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Watman is a great remake of Batman, a classic 1986 action/adventure hybrid released only for the Spectrum computer, designed by Jon Ritman and Bernie Drummond and published by OCEAN. The original Batman is not only one of the first PC adaptations of a comic book license, but is also probably the world's first 3D platformer (well, isometric anyway ;)). Our mighty hero's task this time is to rescue Robin, his trusty sidekick, from the clutches of... well, you'll find out ;)
What makes Batman a great game (and one of the best implementations of comic book licenses, ever) is the amazing attention to detail and solid action/adventure gameplay. The game took its designers over ten months to write, and it shows in the amazing graphics as well as faithful throwbacks to the series. Batman's first task is to find and collect four Bat-equipment that will help in his quest - in the Batcave, no less. He's after his Batboots that allow him to jump, his Batbag to store inventory, his Batthruster to shoot him sideways, and finally his Batbelt that halves the speed of descent, allowing him to "fly" further. The game is cleverly designed so that you can't progress beyond a certain stage without these items - a nice touch of adventure gaming.
After collecting all four items, your next task will be to help Batman find the seven parts of the Batcraft, which are scattered around the Batacombs. The Batacombs are a complex maze of at least 150 rooms spread over nine floors. The game will test your arcade/timing skills to the limit, as well as your brain cells due to the bewildering amount of tricks and traps to avoid, deactivate, or otherwise overcome.
Although it is a bit disappointing that Batman spends more time hunting for items like a senile superhero than punching baddies, devious puzzles and level design will keep fans happy. Watman is very faithful to the original, right down to the squishy noises you hear when Batman walks around. The graphics have been updated to 256 colors to a great effect. Looking at this game, one can't help but appreciate the attention to detail that went into the 1986 original (which features some of the most detailed graphics ever seen in an isometric game, for any computer). Similar to the original, Watman is a very difficult game, very tricky, and often quite frustrating, but the strong "just one more room" addiction remains intact. Definitely one of the most faithful and best remakes I have ever seen, and like the original, Watman is well worth a look by Batman fans and fans of unique action/adventure hybrids.
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