Batman Dark Tomorrow
Based on an original story by long-time Batman scribe Scott Peterson (with some creative input by former Final Fantasy writer Kenji Tareda), Dark Tomorrow takes the Caped Crusader back to his roots as an ass-kicking vigilante out to rid Gotham City's streets of crime. You won't find any colorful, cartoony visuals in this third-person action-adventure; BDT puts the "dark" back in Dark Knight with gritty, atmospheric environments and an assortment of familiar villains and locales from the comics. From what we've seen, BDT is shaping up nicely.
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The name Batman doesn't exactly fill gamers with a lot of confidence. After all, the Caped Crusader has had a pretty rocky video-game history. Oh, and the movies have sucked for quite a while now, too.
But wipe that from your memory. Dark Tomorrow has nothing to do with those crappy flicks. "Batman: DT is the first next-gen Batman game to be based on the DC comic book," says producer Takufumi Yuki. "We wanted DT to reflect the comic-book world, not the clean-cut superhero we see in animation and movies." In other words, expect to skulk around a very dark, gritty and violent Gotham City. But it ain't all action in Batman's world.
The less-informed may not know that the Dark Knight's physical abilities are matched only by his skills as a detective--a trait the developers at Kemco want to play up in the game. So expect to be searching for clues and using the grey matter just as much as kicking in doors and beating villains senseless.
While you won't have the Boy Wonder at your side, Batsy's handy utility belt weighs him down with loads of awesome gadgets (see below). And you'll need 'em against the rogue's gallery of supercriminals you'll face. "Some of Batman's biggest challenges in the game include Black Mask, Scarface, Ratcatcher, Killer Croc and Poison Ivy," says Yuki. "But there are even more villains waiting in line to ambush the Dark Knight as you delve deeper and deeper into the game." By the way, we think it's pretty cool that this list of enemies feels a little more diverse than what we're used to in most Batman games.
When it comes down to it, Dark Tomorrow feels like a great blend of the best action games in the series, plus the puzzle solving of Resident Evil and even a little bit of stealth gameplay a la Metal Gear Solid 2.1 mean, hey, the Dark Knight hasn't stayed alive all these years by running around in plain view, right? Be one with the shadows, grasshopper.
The only thing we find distressing is the total lack of a Batmobile. Maybe in the sequel?
How bad is Batman: Dark Tomorrow? It's not just regular bad. It's super bad. To start, its wonky controls and faulty camera actually make you long to play Resident Evil. The fixed camera angles often completely shift your perspective as you move from one side of a room to the other--and the controls reverse with each shift. At best, this is disorienting. At worst, it'll get you killed. I've tried, but I can't think of a single worse camera in a game, ever. That's just the start. You beat bad guys less by skill than by capitalizing on cheap moves. Sadly, the enemies are keen to this fact, too. For instance, imagine Mr. Freeze blasting your feet with his freeze gun, then doing it again as soon as you break free, without giving you even a fraction of a second to run. Now, imagine him doing that eight times in a row. If that sounds fun to you...you're wrong. DT is tedious from start to finish, and counts easily as the worst licensed game since Superman for the N64.
Let's see, one point for the cool cinemas and one point for abundant supervillains like the Joker, Poison Ivy, and Killer Croc--but minus half a point because you can beat virtually all of them the same way. There's just not much to like about this mess. Joe already pointed out the horrendous camera, but the often cryptic objectives and mediocre-at-best graphics also contribute to our shared misery. I got more satisfaction out of cleaning my bathroom on the day I started Dark Tomorrow than I did playing this early contender for the year's worst game.
After that Batman and Robin flick, I thought tainting the Dark Knight's image any further was an impossibility--and then Kemco releases this pile. It's amazing that a decent story featuring a bunch of the Caped Crusader's coolest villains could be so screwed up by clunky, repetitive game-play that it lacks even one redeeming quality. I think this is the most unplayable game I've ever encountered...and I've played some real crap. This is like the Adam West of videogame Batmen-- embarrassingly pathetic.