Zadzooks: Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes review
Memorable moments (in no particular order): The multicolored fire outline of the Joker’s face in Ace Chemical; an awesome boss battle starring a fear-gas version of Scarecrow; shining a bat signal into the eyes of a massive Joker mech-bot and temporarily blinding it; admiring a calm ocean set against a setting sun while aboard LexCorp’s flying fortress; Superman leaving a wake as he flies close to the ocean at super speed; and invading the secret confines of Research and Development at LexCorp located on the sunny streets of Metropolis.
Violent encounters: It’s a brick-eat-brick virtual world as villains and heroes take a beating, fly in the air, cry out in anguish and explosively burst apart. It’s much more amusing than dramatic and will keep a child mesmerized. That is, as long as junior doesn’t start busting up his older brothers’ real Lego collection.
Balancing the cartoony violence, missions often offer the chance to put out fires, clean up toxic chemicals, rebuild the Batcave and even rescue citizens in peril from creatures such as man-eating plants with the reward of a golden brick (250 possible) for those up to the challenge.
Read all about it: Fans looking for a comparable level of sequential art action will appreciate DC Comics’ trade paperback the All-New Batman: The Brave and the Bold, Volume 1 ($12.99). Based on Cartoon Network’s defunct series of nearly the same name (sans the “all-new” part), the book compiles the first six issues from the monthly comics series and features the kid-friendly art style of Sholly Fisch. The published action stars Batman teaming up with heroes including Black Canary, Superman, Flash, Martian Manhunter and Wonder Woman.
Pixel popping scale: 8.5 out of 10. Offering a perfect homage to Tim Burton’s gloomy art deco version of Gotham City from his 1989 film “Batman,” heroes weave through monolithic structures, glistening architecture, giant bronze statues, rocky ravines and streets loaded with minion mischief and anarchy.
The characters are equally impressive with a computer-animated pallet of textures applied to swishing-soft canvas capes, hard plastic bodies and paint jobs that makes them look as if they were pulled right from a Lego package.
Youngsters and fans alike will spend plenty of off game time wondering if they can buy some of the actual minifigures to add to their collection or try and build their versions of the heroes and villains.
Star power: For the first time, the Lego characters can talk. In the old days, players simply giggled as the on-screen narrative played out through the principals’ mumbles and grunts.
Now, a more pointed sense of verbal humor emerges from the developers. We can hear the strained and funny dialogue between Superman and Batman play out, listen to Robin’s rambling naivete and hear Vicki Vale report on the news, or better yet, Clark Kent with his own streaming video broadcast.
An added, rousing extra to the action is the musical score compiling themes from Danny Elfman’s work on “Batman” and John Williams’ inspiring efforts on “Superman.”
Extras and Unlockables: As in all Lego-themed video games, the collection of studs, dumped by objects and structures that are busted apart leads to buying new characters.
To purchase the key arch-enemies, however, players must find their location (such as Two-Face at City Hall or Penguin at Arctic World) and defeat them before a stud-based purchase price pops up. Now, the characters are ready to use in any free-play level and each has their own set of powers (i.e. villain Hush packs a pair of pistols).
Multiplayer: Two players can drop in and out during crime fighting or spree frenzies work cooperatively during missions and return to already-played levels for free play.
However, as with all Lego games, I offer parents with younger children some advice.
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