You might be inclined to dismiss the DS version of Batman: The Brave and the Bold as just a crappy port of the Wii version. Do not. The portable TV adaptation is actually far superior, holding its own among a strong array of platformers available on the DS. Adults might not find too much excitement in the Dark Knight's latest adventure, but kids will definitely dig it.
Batman: The Brave and the Bold starts off with a brief tutorial mode, during which it's your job to stave off the psychopathic Joker. In order to beat up the clown and his flunkies, Batman can jump, smash, roll, and use an array of gadgets including a batarang, grappling hook, and a number of other unlockable items. Once the tutorial's over, the options will expand, at which point you can select from a handful of stages. The settings are varied - you'll head everywhere from London to Atlantis - and in fact, the vividly stylized environments fall among the game's strengths. The cast of villains is also fantastic: in addition to the usual mainstays like Catwoman and Joker, you'll also fight lesser-known enemies like Baby-Face, Gentleman Ghost, and Polaris.
Unlike the Wii version, this Batman: The Brave and the Bold is more than just a beat-em-up. Each level gives you access to one specific sidekick - heroes like Aquaman, the Blue Beetle, and Green Lantern - and each of those sidekicks has his own special abilities that can be used to get past puzzles on his stage. Need to leapfrog a gap? Just switch over to Green Lantern, who can fly right past it. Bricks need to be broken? Plastic Man will hammer them with his stretchy appendages. Much like old-school puzzle platformer The Lost Vikings, this game will have you switching characters constantly. It's fun, but exhausting.
Our biggest gripe about Batman: The Brave and the Bold for the Wii is that there's no way to die - fortunately, the DS version fixes that problem. Losing all of your health will reset you at the last checkpoint - granted, checkpoints are frequent - but boss fights and long puzzle stretches are far more challenging and enjoyable when there's at least some sense of danger afloat. The dialogue isn't as funny or clever as the Wii adaptation, but this portable game is still more fun.
If you're a fan of the TV show or you particularly enjoy the lighter side of the Dark Knight, check out the DS version of Batman: The Brave and the Bold. It's a solid addition to Batman's repertoire of kids' games.
Sep 30, 2010