Batman Forever is an odd beast. A polarizing film in the Batman fan base with some who love its return to fun camp after two pitch-black installments, and others who see it as a mess of a movie that paved the way for Batman & Robin (which killed the superhero genre for five years, that’s how great it was!)
Still, Batman Forever was hyped to the point of ridiculousness and Acclaim snapped up the right to make the game tie-ins. They commissioned two, an arcade beat ‘em up by Iguana Entertainment and Mortal Kombat style rip-off by Probe Entertainment (a semi-decent maker of tie-in games) which is the version we have the pleasure of discussing today.
The Mortal Kombat comparison comes from the graphics and special moves, which are captured and performed by stunt performers in costumes from the movie. However, this is not a one-on-one fighter but a beat ’em up that follows the story of the film closely. Batman is trying to capture Two-Face who has recently escaped from Arkham Asylum (which at this point may as well be a wet cardboard box that Batman puts criminals in) only for him to team up with a new villain, the mysterious (and “Extra”) The Riddler. Along the way, Batman is joined by the recently orphaned man-boy Robin, whose family met their end in trapeze murder by way of Two-Face. So the boy wonder is saddled with a large and engorged murder boner with Two-Face tattooed on it.
The game also has slight platformer elements to go along with the punching, so it’s more confused than an abstinence spokesman at a sex toy convention. Mostly it is moving left to right, beating up “crims” (short for ‘criminals’, saves time when we type) with a flurry of uppercuts, roundhouse kicks, more uppercuts, and the occasional jumping but the game never progresses past this. There is occasionally a secondary objective but it is only ever to rescue a hostage or something else dull and nonsequential. The equivalent of crossing a room to retrieve a beer from a fridge, only to step over a corpse on the way.
The digitized stunt performers verge from clunky to sugar-high with their movement and motion and some of the acting choices are downright bizarre. For example, The Two-Face actor believes he’s in Planet of the Apes and radiates pure ape energy. Plus it can get tiresome seeing the same two goons over and over on the level, it makes both supervillains look like cheapskates. Palette swapping (the cheap practice of recolouring a character sprite) is only used once in a level. So in the circus level, there appear to be only two clowns (Orange Clown & Green Clown respectively) who keep getting the f&@k knocked out of them, then returning for more.
The music across all versions is very strange and off-kilter. The game’s composer did not used any of the film’s score but followed his own vision of sampling pots, pans, tins, and other metallic items. Then throwing a feral cat at the sample board.
Batman also has access to gadgets and special moves, but the button combinations to use can be politely described as f@&king intense, especially on the SEGA Mega Drive’s 3-button controller.
Here are some of the choices cuts (examples, for the slower among you):
|B+C, Duck, Towards||Batrang|
|A+C, Towards, Towards, Away||Frappé|
|A+B+C+A, Back, Duck, Duck, Goose||Deploy Wonderful Toys|
|B+C, Jump, Jump, Jump, Jump, Duck||Batdance!|
The combinations are clumsy to deploy. So it not uncommon to try and punch in the combination for a Batrang only for Batman to kick Robin in the dick basket.
The game is pretty much the same across all versions (with the SNES and MS-DOS versions being more graphically impressive and the GameBoy and Game Gear been severely cutdown in graphics and levels). The SNES and MS-DOS versions also have extra touches like loading times. Which is technically impressive when both versions use a storage medium that loads instantaneously.
|PLATFORMS||SEGA Mega Drive / Game Gear /|
GameBoy / SNES / MS-DOS
The game is actually ok if frustrating at times. We kinda recommend it but also don’t at the same time. So make up your own mind on this one, for f*@k sake!