hunterob's Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker (Nintendo 64) review

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If you're looking for ways to be miserable, trying to play Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker is a great utility.

Here's a perfect example of why the beat-em-up died after the 16-bit era. Polygonal combat has never been able to deliver the same smooth, satisfying action you'll find in 2D classics. If you're looking for a good Batman beat-em-up, I can point you toward two shining beacons that are both far away from this one. That'd be earlier, in Konami's Batman Returns for the SNES (or the slightly worse but still better than this NES version) to provide a classic example of an old school style 2D sidescrolling brawler. Or much later, Rocksteady's Arkham games, to find a far and away better way to approach combat in a polygonal game.

This game may be the most abysmal attempt at infusing a brawler with the Batman license. I say "may" because those Acclaim Batman Forever games give it some competition, in the worst possible way. Combat is sluggish and dull. Hits aren't satisfying, because most of your punches will land either during their "pain" animation, or during their attack animations. You'll take chunks off their life bar, but that's all you'll feel like you're hitting. It reminds me of some of the poorly made mobile fighting games of today - you feel as if you're influencing statistics instead of engaging in action.

The game starts off incredibly easy, and by the third stage, 3 lives proves to not be enough. This is where I elected to stop playing, as after you lose 3 lives, you have to restart the entire stage. While I initially wanted to see it through to the end to see just how bad it is as a whole, there was nothing to keep me determined after it became too hard alongside poorly made. I remember Ubisoft doing better later with Batman: Vengeance - while it's probably also not a great game now, it surely does some interesting things and is far and is definitely more worth your time. If you're clearly interested in "dated" Batman video game attempts, that is.

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