Batman Forever: The Worst Game I Ever Rented

Batman Forever CoverI rented a lot of games when I was younger. Video stores, rental shacks, and even supermarkets offered the chance to play games I had never read about in Nintendo Power or GamePro, and some of my all-time favorite games were discovered among their shelves. But I also rented a lot of bad games. In the time before the internet, and particularly before online video game criticism was readily available ( aka IGN), the only sources gamers had to find out what was good were either magazines and friends. Money and time was wasted, as Sturgeon's Law was in effect even then.

And while I rented a lot of crap, none of it was as bad as Batman Forever, undoubtedly the most misspent $3 ever given to Video Spotlight. This was a game so unplayable it took me hours to get past its first stage. This was a Super Nintendo cartridge game that had a loading screen. Batman Forever was a crappily-made licensed game based on a crappy movie. Ugh.

Fifteen years later and Batman fans really have great things to cheer about. Arkham Asylum was a triumphant superhero game and this week's Arkham City may very well surpass it. We should have at least a first hour review of Arkham City from Nate this week, so look forward to that, but first, let's take a quick rewind to Batman's lowpoint.

Buried deep within Batman Forever's 38 page instruction booklet (this is the kind of game that wouldn't have any instructions now, but would definitely include a one-time use code to play as Robin) are the immortal words:

To fire the Grappling Hook, press the Select Button and aim it with the Control Pad.

Batman Forever assumes: (1) you have the instruction booklet, (2) you have read the instruction booklet before playing, and (3) you have memorized every single line in the instruction booklet. Since I was renting, I didn't meet a single one of Batman Forever's assumptions, and thus, could not proceed beyond the game's opening stage.

After awkwardly beating up a few motion-captured baddies, you are then faced with the prospect of having nowhere to go. You came from the left, and there is a wall to the right. Up? Down? One of those has to be right. Of course, the answer is up, and the way The Batman travels up is with his grappling hook. How do you fire the grappling hook? I don't know.

After trying every button, it appears that pressing the Select button (you know, the one that is never, ever used during normal gameplay) sort of makes Batman do a grappling hook animation. Turns out, if you press Select and then immediately follow that up (but not at the same time!) with UP on the D-pad, Batman will shoot his grappling hook towards the ceiling and climb up. There's something to be said about games being too dumbed down nowadays, but this would never fly anymore.

Batman Forever also has a loading screen that simply says, "HOLD ON". This is not a game worth waiting around for, even for seconds. I probably wouldn't remember even renting this game if it hadn't been this bad, but some things just stand out in your mind forever.

Bring on Arkham City.

Batman Forever Fighting