Oh, Catwoman. If only your video games could be rebooted just like your entire universe. I hope I’m not setting myself up for disappointment here, but there are a few Catwoman related items I’m very much looking forward to. Catwoman’s role in Batman: Arkham City (which I have faith won’t disappoint), Anne Hathaway’s role as Selina Kyle/Catwoman in The Dark Knight Rises (which I’m really hoping won’t disappoint, because I love Anne Hathaway), and DCnU’s Catwoman #1 (which has tons of potential to be disappointing, but, again, I have faith). But something I’ll never have faith in ever again is any kind of solo Catwoman video game. The video game tie-in to Halle Berry’s Catwoman still gives me nightmares, and I was hoping a simplified, old school style side-scroller with a Catwoman theme would be at least a little bit interesting, but holy crap was I wrong!
Released: Dec. 1999
Platforms: Game Boy Color
The story is as uninteresting as the idea of a Catwoman Game Boy game itself. Talia Al Ghul contracts Selina to steal a crystal skull that somehow is an intricate part of a weapon Ra’s Al Ghul is building to destroy Gotham City. Not exactly a Chuck Dixon or Ed Brubaker quality of storytelling going on in the cartridge. But, when Catwoman makes the decision to keep this crystal skull for herself instead of handing it over to the Ghuls, Catwoman must now take on the League of Shadows and Lady Shiva who are after her head.
Believe it or not, the story is more exciting than the gameplay. A brutally pixelated Catwoman stiffly walks around bland environments clawing at security guards, attack dogs, and League of Shadow goons. The game actually reminds me of some kind of coke addicted cousin of Castlevania, which is a shame, because a detoxed Castlevania with a Catwoman main character would have been a really awesome Game Boy game in 1999. The real challenge here isn’t defeating enemies, or accomplishing specific goals, it’s simply finding your way to the next exit point.
What really bothers me about this game isn’t the thin story line, or the blocky graphics, or even the boring gameplay; it’s when you take a break and don’t touch any of the controls for a minute, and the Catwoman sprite actually has the audacity to place her hands on her hips, and tap her foot in a “what are you waiting for, you moron? Play my game” kind of fashion. I mean, who does she think she is looking at me like I’m inconveniencing her and her bad Saturday morning cartoon adventure? Or that I’m some moron for not wanting to play her nine NES reject levels. Also, nine stages…nine lives…real clever, Kemco.
Sadly, the best part about the entire experience is the beautiful box art seen above. But that’s obviously not worth the $30 price tag that this game carried over ten years ago. This game would be amazing if it were released in 1994, but even by 1999 standards, it’s a rough game. You’ve got to be a real hardcore Batman fan to get through this one…which I’m proud to say I did. And though I’m the least entitled person you’ll ever know, I think I deserve some kind of medal for getting through games like this so you don’t have to.
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