Batman is based on the madcap 1989 movie by Tim Burton, and the game sees the Caped Crusader traversing six locations from the movie as well as piloting two bonus levels in the Batmobile and one in the Batplane or Batjet or whatever the hell he calls it. All the levels are loosely based on the events of the movie, and copious sound clips from the film are used as well as digitized still screens in between levels.
The gameplay is actually pretty similar to that of earlier Atari hit Rolling Thunder, but this game is messier and a little bit harder. Dark, cluttered backgrounds and copious explosions, weapon and environmental effects help to obscure the constant flood of knee-shooting enemies and explosive traps the Joker sends after you. I do appreciate a villain who doesn't screw around, but the net effect is that this game is harder to navigate than even the rather difficult Rolling Thunder, and sucks the quarters out of you faster. The three bonus levels - two driving, one flying - are basically rail shooters where you move a target around and shoot either cars or helicopters. The flying level adds the twist of also simultaneously steering and trying to guide the BatSkimmer's nose into balloons, but it doesn't seem to matter if you don't scoop up all the Smilex.
The game comes from the tail end of what I like to call the "dark period" of Atari arcade games, where they focused on being at the cutting edge of graphics and music, and used a lot of distinct deep bassy sound and detailed animation. The game does look rather good, though it isn't as outstanding compared to other games of 1990 as games of the previous years that they put out were. And static digitized JPGs certainly ceased to be impressive a long time ago.
Unfortunately there's just way too many projectiles and traps lying in wait for the feeble Batman, and the mediocre level design and semi-mediocre graphics and sound don't give you a lot of impetus to put up with it all. Might have a been a decent thrill ride for fans of the movie twenty years ago, but this one just has not held up well over time.
* Gameplay Video