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March 2002

Batman: Dark Tomorrow

There's a lot going for this title-- just look at the press release. A storyline developed by DC Comics, a soundtrack played by an orchestra, and a visual style based off the comic books instead of the cartoon. Unfortunately, the numerous, available Bat-gadgets aren't going to fix the clunky movement of the titular character.

Hands-on Impressions
After seeing the promotional video for Batman: Dark Tomorrow at last year's E3, which, like many of this game's components, was outsourced, I had an amazing desire to play this game. The voice acting was outstanding, the music chilling, the visual effects superlative. The video was reminiscent of a great Batman movie right out of the theatres. In the end, the actual game does have the same potential, but there's clearly some issues with control that mar it all.

Visually, things looked great, especially Batman's cape, which apparently has a rendering "engine" all its own. Basically, it rippled and swayed just like a heavy cape would in real life, and it had the added bonus of being able to defect bullets.

The rest of the game's graphics were dark but colorful, and textures were typically varied and detailed. The main interface was slick and outlined in silver that rimmed the lower two corners of the screen. Most important of these two corners was Batman's utility belt gadget selector on the left, which let you cycle, if a little cumbersomely, through a myriad of offensive, defensive, and miscellaneous items. Pressing the action button-- separate from the punching button-- made Batman use whichever item selected-- be it handcuffs or the Batgrapple.

The real bug in all this was moving Batman around. Pushing forward didn't always mean he'd go forward. Sometimes he wouldn't move at all, and sometimes he would pivot in place. Pushing right sometimes resulted in pivoting, and sometimes it resulted in actual walking. All in all, it was reminiscent of the Resident Evil control scheme gone awry, and the best Kemco's PR rep could say was, "Um, now, the controls are a little sticky at the moment..." Not necessarily sticky-- more like unusable, especially when trying to deal with a gang of criminals attacking from all sides at once. Fortunately, Kemco has a little time until November's release to fix this issue, and hopefully their solution won't be to continue down the path of Resident Evil.

Otherwise, there's no denying the potential when all the other aspects were added in-- the numerous villains, loose yet again from the asylum; the terrific soundtrack; the collaborative storyline from a seasoned Batman comic story writer, and a former Final Fantasy storyline writer; the countless gadgets; and the opportunity to drive a number of Batman vehicles.

Word on the Street
As Batman's lucrative movie franchise began to sink into technicolored, comic muck, the stylish cartoon series maintained mainstream interest in the caped crusader. While this Batman title does hearken back to the original source material and first couple movies, the current frenzy over anything superhero ensures moderate anticipation, in the least, for this title.

From the Horse's Mouth
Suit up as Batman and battle some of the most infamous villains Gotham City has ever encountered. Telling an original tale created by DC Comics, Batman: Dark Tomorrow engages gamers with both physical and intellectual challenges. A recent press release from Kemco promises the following features:

  • Character and story development unfold via full motion cinematic sequences.
  • Multiple stages of the game include the Batcave, Gotham City, the Underground Sewers, and Arkham Asylum.
  • Innovative and state-of-the-art graphics from some of Hollywood's best design firms.
  • A multitude of tools and gadgets, including the renowned Batman Utility Belt, can be used to aid in eluding or apprehending criminals.
Developed by Kemco, Batman: Dark Tomorrow is scheduled to be released in November 2002. Stay tuned for more information.

Batman has a lot of potential, and it's clear Kemco has invested a lot to ensure a holiday blockbuster for itself. Yet if the poor control isn't ironed out before then, the multitude of action and stealth levels Batman: Dark Tomorrow offers will be nothing more than reminders of another superhero flop on the N64.



word on the street

press release notes


Staff Avatar M. Noah Ward
Staff Profile | Email
"Death narrowly avoided, thanks to another friendly NPC."

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