Dark Knight’s second outing a rousing adventure
As a Batman fan, I hold a special place in my heart for most of the big-screen adaptations of the Caped Crusader’s fight to clean up Gotham. Batman Returns, despite its problems, is at the top of the list in terms of favorite aesthetics in a Batman film. That said, I wasn’t sure if I felt the same affection for the game version.
The story is the same as the film: You, as the Dark Knight, battle the nefarious Penguin and his equally foolish partner Catwoman as they join forces to take over Gotham and wreak havoc. Because you are technically superior (and richer) than your foes, you have an arsenal at your disposal that helps you take out the criminal element that is doing the bidding of the meddlesome bird man and troublesome minx. Really, if you’ve watched the superb film, you shouldn’t be at a loss here as to what you need to do. It follows the plot exactly, including the encounters that Batman has with lesser henchmen. Being a game based on a movie property sometimes has its perks.
Controlling the Dark Knight is much like you would expect from watching the movie. Batman is easy to guide around, though there are a few spots where the directions and what to do could be a little more clearly pointed out. However, Batman is fluid and moves quickly enough that getting around Gotham to take on the Penguin and Catwoman isn’t much of a problem.
Returns, foremost, is stunning visually. Much like the film, the game’s graphics are top-notch and evoke that well-known Tim Burton feel. The graphics are so well done that it almost appears that they were taken directly from the movie and inserted into the game. The colors are rich and pop when necessary in the game’s color palette, though it doesn’t stray far from the movie’s muted coloring too much.
Much like the graphics, the sound is also spot on and close to the movie’s backing tracks. Of course, there are a few appropriations because you’re not getting a full orchestra with composer Danny Elfman on the SNES chip, but the music is sufficient and gets the job done.
Batman Returns is a decent adventure set to the tune of the popular sequel on the silver screen. It’s a paint-by-the-numbers sequel with gorgeous, rich visuals that somehow manage to do the movie version justice in the 16-bit era. It’s comfortable and easy going, so you’re not missing anything if you’re looking for the best follow up that features Batman. The Bat, the Cat and the Penguin have a good adaptation on their hands with this 16-bit recreation of Gotham.