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Batman Forever (Genesis) artwork

Batman Forever (Genesis) review


"In 1995, the kooks at Warner Bros. Studios decided it would be ok to crap all over the re-vamped Batman film franchise (established by Tim Burton and Michael Keaton), by changing director, and even the lead actor, as if Bruce Wayne were a suave, confident British Secret Agent with a steady pimp hand and a penchant for one-liners. This movie tragedy was henceforth known as Batman Forever. To this day, people still ask, “Forever what?” What is the answer to this baffling mystery? Some film ..."



In 1995, the kooks at Warner Bros. Studios decided it would be ok to crap all over the re-vamped Batman film franchise (established by Tim Burton and Michael Keaton), by changing director, and even the lead actor, as if Bruce Wayne were a suave, confident British Secret Agent with a steady pimp hand and a penchant for one-liners. This movie tragedy was henceforth known as Batman Forever. To this day, people still ask, “Forever what?” What is the answer to this baffling mystery? Some film connoisseurs have claimed that the term forever describes just how long this film will continue to suck. And speaking of forever… that may not be long enough for Acclaim to ever live down the horrible, mind-scarring licensed 16-bit game that followed.

In what may be one of the most ill-conceived concepts in video gaming history, developer Probe and publisher Acclaim entertainment came up with the equation that Batman side-scroller + Mortal Kombat gameplay and visual style = good idea. The digitized sprites seen in the Mortal Kombat games, when used correctly, were part of the series’ appeal. In Batman Forever, this same exercise turns our superheroes from well-built, highly athletic specimens, into chunky Batman and middle-aged Robin fighting over who has the bigger beer gut.

Then there’s the rest of the digitized cast: the leather bondage aficionado with the angry mask and chainsaw that comes in multiple pretty colors, the jack-ass in the orange suit with the swanky hair, and the Igor-like escaped mental patients. This would lead me to believe that the actors were hired from a Super Walmart somewhere in the middle of the boonies, and that no actual costumes were required. What makes these half-assed evil-doers even more ridiculous, other than the fact that they all look exactly alike, are the random names they’re given to separate them, such as “Crazy Jim”, “Angry Tom” and “Yakuza.” Yes. You read that correctly. Yakuza is really just one man in a sleazy orange suit, wreaking havoc all over Japan.

Beyond blatantly ripping off Mortal Kombat’s visual style, Batman Forever also politely borrows from MK’s gameplay. And by “borrows”, I mean it’s actually the exact same gameplay used in Mortal Kombat. You duck and punch to throw an uppercut, you press back and the high kick button to throw a roundhouse, and, yes, you must even type in d-pad combinations to perform “special moves.” Forward, forward and the A button will make Batman or Robin perform a roll! Or, you can use the Ryu fireball motion and throw a batarang, and really zing those bad guys! On the other hand, I came up with my own combination for a special move to combat evil - Look forward, then down, then press the power button.

If you just can’t find it in your heart to let Ate-One-Too-Many-Twinkies Batman down, though, and feel the need to continue, you’ll be privy to some great platforming (as in you move between different platforms with your grappling hook), and some insanely complex riddles, by way of the Riddler. These conundrums will leave you scratching your brain, for sure. You’ll have to solve fiercely complex puzzles that will stretch you to the very end of your wits. These mind-bending exploits include: Punch box with giant lock until it breaks, fight all enemies in area to move forward, or use grappling hook to go up. Most gamers, sadly, will lack the willpower and intellect to complete this physically and mentally taxing game title.

If Batman Forever does anything for gaming, as a whole, it serves as a great example of what you should never, ever do as a game developer. To anyone out there who has suffered the consequences of putting this cartridge into your Genesis and turning the power on - I, and the rest of the world, weep for that part of your cheerful soul that has been stolen from you. It will be lost and gone… Forever…

Rating: 1/10

QuasidodoJr's avatar
Community review by QuasidodoJr (May 04, 2009)

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randxian posted May 04, 2009:

Nice. I like how you use humor and sarcasm to get your points across. Enjoyable read.
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QuasidodoJr posted May 05, 2009:

Thanks! It's not hard to completely tear a game apart when it hands you all of the material in a gift basket. This is one of the worst games of the 16-bit era, no question about it.
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aschultz posted May 05, 2009:

I agree, this is a really enjoyable review. It avoids a lot of cliches that are so tempting to bring against a bad game and moves quickly without losing control. I like the parallel with the clunker of a movie too. Hope to see more of your writing.
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WilltheGreat posted May 05, 2009:

That power button gag was priceless. xD

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