For the best part of a century, Batman has dominated the zeitgeist, with comics, films, video games, and many others. The animated series in the 90s offered a serious alternative to children’s programming, that was a fan favourite, and caused an animation renaissance. In 2003, the cartoon universe was recreated for home consoles and PCs, with a couple of new stories, and justice to avenge, in Batman Vengeance.
As the Caped Crusader, you spend your time foiling the dastardly plot of the rouge’s gallery of well-known foes. One of the acts is focused on stopping Mr Freeze, with his new obsession on scientist Isaac Evers. Another one pits you against Poison Ivy’s dastardly attempt to wipe out humanity. You even put the end to The Joker in one episode, but is he gone for good? Find out as you dawn the cowl yourself.
Following the New Batman Adventures, the visual style borrows greatly from the revamped look of the new cartoon, but with added touches to support the new dimension. The characters retain much of their revamped design but have a certain charm that is elevated in 3D. The unique art-deco look of Gotham is also faithfully rendered here, especially in the various laboratories seeing the retro-futuristic terminal is a delight and the gorgeous red sky that dominated the new show is back here and adds a lovely backdrop to the proceedings. Sound work is also effective, similar too, but not the same ones from the cartoon. Practically all the voice actors from the show return, which is wonderful news, especially as Hamill’s Joker is so well-regarded.
The gameplay is what you would want from The Dark Knight, you fight goons with a flurry of punch and kicks, that temporarily knock them out until you handcuff them. While traversing Gotham, you can glide around with your cape, use a grapple to reach high places. You can also use these gadgets in a first-person mode, this has the effect of making the game feel like an enhanced prototype of the acclaimed Batman Arkham games. While the hardware of the early 2000s does compromise the potential these gameplay loops, it’s amazing how close they come to versions nine years later.
Batman Vengeance charm is in faithfully recreating the feel of the show while putting you in the action. Laying the foundation for Batman action that the series would soon gravitate and excel at. Equipped with intriguing stories that feel like they leapt straight out of the source material. Batman Vengeance is a coup de grâce and an effective one at that.
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