Where to begin? My instinctual inclination is to come out swinging, describing in excruciating detail the numerous travesties laden throughout every square inch of this brutal car-wreck of a game entitled Batman: Dark Tomorrow. But I’m not going to do that. I will say this though, I feel as if developer Kemco hates me. Why else would they conspire to create a game that portrays my favorite DC character in such an unflattering and downright retarded light, the likes of which have never before been witnessed? Screw it, this is the worst Batman game ever made, and god help you should you be unfortunate enough to somehow come into possession of it. God help us all.
The storyline in Dark Tomorrow revolves around the Caped Crusader’s latest efforts to thwart evil and save innocents in the miasmic environments of Gotham City. During the course of the game (assuming you actually have the patience and tolerance to get past the first level), Batman will come face to face with a vast assortment of familiar villains such as Black Mask, Killer Croc, The Ratcatcher, Scarface, Mr. Zsasz, Mr. Freeze, Poison Ivy, and of course, Mr. Funny Man with a Plan himself, The Joker. The story will be pushed forward via a series of cut-scenes, which depict Batman as a poor-man’s Norm MacDonald. It’ll be up to Bruce Mac--, err, Wayne, along with the remote assistance of the wheelchair-confined daughter of the now-dead Commissioner Gordon, Oracle, to cleanse the streets of Gotham and put the kibosh on those who would terrorize its residents. But who will save the game reviewers? That’s what I want to know.
The horror that is Dark Tomorrow’s gameplay system is made abundantly clear in the very first level of the game, which has Batman using his bat-grapple to swing from rooftop to rooftop. Expect to die constantly as you acclimate yourself with the game’s complete inability to correctly position the Caped Crusader in such a way as to not get hung up on invisible ledges or jump in the opposite direction that was intended. Death is plentiful as you attempt to make your way through the game’s many obstacles. Unfortunately, the death will inevitably be yours and the obstacles come in the form of technical programming inadequacies.
But the bat-stravaganza doesn’t end there. Even after learning how to compensate for the game’s brain-dead mechanics, you’ll need to cope with the downright unflinchingly hateful AI. In order to dispatch foes in Dark Tomorrow, you must not only kick the crap out of enemies via an extremely simplified combat system, but you’ll also need to bat-cuff each and every thug or they’ll get right back up and start shooting at your face over and over again. The problem lies in the fact that as you are cuffing one bad guy, another will get up and start shooting your head, then as you beat up that guy and begin cuffing him, another bad guy will get up and start the process all over again. Bad guys usually travel in packs of five, so the trick in taking them all out is to – well, actually there isn’t a trick to it, you just kinda run towards them while taking unavoidable damage, start jamming on the attack button, cuff the baddies as quick as possible, and pray that you come out of the skirmish alive. The lack of thought that went into this aspect of the game is offensive. I am personally offended.
Batman has plenty of gadgets in his arsenal, none of which heighten the entertainment value of the game in any way, but rather are there to be used in the instances where they are necessary to progress. You’ll have access to batarangs, batcuffs, the batcable, a finger flashlight, night-vision goggles, smoke capsules, medical kits, and a universal tool. Despite this buffet of bat-gadgets, Dark Tomorrow’s straightforward level designs don’t allow you to use them in any creative ways; they are only useful when they are required.
Aside from the incessant stuffing and cuffing routine that is required to dispatch baddies, Kemco also saw fit to include a few stealth-oriented sequences, which the back of the game case describes as “Groundbreaking stealth game animation and intellectually stimulating detective elements.” In actuality, the stealth sequences are nothing more than simplified hide-and-seek mechanics.
Visually, Batman: Dark Tomorrow is at best disappointing. The overall presentation is composed of drab and dreary environments chock full of repeating textures and generic surroundings. Nearly every thug you come across looks nearly identical to the one before it, and even the occasional boss fight lacks any sort of originality or aesthetic creativity. The camera system is horrible, forcing you to view the action from a fixed vantage point that has no regard for efficiency or functionality. As you run from area to area, the camera will often re-position the control scheme so that you’ll inadvertently run back the way you came thanks to the inverted controls imposed on you from the new camera angle. The one bright spot on this otherwise sub-par graphical presentation is Batman’s artistically detailed and realistically animated cape. That’s it, that’s the only cool element of the game’s visuals... the cape.
The sound is varied in terms of quality. Dynamically controlled music shifts in rhythm and tempo as you transition from mindlessly navigating the uninspired levels to encountering enemies, and the orchestrations actually convey a sense of urgency and style. On the other hand, the voice acting heard throughout the game is awkward and forced. The sound effects are run-of-the-mill, generic representations of the on-screen action that just kinda blend into the experience; in one ear and out the other.
To put it frankly, Batman: Dark Tomorrow is a stagnant pond full of crap-sucking carp that’ll have you reeling in one piece of garbage after another. The gameplay is excruciatingly unresponsive, the graphics are generic – quite simply, there is no possible excuse to buy this game, even if you consider yourself a Batman fan of the highest degree.