The 1998 released movie was a phenomenon at the time the like of which I've never seen before or since, the marketing and media assault captured everyone in a pincer movement.
The stage is fairly tricky and perhaps a bit too long, but it is fun to use the bat-grapple to take corners at speed. Andy Pryer
The bat symbol was made impossibly cool and was just everywhere- and I mean everywhere: there were mugs, t shirts, pens, prince albums and I even knew two people- TWO! -who had it shaved into the backs of their heads! This was also the golden age of movie licensed video games, with Ocean, undisputed king snatching up rights to films and churning out games of varying quality left, right and centre.
Happily, the computer game adaptation of the movie was among some of the better offerings from Ocean and while short, a mere 5 stages, they offer varied gameplay and are tricky to master, requiring many repeat playings to be as masterful of the environment as The Dark Knight.
The first level sees you entering the fray at the dangerously unsafe Axis Chemical factory. Negotiating the catwalks, girders and leaky pipes via a bat-grapple in pursuit of Jack is complicated further by his goons who's guns, and grenades serve as a dangerous distraction.
In addition to the bat-grapple which can be used as a weapon, you also have an unlimited supply of batterangs which dispatch the mobsters with a gratifying 'POCK!' sound as the air is forced out of their lungs and they plummet to the floor.
Once you've treated Jack to a chemical bath and your work at Axis is done, it's prudent for the smart vigilante to flee from the police using the less than inconspicuous batmobile ('Chicks dig the car'). The Outrun-esque chase involves racing through night time Gotham, avoiding the good citizens vehicles and evading the police roadblocks, all to a thrash guitar soundtrack.
The stage is fairly tricky and perhaps a bit too long, but it is fun to use the bat-grapple to take corners at speed.
Once in the safety of the Batcave there's a puzzle to solve as you try to figure out the components the Joker's lethal cocktail of Smilex gas. This is actually the easiest part of the game and with luck it can be solved in a couple of moves and so is over quickly, which is fortunate as it's far too simple a puzzle to carry a whole level for long.
The Joker's Smilex deconstructed, it's time to venture out once more in another awesome vehicle: the Batwing. Similar to the batmobile level, a steady hand is the order of the day to collect the Joker's Smilex filled balloons. As well as left and right, altitude is also a factor on this run, ensuring you snag the rope and not damage the balloon. As in the previous streets level, it goes on a bit, but it's a fun challenge.
The Joker's plan thwarted, it only remains for the final showdown in the towering gothic playground of Gotham cathedral. Reverting back to the gameplay of the first level, the game is once more at it's finest. Aside from the much more alert goons trying to hamper your pursuit of the Joker, the ancient building, like the Axis, has it's own hazards to beware. Scale the heights, navigate the maze and survive the henchmen and it only remains to treat the Joker to a free-fall lesson from the tippy-top tower. You can take stock of your climbing achievement as it whizzes by while you savour the Joker's long plummet to the pavement.
Batman presents a great little package and was certainly a worthy first boot for my brand spanking new machine. The sections sometimes feel a little at odds with each other and I found it frustrating to have to play through two long racing levels to get to get to the meat of the final platform level. Perhaps someone at Ocean shared this opinion; there happens to be a cheat which allows the skipping of levels: JAMMMM entered on the title screen flips it, then F10 is used to get to your fave part of the game.
Stunt Car Racer (also distributed under the title Stunt Track Racer) is a racing video game developed by Geoff Crammond and was published by MicroStyle in 1989. In the US it was published by MicroPlay.