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Batman Vengeance

Score: 60%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: Ubisoft Entertainment
Developer: Ubisoft Entertainment
Media: CD/1
Players: 1
Genre: Action

Graphics & Sound:

Originally released for consoles, Batman Vengeance is a PC port of the same title. It keeps most of the original elements of the console versions while attempting to merge the controls and settings for use on the PC. Fans of the animated Batman series will immediately connect with the visuals in Batman Vengeance. Batman, his surroundings, and his comrades and enemies all accurately recreate the atmosphere of the series. This is one of the first 'Bat-games' to date that can accurately merge a game with the 'Bat-universe' leaving you wondering if the visuals actually come straight from an episode of the series. Batman, although slightly polygonated, harnesses his brute-like appearance, and movements appear graceful and well-animated.

The city of Gotham also appears just as the cartoon would have it. Thankfully, the cartoon doesn't go into much detail in its backgrounds and scenery, so Batman Vengeance gets away with low-key scenery, but it makes up for that with its detailed characters and outstanding cut scenes.

The characters, like Batman, are heavily animated and perform numerous tasks. Each task animates the character differently, the most intriguing of which is when Batman and an enemy fight. Characters appear to be fighting as if in real life, employing various exaggerated punches, swings, and dodges.

Two forms of cut scenes exist in Batman Vengeance. One uses the in-game graphics engine, the other is pre-rendered into video. The latter of the two has more energizing substance, however the resolution is very low, therefore producing grainy video that seems out of place and can definitely be recognized as separate from the game. The in-game cut scenes take advantage moving camera angles giving a sensation that the game is in fact an episode of the animated series.

Darkness seems to be a recurrent issue in Batman's life. That fact again holds true in Batman Vengeance. While you can adjust the brightness for better vision, the game's low detail scenery loses some of its attraction, as graphical flaws become more evident.

The dark score provides ample musical accompaniment to every second of the game. It highlights on sections of difficulty and suspense. In tense sections the score sounds anxious. In fast-paced sections the score takes the game and keeps it moving. Even the sound effects and vocal talent provided by some of the actors from the series Batman Vengeance help to link the game with its television protg.


If you ever played the console version, you will already be familiar with the objectives of the PC version of Batman Vengeance. Although the console game was released over one year ago, the context of Batman Vengeance has not changed one bit, and is practically an exact copy of the scenarios seen in the console game. You'll start off with a simple 'rescue' mission. This is set up to introduce you to the game and its controls. Upon completion of the rescue, Batman finds himself entering into a storyline that involve some of Gotham's best. The Joker, Poison Ivy, and Mr. Freeze all have prominent roles in Batman's quest to untangle this mystery.

The use of one single story, with only one possible outcome or path to the end is a little troublesome. The maps look like there could be multiple pathways with many apparent doorways and alleys, but those pathways simply are not available. The doorways either lead to empty rooms, or they just cannot be opened, standing in as background textures instead of actually pathways. Other problems exist in the use of Batman's utilities. Some utilities can only be used in specific situations or locations. The game signifies those locations when they become available.

You'll play most of the game in a third person view. However, to use any of Batman's gadgets, a first person view must be used. Switching from view to view can easily be done by hitting the appropriate key, but during play it gets troublesome to switch view, choose gadget, aim, use gadget, the switch the view back before being able to enter arm to arm combat or open doors. Along with the first and third person views, Batman Vengeance also has certain scenes which feature the Batmobile and Batplane as well as some interesting free fall scenarios. The free falls are by far the most intriguing applications in the game requiring you to catch up to a person or thing and grapple back to safety. The Batmobile and Batplane scenarios involve chasing another vehicle.


Frustration and repetition make Batman Vengeance extremely difficult. In essence, Batman Vengeance should be pretty a straight-forward, follow the map, find the boss, and defeat boss game. However, due to technical design issues, success turns into the unwanted task of repeating scenes multiple times before you can hit the right controls. Chase scenes and strategic jumps prove the most difficult to master, since the levels are not laid out too control-friendly. A small number of puzzles are provided, but they have mostly common sense solutions. In fact, during some puzzles, the game will bluntly instruct you to the solution.

Game Mechanics:

The original console version Batman Vengeance was flooded with poor support for controls. It would seem that in the year that it took to create the PC port, those issues would have been isolated and corrected. Nevertheless, the reality is that the controls went from poor to desolate. As previously mentioned, the use of two different playing modes (first and third person) creates a hassle of toggling back and forth to perform various tasks. The action of jumping and direction is a pain due to the game's fluid camera which changes position and key press directions without warning, usually during mid-jump.

Had the problems with mechanics been addressed, this dated port of a console game could be better than the console version. Nevertheless, this feature instead got brutally massacred creating an even more awkward and frustrating experience. Batman has gone through many incarnations in the video game world. Batman Vengeance has the most potential of any previous 'Batgame', but the lack of quality controls hurts it.

Without efficient controls, the aspect of game play becomes problematic, and no matter how wonderful the visuals and audio, aggravation will ultimately get the best of even the biggest 'Batfan'.

-==Boy, GameVortex Communications
AKA Kyle Prestenback

Minimum System Requirements:

PII 450MHz, 128MB RAM, 32MB 3D video card, 4XCD-ROM

Test System:

Windows 2000, AMD Athlon XP 1800+, 128MB RAM, 75GB HD, nVidia Vanta TNT2 video card, on-board sound, 40x CD-ROM

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Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated