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The Adventures of Batman and Robin is a 1994 video game based on the popular DC Comics characters Batman and Robin and specifically the hit animated series 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 Genesis, Game Gear, and SEGA CD versions were published by SEGA while the SNES one was published by Konami.
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 criticized 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.
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 **
- The Penguin **
- Catwoman **
- The Riddler
- Poison Ivy
- Scarecrow **
- Clayface *
- Man-Bat *
* = Appear only in the last level The Gauntlet.
** = Appear as a level boss and 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:
- Alfred Pennyworth
- Summer Gleeson
- Commissioner Gordon
- Barbara Gordon
For the most part, is 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 stage. 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.
Most of the levels in the game are actually based on a number of episodes in the animated series as follows:
- Level 1: Amused to Death
- This level is actually based on two different episodes. Many elements of the funhouse part of the level are based on the Christmas with the Joker episode (like the giant toy soldiers). The rollercoaster part is heavily based on the episode Be a Clown.
- Level 2: No Green Peace
- Like the first level this level is again based on two different episodes. The first part of the level (in the forests) uses elements and characters from the Eternal Youth episode. The second part of the level uses elements and settings from the Pretty Poison episode.
- Level 3: Fowl Play
- The only real standout part of this level is the final boss which could be seen as being based on the Blind as a Bat episode.
- Level 4: Tale of the Cat
- Again like the previous level there is no real standout part of this level. However chasing Catwoman (which is the main point of this level) was primarily the main focus of the first episode of the two parter The Cat and the Claw.
- Level 5: Trouble in Transit
- This level of the game has certain similarities with the episode The Mechanic, as common title card image and several car chase scenes. The villain of this episode is however Two-Face, rather than the Penguin.
- Level 6: Perchance to Scream
- The first level in the game that is solely based on a particular episode, Nothing to Fear.
- Level 7: Riddle Me This
- The first part of this level is heavily based on the If You're So Smart, Why Aren't You Rich? episode whereas the second part is heavily based on the What Is Reality? episode.
- Level 8: The Gauntlet
- Like level 5 no elements of this are based on a particular episode (Except where you fight Man-Bat looks similar to the construction site seen in the first episode "On Leather Wings"). This level is a test to fight most of the main bosses again with the addition of two new ones as described above.
The Genesis version, 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, Mad Hatter and Two-Face, 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 shurikens 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 Genesis. It also features a soundtrack by Jesper Kyd. This accounts for the relatively high quality of Kyd's compositions, as well as the fairly simple FM synthesized nature of the game's sound effects.
Characters and Bosses
- Level One: Happy Birthday to Me!
- Harley's Robot
- Harley Quinn
- Level Two: A Two-Sided Story
- Two-Face's airship (undercarriage)
- Level Three: Tea Time!
- Cheshire Cat robot
- Giant Tweedle-Dum robot
- Mad Hatter
- Level Four: Snow in July?
- Mr. Freeze
Sega CD version
The SEGA CD version 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 (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 resembles 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 didn't apply to rules of censorship of American television (or WB Animations own guidelines of such), the cutscenes generally appears somewhat more violent and brutal than the episodes of the series were allowed to be.
- The game's music composer obviously didn't 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 colours 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.
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