Batman Forever: The Arcade Game


Review by Matt Paprocki



Graphics: 2

Sound: 5

Gameplay: 2

Overall: 2

It's one thing to create an abominable arcade game. A kid walks up, pops in a quarter or two, realizes the game is trash, and then goes home forever cursing the company. Now, taking an obviously bad arcade game and translating it to a home console while charging $50, well, that's a crime. "Batman Forever" remains one of the most pitiful beat-em-ups ever created regardless of whether it's contained in a cabinet or on a CD.

A 2-player romp, the game lets players control either Batman or Robin as they trek through poorly digitized backdrops while fighting poorly digitized people. The game engine is one that resembles that of another Acclaim arcade title, "WWF Wrestlemania." Combos can get into the triple digits, but it's never entertaining enough to make it worthwhile.

That's not really the main issue. Everything is not only dark, but for most of the game, you have absolutely no idea what's going on. Both the player's chosen character and enemies seemingly blend together in a mess of pixels. Everything zooms, scales, and rotates constantly without any purpose. You'll pick up power-ups that send you flying across the screen, whether you wanted to or not. You'll pick something up and suddenly the game stops to repeat the same useless animation routine you've seen countless times, interrupting what little flow the game has.

Controls are simplistic, requiring nothing more than a punch, kick, and a jump button. Characters walk like they are on ice, gliding around uncontrollably not only due to the looseness of the controls, but also with a distinct lack of something called "animation." The concept surely has to be imbedded in the brain of any developer, but here, it's obvious the concept is lost. The walking cycle isn't even a complete one for the main heroes or the adversaries. Most of the time, you can barely tell that the sprites are supposed to be human.

Even though you won't have a clue what you're doing half the time, you will know when an opponent gets a blow in. Simply put, when they do, you die. There is absolutely no way to break the string of hits landing on either Batman or Robin's body. You can't even block. They simply pound the so-called super heroes into the ground in less than four seconds.

Player combos are done using various buttons and d-pad combos. They generally come off whether you know the proper moves or not. Just wailing away on the buttons will generally send out 15 quick hits, enough to destroy anybody. Anyone who claims to be skilled at this game is lying. It doesn't require anything more than avoiding a rival's fist.

Music is taken directly from the movie, but it sounds horribly compressed and grainy, much like the visual presentation. Yes, it's good music that certainly suits the game and the license, but it sounds terrible considering the format. Sound effects are standard fare while the small amount of voice work quickly becomes grating. No one wants to hear the same screams repeatedly with no break.

This is a game that solely exists to be bolder and brighter than the cabinet next to it. It's epileptic lighting and explosions are enough to lure people towards it. At home, this purpose is nullified. Every person who worked on this game is more vile than both the Riddler and Two-Face combined.


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Last updated: Saturday, December 04, 2004 08:59 AM