BAT-MAN / Retrospec / PC

The old Bat-man game for the Spectrum was interesting, but just way too cheap to be playable unless you're a masochist or bound up with nostalgia for it. I guess Retrospec should be commended for doing an almost pixel-perfect freeware remake with upgraded graphics and music, but this game seriously needed some help in the level design and difficulty balance departments, and it doesn't get that here.

Bat-man is kinda like a 3D isometric version of I Wanna Be The Guy. For whatever reason, Batman was cruising around in space and his BatSpaceShip crashed on some alien planet and broke into peices that you have to go poke around for. All of Batman's equipment also apparently rattled loose in the crash, so you begin the game with the ability to do absolutely nothing but walk around slowly. You go through some kind of alien facility, screen by screen. The aliens largely don't seem to even notice or care that you are there, either walking around in random patterns or patrolling a set path, but contact with them - as well as much of the environment - means instant death, and of course things are strategically positioned so that you'll have to sneak and jump and etc. by all sorts of enemies and obstacles.

The problem is that the designer didn't seem to understand how to do difficulty through anything but cheap deaths. Floors fall out from under you at random, with no way to know until you've died from it once. Batman walks onto the safe haven of a ledge to await the passing of a patrolling monster ... and gets pushed back into the monsters path for no reason whatsoever. Batman has to navigate mazes much like those in the old Sierra adventure games, where a pixel-perfect path must be walked between instant death-walls while grappling with the limited visibility of the isometric perspective - and to boot, fast monsters are chasing him through the maze. Batman walks into a new room and gets tossed into the path of a randomly moving monster with no time to get out of their way. Just a few of the delights on tap for you in Bat-Man: The TV Series: The Space Opera: The Game.

Whatever meager fun this old game might have offered up is sunk by the relentless cheapness and overly demanding perfectionism. I like the trippy, spacy music that Retrospec has added to it and it looks nice, but a purely aesthetic upgrade to an otherwise terrible game is still a terrible game.

Links :

* Download from Retrospec

Videos :

* Gameplay Video
* Original Spectrum gameplay