LEGO Batman: The Videogame
Holy cash-in Batman! First there’s the movie, the cartoons, the Burger King meals and now there’s the LEGO franchise complete with kits and a shiny new videogame. Except here’s the confusing part: it’s not based on Dark Knight at all. The game’s a kind of mish-mash of the Tim Burton films crossed with the kids’ cartoons with bits from the comics thrown in to please the oldies. Phew! There’s nothing wrong with taking in all these influences, but each Batman regurgitation has its own slant – here it’s just that it’s made of LEGO. Don’t get us wrong, LEGO is brilliant. And the LEGO games are just as brilliant. They’re addictive, entertaining and have the best co-op mode known to man. There’s just one problem with this instalment: it’s a bit passé, a bit flat, a bit, well… boring. There’s no geeky enthusiasm to be had working out which scene of the film is being re-enacted. It’s just ‘Catwoman likes diamonds and cats’, ‘The Penguin likes to explode penguins’ and ‘The Man-Poo (sorry Clayface) is stupid’.
Some of the scenes work well, mainly with more minor characters like clumsy policemen, but without some sort of real-world reference it feels listless, particularly without any verbal dialogue. Take a look at all those LEGO YouTube videos – they’re all pastiches of movies; this isn’t and definitely loses a mark for that.
However it’s not all doom and gloom in Gotham City. This is LEGO Batman after all. You’ll get to control everybody’s favourite characters from the series such as the delectable Catwoman and Harley Quinn. The detail is sublime and unlike many Wii ports this is exactly the same as the PS3 and 360 versions except beinga little less shiny.
If you’ve played the other LEGO games from Traveller’s Tales you may be a little disappointed to know that the controls haven’t changed a bit. So you’ll still be swapping characters when you really want to be hopping into a sports car. You get used to it, but after this many games it should have been sorted out by now. Also, like LEGO Indiana Jones (but less so Star Wars), some of the jumps are a little tough to pull off due to the perspective. You think you’re going to make it and you end up falling into a chasm.
The game is divided in to two sections: Heroes and Villains. Batman and Robin are the only heroes you’ll get by default and have different suits to help them. Batman can glide or use bombs; Robin can control remote objects or walk up walls with magnetic boots. At first it’s a little confusing, but we soon found the suits instinctive.
The villains on the other hand cannot be upgraded, but by progressing you’ll unlock more characters such as Mr Freeze, Man-Bat and the mean green Killer Croc. Each has a unique special ability, much in the same vein as past LEGO games. Poison Ivy can grow plants with a kiss and The Riddler can control people’s minds. It’s much more fun being a baddie. Even the base, Arkham Asylum, is buzzing with activity in comparison to the dreary Batcave. Start a brawl, bounce on the mattresses, have a party in a madhouse! The Batcave just has bats.
This might be one of the weakest of the LEGO games, with Star Wars: Original Trilogy being the best, but we’ll guarantee you’ll enjoy it. It’s tough not to; the moment it gets on your nerves, the game cheers you up by letting you freeze enemies into a large solid block. Instant LEGO karma. It is time for Traveller’s Tales to rethink, though. The first LEGO game came out on PS2 and they haven’t really changed since then. And still no online play?