Best Of British Game Developers Publishers – An Introduction

Okay so before I get into this one, I need to explain my big plan here. I want to write an insightful book covering some of the best of British game developers and publishers of the 8, 16 and 32 bit bit era of gaming and some of their games. How they started, the games they released and where they are today. This article right here is a small prototype of what I want to book to be, the final book will be a much bigger idea. This is just a quick-ish look at one of many British game developers and publishers I aim to cover. I already have three of these written up, this is only one of them (an abridged version at that too) and there is a lot more to cover.

This article will be a look at Imagine Software just to whet the appetite. I also have write-ups of Psygnosis and Ocean already done too. But those are just the tip of the iceberg as I’m planning on covering Elite, U.S. Gold (despite the name they were British), Gremlin Graphics, The Bitmap Brothers, Ultimate Play The Game (who later became Rare), DMA Design (who became Rockstar) and also cover the great Peter Molynuex’s companies including Bullfrog and Lionhead. Quite possibly more will be added to the list as I continue to write more and more…Codemasters?

I have been researching this for the last 12 months or so, watching documentaries, reading articles, digging up old gaming magazines and of course mining my own memories of growing up playing the games of these companies myself. I have a tonne of information all ready to go, thousands upon thousands of notes and facts that just need re-typing and formatting into readable content. Seeing as retro gaming is pretty big right now, I think a book like this could do very well. Plus I feel it will be an insightful education for non-British gamers who didn’t realise just how strong the British game industry was in the 80s and 90s. You see, while North America was feeling the fallout from the infamous ‘video game crash of 1983’, back in Blighty – we were just not affected at all. Nintendo didn’t save us or the game’s industry the same way its been perceived as doing in America simply because the U.K already had an established gaming industry that was growing stronger and stronger each year. More on my overall plan at the end of this article.

Allow me to introduce you to one of the most popular British game companies of the early 80s –  Imagine Software.

Imagine Logo

Back the the early 80s the ‘bedroom coders’ were on the rise. These were often very small teams of two or three people – sometimes only one, who would sit there in their bedrooms inputting hundreds and hundreds of lines of code into their ZX Spectrums or Commodore Vic-20s creating their own games. The Indie game industry we have today owes a lot to the originators of this modern trend.

It was in 1982 when Imagine Software was founded in Liverpool, England. But we need to go back a couple more years to another software company also based in Liverpool, Bug-Byte Software Ltd in 1980 who became famous for publishing the massively popular game Manic Miner developed by Matthew Smith. Manic Miner is one of British gaming’s all time classics and often cited as one of the games that made the platforming genre what it is today.

Manic Miner

It was sometime in 1982 when several Bug-Byte employees left the company and decided to go it alone including; Mark Butler, David Lawson and Eugene Evans. Staying in Liverpool, they set up Imagine Software which has been suggested was named after the most famous song from Liverpool’s most famous son – John Lennon. Imagine quickly made a name for themselves by employing some of the very best coders of the early 80s. Butler and Lawson were very close friends and had previously worked together at one of the countries first ever (if not THE first) microcomputer shops, Microdigital. Which was in the heart of Liverpool city centre.

MicroDigital

When they formed Imagine Software, Butler and Lawson invited their old boss and owner of Microdigital – Bruce Everiss to join them and after selling Microdigital, he agreed. Everiss took on the role of Public Relations and everyday operations within Imagine. Mark Butler became the company director while David Lawson and Eugene Evans were lead programmers. But there was one more member of the team that was hired at the request of Lawson – Ian Hetherington who came on-board as the company’s financial adviser.

Unusual for a game company at the time Imagine loved being in-front of the cameras, they would hold interviews and try to get their name in print as much as they could. There is one major example of this with the utterly engrossing BBC documentary Commercial Breaks originally broadcast in 1984 which followed both Imagine and Ocean that was also a huge help in compiling research for this whole project. One thing the guys at Imagine loved to do was show off their success. You would often find articles written about the company founders where they would gloat about once being lonely bedroom coders to showing off their millions of pounds they were making at the time. Imagine were PR experts lead by Everiss and never turned down the chance to get their names in the press. Yes, Imagine became huge in the early 80s but I feel I’m jumping ahead slightly here and need to go back to how they became successful to begin with as no matter how great your PR is, a game company is nothing if you don’t have the games to sell.

David Lawson had an idea for a title back when he was still working for Bug-Byte Software before Imagine existed. However, he felt that Bug-Byte were too small to sell his game so he sat on it for a while and when he co-formed Imagine, he realised he was now in the right position to get his game sold. That game was Arcadia.

Arcadia

Released in 1982 for the ZX Spectrum, Arcadia was the first game from Imagine Software. It was a pretty good arcade style shoot em’ up that received very favourable reviews in the gaming magazines back in the day. Arcadia was one of the very early games that helped to forge a path for microcomputer gaming as a whole and laid the foundations of what was to come over the next few years. For its time of release, it sold very well indeed and could be credited with setting up Imagine financially and giving them the leg up they needed which allowed them to become one of the most popular developer/publishers of the day.

The money Arcadia brought in allowed Imagine to grow as they hired more programmers who would go on to produce some of the best games of the early 80s and push the ZX Spectrum to its limits. 1982 was their introduction year, but it was 1983 where Imagine would go from strength to strength as they released game after game after game. Titles such as AlchemistAh DiddumsZzoom and Stonkers – just to name a few, all from 1983. It was as if the stars had aligned as everything just fell into place. Bedroom coders were booming meaning Imagine could pick and choose from the best young talent. The ZX Spectrum, which was Imagine’s main computer of choice for their games was fast becoming the gaming computer of choice and was selling well in England and Imagine were right at the forefront with front row seats to what many consider the birth of the microcomputer gaming industry.

Bedroom coders where becoming a hot property, you could pick up a well known newspaper in 1983 and find interviews featuring these (often) teenagers who had knocked up a game at home and managed to sell it to a publisher making plenty of money in royalties along the way. 1983 was most definitely the best year Imagine could wish for…but 1984 would be the year where Imagine would fall.

Once the money started coming in throughout 1983, Imagine would spend it just as quickly as they earned it. They upgraded to state of the art offices and computers, hired more and more staff to a point where they had around 100 employees – which for a game company in the early 80s was stupidly big. Still, improving your work-space and employees is pretty standard stuff but Imagine tried to grow too big, too quickly. Money was not just being spent on improving the office as huge chucks of their profits were going towards lavish parties and sports cars. The founders drove around in Ferraris, Porches and BMWs, even the mid and lower-level employees drove expensive cars including the cleaners. Imagine’s company director Mark Butler owned a custom built Harris motorbike and at some point in 1983, they even planned to get a helipad built on top of their office – just because they could afford to. Oh and let’s not forget the bike racing team…yes Imagine had their own racing team. Most probably set up just so Butler could enjoy riding his bike(s) at high speed.

Imagine racing

Imagine loved flaunting all they had, telling their success story to the press as they were becoming the face of the home computer gaming boom. David Lawson gave their programmes complete freedom to create whatever they wanted with no disruption. Which sounds like an amazing job – but with little direction or discipline, it meant many of the employed coders would just sit around doing nothing and getting paid very well for it too. Though all of this with all the money they made in 1983 and all they were spending, Imagine never bothered to hire a professional accountant. By the end of 1983, the cracks had already began to appear at Imagine as the four heads of the company split down the middle with David Lawson and Ian Hetherington one one side while Mark Butler and Bruce Everiss were on the other side. They couldn’t agree on the direction the company should be heading in and while the disagreements continued – so did the spending of money. The slowly forming cracks became more widened and more fractured. Their games stared to suffer too and what were once well developed and polished titles at the start of 1983 became lazy and messy games be the time Christmas rolled around.

But there was one major factor that would be the end of Imagine…well technically two factors. Psyclapse and Bandersnatch – two games that Imagine had planned that would be truly groundbreaking.  Two games that Imagine heavily advertised and two games that they were calling ‘megagames’.

Psyclapse and Bandersnatch.jpg

If things at Imagine were starting to look bad before, then they were only going to get much, much worse with these titles. These two megagames that were only two of an intended six – were envisioned to push the ZX Spectrum way beyond its limits. Imagine did all they could to hype up these games to boiling point. Publishers Marshal Cavendish supposedly made a deal for the games that was worth around £11 million…in 1983s money. Which was, back then an obscene amount of cash, especially for just two pieces of software. When the deal was signed, Imagine celebrated by spending even more money. More parties, more sports cars, more racing bikes and the like.

In order for these games to work on the ZX Spectrum, they would have to be sold with some kind of expansion cartridge which drove the cost price of the games up through the roof. These megagames were estimated to have been sold for around £40, which by today’s standards is about normal. But back in late 1983/early 84, Imagine’s games typically sold for around £5-£7, just to put things into perspective.

David Lawson threw himself into developing these games and did something he previously refused to do – oversee and manage the programmers. The ads for the games were already running in the numerous gaming magazines at the time, deals had been made for not only the publishing rights but also the cover art, which was commissioned to be done by the legendary Roger Dean who created the artwork for many rock albums, book covers and even other video games. It was Bandersnatch in particular that took up most of Lawson’s time. There were problems…big problems as the game was no where near complete despite all the hype and advertising Imagine had carried out. The programmers just could not get it to work at all and while all of this was going on, Imagine’s company director, Mark Butler was more interested and invested most of his time in the bike racing team than the development of the software. Butler’s apparent lack of interest in the company meant that Bruce Everiss stepped up as unofficial boss – even if he never wanted to be. Everiss fought hard to keep Imagine from going under.

It was Christmas of 1983 and Imagine wanted to take as much advantage of the silly season as they could. Using an aggressive tactic to try and gain a monopoly of Christmas sales, they hired out the entirety of one of the biggest duplicating factories to produce their games. This meant that their competitors would find it more difficult to get games into shops while Imagine would have an abundance of software all ready to go on sale for Christmas. But the plan backfired for one major reason and one very similar to what bought about the game crash of North America, they over produced. Yes Imagine had plenty of games on the shelves for Christmas, hundreds of thousands of them in fact, but after Christmas the sales dropped as they normally do after the festive season and yet there were still thousands and thousands of Imagine software sitting on the shelves that no one was buying. While we here in Blighty didn’t have anything anywhere near as severe as the 1983 video game crash, sales did slow down. With the tonnes of games still on the shelves in early 1984 and sales figures dropping everywhere, Imagine had no other option but to sell of their games dirt cheap to try and reclaim some of that cash that went into producing them in the first place. Once more, Imagine were spending more money than they were making.

This all tied into the previously mentioned megagames, if they struggled to sell their current games at discounted prices after Christmas then how were they going to sell the these megagames at £40? Seeing development for these games had ground to a halt, publisher Marshal Cavendish began to get very cold feet over the £11 million deal and eventually pulled out. They also demanded any revenue back…money that Imagine had already been spending. To save hemorrhaging money, Imagine could have cut back on staff, downsized if you will – but no as the company began to crumble in early 1984 they held onto their 100 strong employees refusing to let anyone go. There was a plan put in place where Imagine would sell their non-working megagame Bandersnatch to Sinclair Research who in turn could then sell the game for the Sinclair QL computer. For those not in the know, the Sinclair QL computer is one of the biggest microcomputer failures. So obviously that didn’t pan out either.

It was around Christmas of 83 time when director Paul Anderson was making his previously mentioned BBC documentary Commercial Breaks. Filming both Imagine and Ocean with the idea that he would capture an amazing part of history where young entrepreneurs were riding the wave of the video game revolution selling thousands of games over the Christmas period of 1983. Yet what he actually captured on film was the fall of Imagine. It was now the summer of 1984 and after several months of mismanagement, deals falling through and excessive spending of money the roof finally caved in on Imagine and it was all caught on camera thanks to Anderson’s documentary. There is one part in particular from Commercial Breaks where the bailiffs turn up at Imagine’s office to reclaim anything of value. The bailiffs were reclaiming so much equipment from the Imagine office they there even tired to take the cameras from the crew filming Paul Anderson’s documentary thinking it all belonged to Imagine.

News Clipping

On the 9th of July 1984, Imagine were no more, forced to close and declare bankruptcy.  They only lasted around 18 months or so – but what a year and a half it was. Imagine were very young and very stupid. They made their fortune, changed the British gaming industry forever and paved the way for many other companies after them. They were trailblazers in many ways but they also managed to destroy everything they worked to build. Many of the head honchos and staff of Imagine went onto other careers within the games industry, some massively successfully so too…

Now I know what some of you older gamers may be thinking right now – that you remember playing Imagine games long after 1984 and yes, you’d be right. So if they closed in 84 then how were you playing their games right up to 1989? Well this is where Ocean Software stepped in as they brought the Imagine name and released some of their games through the the name even if the company itself was dead…but that is a story for the next chapter of this book.

Oh and about those megagames too? Well information on Psyclapse is nonexistent. As far as I can tell, the game never even begun development at all. Imagine just had a name, a few ideas and a several ads running in gaming magazines to hype it up. But Bandersnatch is a very different story. That one was most definitely being worked on and you can even see as much in the Commercial Breaks documentary where footage is shown of the game being developed. Oh yeah, and it was even eventually released too. Given a name change but it was the first game developed and published by Psygnosis – the company set up by Ian Hetherington after the collapse of Imagine and a game developer/publisher that became one of the best, most loved of the 80s and 90s and again, this is something I’ll cover in another chapter…


My Dream…

So there you have it, just an example of what I want this book to be about. The final write ups will be more in-depth and take a closer look at some of the games. This is just meant as a taster. I also found it really interesting how many of the companies I’m going to cover intertwine with each other over the years, there’s a really fascinating tapestry of British game development/publishing that emerges once everything comes together. Then there are the starts of some of the biggest names working in games today that got their breaks with companies like DICE (not British themselves, but started via a British publisher), Rare and even the mighty Rockstar Games all cutting their teeth in the 80s and 90s British game revolution. Really interesting stories I aim to cover.

As I said before, I have around ten developers and publishers to cover (possibly more added later) so this will be quite a big book when finished and I really want to make it a hardcover, glossy thing of beauty all professionally finished. And here is where I need help. Putting something like this together takes money. I’ve done all the research for the companies I will cover, already have three of the chapters written up in the first draft (this is one of them) and the book with be finished within the next 6 moths or less. But I know nothing about actually designing a book like this – I can write them no problem but putting the whole thing together in one package with a real professional look and feel is something I know nothing about. Plus it being in hardback, then there is the printing and distribution, etc all of this costs coin that I just do not have. So I’ve set up a Go Fund Me where I hope people will chip in to help me make this book a reality.

My Go Fund Me link. Please share.

Even if you don’t feel like donating (I won’t hold it against you), if you could just share this article and/or the Go Fund Me to help me drum up some interest, I’ll be eternally grateful. If I raise the money, I will make the book as professionally as I can – I’ll hire a design artist to help me with the look of the book. I’ll go to the best printers I can find to deliver the best possible finished product in glorious hardback and glossy pages and so on. I’ll even put any and all people who donate into the book as personal thanks.

Even if I don’t manage to raise the cash, I’m still going to write the book but it just won’t be as grandiose as I want it to be and most probably just be an all text (no picture) simple paperback instead. So the more money I can rise the bigger and better the book will be.

I think with the popularity of retro gaming right now that this could be a great book. A really interesting look at the British side of game development and publishing, a window into an important piece of gaming history that many people overlook or just do not know about.

Update: I’m currently letting people read the first three chapters. More info right here.

I’m Batman: Games Retrospective – Part One

The Defender of Gotham, The Dark Knight, The Caped Crusader, World’s Greatest Detective, one half of the Dynamic Duo… Batman. One of the most popular superheroes and perhaps DC Comics best asset? Anyway, Batman has had quite a decent run in terms of cinema with some pretty darn great films over the years. But what about his digital version, what about games?

Well, that’s exactly what I’m going to do here. I’m looking back on some of the Batman games I grew up playing and take a look at Batman in gaming over the years. I’m not going to cover every Batman starring game, cos well there are bloody loads of them and this retrospective would end up running longer than my Pac-Man one. So I’m just sticking to the titles that I’ve played over the years and the games I remember most.

I feel that Batman has been treated with a lot more respect in terms of video games than most other superheroes and he has had quite a few good and even great games. So let’s start with the first-ever Batman game I played and the first one released.

Batman

BATMAN ZX SPECTRUM

Published by Ocean Software and developed by Jon Ritman & Bernie Drummond, released in 1986 for pretty much every 8-bit microcomputer at the time. Batman featured a 3D isometric viewpoint and had you playing as The Dark Knight trying to save Robin and collecting seven parts of the missing Batcraft. Pretty much a platform-puzzler with plenty of devious rooms to test your skills. Batman was very well received when it was released, getting high scores and praise from the gaming press. It even went on to reach number two in the UK sales charts.

BATMAN ZX SPECTRUM SCREEN

Batman was really good fun back then and one I played quite a bit of… but still never completed it.
The game has been remade by several fans over the years. Watman was released for PC in 2000 and there was also a fantastic remake produced by Retrospec’s Batman that is well worth checking out.

Batman: The Caped Crusader

BATMANTHE CAPED CRUSADER

Developed by Special FX Software Ltd and Published by Ocean Software. This game was released on a plethora of 8 and 16-bit computers back in 1988. Using a comic book style where leaving one screen would open a new ‘panel’, keeping the last panel in the background as to give an impression that you were flicking through a comic.

Batman: The Caped Crusader offered two different scenarios to play through, one featuring The Joker and another one featuring The Penguin. You could play through the scenarios in any order but they were pretty much the same thing anyway, just with different henchmen and backgrounds. Obviously, you play as Batman, who has to take down henchmen, solve puzzles and finally defeat The Joker/Penguin. This was another Batman game that was originally well received upon release. With many reviewers praising the colourful and detailed graphics, but also noting the game was very maze-like as it was easy to get lost, resulting in a lot of backtracking.

BATMANTHE CAPED CRUSADER SCREEN

To be honest, I never really liked this one too much. I just found it a bit dull and clunky with all the walking around, getting lost and a lot of the screens being empty with nothing to do. The combat was also very limited and tiresome and the inventory screen was painfully slow and cumbersome too.

Batman

BATMAN AMIGA

Also known as Batman: The Movie. This one hit the market in 1989 to coincide with the Tim Burton movie, developed and published by Ocean Software. This was another game that popped up on several of the 8 and 16-bit computers. You control Batman through five stages based on scenes from the movie including: the Axis Chemical Plant, Streets of Gotham and Gotham Cathedral. Mixing up several gameplay styles, using side-scrolling action-platforming for two of the levels, two vehicle-based levels where you use the Batmobile and Batplane and a puzzle stage where you have to find various components for Joker’s Smilex toxin.

BATMAN AMIGA SCREEN

Batman was very well received with it reaching number one in the charts and even being awarded ‘Game Of The Year’ in Crash magazine. This title was a cracker with a fair challenge and varied gameplay… but it was way too short and you could complete it in twenty-odd minutes once you know what you were doing. Still, I would often play and replay through the game over and over again. Plus, I still remember the ‘jammmmmmmmmmm’ cheat code after all these years.

Batman: The Video Game

BATMAN NES

This one was also based on Tim Burton’s movie, but this is not just a port of the previous game. This was a whole new game built from the ground up just for the NES. Originally released in 1989 in Japan, then 1990 for America and Europe. Developed and published by Sunsoft. While this was based on Tim Burton’s movie, it also added a few ideas not in the film including villains besides Joker. Deadshot, Heat Wave, Nightslayer, Killer Moth and Firebug all make an appearance here to help pad out the action.

With you playing as Batman and using his many gadgets like the Batarang, and a Batspeargun. Batman could also wall jump, which was a very handy feature and used to get around some extremely tricky platforming sections. As the game was from Sunsoft, you got great story lead cutscenes and amazing music as most Sunsoft games had. The game’s reception was very good and is still referred to as one of the best NES games ever made.

BATMAN NES SCREEN

I remember playing this on my friend’s NES back in the early 90s. Being a huge fan of the movie, the game was a welcome addition. Welcome, but man was this tough. Never unfair though and you’d find yourself making steady progress as long as you utilised Batman’s gadgets and skills. An absolutely amazing action-platformer and still rightly regarded as one of the all-time great classic games.

Batman

BATMAN ARCADE

This one was an arcade only game released in 1990. Developed by Numega and published by Atari Games. Batman was a simple scrolling beat ’em up-platformer and featured scenes directly based on the 1989 movie, as well as stages where you use the Batmobile and Batwing. Also uses voices and digitised images taken directly from the movie to tell the story as well as featuring Danny Elfman’s amazing Batman score. With you playing as Batman patrolling the streets of Gotham trying to stop The Joker. The game was shallow and repetitive… but it was also good mindless fun. It’s an arcade game and designed to eat up your loose change.

BATMAN ARCADE SCREEN

For a scrolling beat ’em up, this was not a bad one at all. The graphics were dark and moody, capturing Burton’s film pretty damn well. Not a great game, but it was still good enough to warrant a play or several.

Batman: Return of the Joker

BATMAN RETURN OF THE JOKER NES

The sequel to the NES Batman game that was based on the 1989 film. But this sequel NES game, released in 1991, was made before the official Batman Returns movie sequel (confused yet?). Yes, we have a sequel to a game based on a movie that (at the time) didn’t have a sequel. Once more developed and published by Sunsoft, so you know you’re in for an awesome soundtrack if nothing else.

There were various ports of this game released on other formats that all slightly differed from version to version, but I only played this NES version. The plot is that Joker has escaped from Arkham Asylum and you, playing as Batman, have to survive through several side-scrolling levels set in and around Gotham City and stop Joker. Batman is only equipped with a Batgun/wrist-thing that fires various, selectable projectiles which are collected through the levels.

BATMAN RETURN OF THE JOKER NES SCREEN

I didn’t find this one as enjoyable as the previous NES Batman game, it just did not have the same feel. This one felt more like a scrolling shoot ’em up and an average one at that. It’s was not a bad game at all, just not as good as the previous one.

Batman Returns

BATMAN RETURNS SNES

Again, there were various versions of this title. But I’m going for the SNES version for this retrospective as it was really damn good. Released in 1993, developed and published by Konami for the SNES. Batman Returns was a scrolling beat ’em up with some really great little touches to add a lot of depth to this fairly shallow genre. Massively redundant and mindless but an awesome and satisfying experience nonetheless. Based on the film of the same name from Tim Burton, the game followed the movie really well too with you playing as Batman having to save Gotham City from Catwoman and the Penguin.

BATMAN RETURNS SNES SCREEN

Simple in its style, but full of great little features and details. Like being able to grab two henchmen at once and smash their heads together, or the ability to throw enemies into the background smashing windows and denting lampposts, etc. Stages were intercut with amazing cutscenes and written dialogue taken right from the film as well as using Danny Elfman’s infamous Batman score to great effect. Another thing that I always remember is how you could save Selina Kyle in the game just like in the film… ”you missed”. Well worth playing through if you can and one of the better 16-bit beat ’em ups.

The Adventures Of Batman & Robin

ADEVENTURES OF BATMAN AND ROBIN SNES

The Adventures of Batman & Robin was an action-platformer (and a bit of puzzling too) released in 1994 for the SNES. Developed and published by Konami and based on the critically acclaimed and utterly awesome Batman: The Animated Series TV show. You play as Batman, with Robin only appearing in cutscenes. Each level was based on one of the main villains, with a rogues gallery like: The Joker, Poison Ivy, The Penguin, Catwoman, Two-Face, The Scarecrow, The Riddler, Clayface and even Man-Bat. Each level had its own flavour and style based on each of the villains which in turn was based on an episode of the TV show itself. The Riddler stage featuring a lot of puzzles and riddles for example.

ADEVENTURES OF BATMAN AND ROBIN SNES SCREEN

The Adventures of Batman & Robin really was a fantastic game. Dark, moody and well animated, it looked just like the TV show it was based on. As each level had its own villain based aesthetic and style, they brought a great mix of gameplay styles that offered plenty of variation from simple beat ’em up and platforming action to head-scratching puzzles and more.

Batman Forever

BATMAN FOREVER SNES

From one of the best Batman games on the SNES to one of the worst. This was released in 1995 for the SNES, Sega Mega Drive and a few others. Developed by Probe Entertainment and published by Acclaim. Let’s be honest, it does not matter which version I talk about here as they were all really, really, really bad.

Based on the third film of the same name. This one has you playing as either Batman or Robin, or even Co-Op 2 player… if you can find anyone that would want to play this game. A side-scrolling beat ’em up with some of the worst and most awkward controls ever seen in a game. Sluggish combat inspired by Mortal Kombat that just does not work, awkward gadget selection and usage.  Topped off with some truly terrible level design with little to no idea of where to go or what to do.

BATMAN FOREVER SNES.jpSCREENg

I really have nothing to say here. It’s a terrible game and should be avoided at all costs, not even worth playing just for curiosity sake. This game is so bad that I’d rather watch the film that it is based on.

Batman Forever: The Arcade Game

BATMAN FOREVER ARCADE

Yet another game based on the movie of the same name, but a very different game from the previous Batman Forever… thankfully. Developed by Iguana Entertainment, published by Acclaim and released in 1996. This was an arcade game that was later ported to the Sega Saturn, Windows and PlayStation.

While this was another one of those redundant scrolling beat ’em ups. But unlike the last Batman Forever game, this one was actually pretty decent. It was another mindless button-mashing game and allowed you to play co-op as Batman and Robin trying to stop The Riddler and Two-Face.

BATMAN FOREVER ARCADE SCREEN

Decent action romp with a pretty good combo system allowing you to do a 150+ hit combo on one enemy if you knew how. Plenty of OTT powerups, weapons and gadgets to use along the way too. Yes, it’s an inane button-masher, but it still has some playability value in there and it’s far, far, far better than that previous Batman Forever game. Worth checking out.

I’ll end here, but there is more Batman action to come in Part two. Same Bat-website, same Bat-time… sorry.