Batman – The Movie

This was the third Batman game from Ocean and while it is a great game some would say it is the weakest of the three games. No matter though as Matthew Cannon produced some excellent musical pieces that are funky, frentic and adreneline filled. Good 8bit VGM on the ZX Spectrum!!

The music varies in styles for each level and all are nice to listen to but there are some standout pieces – the title screen and the short but amazing Batmobile chase through the streets of Gotham are my personal favourites with the final level set in the Cathedral also up there too.

The Game

BRUCE WAYNE™. The multi-millionaire head of the Wayne Foundation is an unassuming, quiet type of guy. However, when night falls and evil stalks the streets, he sheds his daytime persona and becomes the masked vigilante of GOTHAM CITY™ – BATMAN!
Crusading against crime from the rooftops of the sickened city, his objective becomes the elimination of Gus Grissom’s criminal empire: in particular, the conquest of JACK NAPIER™, the psychotic second-in-command. Napier was the most cunnning and sadistic force in Gotham anyway, but when an accident befell him, twisting him both physically and mentally, he bacame the ultimate criminal – THE JOKER!™
You control the CAPED CRUSADER™ in five different scenarios as he is pitted against his malevolent nemesis in the life or death struggles that ensue. THE ULTIMATE MOVIE INSPIRES THE ULTIMATE GAME…PLAY BATMAN.

Don’t you just love all the capitalisation and trademark stuff that gets included in game instructions?

Critical Reaction

As I noted above this was the weakest of the three Batman games produced by Ocean and the reviews do reflect this;

Sinclair User were the most stingy awarding 76/100, Your Sinclair awarded a rating of 91/100 but not a Megagame and the best review from the Spectrum game press was Crash with 93/100 and a Crash Smash.

It’s as faithful, supremely well executed and generally wazzy a film conversion as you could ever hope to see. But… there’s a ‘but’. The platform levels are great, but the simplicity of the driving sections is a bit of a let-down. Add a shooting element (after all, both Bat-vehicles were armed in the film), or more variety to these bits, and it would have been a better game. In fact, it would have stood a good chance of a Megagame.
– Your Sinclair

Batman has all the excellent graphics and sound of Robocop, with maze layouts to add that extra playability… The sprites of Batman and The Joker are recognisable with better pictures of the characters on the energy level indicator at the bottom of the screen. Sound is good too, with plenty of effects and a tune that plays throughout, although it’s hardly Prince’s Batdance**! My only quibble is that it’s a bit hard. I’ve spent hours playing the game and haven’t even got past the first bit (though I have seen the later levels), it gets more and more playable as you progress with the Batmobile, Batwing and cathedral levels all to look forward to. Batman – The Movie is another excellent movie tie-in from Ocean…
– Crash

** Prince’s music in the film was rubbish so I am personally glad they didn’t even try and adapt any of his drivel. However Danny Elfmans score was superb and well worth purchasing!

My Thoughts..?

Like many of the old retro games there were no difficulty settings and you had to play the game as it was designed, I suppose this would considered the normal difficulty setting these days. Well, if this was normal dificulty I would not have liked to see a hard one!!!

Batman The Movie was a hard game. You really needed patience to learn the layout of the platform levels and where the various baddies would be as this eased the progress significantly. Both the Batmobile section and Batwing section did rely on reactions as well as memory as navigating the streets of Gotham could get rather tricky. My only niggle is with the third level, while it does fit in with the plot of the film it isn’t as well thought out as it could’ve been and seems somewhat rushed.

That still doesn’t detract from what is a great game. Sure levels 1 & 5 are the standout levels and the others sections weaker but it is a game worth playing and the satisfaction of getting the Joker at the end is very gratifiying. All this is helped by excellent graphics and a good solid diverse soundtrack by Matthew Cannon. My only gripe with the sound effects is that many of the effects were reused from a previous Mike Lamb & Dawn Drake game, Robocop!

Get an emulator, download the game and play it. Stick with it and you’ll enjoy it. Trust me!

The Music


About Phendrena

Father, Retro Gamer, PC Gamer.

2 responses »

  1. Alex Ross-Shaw says:

    How dare you say Prince’s soundtrack was rubbish! It’s an awesome album! 🙂

    Also, isn’t the Danny Elfman score partially based on the Prince soundtrack at some point? I’m sure I remember reading something about that because people were wondering if it was Prince who wrote it but of course it was Danny Elfman sort of interpolating the Prince music into the score.

    • Phendrena says:

      Prince’s music was mixed into a couple of the musical cues in Elfman’s score where it was appropriate. Fortunately he did use too much and what he did doesn’t involve the singing pixie!

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