Batman: The Brave and the Bold Hands-On

The Dynamic Duo takes on the pesky Catman in our hands-on look at this family-friendly game.

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Last year's Arkham Asylum was the gaming equivalent of The Dark Knight, propelling the Batman franchise onto the A-list yet again. Batman: The Brave and the Bold is the newest game based on the caped crusader, but while Arkham Asylum focused on mature themes for an adult audience, The Brave and the Bold is more geared toward younger gamers. We played through a few levels of this colorful title at E3 2010 and found it much more Adam West than Christian Bale.

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The game is based on the cartoon series of the same name and takes more than just its visual cues from its television counterpart. As in every episode of the TV series, a new partner will team up with Batman in every "episode" (or in this case, level), and they'll include both villains and heroes from the entire DC universe. Two players can engage in drop-in/drop-out co-op here, with the game's AI taking over the second character if you're flying solo (similar to the system found in the Lego games). Each character--and Warner Bros. is staying quiet right now as to how many we can expect--will have its own unique attacks and special abilities or gadgets, although Batman will have the most toys.

The game is essentially a side-scrolling beat-'em-up, with some light puzzle and platforming elements thrown in. In the level we played, Batman was accompanied by the Boy Wonder, and they had to fight through several enemies in a park. Basic attacks are mapped to the Wii Remote's A button, while jump is locked to B. The nunchuk is used to move your characters, with the C button for blocking and Z for initiating a special attack or using the gadget you've currently got equipped. Some complexity is added via different moves that can be performed in conjunction with directional presses on the nunchuk analog stick (holding up while pressing A will do an uppercut, for example). It's simple enough for kids to get into, but it does have enough layers so older players won't get bored.

After fighting through the park, we eventually got to the end-level boss--Catman. Catman fired beams that turned some ordinary cats into giant beasts, with both Batman and Robin having to deal with those pesky critters while avoiding Catman's attacks. Occasionally, Catman's beams would turn the Dynamic Duo into cats themselves, and after a bit of trial and error, we found we had to get to our main foe by jumping on top of some boxes and then clawing him in the face.

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Batman: The Brave and the Bold looks to be full of the same appeal as the TV show and comes complete with a presentation that aims to mimic the ebb and flow of the show. Look for more information on this game soon on GameSpot.

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