Batman: The Movie

by Mike Lamb, Dawn Drake, Matthew Cannon
Ocean Software Ltd
Crash Issue 70, November 1989   (1989-10-21)   page(s) 45

Have you ever danced with the devil in the pale moonlight? Now's your chance: Batman - The Movie is here. This is Ocean's third foray into Batworld and without doubt the best with Gotham City hoodlums terrorised by our caped hero, the creation of The Joker and a climax in Gotham City cathedral, just like the film.

The game opens with the police raid on a chemical plant burgled by local hoodlum Jack Napier. Batman chases Napier, negotiating sixty screens filled with hoods, police officers, acid drops and gas from leaky pipes, armed with a seemingly inexhaustible supply of Batarangs to fend off attackers. A gun which fires a rope and grapple has him swinging to a swashbuckling confrontation with Napier and level end, with the villain plunging into a vat of acid. Thus The Joker is spawned...

On level two Batman rescues beautiful photographer Vicki Vale from the clutches of a vengeful Joker, and they make their escape in the Batmobile zipping down the streets with Gotham police In hot pursuit. The immense speed of the car makes ordinary turns impossible, and only by shooting out a cable which snags a handy lamp post can Batmobile be swung in the desired direction.

Safety found in the Batcave, it's time for a bit of brainwork: Batman has one minute to solve the riddle of how an apparently random poisoning campaign waged by The Joker can be thwarted.

And on: In his Batwing our hero must save an unsuspecting crowd from The Joker's Smilex poison about to be unleashed from overhead carnival balloons. The wingtips must cut the balloons' mooring ropes. Success crashlands poor old Batman into the climactic last 100 screen level in the cathedral.

The Joker has taken refuge on the roof. Using his Batrope, the Caped Crusader must climb to the top of the tower, fighting off cops and The Joker's men, to reach the villain and put paid to him. I'm a great Batman fan, and not disappointed! Jack Nicholson's movie performance as the psychotic Joker is ably matched by the pixellated stand-in and the Batman sprite is no slouch either. Go with a smile and get this extravaganza (probably better than the film!).

MARK ... 94%

'Oh, I've got a live one here! Ha, ha, ha! What a game. Batman has all the excellent graphics and sound of Robocop, with maze layouts to add that extra playability, and that's just the first level (I can't get any further!). The sprites of Batman and The Joker are recognisable with better pictures of the characters on the energy level indicator at the bottom of the screen. Sound is good too, with plenty of effects and a tune that plays throughout, although it's hardly Prince's Batdance! My only quibble is that it's a bit hard. I've spent hours playing the game and haven't even got past the first bit (though I have seen the later levels), it gets more and more playable as you progress with the Batmobile, Batwing and cathedral levels all to look forward to. Batman - The Movie is another excellent movie tie-in from Ocean... Stop the press!'
NICK ... 92%

Presentation: 91%
Graphics: 91%
Sound: 89%
Playability: 92%
Addictivity: 93%
Overall: 93%

Summary: A brill and varied humdinger of a film tie-in. No joke!

Award: Crash Smash

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Sinclair Issue 47, November 1989   page(s) 22,23

You've worn the T-shirt (well, I have), you've seen the movie (about 16 times), you've stuck on the stickers, pinned on the badges, even read the YS Megapreview. And you're probably sick to the Bat-gills of this whole so-called Bat-phenomenon by now. But hold it! Just one more Bat-thing to cope with, I promise you! The best is yet to come...

Or so Ocean keeps telling us, anyhow. Batman (The Game Of The Movie) didn't quite manage to make it out in time for the height of Bat-fever, but it's done a lot better than some film licences I could mention. And not only is it current, it's also a blooming good game! Let's take a look at it shall we?

For a start - as seems to be Ocean's wont these days - it's a multiload (on 48K anyway), with each section based closely on a sequence from the film. Two of them (the first and the last) are platform and ladders shoot-'em-ups, and very snazzy platform and ladders shoot-'em-ups they are too. The middle two (or two and a half if you count the quick Joker's puzzle sequence that appears between the second and third loads) are a different kettle of fish, though. They're much simpler, more limited games, though just as flawlessly executed.

Anyway, the first level.This is the bit where you're pursuing the Joker around a chemical factory. There are two different types of gun-firing hoods after you - men with hats and men, erm, without hats - as well as other natural hazards like energy-sapping, dripping gunk and jets of steam. The main problem though is making your way to the top of the building. Arrows appear to point out your route (another recent Ocean trait) but - oh no! - there seem to be loads of big gaps you have to cross. Luckily Bats not only comes equipped with his normal take-out-the-bad-guys Batarang, but a Bat-rope too. Aim up or diagonally up and he throws out a line which either winches him up a level or allows him to swing Tarzan-like across a gap. In fact, it's more Bionic Commando than 'Tarzan' but better animated. In fact, this whole section is extremely well done. Largish and very clear monochrome sprites, good smooth animation and scrolling, and well though-out gameplay - it's all here. It's large too, and Tipshop should see the new Bat-maps start flooding in any day now.

Load Two is a different box of tricks altogether. You're driving the Batmobile back to the Batcave against a time limit, but other cars keep getting in your way. It's a horizontal scroller which involves dodging in and out of the other cars and watching out for 'turn left' arrows. When one appears you should deftly shoot out a Bat-rope to spin you round the corner and head up-screen (or in my case, miss a corner, turn around, head back against the traffic, miss the corner again and so on). You can't fault this level - it's fast, and the blue cars are very clear against the black road - except to say "Is that it?" Basically it's a very well executed bit of simple budget gameplay, and I exepcted more.

The same goes for the next level too. It's the parade sequence, with the Joker's lorries - complete with poison gas balloons trailing above them -cruising down Gotham High Street. Here you come now in the Batwing, flying along at a set distance above the ground (though you can move the plane left, right forward and back). Your job is to cut the lines holding the gas balloons and send them floating harmlessly away. Every so often a few helicopters appear which you have to dodge, and then it's more lorries again. I dunno. It's very faithful to the film, and very well done, but again the gameplay is just so simple. Too simple really. The Joker's quiz sequence, which comes between these two and gives you a minute to work out what three household items contain the Joker's poisons by a process of deduction, is a nice little touch - but that's all it is. A slightly disappointing centre section then, but things come alive again on the last load.

This is a reprisal of the first scene, though set in the Gotham cathedral. This time some of the men throw bombs at you rather than shoot (very tricky to deal with) rats snap at your heels, and some platforms crumble as you walk on them. The map seems even bigger this time and there are even more sequences demanding skilful use of the Batrope. All in all it's as snazzy a platform game as we've seen in ages. Get to the top in time, defeat the last two goons who lurk there, and you can catch the Joker climbing the ladder to his waiting 'copter. Toss a Batarang at him and you get a great end sequence as he falls down the outside of the building passing gargoyles as he goes, for what must be about six or seven screens.

I liked Batman (The Game Of The Movie) a lot. It's as faithful, supremely well executed and generally wazzy a film conversion as you could ever hope to see. But... there's a 'but'. The platform levels are great, but the simplicity of the driving sections is a bit of a let-down. Add a shooting element (after all, both Bat-vehicles were armed in the film), or more variety to these bits, and it would have been a better game. In fact, it would have stood a good chance of a Megagame.

Actually (has a quick rethink), let's be fair. It's blooming good. It's probably Megagame-good. It's just that The Untouchables (a brilliant game, perhaps the best released on the Speccy this year) is even better. I dunno. Buy them both. You won't be disappointed. And I'm sure you'd make Ocean very happy.

Life Expectancy: 80%
Instant Appeal: 92%
Graphics: 91%
Addictiveness: 83%
Overall: 91%

Summary: A brilliantly-done film conversion, but (ever so slightly) let down by limited driving sequences.

Award: Your Sinclair Megagame

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Sinclair Issue 71, November 1991   page(s) 65

Faster than a speeding Royal! More powerful than Arnie's eyebrows! Able to leap tall buildings in a single-seater jump jet! ...Well, that's enough about me, what of the man in the all-over welly boot? In this game of the film, T-shirt and key-ring you're the sinister vigilante himself. You're out on a five-level mission to clean up Gotham City - and you're not carrying a broom. The gameplay is a neat combination of two styles - the four-way scrolling platform shoot-'em-up, and the horizontally-scrolling driving game. Seeing as it's from the programmers of Robocop, the fact the platform levels are very, um, Robocoppy is unsurprising. It's jolly good fun and quite addictive, but there's a problem. You've got an energy system and there are no top-up icons - so just as you feel you're getting somewhere, you run out of energy and get sent back miles. Aarghhh! The driving sections are fairly playable but (but! But!) you've got no weapons, and it's rather unrealistic to have the mighty Batvehicles bashed about by VW Beetles.

To sum up then, you get a lot of game for your coins, but the flaws bring down the overall rating.

Overall: 80%

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Sinclair - Article Re-review Issue 60, December 1990   page(s) 61

Along with Robocop, which is probably the biggest-selling game of any kind ever, this was one of Ocean's biggest sellers last year. Its success was obviously a result of the film's popularity rather than anything great about the game itself, although its very well put together and enjoyable all the same.

Needless to say, Batman is the chap you control, and he walks around killing people. Well, on the first and last levels he does anyway. These are easily the best, with Bat-rope and Batarang featuring prominently. The rest of the game consists of a driving bit, which is a bit boring, a flying bit, which is also slightly tedious, and a puzzle-solving bit. The graphics all the way through are great, if a bit monochrome, and the game is generally one of the most comprehensive film conversions around. Its just a bit obvious that all the programming effort went into the walking-about parts, and they're the bits that are just like any other film game. Ho hum.

Lights: 90%
Camera: 92%
Action: 92%
Cut: 88%
Overall: 90%

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue 71, February 1988   page(s) 88,89

To date there have been two He-Man games, one an adventure and one an arcade game. Both have been only marginally successful, so when Gremlin announced they were releasing the third game on the exploits of he of the furry knickers, a murmur of "Oh no, not again" swept across the nation. "But," Gremlin insisted, "this one will be good. The plot is there for us already and surely the publicity of the movie will help us shift it." So they went ahead and wrote it. and I happy to say that the nation is wrong and the game is quite good.

The film itself follows the adventures of He Man, Teela and Gwildor as they fall through a Time gate (a portal to another world) and emerge in modern day California. Also fallen through the Time gate is the Cosmic Key itself, the key to time travel, and it has fallen into the hands of two unsuspecting college students. They are, of course, incredibly thick and accept the situation immediately as a walking skeleton with rippling muscles, a tall Russian/American body builder with a sword that is most likely illegal and hair extensions, and a horde of Darth Vader lookalikes just appear from nowhere.

The film builds up to the battle between He Man and Skeletor to gain control of the key. But on to the game. You take the role of the mighty muscle himself, and must collect the 8 parts of the key, some of which are scattered about the city and the others are kept by Skeletor's henchmen. Whilst racing around the city collecting the musical chords that make up the key, you are contacted by one of your companions telling you to go somewhere. For example, first you have to go to a scrapyard where you engage in hand to hand combat with two henchmen and by defeating them your receive a chord. The next place you are sent to is Charlie's Music Store, where it's a shootout between you and seventy skeletons. After that it's a quick zoom over the rooftops in a flying disc and finally, if you have all 8 chords, it's a battle to the death with Skeletor.

The look of the game is first rate all the way through. To save memory, when in the streets, the screen scrolls vertically only. When you try to go sideways, the orientation of the screen changes. While confusing at first, you get used to it and before you know it you are using the free map included with the instructions to get around like it was second nature. The streets themselves are detailed, with pavements, sorry, sidewalks and buildings and there is even a grave yard complete with tombstones. The fight in the scrapyard in the second stage is beautifully done. The characters are large, clear and very, very recognisable. The animation is first class too, and unlike most side view combat games, you no longer duck to avoid a punch, you dodge, which results in He Man leaning to his left in a most realistic way. The two assailants are very different in appearance and forms of attack. One, the hairy one, will just walk into the attack, and the other one, the bald one, stands back and fires bolts at you. The third section, the shootout at Charlie's is not all that hot. In fact, it's pretty primitive. Just a stark building with a few empty windows forms the backdrop and tiny little robots jump up and down firing at you. You control a little crosshair and have to take out 70 of them before they take you out. The disc fight is set above the streets which are the same as before, only you are in a disc and move a hell of a lot faster than when you were on foot.

The game itself is an excellent conversion from the film and is fun for a while, but it is easy. Like the movie, you'd probably get bored with it unless you are a real He Maniac.

Label: Gremlin
Author: Greg Holmes
Price: £7.99
Memory: 48K/128K
Joystick: various
Reviewer: Tony Dillon

Overall: 7/10

Summary: A very playable conversion that captures all the atmosphere of the movie but falls on being a little on the easy side.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue 91, October 1989   page(s) 12,13

Dada dada dada dada... BATMAN! The Joker is once more at large in Gotham City as reports flood in of kitchen chemicals that have been doctored with Smilex Gas.

"Begorrah Commissioner, the Joker's laughing at us what can we do?" drawls the bigtown bobby. "That fiendish felon the Joker, may have the city in stitches but there's one person who should be able to take the smile off his face"

"You don't mean..." Oh yes he does. So as the Commissioner reaches for the Batphone, the latest batch of the film record of the video of the T shirt of the game begins...

As you all know from last issue's mega tape, Batman the computer game is now available for the Spectrum and the graphics are good, the music is melodic and the gameplay is great. The action takes place over five scenarios and faithfully follows the film - whaddaya mean you ain't seen it? You got no street cred at all? Okay, for the bebefit os the zero trends... The game unfolds in the Axis Chemical Plant, where as chance would have it, Jack Napier fell into a vat of chemicals which did a biological jobbie, not on his Pierr Caradin boxers but on his noggin. Exit one Mr Average, enter the Joker. He uses the planet to produce Smilex which is currently the scourge of the Metropolis. Batman must find the Joker in the labyrinth of the factory, hampered by his inevitable cronies who try to shoot, bomb and gernally be extremely unhelpful to our caped crusader.

So, armed with only his trusty self loading Batarang, and his own line in express lifts, Batman must run, jump climb and swing his way to the Joker. Control is by keyboard or joystick and the fire button being the crux of the gameplay.

A direction plus fire sends the batrope blasting off to hook onto a handy ledge or even to KER POW! a cronie. Problem being, Batman can't move whilst using the rope so it's always a good idea to clean up the baddies before using it. It's also very handy for dastardly do-no-gooders on diagonals as the Batarang will only fire left or right. Once the Batrope is secured, the masked avenger can swing to and fro and by releasing the fire button at the right time, can leap across gaps in platforms.

Batman loses energy each time he is shot, bombed or dropped on by baddies. Energy status is shown by how far the picture of Batman's visage has turned into that of the Joker's. By sending the Joker for an early bath in the chemical vat, Batman then returns to the Batcave as fast as possible to analyse and neutralise the Smilex. He must drive through the Gotham City rush hour, avoid energy depleting collisions with other vehicles, walls and... yes, that arch villain the Joker is brining up the rear in his Transit to make sure Batman moves it!

An arrow shows the direction of the Batcave, turns being made by hooking the Batarang onto a convenient lamppost and pulling the Batmobile into line. Why doesn't he use a Bat steering wheel? Phew! Meanwhile. back at the Batcave... having introduced the SMilex to the Batcomputer you must crack the Joker's code. Select each icon and the computer will tell you how many you've got right. Holy smoking Bat droppings, you've done it! Onto the next level.

Into the Batwing to save the people of Gotham City from Smilex filled balloons at the local parade. You must use the Batwing to cut the balloon's string and launch them skywards to do their dirty deed to the ozone layer instead.

Having saved the day and just about to tuck into a Batburger, our hero runs to the batpole one last time to rescue Vikky Vale from the clutches of our vile villain. It all takes place at the Cathedral (Boinggg), and using the Batbits in the Batmanner, he must make his way to the roof to confront the Joker one last time. Watch out for the rats which cannot be killed - avoid them by climbing up the Batrope whenever they scurry across the floor. If you've seen the film, wore the T-shirt, bought the commemorative mugs and listened to the album then you'll probably buy the game so's yer collection is complete.

If not then have a look at the demo on last month's megatape and if after all that you buy it then it's just got to be great hasn't it. If it's not and like me you find that behind all the great gameplay there are just five games of the film, wiz graphics neato touches.

Label: Ocean
Author: In-house
Price: £8.95
Memory: 48K/128K
Joystick: various
Reviewer: ?

Graphics: 78%
Sound: 84%
Playability: 70%
Lastability: 72%
Overall: 76%

Summary: Sure to be a monster hit!

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue 116, October 1991   page(s) 41

It seems like only yesterday that I was standing in the fifteen mile queue at my local flea pit waiting to see Michael Keaton's controversial portrayal of Batman and Kim Basenger's, well, er portrayal! And now the hype has gone and a little black box flops depressingly through the Crew letter box and clunks nonchalantly to the bedraggled door mat.

So what's left over when all the glitter's gone? Well the game is certainly above average in the presentation stakes. A nice play area with unobtrusive score boards and a life meter that slowly turns from Batman's face into the Joker's as your energy falls off. Large detailed sprites almost cartoon like in appearance and an assortment of different scenarios.

The first section is a platform shoot 'em up allowing you to use the Batarang to swing from shelf to shelf. It's all against the clock and all the stages are riddled with the Joker's henchmen ready to take your life away. Other stages include a high speed chase in the Batmobile, a puzzle section and cathedral platform action.

There's a lot of mileage still left in this game and it has already sold in huge quantities when it first came out.

Anyone who's new to the game will find it hdrd going at first, but don't be put off. Where as it's not as thrilling as the box would have you believe Batman still holds his licensed head up high long after the hype has gone. And you can take it from me, it's not the last we've heard of the Caped Crusader!

Label: Ocean
Memory: 48K/128K
Price: £3.99 Tape, £7.99 Disk
Reviewer: Steve Keen

Graphics: 79%
Sound: 79%
Playability: 75%
Lastability: 79%
Overall: 79%

Summary: Very nice graphic and some thoughtful sounds. Batman is slightly a lethargic mover and doesn't always duck when it's in his best interests to do so, but a solid buy nonetheless.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

ACE Issue 26, November 1989   page(s) 48

Ocean relicensed to clean up - again.

This must be the first time I can honestly say "Great game shame about the film".

No, I didn't like the movie. Not that it matters much as everyone has seen it by now anyway and (regardless of what I thought of it) there is no doubt that it provides excellent material for converting into computer entertainment.

This is the last of the mid-89 film blockbusters to be converted to the home computer screen. We've had James Bond, Indiana Jones, and now the Caped Crusader from Gotham City enters the fray in what is by far the best of 'em all in terms of computer entertainment.

Right from the opening screens you can see and hear the quality of the conversion and get to grips with the Batgear you have always longed to have a go on. There is the famous Bat-rope with its Bat-anchor that latches onto window ledges and enables our hero to swing into action. As well as the Batshurikens that the super hero can lob at the villains to "Kapow" them out of the action.

The game commences in the warehouse of Axis Chemicals where all sorts of toxic substances are leaking from pipes and dangerous gasses being exuded into the air. The Joker's men are everywhere and Batman needs to be nimble to avoid them. His Batsuit has been made impregnable to bullets - up to a certain number. He is, however, helpless against the bombs being lobbed at him by the green suited villain. These will knock him off his rope or kill him should they make contact enough times.

This opening platform level makes for an absorbing game in its own right. Swinging around on the ropes is excellent fun - and nothing has ever been done like it before in a platform game - unless you count Cuthbert in The Jungle, in which case you're probably too busy collecting a pension to play this game. Of course there have been other ropes before but nothing as sophisticated as this. You have to be a sure shot when you throw your rope in order to swing into the right position, kicking a few villains into the middle of next week as you fly through the air.

Another neat graphical touch is the way the Bat-cap flies up when you jump to a platform below. The game has quality written all over it.

There are five levels in total. As well as the Axis Factory you will see action in the Bat Cave, Batmobile, Batwing, and face a final showdown with the Joker in Gotham Cathedral.

All of the sections of the game are entertaining and rewarding but the real thrill of the game is when you sit behind the wheel of the Batmobile. Ocean have correctly given this most attention of all - and what an excellent job they have made of it.

It plays like a sort of Bat-style Chase HQ coin-op which - considering Ocean have the rights to that coin-op - bodes well for more thrills to come from the Mancunian games house. The aim of the game here is to sort out the Joker's van which is speeding through the streets of Gotham City.

Taking the controls of the Batwing launches another 3D game which has been superbly executed. Reminiscent of Afterburner as you swoop low over the carnival taking out the balloons (filled with nerve gas) that the Joker is using to hold Gotham City to ransom.

The final confrontation with the Joker takes place in Gotham Cathedral. This is another platform affair which is very similar to the Axis Factory. The map is different though - and equally vast - so be prepared to jot down a few simple sketch maps to help you find your way around as you track down the opposition.

Ocean have captured all of the atmosphere of the film but have sensibly concentrated on a few of the action sequences. This makes for five entertaining and challenging arcade games at the end of which (if you're successful) you'll triumph over the Joker without having to go through a complex arcade-adventure style challenge as you do.for example, in the recent Indy Action game. Maybe other licensee's will learn a lesson here.

Ocean are to be congratulated for putting so much effort into an excellent arcade game - especially when, given the Bat-hype, even Bat-shaped Space invaders would have won them the number one slot on all formats. Proves that cynical commercialism does not always triumph over high personal and professional standards.

Reviewer: Eugene Lacey

Atari ST, £19.99dk, Imminent
Amiga, £24.99dk, Out Now
Spec, £9.99cs, £14.99dk, Imminent
C64/128, £9.99cs, £14.99dk, Imminent

Graphics: 7/10
Audio: 7/10
IQ Factor: 8/10
Fun Factor: 8/10
Ace Rating: 911/1000

Summary: It'll take you a while to sort out the Joker. It is good fun doing so, but ultimately Bat hype will pass as will the appeal of this game.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Computer & Videogames Issue 95, October 1989   page(s) 16

Spectrum, C64
Spectrum £9.99, C64 £9.99

Batman is surely one of THE biggest movies of all time. It's everywhere. And now you can even play the role of the caped crusader himself and battle the evil Joker in the dark and grimy streets of a computerised Gotham city!

Batman the Movie is Oceans third Bat-game, the previous two being licensed from the DC comics. It follows the plot of the film very closely, with five levels adapted directly from scenes in the movie, The first level is a multi-directionally scrolling platform game set in the massive Axis chemical factory. The objective is to reach the end of the level and confront Jack Napier, the leader of the villains, and dispose of him.

Between you and him are a myriad of hazard-packed screens. Steam lets shoot out from broken pipes, acid drips from the ceiling and marauding baddies open fire with pistols - all wear down Batman's energy, and he only has three bat-lives.

Batman is armed with a batarang and batrope which he can fire at the roof and hoist himself up to the next screen, or use to swing across gaps in the factory floor. He can even fire it at enemies and knock them out, rather than having to engage in a fist-fight at close range.

Level two puts you behind the wheel of the batmobile as you race down a heavily congested horizontally scrolling road and attempt to escape from the Joker's van. Every so often you have to take a sharp left turnn by either slowing down and skidding around the bend, or by extending the bat-hook to catch a lamp post and swing you round the corner at top speed (timing is crucial for this move - miss and you smash into the wall). Fail to turn when indicated and you crash into a police road-block.

The third level is a mini puzzle game. The Joker has poisoned three household items, and you have one minute to work out which of the ten are deadly through a process of elimination, rather like the old board game, Mastermind.

Sort out the poison, and it's time to fly the Batwing. Gotham City carnival is in progress, but little do the onlookers know that the Joker has filled the balloons attached to the floats with nerve gas. Batman knows though, and has to fly the Batwing down the scrolling main street and cut the balloon strings so that the balloons fly harmlessly away. Miss balloons, or run into them and energy is lost.

The final confrontation takes place in the Cathedral, which is a similar platform-type game to level one. Again the map is vast, and tracking down the Joker takes time, as well as a little cartography. I'm not going to tell you what you have to do at the end, 'cos that'll ruin the film if you haven't already seen it.

To be honest, Ocean could have produced a mediocre Bat-game and it still would have sold well on the strength of the film alone. But they haven't. Batman is a superb game, and captures the atmosphere and excitement of the movie perfectly with five challenging levels.

The graphics and sound on both the Spectrum and C64 versions are excellent, and the gameplay is highly addictive, with enough variety to satisfy the most demanding Batfans.

Batman is definitely the best film tie-in yet if you enjoyed the film, make sure you don't miss the game.

Graphics: 88%
Sound: 85%
Value: 88%
Playability: 92%
Overall: 92%

Summary: A beautifully crafted film tie-in which fully captures the excitement and atmosphere of the movie.

Award: C+VG Hit

Transcript by Chris Bourne

The Games Machine Issue 24, November 1989   page(s) 76,77

Spectrum 48/128 Cassette: £9.99, Diskette: £14.99
Amstrad CPC Cassette: £9.99, Diskette: £14.99
Commodore 64/128 Cassette: £9.99, Diskette: £14.99
Amiga £24.99


Have you ever danced with the devil in the pale moonlight?, Batman - The Movie is here. Two other Batman games have appeared from the Ocean stable over the last few years, the 3-D isometric puzzle game by Jon Ritman and Bernie Drummond and Batman - The Caped Crusader. But this third game is without doubt the best: Gotham City hoodlums are terrorised by a huge, sinister bat-like creature that apparently 'flies' and is impervious to bullets.

The general feeling within the police force - and indeed the national press - is that it's a figment of their imaginations, but during the raid on the Axis chemical plant by a Lieutenant Eckhardt a caped vigilante was indeed spotted in the gun battle that ensued between the officers of the law and the hoods commanded by Jack Napier (right-hand man to Carl Grissom - Gotham City's crime boss).

The plant is the game's first level, and Batman is clearly after Napier, but he has to overcome 60 screens filled with hoods, police officers, acid drops and gas from leaky pipes. A quick jab on the fire button launches one of the caped crusader's seemingly inexhaustible supplies of batarangs at attackers. Bullets are the projectiles hurled at Batman, his body armour stops a certain amount, but energy levels are soon exhausted, or if you fall too far from a platform.

Yes, you do have to act like a turbocharged gymnast, but you do have a gun which fires a rope upwards and allows you to clamber around like a black-clad swashbuckler. The level when Napier is faced and he disappears into a vat of chemicals. This you may think is the end of Napier, but surprisingly he survives and becomes one of the caped crusader's most dangerous foes - The Joker.

Its not long afterwards that Batman rescues the beautiful photographer Vicki Vale from The Joker's villainous clutches while she's following up a lead on the Batman story at the Fleugelheim Museum. They escape in a vehicle dubbed the 'Batmobile' (in the film this impressive car was once a Corvette before it was ripped to shreds), and zip off down the streets of Gotham with the police in hot pursuit. Because of the immense speed of the car turns are impossible, but by shooting out a cable which snags a handy lamp post, Batman and Miss Vale make their escape.

Although if a corner is missed, the car must be turned and headed into the oncoming traffic (which knocks up the damage meter), because if you continue hurtling down the road you eventually hit a roadblock. Meanwhile, with the Batmobile safely parked in the Batcave, Batman attempts to solve the riddle of the apparently random poisoning campaign waged by The Joker. According to Miss Vale's investigation three products have been contaminated, each one harmless on its own, but when the three are used together the victim kicks the bucket.

In a Mastermind-style game Batman has one minute to analyse the contents of a selection of products and determine which three are the dangerous samples. With his poisoning plan thwarted, The Joker resorts to organising a carnival in which he distributes dollar bills to an unsuspecting crowd as overhead hover balloons filled with Smilex poison. Batman's Batwing aircraft saves the evening as he uses its wingtips to cut the balloons mooring ropes. Peeved, to say the least, The Joker uses a BIG gun to knock the Batwing out of the sky.

Which leads to the final scene where The Joker takes refuge on the roof of the city cathedral. This massive 100-screen section is similar to the chemical plant section in as much as Batman uses the Batrope to climb to the top of the Cathedral, fighting off coppers and The Joker's men as he goes. Only when Batman reaches the roof can the Joker be disposed off and everyone live happily ever after.

The game is every bit as good as the film, better in fact, because some of the cinematic scenes dragged on a touch, while the game is action all the way. Bruce Wayne in his Batman costume is as sinister as ever, and on the other side of the coin The Joker is his usual evil self. I should nip out and buy this latest installment of life in Gotham City now.

Overall: 95%

Summary: The monochromatic Batman sprite strides around with great zeal. The Joker's goons take life very seriously, and Batman's energy shoots down at an alarming rate (a nice touch on all versions is the energy bar: it starts off as Batman's face, but as energy drains it metamorphoses into The Joker's grinning face).

Award: The Games Machine Top Score

Transcript by Chris Bourne

All information in this page is provided by ZXSR instead of ZXDB