Traveller’s Tales is back with their newest Lego adventure that involves Batman and his sidekicks fighting against the evil villains of Gotham City…or vice versa. I’m sure almost anyone who will read this review will have already played either the Star Wars or Indie Lego series. So let’s hope that Traveller’s Tales can continue a so far excellent set of games with Batman Lego.
It hasn't been long since Traveller's Tales released LEGO Indiana Jones, and now England's TT Games returns with another LEGO adventure with LEGO Batman. If you have read the LEGO Indiana Jones review on Extreme Gamer you will know the basics of the Lego games. Not much has changed between the Indie and Batman games except for the characters, location and a few extras. Needless to say, once you start a game the goal is to collect all the coins, hidden pieces and finish the level to unlock free play and the next level. So instead of looking at what Lego games are about we’ll just look at the basics of LEGO Batman and what’s new.
Enter the Batcave
Powering on your system will prompt you to the only one option in LEGO Batman, to select new game. Once you begin your new adventure as Batman and Robin you’ll have the luxury of completing the first level, when this level is done you go back to the Batcave. The Batcave is essentially the college in Indiana Lego. Here you can find mission sets; there are three chapters, each containing five levels. Each chapter has different Gotham evils to battle. Other stuff you can find in the Batcave is the bat computer, which has data, unlockable characters, extras, codes, story clips and a neat little addition, suit upgrades. Most items under these categories can be purchased with the coins you find in levels. There is also a character customizer, all Lego games have this, and it’s a spot where you can make a custom character with any parts you want. Then there’s the portal to Arkham Asylum.
Break free from Arkham
To get to Arkham you have to complete at least the first chapter in the Hero (Batman and Robin) part of the game. This is an excellent opportunity to play as the villains and maybe learn the villain ways. As the villains, you work towards destroying Gotham from within. Definitely a fun change from the super hero path, but nothing will ever beat playing as Batman. Arkham Asylum has most of the same features as the Batcave, only difference; Arkham has more criminals walking around that you can skirmish with and break! Also in the Batcave and Arkham there is one bonus level hidden in each hideout.
More than a utility belt
There are several fun “mini” games inside of story and free play mode. Aside from the usual “collect enough studs to attain superhero” and collect the blocks, there are hostages hidden in each level which have to be saved. Once all the hostages are saved you unlock a secret character, which cannot be mentioned, even though I would like to. As for the characters during the hero missions you play only as Batman and Robin, until you try the missions in free play at which point you can use anyone. In the villain chapters you play as different villains as you progress through each chapter.
The character abilities include building, grappling high points and using the batarang. Something really neat with Batman Lego is the ability for each character to utilize different suits with different uses. For example; Batman has a glide suit, which allows him to glide across long distances, a sonic suit which can shatter glass, a demo suit to blow stuff up, and a heat protection suit, to protect him from the ever so dangerous element of fire or hot metal. Robin also has four suits of his own; a magnet suit to walk along magnetic surfaces, a water suit to swim below water level, a technology suit that can activate certain areas, and an attract suit to collect pieces of Lego and put them in an Attracto canister. The Attracto canister builds Lego objects that are vital to mission success. Certain players have special abilities. Some have super strength, which can be used to pick large Lego objects and toss them across the screen. Batman and Robin have hand-to-hand grappling, very fun and useful. Last but not least the Joker has a mind-controlling device.
The Song Remains the Same
The pick-up items are pretty much the same as previous Lego games. Studs (coins, Lego canisters, hearts and red power bricks. There is one red power brick hidden in each level, when you find it you unlock extras and bonus content. As for the sound and graphics if you’ve played any other Lego game or if you read the Indie review you’ll get the idea. They are no different from previous Lego games, but are still excellent and very visually pleasing.
Batman Lego is awesome, simply awesome. It’s great to play alone or with a friend in the story mode or without restrictions in free play. The small additions add to the feel of the game, and the ability to play hero or villain missions is a great change of pace. The graphics are still visually pleasing, and the sounds are still wonderful. The dialogue and cut scenes still have that funny Lego comedy.
The gameplay is simple and levels go by fairly quickly but the replay value is excellent, I still find myself going back on levels to find everything. There are no difficult puzzles in Batman Lego, no more difficult than Indie or Star Wars Lego. Everything pieces together perfectly, and just as Star Wars and Indiana Jones Lego, Batman Lego is a big success. As a huge Batman fan, this is one to add to my collection. LEGO Batman is must for anyone who is a Batman fan, a fan of the Lego games, or simply a fan of action games in general.
Reviewed by Chris Gagne | 10.13.08