Gametek have spotted the state of things at an early stage and stuck it out at 15 quid, but frankly that's still two or three times what it's worth.

Batman moves like a puppet on elastic strings

I remember Dentons (or Denton Designs as they used to be) from back in the old 8-bit days. They were good. What the hell are they playing all with diabolical crap like this? It's a scrolling beat-'em-up. It's got tiny little graphics, which would actually be a good thing if any use was made of them, but all you actually get is lots of tiny sprites walking up to Batman, just the same as in Final Fight or something, and tons of empty space all around.

You get loads of moves, but the best way to deal with baddies is to stand on a platform higher than them and punch repeatedly as they ump at you. Batman moves not like a bat, but like a puppet on elastic strings, and appears to jump, move and stand in a completely arbitrary way.

Sometimes you can jump straight up and reach a platform, sometimes you can do the same jump and not make it. Sometimes you can stand on the edge of a platform, sometimes you fall through it like it wasn't there. Sometimes touching the joystick makes Bats shuffle along a pixel or so, sometimes it makes him lunge about 12 feet and right off the edge of whatever he was standing on. You get power-ups, but even the first-level cannon-fodder baddies can dodge them.

I'd like to go on, but I've only got a page, so I'll stop. Don't even think about buying this. It's pathetic.

Batman Returns logo In the Bin - Batman Returns is the worst game of February 1994

The caped crusader returns to face his greatest enemies yet - Crap Programmerman, Sad Designgeezer and all their nasty henchmen. Unfortunately, this time the script has been rewritten and not even the Dark Knight can pull this one out of the fire.

Based very loosely around the second Batman movie, Bruce Wayne's superhero alter-ego is once again out to protect Gotham City. This time, it is the Penguin's army of killer clowns who threaten to take control. Although why they'd choose a scum-ridden hellhole over, say, one of the Hawaiian islands isn't explained. The only thing standing in their way is Batman.

The game neglects the film's plot and action, offering very little instead. The result is a beat 'em up with the creative dive of a stale kipper and a stench to match. Batman faces off against killer clowns and motorbike maniacs in a variety of locations, all of which are badly drawn and have absolutely no effect on the gameplay. Occasionally, there is a platform to leap onto, although there is not much to this as the bad guys just follow you up and kick you off.

Batman moves like an arthritic pensioner on a cold day. Presumably Bruce Wayne was busy and Alfred had to take over the action. The combat moves are simply dreadful, making Jon Perwee's Venusian Aikido in Dr Who look like something that would have Bruce Lee running scared. He is limited to one punch and three types of kick although only one, the flying kick, is needed to defeat most foes.

For defence he can roll out of trouble if you pull down and in a direction on the joystick, but most of the time he just slides along the ground looking like an ice skater with back trouble.

Aware of fighting inabilities, Batman has kitted himself out with some neat bat-gadgets which make crimefighting a whole lot easier. These include a deadly batarang, which doesn't return to Batman when he throws it, the batdisk, which dismounts motorcyclists and a batrope, which pulls enemies into punch range. Each one only has a limited number of uses and when they run out you have to wait for a few minutes before replacements appear.

The action, to use the word in its broadest sense, borders on the hilarious. When a character jumps he flies around the screen like he is supported by wires. When you have defeated two waves of enemies the screen scrolls on and the whole thing happens over again. The only variation comes from the boss characters such as Catwoman, who are so tough you might as well forget about getting any further in the game and switch the machine off.

The biggest crime has to be the character graphics, though. We live in the age of AGA chipsets and 256-colour sprites, yet Batman's graphics consist of the blockiest, worst animated sprites I've seen in a long time. The collision detection is unpredictable to say the least, sometimes you can flatten an enemy without making contact, other times you kick right through them. The same also applies to them, so you're often left wondering just what happened as you're kicked off a platform without seeming to make contact with anything.

It doesn't stop there, though. You can expect to wait at least a minute between games while your Amiga re-loads the level you just died on. It is also infuriatingly difficult. It is almost impossible to fight without taking several hits, and dying is something that comes very easily, as the game occasionally decides to take two lives off you in one go. This is utterly frustrating and is definitely the final, six-inch nail in the gameplay coffin.

All this is set over five levels, which culminate in a battle with the Penguin himself. The game's tack changes slightly in the later stages, becoming more platform orientated and consequently even tougher. What I find particularly sad is the game is designed by Denton Designs, who were responsible for 8-bit classics like Shadowfire and Enigma Force. I must admit I was expecting a conversion of the PC action/adventure, which I played last year. It wasn't brilliant but at least it looked good and had something to do with the movie.

Whatever way you look at this game, it should have never got off the drawing board. It is without a doubt an oven ready turkey with all the trimmings, including a melted polly-bag full of giblets inside. It would be easier for me to pull a double decker bus out of my bottom than it would be to recommend this game. Don't bother with it.