The Adventures of Batman & Robin
by Polly

Don't you just love it when you work on something and then a month later it's all over the internet like all the big new fads are and then when you publish your piece it's like you're just jumping on the bandwagon? Yeah, I love that shit too.

The Adventures of Batman & Robin is based on a 90's cartoon of the same name which spawned from Batman The Animated Series. Both were fairly decent shows with the latter being the most trumpeted as the greatest thing since sliced bread and pocket pussy.

This time, the Caped Crusader and the Boy Wonder have set out to stop the evil Mr. Freeze from... freezing Gotham City. Can't really blame the guy for going with his strong suit, I guess. In the process, he's also set loose other nefarious villains on the city including The Joker, Two-Face, and The Mad Hatter. You'd think The Penguin would benefit most from this alliance. Eh? Eh? Nobody? Awww...

For being based on a cartoon, Batman & Robin may be one of the few games that actually looks the part. It looks the part and it does it fantastically. Sure, some may gripe that sprites are kinda small, but our heroes and their foes are so crisp and full of detail it's hard to really call it much of a fault. And given our history this past week with sprites that are just too god damn big, having a lot more playing room definitely feels much better in this case. Backdrops are full of tons of vibrant color and lots of detail and with lots of background animation going on too, it's no surprise that this game really is one of the few that helps immerse the player into that cartoon world and make it feel more alive.

The graphics doods and doodettes clearly spent a lot of overtime in getting every last frame of animation out of every little thing they could. This game really doesn't look like it belongs on a 16-bit console in places, especially the boss fights which feature gorgeously animated villains and unique uses of the backdrops. This game really is quite a treat to look at and one of the best of the generation.

Audio is another story, however. In going all out and making this a graphical feast, this is the first part of the game that suffers. While other developers were able to make strong use of the Genesis' limited sound capability, this game seems to highlight most of the flaws. The music is dreadful and uninspired and sound effects cover that whole "farty explosion" library the Genesis loved so much. There are no memorable melodies or hooks in any of the tunes and the sound effects can simply be grating at times. Funny there's a sound test in the options menu...

The Adventures of Batman & Robin wants you to believe that it's just like Gunstar Heroes so bad. From the moment you select your character, you're immediately in the heat of some truly chaotic action with enemies rushing you from all points of the screen. Unlike Gunstar Heroes, however, this game is mind-numbingly boring, painfully difficult, and completely lacking any of the charm or innovation that game brought the side-scrolling genre.

As the title suggests, you can be either Batman or Robin, but this is really the equivalent of being the red or blue guy in Contra. They both have the same shitty Batarang attacks that work on an intensely stupid charge meter. Yeah, unless you find one of those rare power-ups, you actually can't use your Batarangs to their full potential until the BAT GAUGE FUCK YES charges up, which takes about a second. In the heat of combat, this is just unacceptable and the fact that your unpowered Batarangs are next to fuckuseless really doesn't help. Don't die when you do find one of those fuckrare power-ups either, or you're completely fucked. The only decent move in your Bat arsenal is the jump kick. When it connects, it hits up to about four times which is almost usually enough to get rid of normal enemies. Get used to just tapping the fuck out of the B button is all I can say.

Everything in this game takes way too god damn long to die. Some normal fodder enemies can leave you stumped for at least twenty seconds due to their ridiculous amount of health. The enemies aren't even all that varied, they simply have new color palettes or new sprites and a fuckload more health as you progress through the game. The real bitch though, are the fucking boss fights which drag on for all of fucking ETERNITY. Bosses have way too god damn much health. You can be there chipping away at the VERY FIRST BOSS for as long as ten minutes and fucking god help you if you don't have your fucking Batarangs powered up, because jump kick isn't all that effective against most bosses.

Adding to the tedium of trying to fight your way through enemies that simply will not fucking die is braindead level design. Every stage is the same, run to the right, stop, fight some enemies, run to the right some more, repeat ad nauseum. The stages also drag on way too fucking long and just repeat the same few enemy spawns at every stop point. The game mixes things up later on by throwing a couple different gameplay types at you. A horizontally-scrolling, top-down shmup area (which is the dumbest idea ever) ends up being just as bad as everything else in the game because your ship runs on the same stupid ass charge your fire system. It probably earns a few more Hate Points because the controls are too damn floaty. There's a horizontally scrolling rocket pack area as well which features the same shitty floaty controls and takes away the ever-useful jump kick.

God...what the fuck were they doing here? This game had a ton of fucking potential to be something as good as Gunstar Heroes if they'd have bothered to at least play the game they were developing once in a while and realize "OH SHIT SOME OF THIS IS PRETTY FUCKING BORING AND NO FUN!" All we're left with is just another shitty licensed game based on a somewhat decent license that comes SO CLOSE to hitting the mark, but drops the ball in the most important areas. What a load of Batshit.

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