Based very loosely around the second Batman movie, Bruce Wayne's superhero alter-ego is once again out to protect Gotham City. This time, it is the Penguin's army of killer clowns who threaten to take control. Although why they'd choose a scum-ridden hellhole over, say, one of the Hawaiian islands isn't explained. The only thing standing in their way is Batman.
The game neglects the film's plot and action, offering very little instead. The result is a beat 'em up with the creative dive of a stale kipper and a stench to match. Batman faces off against killer clowns and motorbike maniacs in a variety of locations, all of which are badly drawn and have absolutely no effect on the gameplay. Occasionally, there is a platform to leap onto, although there is not much to this as the bad guys just follow you up and kick you off.
Batman moves like an arthritic pensioner on a cold day. Presumably Bruce Wayne was busy and Alfred had to take over the action. The combat moves are simply dreadful, making Jon Perwee's Venusian Aikido in Dr Who look like something that would have Bruce Lee running scared. He is limited to one punch and three types of kick although only one, the flying kick, is needed to defeat most foes.
For defence he can roll out of trouble if you pull down and in a direction on the joystick, but most of the time he just slides along the ground looking like an ice skater with back trouble.
Aware of fighting inabilities, Batman has kitted himself out with some neat bat-gadgets which make crimefighting a whole lot easier. These include a deadly batarang, which doesn't return to Batman when he throws it, the batdisk, which dismounts motorcyclists and a batrope, which pulls enemies into punch range. Each one only has a limited number of uses and when they run out you have to wait for a few minutes before replacements appear.
The action, to use the word in its broadest sense, borders on the hilarious. When a character jumps he flies around the screen like he is supported by wires. When you have defeated two waves of enemies the screen scrolls on and the whole thing happens over again. The only variation comes from the boss characters such as Catwoman, who are so tough you might as well forget about getting any further in the game and switch the machine off.
The biggest crime has to be the character graphics, though. We live in the age of AGA chipsets and 256-colour sprites, yet Batman's graphics consist of the blockiest, worst animated sprites I've seen in a long time. The collision detection is unpredictable to say the least, sometimes you can flatten an enemy without making contact, other times you kick right through them. The same also applies to them, so you're often left wondering just what happened as you're kicked off a platform without seeming to make contact with anything.
It doesn't stop there, though. You can expect to wait at least a minute between games while your Amiga re-loads the level you just died on. It is also infuriatingly difficult. It is almost impossible to fight without taking several hits, and dying is something that comes very easily, as the game occasionally decides to take two lives off you in one go. This is utterly frustrating and is definitely the final, six-inch nail in the gameplay coffin.
All this is set over five levels, which culminate in a battle with the Penguin himself. The game's tack changes slightly in the later stages, becoming more platform orientated and consequently even tougher. What I find particularly sad is the game is designed by Denton Designs, who were responsible for 8-bit classics like Shadowfire and Enigma Force. I must admit I was expecting a conversion of the PC action/adventure, which I played last year. It wasn't brilliant but at least it looked good and had something to do with the movie.
Whatever way you look at this game, it should have never got off the drawing board. It is without a doubt an oven ready turkey with all the trimmings, including a melted polly-bag full of giblets inside. It would be easier for me to pull a double decker bus out of my bottom than it would be to recommend this game. Don't bother with it.