Content at a glance:
Mild Violence: Mild hand-to-hand combat and some gun and projectile combat against LEGO figures, enemies fall apart and disappear.
Destruction: Explosions, some vehicle-to-vehicle combat, parts of the environment can be destroyed
Mild Suggestive Content: One female character wears a skimpy outfit of leaves, a few kisses are seen
Other Negative Elements: Game offers the chance to play villain characters.
There’s nothing quite like playing with your imagination. The ability to create a story and play it through was one of the most entertaining things I could imagine doing as a kid, and LEGO was always the best way to do it. I would build a little set, and set off on my own adventures. These days the adventures in the imagination got exchanged for virtual adventures on the game console. I have no problem with the video game adventures, and it doesn’t look as though LEGO does either.
LEGO Batman is based on the toy line of the same name. It’s the next in the line of LEGO games that include LEGO Star Wars and LEGO Indiana Jones. As you can guess, instead of honing your Jedi skills or pursuing artifacts from around the world, you take to the mean, crime-ridden streets of Gotham City and bring down the worst criminals the city has ever seen with the tame sort of content and goofy humor you can count on from the LEGO series.
Gotham City’s always had problems. Thanks to the efforts of the Caped Crusader, (Batman) things have finally quieted down. Just about all of the bad guys are locked up tight in Arkham Asylum so every LEGO figure who calls the city home can rest easy…yeah right.
Before you can say “happy days are here again” Arkham experiences another major breakout. It doesn’t take long, it never does, for Batman’s worst enemies to get back on the street and start raising havoc yet again. The Gotham City police are already overwhelmed trying to hunt down the villains, so the Bat Signal goes up. Shortly afterwards, Batman and Robin are back in action trying to bring down a nasty cast that includes The Joker, The Penguin, The Riddler, Two-Face, Mr. Freeze, and still others. It looks like it’s going to be another long night in Gotham. Better get started.
Or if you prefer, you can play on the other side of the law and take on the roles of Gotham’s worst and raise havoc and defeat the Dynamic Duo.
In LEGO Batman, players use both the Wii Remote and Nunchuck to control Batman and Robin. Both have different abilities, so you’ll have to switch between the two of them to overcome obstacles. Both Batman and Robin have different suits that they can use to progress through the level; for instance Batman’s Glide Suit lets him glide across gaps, and Robin’s Magnet Suit lets him walk up magnetic surfaces.
Sometimes, you’ll come across LEGO bricks lying around. You can use them to build something which may help you advance. Or if you see objects made out of LEGO bricks, you can tear them down for LEGO studs, which you can use to buy things later on.
The hub for the Dynamic Duo is the Batcave. From there, you can access each of the three episodes in the game. Each episode is divided into chapters, where you take on one of three supervillians and their followers. Also in the Batcave, you can buy new characters with the LEGO studs you’ve found. After you complete an episode with the heroes, you can unlock the villains’ hub of Arkham Asylum and play through the same episode only from the bad guys’ perspective.
Mild Cartoon Violence
Batman’s known to be quite a martial-artist, and he still carries a bit of that into the LEGO world, limited as it is. He and Robin attack with punches and I believe a kick or two. They can also grab enemies and either hit them or throw them. Since this is all with LEGO figures, the enemies just literally go to pieces. Both members of the Dynamic Duo do the same when they run out of health. In the heroes’ case though, you never really die. You just lose some studs you collected, and you’re as good as new. The LEGO series wasn’t really known for its violence.
Some bad guys bring guns into the fight, but the result is still the same as it is when combat is hand-to-hand. You or the enemies just fall apart, but in your case, you’re back on your plastic feet in no time.
The worst violence is story-related, especially when you take on The Joker’s episode, and it’s really more of The Joker showing what will happen to someone. Speaking of the Clown Prince of Crime, if you play the villains side, he can attack with his electric joy-buzzer. He’ll shake another LEGO figure’s hand and they’ll turn into a skeleton as he shocks them into pieces. It’s not graphic, as you would expect from a LEGO game. If anything, it’s like the old cartoons when someone would get stuck in a light socket.
One of Batman’s suits is called the Demolition Suit, and it lives up to its name. It lets Batman place bombs to clear out obstacles that can’t be easily broken. Speaking of breaking things, just about every interactive object on the streets of Gotham can be broken. It’s all made out of LEGO remember.
Sometimes you’ll climb into one of Batman’s vehicles, like the Batmobile, for a high-speed chase down the streets. You’ll have to fight with other vehicles as well. The Batmobile is armed with guns, but enemy vehicles only fall apart. The more important ones will fall over for towing.
Mild Suggestive Content
You’ll run into the bad girls Poison Ivy, Catwoman, and Harley Quinn. Because they’re made of LEGO, no one in this trio is really shapely or seductive, although Poison Ivy still wears her usual low-cut outfit of leaves, so you see what passes off as her bare, plastic arms, sides and back. She can also plant a toxic kiss on some poor LEGO man’s artificial lips.
During a cut scene, we see Harley Quinn, who is The Joker’s main squeeze, plant a kiss on her twisted man. We also see Catwoman give Batman a smooch after he defeats her. Speaking of Catwoman, some parts require you to take advantage of her charms to advance. We don’t see her do anything, but you do see hearts floating around the little LEGO man’s head.
Some enemies, like The Riddler, can control the minds of others. It’s explained that he can do this with a device in his cane, but it still gives it a magic wand-like feel to it, at least to me. In The Joker episodes, the final showdown with him takes place at a cathedral. Other than this, LEGO Batman is void of any spiritual content.
Other Negative Elements
As you’ve no doubt gathered, you can play as the villains where your mission is to help advance their schemes. For some, this may be no different than the days when kids played with actual LEGO figures and performed the role of hero and villain at the same time. Others may not think this way.
During a cut-scene, we see The Joker point a gun at his head, which turns out to be a trick gun. Still, it was a little surprising to see that in a LEGO game.
I remember growing up how much fun I had with my LEGO sets. Building them was half the fun, and the other half was just coming up with some adventure to have. These days, I prefer to just collect them. But that doesn’t mean the LEGO adventuring days are over. When LEGO video games started coming out, I decided to take part in a new kind of LEGO adventure. LEGO Batman was one such decision.
But when I was growing up, I played with LEGO knights and the cowboys of the old West. It was all really tame, where the worst of it was making shooting or clanking noises to go along with the little LEGO gun or sword. Now, LEGO has come out with some not-so-tame material, like Star Wars, Indiana Jones, and now Batman. Still, to their credit, the toy lines don’t explore much of the elements that make the above questionable, like the murky spirituality of Star Wars, Indy’s habit of finding a new woman every adventure, and the worst that Gotham has hiding in its dark alleys. The video games do very much the same.
That’s not to say that this game is as clean as it should be. While it does without the heavy violence that Batman now seems to be known for, it offers a chance to play on the wrong side of the law. While LEGO Joker doesn’t go around impaling people’s heads with a well-sharpened no. 2 pencil, the fact that you can play as Joker and his fellow evildoers may cross the line for some. So, it’s safe to say this isn’t the same good clean fun you’d expect from LEGO. It’s tame, but not entirely spotless.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this Spotlight review are those of the reviewer (both ratings and recommendations), and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Eden Communications or the Christian Answers Network.
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