We recently spent some time with UbiSoft's upcoming launch title, Batman: Vengeance. A port of the recently released PlayStation 2 title of the same name, the game is, thankfully, based on the excellent animated series and not the live action films. Offering detailed graphics that boast a few improvements upon those of its PS2 incarnation, the game is looking to offer a nice dose of action to the GC's launch lineup.
Batman: Vengeance's plot finds the caped crusader coming to the aid of a damsel in distress whose son has been kidnapped by The Joker, Batman's archnemesis. But as you take control of Batman and piece together all the clues, you'll find there's much more to the abduction. Before you find the truth, you'll face a few more of the Dark Knight's foes and uncover a much bigger plot.
You'll work you way through 19 levels spread out over eight environments. Gameplay will be broken down into two types: standard exploration and levels that find you behind the wheel of one of the Dark Knight's vehicles. The exploration levels will have you moving throughout Gotham City in search of clues about the kidnapping, taking out a variety of enemies, and facing off against a requisite boss. The vehicle levels will put you in control of the batmobile and batplane on the hunt for evildoers.
To make his quest for justice a bit more manageable, Batman will be packing an arsenal of gadgets and fighting moves. You'll have access to batarangs, electric batarangs, the batgrapple, flash bombs, remote charges, flash bombs, batcuffs, batcommunicator, and the batscope. You'll also be able to use the batlauncher to fire nets and charges at enemies. When gadgets aren't enough, you'll be able to take on enemies in hand-to-hand combat. You'll be able to punch, kick, and block and perform combos. As you progress through the game, you'll gain access to "power moves," which are charged-up attacks that inflict serious damage.
While the game is a port of the PS2 Batman: Vengeance, it's been tweaked a bit to take advantage of the GameCube hardware. UbiSoft's Montreal studio, which worked on the PS2 game, ported the game in two phases to make the best use of the hardware. The game engine was developed before the code was brought over. The work has yielded a solid 60fps frame rate (roughly double that of the PS2 version), cleaner textures, and speedier loading. A slight animation tweak has given a new look to one of Batman's moves--you'll see his hand trigger the remote charges onscreen. The only bump in the proceedings is that the FMV sequences are a bit grainy.
Ubi Montreal has managed to bring over the Dark Knight's adventures with a bit of gloss. The game handled well and looked good during our time with it. The game seems to be a solid entry in the GameCube launch lineup. Those looking for the chance to roam through Gotham can look for the game at the GameCube launch.