Sunday, December 9, 2012

"The Adventures of Batman and Robin", SNES, 1994.

Where was I? Ah yes, I needed to wrap up the Batman thread. This is one of three flavours of licensed game adaptations patterned after this particular manifestation of Batman, his classy mid-'90s art deco cartoon series -- two others were released for the Sega Genesis and Sega CD, with different plots and sequences. They were different games, similarly titled and with the same aesthetic.
Is this the game or the TV show?
Only Alfred(tm) knows for sure.
And he's not talking. So you'll just have to find out for yourself in Konami's The Adventures of Batman and Robin video game. The new 16 meg blockbuster for your SUPER NES. Plunge into the underworld of Gotham City and battle the Dark Knight's archenemies through 8 sinister levels. Each based on actual adventures from the animated TV series. Strap on Batman's utility belt and choose his weapons wisely. 'Cause you'll need more than fast fists to make it to the next crime scene alive.
Hurl a gas grenade and crack up The Joker on a lunch-losing roller coaster ride. Launch your Batarang and prune back Poison Ivy in her evil greenhouse. Then unleash your plastic explosives to unstuff the Scarecrow's plans to strike fear into the populace. Follow the Bat Signal to Konami's The Adventures of Batman And Robin video game. It's all the nonstop action of the animated TV series. Without all those annoying commercials.
Ironically, here we are on a blog exclusively dedicated to annoying commercials. And more specifically, the annoying-commercial-hating annoying-commercial opens with a reference to a famous annoying commercial, Clairol's "only her hairdresser knows for sure" from 1956. Which is, of course, a long time ago, but still much younger than Batman himself.

Do you know the number one way to make future readers snicker at your ad copy? Boast about the file size of your game data as though it's a large quantity.

It's a bit cynical perhaps to suggest that the only thing awaiting Batman's successful survival is just "the next crime scene". Shades of Camus' Myth of Sisyphus. (Surprisingly, I am not the first to come up with this comparison, though if I was two weeks earlier I might have been. It could use more rigor, but this blog is not the place for that variety of rigor, not at least until Camus is adapted into comic book format -- and what kinds of ads will run in those rags?)

And then the curse of the Batman ad: the contractually obligatory grocery list of his accessories and the villains present in this game. In the future, can we just take it as a given that Batman throws Batarangs and drives a Batmobile without being forced to have it painfully spelled out repeatedly? One success of this cartoon series is widening the generally-recognized segment of Batman's Rogue's Gallery, previously restricted to the handful depicted in Adam West's movie. Thanks to the cartoon, we get to continue appreciating the Scarecrow and Poison Ivy's graduation to the A-list (as well as Harley Quinn, who as noted earlier originated in the cartoon) as well as some cutely awkward wordplay here -- pruning back Poison Ivy in her evil greenhouse (what makes a greenhouse evil? its incubation of nightshades?) and "unstuffing" Scarecrow's terroristic plots (with plastic explosives -- typically more often used in the execution of competing terroristic plots.) And of course, only starting in the '90s would a roller coaster ride's "lunch-losing"ness be touted as a selling point. (Really? I will totally purchase this game if Batman is depicted vomiting in it! I'll buy two copies if he is shown soiling his utility belt!) And that's a wrap for Batman! (I know, you were expecting something more... cowl-like?)