Sunday, April 15, 2012

Batman (C64, 1989)

Ocean was, arguably, the most popular software house back in the late 80's and early 90's, and their specialty was movie conversions, often labeled as "the Ocean tie-in". So here is the game that started it all, Batman The Movie (along with The Untouchables).

What Ocean did in these two film licenses was to present a mix of gaming styles, the most prevalent of which was the platforming shoot-em-up. Ιn Batman, that is the case for levels one and five, which take place in the Axis Chemical Factory (where Jack Napier becomes the Joker) and in the Gotham Cathedral (where the final showdown occurs) respectively.

These two sections are by far the best in the game, offering solid platforming action with a twist: Batman can swing from platform to platform using the batrope, Bionic Commando-style.

To add spice, levels two and four offer isometric-3D racing action, the former featuring the Batmobile - which allows you to drive in a fast and precise manner, the latter utilizing the Batwing - which is slower but more difficult to maneuver. Finally, level three is a minor puzzle sub-game. All good stuff, which follow the plot of the film surprisingly well. As a fan of the movie back then, I wasn't disappointed. However, what really sets this game apart is the fantastic music by Matthew Cannon, which really gives it an atmospheric edge, particularly in the later levels.

So that was it, with an enormous hit on their hands, Ocean had a mold, which they used to shape later conversions like Total Recall, The Terminator 2 and Darkman.


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