Blast from the Past: Batman Forever (SEGA Mega Drive)
In September of 1995 the next generation of consoles had already kicked off with the SEGA Saturn. Sony’s PlayStation was just on the horizon and the world was about to move into the third dimension. There was however one game that was going to prove once and for all that games tied to movies could be great! Sadly it’s not quite how it went.
I could go on forever…
Batman Forever is tied to the movie with the same name. As with the movie this is a completely forgettable experience. As soon as you start the game up you’ll realise right away that you are about to experience a quick cash-in of note. At the time three-dimensional games were about to take over the world, but there was someone at Probe Entertainment that thought that the Mortal Kombat-like photo-captured beat ’em-up would work well a Batman game. By standards today it looks abysmal, and what’s worse is that it plays and sounds even worse than it looks.
What’s the real bad news? You can draw a
victim friend in to play the game in co-op. The first battle comes in the form of deciding who plays as Batman and Robin. Once you’ve settled that you get to select some cool gadgets. Yes, this is looking on the up-and-up! Press Start and you’re ported to your first level that takes place in Arkham Asylum where Two-Face has staged a breakout. It’s all so very exciting! I can be Batman! Then Batman appears with a 20s-like ‘boxer’ stance and you know things are about to go very pear-shaped.
The animation has aged very poorly and the moves Batman and Robin can perform are so shallow that it’s hard to comprehend how anyone published this and had unfortunate gamers pay for it. You can perform a high punch, low punch, high kick, low kick, sweep and an uppercut. It sounds like it could be interesting, but the AI are so clueless that you can perform the same move over and over to get the same result. There is a bigger problem – the stage design and structure is a complete mess.
You’ll be making your way from left to right, or right to left as with most games of the time, but you’ll also be traversing some levels from a vertical point of view. Players require to make good use of the grappling hook to access certain areas. Problem is that there is absolutely no indication where to grapple, when you should grapple or how you should grapple. I spent close to 30 mins trying all forms of methods to figure out what I should do and ultimately searched online to solve my problem, as not even the instruction manual includes any information on the more advanced moves. It came down to looking at darkened areas above Batman or Robin’s head to find the spot you’ll be grappling to, and then pressing up Y, followed by up to pull yourself up. It’s still not as daft as it gets. Remember those gadgets? After much messing around I figured out that you have to push your D-Pad in a circular rotation from left to right and then press A or C to use any gadget, though the Mode button has absolutely no use at all. So if you’d like to throw a Batarang you best get ready to learn some combos.
And ever, but I’m bored now
Should you have it in you you’ll push through nine stages and battle Two-Face, The Riddler and some other accomplices. I should point out that the naming of the goons are hilarious. You’ll fight off a bad guy call Mad Ty, and the next you know it you fight the same guy dressed in the same uniform, what looks like pyjamas, named Ninja Warrior or Maniac (or any of the names you see in the images above). Along the way the Riddler will also leave some question mark clues for you to discover secrets, but you’ll be so bored that you’ll pray that the secret blows up the cartridge.
Batman Forever is just terrible on all accounts and should not be played by anyone. If you’re a collector – by all means collect it, but leave it sealed in a locker where no one will ever get to experience one of the worst movie tie-in games for eternity.