Review: “The Adventures of Batman and Robin” (SEGA CD, Batman Day special)
Today is apparently Batman Day, though the date of 21 September isn’t particularly significant in Batman history. DC Comics has arbitrarily selected dates for “Batman Day” for the past few years, but it’s not tied to any release, anniversary, or milestone.
But we don’t need an excuse to celebrate the Dark Knight, right? So in an effort to
boost website traffic celebrate the Caped Crusader, how about a retro gaming review of one of the Dynamic Duo’s video game adventures?
You’ll be hard pressed to find a bigger fan of Batman and SEGA in one person than in me. Needless to say, that when The Adventures of Batman and Robin (based on my all-time favorite TV show) was being made for the SEGA CD (my favorite console at the time), I was excited to say the least! After all, the other releases of the game are fantastic, so having the power of the SEGA CD behind it, that only means it can get better! Right?
Man the stick shift, Robin!
Let me start by saying, fans of Batman the Animated Series will love to know that the cut-scenes in the game were made with the same voice actors and style of the cartoon, and it doesn’t recycle anything from the show either, so it’s all new material made just for the game! This has earned the SEGA CD title as having “the lost episode” from the series, and that in itself is enough for most Bat-fans to get excited about! However, that’s about where the excitement ends, I’m afraid.
The game itself actually doesn’t have you really controlling “Batman” at all. Instead, you drive the Batmobile through the streets of Gotham City in hot pursuit of some of Batman’s most heinous adversaries. Poison Ivy, The Riddler, The Joker… They all have a role to play in the layout of each of the levels. From weaving yourself through trees growing in the streets, to dodging zoo animals with certain famous “grins” on them, the scenarios are fitting for the rouge you’re chasing after.
Sounds like this diesel engine is a bit out of tune
Unfortunately, the diversified gameplay is just not there. You’ll steer through the same handful of obstacles over and over and OVER until you finally reach the next stage. Eventually you will make it to the bosses themselves, and you will have to blast away (or should I say, trudge away) at them until they eventually succumb to the apparently super weak weapons Batman uses on the Batmobile (Batman has to make sure he doesn’t actually KILL anyone I guess). You will have to deliver 50+ hits with Bat-missiles as you dodge whatever obstacle they decide to throw at you.
The Adventures of Batman and Robin quickly becomes a chore endured simply to get to the next cut-scene. Oh, and if you make it far enough in the game, then you do get to fly the Batwing instead… which still plays pretty much the same way as every other level in the game, so don’t get too excited.
At least the game should have an AWESOME soundtrack though, right? Seeing as how the animated series had such PERFECT music, and we have a CD medium that allows for the developers to actually sample this orchestrated greatness, you would think we could expect about the same here. Of course, that was just too much to expect. The music is forgettable at best, which is sad considering there was just so much they could have done. I guess the budget was completely spent in hiring the cartoon crew to make a new episode specifically for this game.
Guano? Not quite.
Back in 1995, before the days of the Internet and streaming video, this game had a little justification in the price you paid just to see another episode of Batman: The Animated Series. However, it seems that all of the focus of The Adventures of Batman and Robin was put on the cut-scenes themselves, and the rest of the game ended up playing only slightly better than a Tiger handheld racing game!
In the end, only hardcore fans of Batman and/or the SEGA CD will want to pick this one up today. For the rest of you, I suggest looking up “The Lost Episode of Batman the Animated Series,” and just watch the cut-scenes without playing the rest of the game. It’s a much more pleasant experience!