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After last year's release of Arkham Asylum on the HD consoles, I've been dying for a Batman game to play on the Nintendo Wii. Translating the popular Cartoon Network series Batman: The Brave and the Bold seems like a perfect match, and developer WayForward seems like a good fit for this game (having multiple super hero videogames under its belt). The final product is a really stylish, funny game that unfortunately falls short in the gameplay department thanks to repetitive gameplay and uninspired levels.

The whole point of the Brave and the Bold TV show is that Bats teams up with lesser known heroes and fights lesser known villains. It's like a comic book history lesson in animated show format. So the game lets you play as Batman, and each level he teams up with one other hero, namely Robin, Blue Beetle, Hawkman, and Guy Gardner (he's one of the Green Lanterns). Together the heroes team up to fight some of the more obscure villains like Cat Man, Gentleman Ghost, Astaroth, and Copperhead. It's a weird mix because the game feels aimed at a younger audience, but the characters aren't recognizable to the casual fan, so you really have to know the show, or the comics, pretty intimately.

Each episode in the game is presented as an actual episode of the show. There's a teaser level where Batman and the sidekick fight some enemy, then the game segues into the real plot via an animated cutscene that feels ripped right out of the show. During the actual gameplay the story is told through talking heads and in-game conversations. Normally I hate talking heads, but the animation on them is done fairly well, and everyone has a lot of expressions and poses. What makes up for it is that every single line of dialogue is voice acted by the cast of the show, most of whom are recognizable voice talent.

The animated series' style has been perfectly translated to the Wii, and it really feels like you're playing actual episodes of the show. The sharp character design and bright colors gives it a campy feel, like that Batman series from the '60s (ask your parents about it, kids). However, it makes the game look like a downloadable title, instead of the full retail game that it is. And the game tends to slow down whenever any big attacks happen, which is pretty inexcusable given how simple the game's style is.

Most of the Batman game is just running to the right, and then mashing on the A button to punch every dude in the face. There are some platforming elements to it, but it's all really basic. The boss battles do tend to be more complicated, but ultimately they are just about punching the people over and over and over. As you go through the levels Batman uses his utility belt to rappel up to high ledges, or blow up doors, but the game always tell you when to use them. There's a small sense of exploration because certain areas are locked off until you earn new upgrades, but every section is clearly labeled, taking any mystery out of the game starring the world's greatest detective.

Don't call my name, don't call my name, Alejandro. Oh wait, that's Guy Gardner.

Each character has a cool super attack that they can charge up and unleash on a group of enemies. And on each level you get to pick another hero to act as a special attack. Heroes like Plastic Man, Aquaman, Booster Gold, and other heroes not popular enough to carry their own game will pop in and do a full screen attack. It's cool... once. But I found myself forgetting to even use them, and when I did remember I actively didn't because the attack takes longer to play out than it does to punch the four villains on screen.

The entire game features co-op multiplayer, which is cool, but it doesn't do much for the game besides make it a lot easier. Still, having it in there is absolutely necessary for this game.

Closing Comments
If The Brave and the Bold was a downloadable title I would buy it in an instant. But it's a full $40 game. There's a lot of flair and style with The Brave and the Bold, but it's a pretty mindless affair, even for a kids' game. It gets repetitive, and I found myself wishing every episode was shorter so I could see the cool cutscenes faster. Batman fans with young kids might get a couple days worth of fun out of this. I found it most enjoyable to play one episode a day over four days, because otherwise the game got more annoying than Bat Mite.
IGN Ratings for Batman: The Brave and the Bold (Wii)
Rating Description
out of 10 Click here for ratings guide
8.0 Presentation
It's like the TV show is all up in my Wii!
5.5 Graphics
The style is great, but the game looks like a limited animation flash cartoon, and has slowdown on a regular basis.
8.0 Sound
The music is fun and the entire game is voice acted by the cast. And they're funny, too!
5.5 Gameplay
A very repetitve, very easy platformer/beat-em-up. Has some cool special moves though.
6.0 Lasting Appeal
The four episodes last about an hour each. You can replay the levels, but all the unlockables areas are just dead ends.
(out of 10)

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