Title: Batman: The Movie
Platform: Commodore Amiga
Publisher: Ocean Software
Developer: Ocean Software
Release Date: 1989
If you were around in any sort of sentient form in the year 1989 then you’ll remember – and frankly couldn’t have missed – the absolute phenomenon that was Tim Burton’s Batman. The film is arguably responsible for the comicbook movie boom we find ourselves in, sending a clear message that these films were not just for kids any more. The hype surrounding the film was nothing short of dominating, and you couldn’t look anywhere, watch or read anything without it being mentioned. Of course, with it being such a huge film there was obviously going to be a computer game tie-in, and the most popular home machine at that time was the mighty Commodore Amiga, and Ocean software picked up the licence to convert the film to game format.
Graphically, the game can’t be said to push any “Wow” buttons. Everything looks decidedly 8-Bit, which for a machine of the Amiga’s capabilities is disappointing. Batman looks like he’s had one too many ‘Bat-Doughnuts’ as he waddles his fat ass around the various platform levels lobbing bean bags at the various trench-coated gunmen. The backgrounds of the platform sections are a little better, if still a bit “Nintendo-y”, but everything has really nice colour and everyone is instantly recognisable from Bats himself to Bob the Goon. The driving sections fair much better, and everything whips along at a fair old rate and there’s some really awesome detail in the night time cityscape backgrounds and generally some quite cool graphics going on here.
The sound is probably one of the games strongest points. Amiga music has a reputation of being extremely good and it’s no different here. The music is not based on any of the Danny Elfman themes from the film but it’s still really catchy, energetic, atmospheric and inventive. The Driving sections have a cool heavy guitar effect growling away while The Cathedral Level is worthy of special note as it’s as much Batman as anything else I’ve heard and has earned some notoriety amongst gamers, Batman fans and general computer sound goblins. Some meaty sound effects compliment the action, but if the game was effect free it wouldn’t make much difference.
From a general gameplay perspective, that game plays excellently. The platform sections are well constructed with continue points handily dotted around. Enemy placement is pin-point, creating just enough of a challenge without becoming frustrating. The variety in the gameplay is great, too, with the driving & flying sections providing some hi-octane action. The puzzle sections, while not advanced, offer another change of scene for the brain before returning to the platform action. Perhaps the only downside is that it doesn’t exactly follow the film’s plot to a tee, dropping you into the action at the Axis Chemical plant. Regardless, it’s a tough ol’ game to crack, but whether you have completed it or not the game has that “one more go!” factor in bucketloads!
Batman: The Movie was one of the first games we purchased for our Amiga, thanks to a shady deal done at school for a copied disc (as was the norm back then!). Following on from having my tiny 11 year old mind blown by the film in the cinema, and not having much else to fiddle with, I played the game to death without a hint of boredom creeping in. It may not be much to look at but it’s great fun to play with some kick-ass music. It’s an enjoyable and fitting tribute to the film that’s worthy of the Batman name.
The writer of this piece was: Alan Stares
Alan is a sound engineer, retro gamer, and general all-round geek from Glasgow. You can read more of his thoughts on a range of topics at ‘The Scots Perspective‘ and on retro gaming at ‘The Old Oilhouse‘.