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NFL Quarterback Club 2002 (GCN)

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Disciples 2 (PC)

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01/25/02
Shadow Hearts (PS2)

More Reviews

Batman: Vengeance (PS2)
The caped crusader comes out swinging on the PS2 in Batman: Vengeance.
By - Russell Garbutt


"Holy processing power, Batman!" Yes, bat-fans, the caped crusader has returned! The good folks over at Ubi Soft have delivered an adventure title (with a little help from the Wayne Foundation) worthy of having the Dark Knight's name slapped across it. Although this reviewer was one of the many victims of The Riddler's last attempt at ruining Batman for the video game world (he forced a bunch of us to test Batman Forever over at Acclaim for weeks before releasing it on an unsuspecting public), he approached this game with an open mind. Like Tim Burton did in 1989, and Warner Brothers animation is currently doing with Paul Dini and Bruce Timm's animated series (which this game is based on), Ubi Soft has brought the Dark Knight to the gaming public with all of the respect, style, and action you would expect... and without a single rehash of the "Bat-tusi" in sight.

From the second you put the disc into the PS2, the feeling that Ubi Soft has nailed the animated Gotham City and its interesting inhabitants overwhelms you. It's like being inside one of the series' episodes, and the way the opening cinematics reveal the initial premise and get sprinkled with gameplay is brilliant... in a way, it almost reminds one of how Metal Gear Solid for the PSOne began. The animation style and presentation is exactly how the series would do it, and the characters deliver their lines just as you would expect. Kevin Conroy is Batman and Tara Reid is Batgirl, and as their first few lines of dialogue are uttered, you will become sucked in... and you will like it.

Ubi Soft was not trying to re-invent the "batarang" in terms of graphics, and that's a good thing. They set out to reproduce the look, feel, and execution of the TV show, and on this score they succeeded. Extremely stylized environments and characters are what this is about, not the number of polys being pushed. The city looks exactly like you would expect Gotham to look, with its "Gothic" tone, texture, and artwork (the infamous gargoyles can be found throughout). It's a stunningly beautiful presentation. The characters are true to what they would look like in a 3D world, and very well rendered in an almost "cel-shaded" kind of way. There are a few transitional glitches in the animation of certain moves (sometimes you have to wait for one of Batman's animations to stop before another will start), but this is really a minor thing.

The music is dead-on for the situations playing out on screen, and is reminiscent of one of the film's scores. You get dramatic highs, dynamic tension, and even light-hearted passages. The sound effects are what you would typically expect from Batman, all of the booms, bams, whooshes, and "thwips" are present and cartoony. The game's aural "trump card" is its voice talent, and players will be pleased to hear that all their favorite mainstays have shown up. Mark Hamill plays The Joker, and Tara Reid takes over not only as Batgirl, but as Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy as well. A talented voice cast is always a plus in terms of stylized gaming, but in this title, it's all the marbles. Screw it up, and its over. Luckily, Ubi Soft kept it pure and entertaining.


Batman: Vengeance is a mission based platformer-brawler-puzzler adventure title, with a ton of mini-games thrown in for good measure. The story centers around arch villain number one, The Joker, who has thrust Batman into the middle of a mystery involving a woman who narrowly avoids a horrible death-by-explosive, only to find out that her son has been kidnapped and held for a five-million-dollar ransom. You don't need to use the bat-computer to figure out that as the story unfolds, you'll find Mr. Freeze, Poison Ivy and Harley Queen are involved as well. With all of these super-villains in the mix, it's a good thing to know that the batmobile and batplane are available for speedy trips through Gotham.

Next: Scores...



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