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Batman Forever (Game Gear)

Genre: Beat-‘Em-Up Developer: Probe Entertainment Ltd. Publisher: Acclaim Players: 1 Released: 1995

Acclaim somehow always managed to get hold of big name licenses in its heyday. Due to Batman Forever’s theatrical success in 1995, Acclaim quickly secured the rights for it to make one of its signature poor games. The company could always be counted on to release titles of low quality, and Batman Forever not only fits the bill, it goes above and beyond the calling and actually reaches the levels of abysmal.

I really liked the Batman movies (nowadays I don’t know how I ever loved Batman Forever), so I naturally wanted to try the games. I liked the NES games and Batman Returns for SNES. I wanted the good gaming to continue with Batman Forever, but no matter which console I tried it on, be it Genesis, SNES, GameBoy or Game Gear; I got nothing more than a ruined license in some way or another. Thankfully, the Game Gear version does away with a majority of the puzzle solving of the SNES and Genesis versions and opts for a more traditional game. Now that the puzzle-solving is gone, we’re left with nothing more than a wretched platform/beat-’em-up hybrid. One of my complaints here would be the fact that the game is just too dark, and you can’t tell where you are. This is especially bad since the Game Gear’s screen is blurry (the resolution isn’t really that high to begin with). It is compounded by the fact that the game’s graphics are very grainy and choppy, and even for a Game Gear game they’re poor here. Many of the backgrounds during each stage seem to repeat quite often, and nothing feels well thought out. Batman Forever is a game that’s going to be virtually unplayable if you have a Game Gear system that hasn’t had its capacitors replaced, as even the slightest screen is going to make it impossible to see the dark, murky and blurry visuals that make up almost every background in the game.

Batman only has about four or five moves at his disposal, and only a few of them are any good for attacking. Batman walks a tad on the slow side as well, and none of these things help since every enemy has a lot of health and can gain the upper hand fairly easily. Another thing I didn’t like here is that the stages just felt too long and plodding, and I already started to feel bored half way through the first level. The sound is another thing that just doesn’t deliver. If it is from the movie, I can’t tell which parts it is from. While not outright bad, they don’t help the boring gameplay move any faster. On top of that there are only two musical tracks in the game: one for the first part of each area and another for the second parts of each area, and neither are anything worth paying attention to. The sound effects, while present, are drowned out by the pitchy music and are almost impossible to hear.

I mentioned it earlier but Batman Forever’s biggest flaw isn’t with the mechanics but with just how mindnumbingly boring the game becomes so early on and I had to force myself to sit through this game long enough just to write this review. The game consists of four areas: the bank, the circus, the subway and finally the Riddler’s Claw Island. Each one has two parts, making eight stages total, and this game takes over and hour to finish. Unfortunately, it has you fighting the same handful of enemies over and over again the whole time.

As much as I want to like these Batman games. I just can’t enjoy Batman Forever or any port of it no matter what system it was released for. This remains nothing more than an awful game in the Game Gear’s dead sea of bad games. It was also just another one of the many nails in Acclaim’s coffin in the end.

SCORE: 3 out of 10

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