PlayStation Gamer REVIEW

BATMAN FOREVER

Publisher:
Developer:
Version Tested:
Acclaim
In-house
NTSC - US
Type:

Reviewed by:
2D Action
1-2 Players Simultaneous
Peter Bott

Batman Forever - screenshot Sidescrolling fighting is a genre that is sorely lacking on the 32bit front. One of the first entries into the domestic Playstation market is Batman Forever, by Acclaim, a port of their arcade game of the same name. If the arcade version is anything like this, I wonder how the arcade owners justified paying the power bill to keep it plugged in.

Graphically, the game sets a new low for 2d playstation games. Sprites are horribly pixelated, colored, and animated. Backgrounds are lackluster, drab, and lacking animation and parallax. At least the mixture of sprites and backgrounds look like they were made for each other.

Batman Forever - screenshot Sound effects are your standard fair for any fighter (punch, kicks, etc.). Rather than use the movie score for background music, which would have been tremendously simple on a cd system, Acclaim opted to synthesize it. The only question I have is why? They obviously had access to the movie license, and everything it entails. Why synthesize a movie score, when the actual thing sounds much more powerful and pleasing? At least the dissappointing sound accompanies the equal dissappointing graphics.

Batman Forever - screenshot Gameplay continues in the tradition established by the graphics and sound. Although each Bat character has their own set of special moves, and the ability to pick up and use utility items, it doesn't really matter. Your opponents swarm so quickly to your position that you are rarely given the opportunity to vary your attacks. Picking up and using utility items is pointless. Super attacks just seem to happen after picking up so many Bat icons. All you have to do is rely on a single attack method that keeps the bad guys away, no planning necessary. And lastly, add in a combo system that makes absolutely no sense. You could hit an enemy for up to 100 hits, but since the system is based on the smashing of a single button, who cares?

Batman Forever - screenshot I had high hopes for this game. A Batman license, two player cooperative play, and the chance for an arcade quality sidescrolling fighter on the home screen. This title left me breathless, in a bad way. I couldn't believe this title had made it through any sort of quality control, be it Acclaim's or Sony's. It's even poor quality for a 16bit title. The only good point I can think of in the game is the character select screen. If only the rest of the game had the kind of effort Acclaim put into that insignificant section. But, alas, no, it was not to be. Rent it if you're curious, but if you really want a sidescrolling fighter for your Playstation, check out Fantastic Four (ironically also from Acclaim) first, as it's light years ahead of Batman Forever in quality, or, more preferably, wait for the upcoming Fighting Force by Eidios.

Reviewed by Peter Bott, faethor@ptd.net

Graphics - 3
+/- Characters are composed of sprites.
 -  Sprites are extremely pixelated regardless of zoom.
 -  Sprites are poorly animated.
 -  Sprites are poorly colored.
+/- Backgrounds are 2d.
 -  Backgrounds are poorly colored.
 -  Little to no background animation.
 -  Little to no parallax.
 +  Character select screen is sharp and heavily detailed.
 -  Unfortunately, it's the only graphic element in 
    the game that *is* detailed.

Sound - 4
+/- Typical punch/kick sound effects.
 -  Background music is synthesized rather than taken 
    from the original movie score.

Gameplay - 2
 -  Repetitive gameplay.
 -  Enemies swarm around you to the point of frustration, 
    regardless of difficulty.
 -  Gameplay normally comes down to relying on one attack method.
 -  No real need to look at the onscreen action.
 +  Each character has ability to pick up and use various utilities.
 +  Each character also has their own small set of special moves.
 -  You'll never really get a chance or feel the need to vary your
    attacks. Just rely on a single attack method.

Replayability - 2
+/- Batman & Robin movie license.
 +  2 player simultaneous co-op play.
 -  Gameplay is full of mindless, repetitive, and unfulfilling
    button smashing.
 -  It also relies mainly on doing the same move over and over,
    no opportunity for variety.
 +  TV screen not really necessary.

Overall - 2.8


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