by William Thompson
previewed on X360
I have fond memories of a number of things when I was growing up. One memory was coming home from school to watch cartoons or classic shows on television. A favourite was the Batman series starring Adam West as Batman and Burt Ward as Robin. I guess the fighting in the show could really suck in an impressionable youngster. Another thing I have fond memories of is those Danish building blocks known as Lego. I had built up quite a collection, so much so that half of the living room floor was taken up with my own Lego city. Well, now both those fond memories come rushing back as both are now combined in the latest Lego based game, Lego Batman.
From what we’ve seen of the game, Lego Batman is the re-incarnation of the 1960’s version mentioned above starring Adam West rather than the darker film versions starring Val Kilmer, Michael Keaton or even Christian Bale. The brightness of characters gives Lego Batman a more childish impression. But since it involves the children’s toy blocks, this only seems appropriate.
Somehow, the villains have all escaped from Gotham City’s Arkham Asylum. It seems that all the well known names from the series will be present in the game as well as some of the lesser known criminals. The Penguin, the Joker, The Riddler, Two-Face, and my personal favourite Catwoman will all make an appearance. Some lesser-knows such as Scarecrow and Harley Quinn also show up to impede our champions. They are combined with henchmen of various degrees. Of course though, it is the main villains that Batman and Robin will be looking to defeat and put back behind bars.
Holy visuals, Batman
As mentioned previously, the game has taken a flavour of the 1960’s Batman. There are plenty of bright colours used in the game. The dynamic duo have regained their costumes from the TV series, with Batman’s two-shade costume (as default, can be changed at required times) and Robin with his bright red, yellow and green arrangement. The villains too are given the cartoonish touch when it comes to colour co-ordination.
Backgrounds are well rendered and seem to fit in well with the overall feel of the game, being a humoured approach to the Batman and Robin franchise. Lego pieces will, of course, be plentiful throughout the game, giving an indication of the required path to be followed by our main characters as well as tasks to be completed by the characters.
Piecing things together
The gameplay will be relatively familiar for anyone who has played the Lego Star Wars games. The co-op experience is similar as well as the dynamic duo will have varied skills to help them in their missions. Of course, the main thrust of the game involves fighting the many varied criminals that are terrorising Gotham City. This will mostly be done with hand to hand combat, but both Batman and Robin have various gadgets to their disposal to thwart their enemies, including Batman’s Baterang.
In between the fighting of the various criminals, our heroes are required to interact with Lego pieces scattered throughout the landscape. This might involve putting a series of blocks together to form a vehicle, or build a bridge. Each of the two heroes has their own special abilities that need to be used throughout the game. Along with their unique abilities, each will have special suits at their disposal to help them through certain tasks.
To date, I have only mentioned half of what game has to offer, as we have been informed that not only can you play as Batman and Robin, but upon completing the hero missions, you have the option of playing through as a bad guy (or girl in the case of Catwoman). This too, appears to be done in a co-op mode, as we have seen Two-face and Scarecrow combine in a fight sequence. Having this option will no doubt increase the replayability of the game.
From what we’ve seen so far, the game is looking polished already. With the game scheduled for a Q3 release date, there is still plenty of time to fine tune any bugs present. This game will certainly appeal to the younger gamers due to the Lego licensing, but also to those with fond memories of the TV Batman. Gotham City needs to be saved from the escaped super villains and I’m looking forward to putting on my cape and mask and trying to do my thing on behalf of the great City. Now, hopefully we don’t need to have the bank balance of Bruce Wayne to purchase the game.