Batman: The Brave and The Bold-The Video Game (DS)

Batman: The Brave and The Bold- The Video Game is one hell of a title, but it says it right there on the box. The video game takes its cues from the most recent animated series to star the Caped Crusader. Instead of portraying the Dark Knight as some avenging angel of justice as he has been known for the past 30 some-odd years, the show takes a more light-hearted approach to Batman and the world around him. The villains are big, their props are bigger and he is always joined on his adventure by one of a handful of well-meaning partners.

And his partners run the gamut from the like of Booster Gold to Blue Beetle, wait that must be a typo, where’s Superman? Wonder Woman? Martian Manhunter? Yes the show does not feature the usual troop of mainstay DC bigwigs (who I love just as much), but instead focuses on lesser known characters like Red Tornado and even manages to make Aquaman cool.

The Brave and the Bold go portable.

Now you have a rather long-winded backstory for the series, but what about the game? The game is a classic beat-em/platforming hybrid that skews for a younger audience, I would imagine. That’s not to say the game can’t be enjoyed by older gamers, but it doesn’t really offer much in the way of challenges. The lack of a challenge for gamers and the length of the game are the two biggest things I have against the game. I didn’t time my play session, but I had to beat the game in under 3 hours, maybe close to two and a half hours?

To make up for the relatively short campaign mode, the game also features a Challenge mode, which as the name would implies offers different challenges in locations from the game. They seem to come in 3 fashions. There’s the “Tough” challenge, which has you fending off foes in a single screen with the starting health bar. There’s X character challenge, in which you attempt to beat a partner’s stage without the aide of Batman, and finally Boss Rush mode, which pits you against the two bosses of a chapter in a row, though it seems like your health regenerates after an encounter.

These are all interesting challenges, and help pad out the game’s length just a bit, but they only offer monetary rewards, and by the time the main campaign was done, I had already bought all the upgrades available.

There are also hidden orbs in each stage that unlocks a character on the Bat-computer. I could be missing something, but that’s it. It doesn’t give you a bio or an interactive sprite. It just seems like you are able to view them on the Bat-computer. It felt like they wanted to add in something for players to revisit the stage, but didn’t make it rewarding enough.

It may sound like I’m down on the game, but I actually did enjoy the game. The combat is fast and fun and does mix it up. The core of the game has you playing as Batman teaming up with a different partner on each stage. You have your basic attack, your strong attack, a special move, jump and the ability to block and roll. Again, nothing groundbreaking, but it gets the job done. Where the game mixes it up is the use of gadgets and partners. Batman is well known for his utility belt which comes equipped with all manners of gadgets in this game including his trusty Batarangs, the Bat-sword (which was my mainstay does a lot of damage), Bat-grenade (which is a screen clearing attack), smoke pellets and a few more gadgets. Most of these are unlocked at the end of a stage while others can simply be bought from the Batcave in-between levels. They add some variety to the game, but really aren’t needed.

The partners however play a vital role in the game as each comes equipped with a unique play style. Aquaman, being the King of Atlantis and all, is able to freely move about the water as well as create water-based weapons under seas, Green Arrow has a bag full of arrows including some that can create platforms for those hard to reach jumps, and Red Tornado is able to temporary freeze lava making it safe to crossover. You will spend a great deal of time switching between Batman and his partner, but the game is always kind enough to point out just who you need in a situation and usually what skill you need to pull off. This again ties into the game lacking any challenge, but it won’t frustrate younger gamers.

Hover man!

Another element that is unique to each of your partners is your special move. Honestly, don’t know how it is triggered exactly while I know it is based off of your combo, but was never entirely sure if it was based on maintaining one or just after a certain number of hits. But these are pretty cool moves, and each combination offers something different. Green Lantern creates a airplane construct and drops bombs on your foes, Green Arrow and Batman fire off arrows and batarangs in all directions, and Aquaman and Batman ride across the screen on a giant whale. They were always a treat to see, and couldn’t wait until I was granted permission to use one to see what WayForward came up with.

On that end, the presentation in this game is top notch as well. While it lacks much of the voice-acting from the Wii version, you usually get a call to justice when you tag in and out, it does feature the show’s trademark humor during the brief exchanges between characters. The music is also reflective of the game and is of a light-hearted nature. you will of course hear the theme for the cartoon series several times throughout the game.

Where else can you see Batman chased by a Dino?

The graphics look nice and stay true to the style of the show. You get a variety of enemies in each stage, which ranges from sharks wearing armor to gorillas and basic thugs. You encounter a ton of great boss characters including popular Bat-foes like The Joker and Catwoman and a surprise I won’t ruin as it is one of the better stages and bosses in the game. As a Batman fan, one of my favorite parts of the game was playing as Aquaman as he rode a Batman who had been turned into a gorilla as they fought the forementioned sharks, gorillas and finally ending with a battle with Gorilla Grodd.

All in all, I enjoyed my experience with the game, but being a huge Batman fan and fan of the series, it was easy for me to overlook some of the flaws in the game. This game comes with my recommendation to check it out, but most likely through a rental or when it is cheaper than 30 bucks.

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