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Old 11-14-2004, 12:34 AM   #55
Joe Redifer
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Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Denver, Colorado
Posts: 20,144
Batman Returns
Sega CD

A few months after the release of the much-ballyhooed Sega CD in the US, we were graced with one of the first games to take full advantage of the new machine's graphical capabilities, and that game was Batman Returns. Originally slated to be just a cool driving game, Sega of America thought it would be a good idea to throw in the cartridge version that was released long before the CD as well. As is usually the case whenever Sega of America thinks, it was a very bad idea. The music was upgraded along with some of the sound effects in that portion of the game. The platform and driving games were intertwined, meaning that after you beat a platform mission, you'd move on to a driving mission, then back to platform, etc. Fortunately you could turn off the platform game completely and only play the driving portion, which was why everyone bought the game anyway.

The first level is pretty easy. Destroy EVERYTHING
you see on the road, even innocent traffic like Jeeps!

Graphics: 9/10
The graphics in the driving portions of Batman Returns are spectacular considering that it is a 16-bit game. The graphics in the platform portion suck ass. They are REALLY bad and have next to no animation. Stick with Sunsoft's Genesis Batman if you like platform. For the sake of this review, we'll just assume that the platform mode is always turned off! Anyway, the scaling and rotating graphics are truly a site to behold. The SNES brought us scaling backgrounds (Mode7), but the SNES could not scale sprites at all. Just about everything you see in the Sega CD Batman Returns is a scaling sprite, but the game also has scaling and rotating backgrounds (like the continue screen, etc) as well as perspective scaling backgrounds (ala Mode 7) which are used for the street. Some of the scaling objects are way larger than the screen. This goes way beyond the NeoGeo in terms of scaling capability, as the NeoGeo simply couldn't do perspective scaling nor could it handle true rotation. So Batman Returns even has the NeoGeo beat in that department! The artwork is also excellent, with contrasting gradients to the images and a very gothic look and feel. When you blow up an enemy vehicle, it's parts go scaling and rotating all over the screen, landing on the road creating all sorts of cool rubble.

The platform portion of this game looks like
ass and plays even worse if you can believe that.

Sound: 8/10
Some of the sounds were upgraded from the cartridge portion of the game (but that's always turned off, remember) and all of the sounds in the driving portion are new and well recorded. The explosions have a fair amount of bass in them and they sound great. When you blow up and enemy and its wreckage falls, you can hear each part hitting the pavement. The music is for the most part outstanding. There are a few "blah" tracks. It was composed by Spencer Nilsen, the guy who did Ecco the Dolphin CD (his best work). The music has nothing to do with the Batman Returns movie music by Danny Elfman, and many may view that as a large disappointment. Personally I don't mind, as the stuff here is good stuff!

Even objects way in the background have
rotation applied to them. Ooh yellow snow!
Even Batman can't hold it forever.

Gameplay: 7/10
As said before, the platform portion of this game sucks badly. It is one of the worst games ever created. It is nearly uncontrollable and is not fun in any way. The people who made this certainly weren't gamers. The driving portion is much, much better. It's actually fun! But it is also very, very hard. Your goal is to destroy a predetermined number of enemies driving around before the timer runs out. There are 6 stages in each level. Stage 3 is always a mid boss who can be just as tough or tougher than the end boss. But some of the end bosses are really cool. For example, at the end of the first driving level, the boss is a giant fire truck who sprays fire at you and tosses bombs. Every once in awhile ladders on both sides of the vehicle flip open, each with 3 little guys tossing bombs at you. You must ram into the ladders, knocking all 6 guys off one by one before you can actually cause damage to the truck itself. Crazy but fun! You don't play each level in the Batmobile, though. On two levels you are cruising the sewers of Gotham in your Batski which is powered by human turds. The first level you just race against obstacles and time. The second you fight enemies. Just be sure to collect enough human turds to keep your Batski movin'! The game will then give you a very lame ending. The fact that the platform game is here and more wasn't done with the unique driving portions does decrease from the overall rating.

Plenty of obstacles are in your way in
the sewer levels. The SNES couldn't do this!

Wrap up:
A great game for the Sega CD especially considering it is 16-bit. Turn off the platform portions to increase enjoyability 100-fold! This is the best console version of Batman Returns by far. Yes, even better than the SNES version, though this would be even better if the platform portions WERE the SNES version!

Download the exciting Quicktime Video!
1 Minute, 20 Seconds. 10.4 MB
Quicktime 6 REQUIRED!!!!!

Click Here to download a Quicktime video of Batman Returns for the Sega CD. Witness the better-than-NeoGeo scaling and great soundtrack. Notice how fun the game is! The Sega CD wasn't just about crappy full motion video. Watch as I play and even destroy innocent people driving to the store in their Jeeps! That's what they get for being on the road when I am. Watch as I fly through the sewers! Then watch it all again and again!

Last edited by Joe Redifer; 11-24-2004 at 04:57 PM.
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