Batman: The Movie (or, more simply, Batman) is an action game based on the 1989 Batman film directed by Tim Burton.
Developed by Ocean Software, it was released in 1989 for the Amiga, Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, Commodore 64, MS-DOS, and ZX Spectrum.
Strictly following the movie's plot, Batman is made of 5 different games: 2 side-scrolling platformers, two driving games, and a puzzle game, each based on a different scenario taken from the film. The first level is a platformer on the chemical plant, while in the second, the player will have to drive the Batmobile. The third level is a puzzle game, with Batman running analysis in the Batcave. The fourth takes place during the Joker parade, and the player will have to drive the Bat-Jet. The final level is again a platformer, and it takes place in the Cathedral, where the epic last fight will happen.
The game was a huge success, especially on the ZX Spectrum. On this platform, it was elected game of the year. The Commodore 64 version was a bit buggy, while The Amiga version, the one offered by GamesNostalgia, is considered the best.
This was one of the first games I ever played, back in 1990 when I got my first Amiga A500 which came with the Ten-Star Games pack and Batman The Movie. I still adore Batman today. Although it’s a relatively short game, it is just as playable and addictive as it was in 1990. The graphics are excellent, the difficulty level just right and the music & sound effects subtle and decent enough. Unlike many movie tie-ins, it really was also a good match for the basics of the Tim Burton’s film.
The Axis Chemical Factory level remains my favourite, as you climb and swing from platform to platform, up and down ladders, hurling deadly yellow Batman logos at anybody who crosses your path. Despite his Batsuit, Batman does feel a bit puny at times, but the game is so addictive, you just keep going – rewarded at the end of the level by watching Jack Napier fall into a vat of acid.
What was really unique about Batman was that each level was completely different. Next up, we’re in the Batmobile, tearing around the streets of Gotham City by night. While the Batmobile does sound like a Flymo on overdrive, it has the revs and this is both a fun and challenging, fast-paced racing level. The third level remains the hardest, when you have a matter of seconds to work out a 3-chemical combination, before heading back out into Gotham, this time in the Batwing, in order to sever the cords on deadly Smilex gas-filled carnival balloons.
The game culminates in the huge ascent up Gotham Cathedral, in pursuit of the Joker, avoiding rats and killing henchmen as you go. Floors occasionally dissolve and it’s easy to get lost. Unfortunately this is where the emulation keeps crashing for me, which is frustrating, but I have many happy memories of making it to the top and knocking the Joker off his helicopter ladder.