BATMAN BEYOND: RETURN OF THE JOKER / Kemco / Nintendo 64
 
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The Batman license was primarily used for beat-em-ups of middling quality in the 16-bit era ... Kemco continues this trend on the N64, but the quality goes off a cliff into straight-up crapola.

It's effectively a typical 90s beat-em-up, just with polygonal models and backgrounds instead of sprites. You go through mostly linear levels, occasionally given a block of a few rooms to explore in non-linear style looking for a key to a locked door. A simple structure like this doesn't have to be bad, many titles from Streets Of Rage to Capcom's numerous offerings pulled it off, but here it's paired with clunky and simplistic gameplay that feels borderline amateurish. It shows all the classic hallmarks of being slapped together in a fairly short amount of time and without much of a budget.
 


So the license is based on a short-lived Batman cartoon spinoff of the late '90s, in which the series was moved to the then-futuristic year of 2019. Bruce Wayne is elderly and hobbling around with a cane, so he's passed off the Batman duties to some rando teenager named Terry while he acts in a Col. Campbell-like advisory capacity. The Joker is quickly thawed out of cryogenic stasis or something and is at the head of a gang of anthropomorphic hyenas. Yep. That's what happens. Cue beating up reams of juggalos and hyenas while we pursue the Joker all over the city.
 


The action is so basic and without grace it's like a game design student's first project. There's no reaction animations, knockback, anything of that nature, just character models simplistically flailing their attacks at each other. As such, Batman's most potent attack is actually a rapid-fire shin kick. Which is particularly hilarious when you do it to the various robot enemies.
 


The graphics are as plain as it gets, the music consists of simplistic loops that sound like the cheap clip art version of music, and the between-level "cinemas" are basically a Powerpoint slide presentation. It isn't as bad as Superman 64 since it's at least possible to progress through it, but it's really not fun at all and not far from the bottom of the barrel.
 
 
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