As he explains, "Because you’ll be playing with those two characters through much of the game, we’ve worked hard to give each of them lots of cool moves. There are a lot of things you won’t have seen in a LEGO game before, and lots of abilities which could only belong to Batman and Robin. These abilities include but are not limited to: targetable Batarangs, wall-jumping and wall-walking for Robin, tightrope walking, gliding, powerful punch and kick combos… and more."
Offing goons with Batarangs would work a treat, but it’s LEGO’s newfound ability for acrobatics that promises the most change. Platforming was never LEGO Star Wars’ strong suit - those angular legs just weren’t designed for expert gambolling - and so the notion of dashing across the twisted gothic skyline with a set of moves usually reserved for the Prince of Persia, is exciting stuff. Plus the sight of Robin teetering atop a tight-rope? Adorable.
And the gadgets? There’s a full belt’s worth. Along with vehicular levels, Traveller’s Tales have dreamt up power suits: unique skill-altering outfits - perfect for replaying levels in Free Play mode to hunt down hidden treats. We only know of the Magnetic Suit so far and we’ll eat our cowls if it doesn’t attract studs towards Batman. (We mean LEGO studs, the currency for purchasing hidden characters and cheats - not muscular men in seedy alleys.)
With all this kit, fighting crime is going to be a cinch. But what of committing crime? Yes, you could clean up the streets from the safety of the Batcave, but think of the fun you could be having in the villain’s shoes, with your very own villainous objectives. "Villain Mode is a major part of LEGO Batman," says Smith, "with 18 full levels of bad-guy action, as you take control of the villains in their criminal plots. It’s a story mode in its own right, with missions following one after the other in three separate chapter groups, to mirror the Hero Mode storyline."
So instead of answering the Bat signal as Batman and Robin, you’ll be hassling Commissioner Gordon as the Joker and his circus-freak lady-friend, Harley Quinn. Smith describes one mission where you "take control of Penguin and Catwoman as they team up to steal the world’s largest diamond from Gotham Museum." An unwise cat/bird partnership, perhaps, but one bound to please those tired of Batman and Robin’s smug do-gooding.
With at least six months until release, LEGO Batman is already looking extremely promising, and we’d struggle to name anything really missing from the overall Bat-package. With all of our favourite heroes, favourite villains and favourite vehicles, what more could it offer? How about our favourite butler? Smith offers a cryptic "stay tuned to see if Alfred is a playable character or not…" Make this happen and we certainly can’t wait to master Bruce.
Feb 14, 2008