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Platform

GameCube

 

Genre

Action

 

Publisher

Ubi Soft

 

Developer

Ubi Soft

 

ESRB

T (Teen)

 

Released

Q4 2001

 

 

- Like bat-playing the bat-cartoon

- Bat-tastic bat-sounds

- Ultra nifty bat-gadgets

- Different bat-modes to fight, fly, and drive through

- Somewhat open areas to explore

 

 

- A few quirks with the com-bat

- Bat-controls require patience to fully master

- Limited replay value

- Some may have issues with the camera

- Why is everything called bat-this and bat-that?

 

 

Review: Batman: Vengeance (Playstation 2)

Review: Batman Vengeance (XBox)

Review: X-Men: Next Dimension (Gamecube)

 

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Batman: Vengeance

Score: 8.0 / 10

 

I have a special attachment to Batman.  Way back in grade 10 I was really into anything connected to Batman, especially the animated series.  For the high school Halloween dance I went to a costume shop and rented a Batman costume.  Gads I felt cool!  The cape ruffling in the chill October night, the cowl affording me near-total anonymity, the cool wrist gauntlets, the weight of the utility belt Ė it was a fantasy made reality.  Of course, the cowl trapped all the heat in my head, making me sweat like no oneís business, and I was only 1 of 4 people in the entire school that dressed up!  Embarrassment didnít even enter into it though Ė if Batman is anything, heís cool under pressure.  Plus, the chicks dig Batman in a big way. (ďIs that a batarang in your tights or are you just happy to see me?Ē)

 

Anyway, I relate that story so you know my bias.

 

Batman Vengeance (BV) is one cool game, although it has a few quirks that take some getting used to and itís on the short side.

 

batman-vengeance-gc-1.jpg (36106 bytes)          batman-vengeance-gc-2.jpg (30235 bytes)

 

The setting is ripped right from the animated series.  Most times it feels like youíre playing an episode of the show Ė the mix of styles in the cartoon has been faithfully translated to the Gamecube and the way the cutscenes are integrated itís practically seamless.  Also transposed to the game is the voice talent.  This does much to lend the game that feel of playing a cartoon, and big kudos to Ubi Soft for signing them on.  It always feels cheap when a game based on a TV or movie license doesnít use the same actors to voice the video game counterparts.  It just wouldnít sound right to have anyone but Mark Hamill giving life to the Joker or Kevin Conroy voicing Batman.  And to top it off, the soundtrack is also present from the show.  Itís a complete graphical and aural experience (even when the camera lags behind Batman occasionally).

 

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The game starts off with a plot hatched by The Joker and the proceeding missions revolve around hunting him down Ė battling various thugs and super villains (Mr. Freeze, Poison Ivey, et al.) along the way.  The levels are fairly linear and arenít as free roam as some other recent games, but it does give the feeling of how big Gotham City (especially during the Batmobile and Batplane sections).

 

Gadgets are Batmanís mainstay Ė how far would he get without his batgrapple?  Using the 

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gadgets effectively takes some time.  This is owed mainly to the controls.  BV is all over the map when it comes to game play.  There are flying sections and driving sections but most of the action takes place in 3rd or 1st Person while Batman is on foot.  So the controls get a little confusing and awkward when youíre trying to recall all the options at your disposal.  Batman can do a lot of things Ė glide, press against walls, engage in hand-to-hand combat, for example Ė and sometimes things get a little muddled.  The sensitivity of the analog stick seems too high sometimes, but thatís solved by practice.  Fighting, Batmanís other mainstay, is pretty good too, but as BVís not a dedicated fighting game, the mechanics will probably frustrate the hardcore fighting crowd.  BV uses a Z-targeting method (a term likely to permanently enter the video game lexicon), which locks you onto an enemy and it works well for the most part, although itís too hard to get out of though if you want to run away.

 

batman-vengeance-gc-3.jpg (26229 bytes)          batman-vengeance-gc-4.jpg (23977 bytes)

 

And while weíre talking difficulty, BV is incredibly difficult in the closing chapters Ė thereís some tricky platform jumping that has be experienced to be believed.  It wasnít so difficult (or frustrating) to stop me from playing but Iím a dyed in the wool Batman fan so I put up with it.  BV is like a lost two-part episode of the animated series and there was no way I was giving up!  Up until the last few levels, most levels are straightforward Ė the game leads you from place to place with little problem solving on the part of the gamer.  There are instances of real puzzle solving but there arenít enough.  Action, for the most part, moves at a good clip (owed in part to the near zero load times).

 

At the end of the day, Batman Vengeance scores big points for recreating the animated series in video game form with you in control of Batman.  While itís not quite video game gold, it is a good game and at the very, very least worth a couple of rentals.  Even non-fans of the show should enjoy it, but itís not quite ďmust buyĒ owed to the touchy control and linear level design.  If Batman Vengeance is any indication, the sequel will rock!

 

- Omni

(March 13, 2002)

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