1 player, horizontal game
Atari Corp., for the Atari Lynx
Yes, Bruce Wayne's back, in this Lynx license of the 1992 hot summer movie with Keaton, Pfeiffer, and DeVito. Catwoman and the Penguin have formed an alliance, and their plan is to defame Batman and place themselves in political power. Now Batman must save both the town and his reputation, while bringing in his opponents for their punishment.
Closely mirroring the movie's plot, BATMAN RETURNS makes you the defender of Gotham City, as you run, jump, and fight through four scrolling levels. Your enemies are a motley crew of thugs, police, and penguins, while you fight back with Batarangs, acid vials, and your fists. Even with battle armor, Batman is a frail creature with limited health; if he takes too much damage, the game ends.
As the description implies, BATMAN RETURNS is an action-arcade game in the traditional run/jump style. You have a limited amount of Batarangs and acid vials, though icons throughout the game give more equipment and health. While the general location of enemies is fixed, their actions and appearances are not, making patterns impossible.
This is a hard game, as the deck is clearly stacked against the player. You have one life, no continues, and no passwords to defeat a seemingly endless number of opponents and their various attacks. Though four levels might not sound like much, each level is dozens of screens large, and the high difficulty of this game will make finishing the first stage a major accomplishment.
The graphics on BATMAN RETURNS can do no wrong. Gotham City on the Lynx perfectly captures the unique architecture and moody atmosphere of the movie. The enemies are distinctive and easily identified, and Batman's acrobatic flips and cape-flapping jumps are among the best effects ever on a Lynx. A pulsating theme music plays in the background, while the majority of game sounds are recognizable but not noteworthy.
BATMAN RETURNS is a respectable action game, and the Lynx version would be equally enjoyable on any other platform. It offers solid action and a serious challenge wrapped up in a hot license, making a package that's guaranteed to sell more Lynxes.
GAMEPLAY: 8 GRAPHICS: 9 SOUND: 6.5 OVERALL: 8