The Adventures of Batman & Robin (video game)
|The Adventures of Batman & Robin|
North American box art (Super NES)
|Developer(s)||Konami (SNES version)
Clockwork Tortoise (Mega Drive/Genesis and Mega-CD/Sega CD versions)
Novotrade (Game Gear version)
|Publisher(s)||Konami (Nintendo version)
Sega (Sega versions)
|Composer(s)||Konami Kukeiha Club (SNES version)
Jesper Kyd (Mega Drive/Genesis version)
|Release date(s)||1994, 1995|
The Adventures of Batman & Robin is a 1994 and 1995 video game based on the popular DC Comics characters Batman and Robin and specifically the critically acclaimed animated cartoon Batman: The Animated Series (which had been renamed The Adventures of Batman and Robin for its second season at the time of the game's production). There are several releases of the video game for the different consoles in the market at the time, namely the Mega Drive/Genesis, Game Gear, and Mega-CD/Sega CD versions were published by Sega while the Super NES one was published by Konami.
Super NES version
The SNES version is developed and published by Konami. Each level consists of an episode that is loosely based on those from the animated series, taking Batman to an amusement park and other places where supercriminals do their nasty work. Nintendo Power criticised the game for not giving Robin a more active role (although the game was actually under development before the series was retitled between seasons). Otherwise, he supplies Batman with his moral support. Despite this, the game was well received by fans and critics, citing the faithful rendition of not only the characters and settings but also the music of the actual animated series many people prefer it to the Megadrive/Genesis version.
The soundtrack was written by Konami Kukeiha Club members Kazuhiko Uehara, Harumi Ueko, Jun Funahashi, Masanari Iwata, Masahiko Kimura, Kayo Fujitani, and Masahiro Ikariko.
Most of the major villains from the animated series appear. The following major villains appear in the game as bosses (each with their own level):
- The Joker **
- Poison Ivy
- The Penguin **
- Catwoman **
- The Scarecrow **
- The Riddler
- Clayface *
- Man-Bat *
* = Appear only in the last level The Gauntlet. ** = Recur in the last level.
In addition to the above villains the only other major villain from the series to appear is Harley Quinn. However her two very brief appearances are cameos at best as she only has a couple of lines of dialogue.
In addition to Robin several other supporting characters have minor cameos:
For the most part, it's an action-adventure platformer in which the player only controls Batman, and follows him to the end of each stage, where a villain is set to appear. However, the style and design of the stages themselves are different between each other, which gives notable diversity to the game.
Some of the more common features in the game is the possibility to equip with different gadgets, such as bombs, x-ray lenses and so on. Some of the gadgets are in some cases essential to complete some stages. There is also the possibility of returning to the Batcave in order to re-equip the gadgets and restart an entire stage with all the lives the players has accumulated to that point (in case the player had lost lives).
The game features passwords, which leaves the player in the last played stage. The passwords also takes count of the numbers of lives remaining and the continues used. These cannot be obtained in the Hard difficulty, which means that the game must be completed from the beginning. Completion of the hard mode rewards the player with a special ending.
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Mega Drive/Genesis version
The Mega Drive/Genesis version, developed by Clockwork Tortoise and published by Sega, is a run 'n' gun where both Batman and Robin must stop Mr. Freeze, who plans to freeze Gotham City. In order to keep the duo busy, he also frees the Joker, Two-Face and the Mad Hatter, each one with their own agenda. The Joker celebrates his birthday wreaking havoc in Gotham and stealing diamonds, Two-Face tries to take over the city from above, and Mad Hatter is creating a robot army in his surreal lair.
The game can be played by two players simultaneously; one player with Batman, and the other with Robin. Both characters are identical in terms of playability, and both use batarangs, bolas, or shuriken in long-range attacks, while using melee attacks at short range. There are four levels consisting of several stages, mostly of a straight left-to-right traverse to the end where the boss awaits. In some levels the game switches to a side-scrolling shooter, in which the players must control the Batwings.
The game is regarded as being extremely difficult to complete, and also known for showcasing some of the most impressive special effects on the Mega Drive/Genesis. It also features a dark electronica styled soundtrack by Jesper Kyd. The soundtrack is known in the video game community for its attempt to push the YM2612 to its limits. The music makes no use of the SN76489, nor does it feature any PCM percussion samples.
- Harley Quinn
- Mad Hatter
- Mr. Freeze
Sega Mega-CD version
The Mega-CD/Sega CD version, also developed by Clockwork Tortoise and published by Sega, consists of chase screens with the Batmobile and Batplane. Between levels, the story advances through animated scenes that were created specifically for the game. The animated segments were developed by TMS, which also did some of the episodes of the original cartoon. Kevin Conroy (Batman), Loren Lester (Robin), Robert Hastings (Commissioner James Gordon), Robert Costanzo (Harvey Bullock), Diane Pershing (Poison Ivy), John Glover (the Riddler), Arleen Sorkin (Harley Quinn), Mark Hamill (the Joker), John Vernon (Rupert Thorne) and Ron Perlman (Clayface) all reprised their roles from the animated series.
The animated segments (about sixteen minutes in total) in the video game for the Sega CD are sometimes referred to as "The Lost Episode" of the series. These segments, which are intended to be cutscenes between gameplay elements of the game, closely resemble the episodes of the actual television program. The animation was done by the same crew of TMS who worked on the actual cartoon, which gives equal quality and style as the conventional episodes. Devoted fans of the show will, however, notice certain differences:
- Warner Bros. Animation was not involved in the making of the "Lost Episode". Thus, neither the story or storyboards were made by the same crew as the ordinary episodes.
- Unlike in ordinary episodes, the actors recorded their lines individually, not ensemble as in the show. The animation was, however, based on pre-recorded lines, like in the series.
- Since the game did not apply to rules of censorship of American television (or WB Animations own guidelines of such), the cutscenes generally appear somewhat more violent and brutal than the episodes of the series were allowed to be.
- The game's music composer obviously did not follow the style of Shirley Walker and her co-composers from the series and used a more modern "synth rock" style. Unlike the live orchestra scores from the series, the game score was digital.
- Due to technical limitations of the Sega CD, neither sound or colors are of the same quality as the television program. The cutscenes required long buffering time.
In addition, because the animated sequences are interspersed between gameplay, they do not form a complete story themselves.
Game Gear version
The Game Gear version was developed by Novotrade and published by Sega. The Joker has assembled a gang of old Batman foes and kidnapped Robin, and the Batman has to go save him. There are four different levels, each with 2 or 3 stages, where Batman runs around beating up thugs and jumping between platforms before taking on a boss. Each stage ends with a boss encounter - some generic machine or thug in the early stages, and a classic Batman villain at the final stage of the level. The four levels takes Batman through a theater where he takes on the Mad Hatter, a frozen office building where he takes on Mr. Freeze, a graveyard where he takes on the Scarecrow, and finally an amusement park where he takes on Harley and the Joker. Batman typically fights with projectile attacks - he has an unlimited supply of batarangs, but you can pick up other weapons with limited ammunition in small item boxes along the way. They're all more powerful than the batarangs. Once Batman gets close to an enemy, he will switch to melee attacks, which deal more damage than the projectiles. Batman can make several types of jumps, both upwards and sideways. Pressing the jump button twice does a double jump. The game starts you out with 9 extra lives, and Batman instantly respawns where he died after losing one, with a full health bar, all ammunition intact, and all inflicted damage and defeated enemies accounted for. There are also multiple extra lives and life bar refill items spread around on the stages, and the game has infinite continues and a password system allowing you to start over from any stage you've previously reached.
- "Pak Watch Update". Nintendo Power (Volume 55): p. 112. December 1993.
- "Pak Watch Update". Nintendo Power (Volume 62): p. 112. July 1994.
- "Batman: The Lost "Episode"". Toonamiarsenal.com. Retrieved 2011-01-06.