Few comic book characters have stood the test of time like our Caped Crusader. Since his genesis way back in 1939, we have seen him evolve through the likes of Todd McFarlane and Christopher Nolan into a timeless hero. The bat-cowl, the bat-mobile, the bat-symbol, the bat-belt, anything else that starts with ‘bat-something’. Batman is the epitome of awesome.
However unlike his modern adaptations with movies like The Dark Knight and graphic novels by Alan Moore, this latest Wii game takes Batman back to his more vibrant and camp past. Although ‘The Brave and the Bold’ is a recent cartoon series, it borrows heavily from the 1960's Adam West Batman, complete with dry ironic wit and cheesy over-the-top characters.
Each episode of the show sees Batman teaming up with a fellow member of the Justice League to dish out some biffo to recognised baddies. Aimed at a younger audience, the show hardly deals with anything too evil. Usually a plot revolves around a freeze-ray or a group of renegade, robot gorillas with little hats on. But ‘The Brave and the Bold’ never takes itself too seriously and manages to inject a huge amount of clever jokes and entertaining super-hero banter throughout.
Any fan of DC comics will recognise the cast that includes AquaMan, Catwoman, Wonder Woman, HawkMan, Two-Face, Robin and that dude who can stretch real far and wears mad sun-glasses. The Brave and the Bold videogame follows a similar formula and although it is definitely aimed at the younger ones, the action and dialogue should keep an older audience entertained.
The colorful and cheeky tone of the series matches the Nintendo Wii's charm beautifully. But many will be surprised to hear that the game barely uses any motion controls. Instead the game is a 2D side-scrolling beat 'em-up platformer that relies on arcade-like button mashing. However, using the D-Pad or nunchuck controller works extremely well, letting you jump, kick, roll, and block with ease. You’ll even be able to chain together combos complete with uppercuts, jump-kicks and throws making the combat fun and varied.
The only time the motion controls come into play is to unleash a ‘Power Attack’ by shaking the remote and nunchuck together. The end result is similar to a smart bomb, where a stylish cutscene and uber display of might at the hands of your superhero can clear the screen of baddies easily.
Most of the game is spent pummeling your way through dozens of foes from one end of the screen to the other. The combat is broken up by the addition of some simple puzzles and platform gameplay where you can swing or leap from ledge to ledge. Of course, being Batman you’ll also have plenty of bat-gadgets to unlock. Apart from your trusty grappling hook, you’ll be zipping around on a jetpack, flinging Batarangs, using explosives, and even picking locks to explore hidden areas.
The gameplay in Batman: The Brave and the Bold is simple and the beat-em-up formula can tend towards being repetitive. But the game is made enjoyable thanks to the boisterous and often hilarious dynamics of the Justice League team. AquaMan is an incredibly corny family man with a contagious smile and friendly beard. Robin has some serious self esteem issues and seems to be obsessed with cat people. Even the big bad bosses like Two-Face possess a goofy and amusing demeanor that gives the whole game a smile-a-minute charm.
The unashamedly jovial and fun tone of Batman: The Brave and the Bold is sure to please gamers young and old. Of course, this game will definitely appeal to fans of the cartoon series and manages to capture its aesthetic beautifully. The game also makes for some great two player action thanks to the drop in and out gameplay that lets anyone join in at anytime.