When you read this title you might think about the caped crusader playing a sports game against his enemies the league of Shadows… kind of like Mega Man Soccer for example. However if you read close you see it’s Ninja Baseball Bat Man not Batman and not Batmen either. However the Bat Men in this arcade delight are in a way Batmen! You see the story of this game is something along the lines of Roger, Ryno José and Straw were relaxing one day when suddenly a golden statue of their coach got stolen.. Six separate items. Now these four heroes have to travel through America and fight powerful baseball and Japanese themed foes ..also sometimes other stuff like crying airplanes or smiling orbs of nothingness, to get these six items back before the evil villain can use them to conjure up the almighty King Babe .. with them.. which he then controls! So yes.. the biggest enemy in this game is Babe Ruth.. legendary baseball player.
A batman in the english dictionary is described as a soldier who works under a superior as a servant. In a way these Ninja’s work under their coach and they retrieve a statue instead of doing their regular job so I guess in a way that would make them batmen. So if this game ever gets a sequel.. and I REALLY hope it does I suggest the title Ninja Baseball Bat Man Batmen! As you may have guessed this game is rather zaney! Combining Ninja culture with the american sports culture leads to some very interesting scenarios in this beat them up that I would describe as a relatively easy adventure across seven stages. I spend 23 quarters on this game. Well I would have if this was the old arcade days! Since this is actually my first time beating an arcade game I am not sure! We will find out in the future! Anyway as far as beat em ups go this one is really amazing! I just felt like a kid again! I played this game by myself so it was actually a bat woman not a bat man.. neither was it bat MEN. I played for myself so I would not be a batman either.. I think.. Brain ouchies!
Choosing one out of for Bat Men you move across west coast of america and make your way up to the east coast.. kinda! We get stages like Las Vegas, Texas and Chicago all ending with a big showdown in New York. I kinda forgot where the first two stages are set. It doesn’t really matter anyway because aside from Chicago and Vegas they aren’t very recognisable. The first stage is some kind of giant airport.. so I would assume it is LA based on what I know of the city. Giant halls and such. Then we get a stage aboard a big ship and a battle in the harbor.. so San Francisco maybe?! Vegas we fight our way through a casino and in texas we visit a haunted mansion. Chicago has a lot of gangsters, New York a lot of building scaffolding.. It kind of reminded me like that stage in turtles in time. A LOT! In fact?
In this game you can take on the roles of José the leader of the bunch who fights with average stats. He has a cool personality.. stern but fair! A good leader. Then we have Ryno.. he is the stormy one of the group.. using his two tiny bats, he attacks super rapidly but his attacks are super short range.. he is the most rash of them all! Then we have Roger. Roger is the big guy in yellow, his club has been made into a maze by fitting a baseball on it. He is slow but he has a breakdancing like move and he loves to eat , mostly pizza. Straw is the guy who attacks with the longest weapon almost a staff. He is the most chilled out guy of the group.. not as zany as the others. He just gets the job done.. he walks slow as Fudge though. While there are some special moves that show up as ninja abilities such as Ryno summoning storms and some other stuff that is a bit hard to explain.. These guys usually stick to their sport moves for the majority of the game. Ninjutsu is possible.. but tricky at times.
What is great is that every fighter feels unique and all of them had their moments where I found them more usable than the others. For example Ryno performs really well in bigger packs with low HP while Straw is really good at the later stages of boss fights and slower beginning of stages. Roger is great for the final tougher enemies prior to a boss and of course for pummeling the boss itself. Jose finally is good against armoured enemies, and in general the tougher stage foes. Still I am pretty sure these guys aren’t humans so they must be mutants… hmmmm I heard this before. Not sure where but for some odd reason I feel really like dining on baseball soup tonight! Gross!
I was really amazed how different characters felt from one another and this kept my adventure fun! Which was needed because this is a two button arcade cabinet. You have your directional keys, your hit button and your jump button. By pressing both jump and punch you can use a special moves but there are also some hidden behind some streetfighter like combo’s I think which I could not figure out how to reproduce. Each are character unique though. For example Straw can attack an enemy on the floor , Ryno can leap into the air and bounce of enemies with a homing like attack and Roger hits REALLY hard. This guaranteed that I needed quite a few continues as some characters are very poorly equipped against certain situations..but it also meant there was some depth to this. I liked it.. losing a live in arcade games is ..inevitable.. they are designed like that, the ability to switch character on a game over keeps the game fresh and fun!
The enemy design and stage design really contributes to that as well. So much is done to keep things fresh. While like traditionally a lot of enemies make their return in later stages they either get new mechanics, like turning invisible for a brief moment when you hit them in the haunted level. Other options are that some of the items the enemy carry varies.. thus is looks like a new enemy. For example there are some crushers that in earlier stages drop a Mani Neko.. which gives a small chance for an item drop I think (Not sure because I’ll be honest I never hit with a lot of them) and in later stages they come equipped with a Tanuki statue…which I never once hit… (I think), It ain’t much but still I never felt like … blegh it’s THAT enemy again. Other examples include that we get other methods to deal with enemies. Later in Chicago for example we get the baseball bat enemies from stage 1 again. but this time we drive around in a small car to run them over.. or get bombs that deal fire damage and if bats gets set on fire they instantly die, screaming.
A lot is happening in the stages as well, in the background baseball people hang out and play, in the foreground cheerleaders pop up shooting laser beams or throwing around food for you. In the haunted mansion level when you reach the dining room, you can eat all the food on the table..because obviously you could. It doesn’t always make sense either. For example in the New York Stage you keep seeing a stadium in the background.. at one point you see it sprout turbo rockets as it flies up towards you.. dropping of a fresh batch of new enemies. It really is a spectacle to behold and that is what makes this beat em up so much better than most arcade counter parts. It doesn’t get boring because you never know what you get to expect. From a boat you could suddenly be lifted up by a giant arm that brings you to a factory where Giant Baseball shaped machines crush Mane Neko in the background and the casino is always super vibrant. You never know what is next! A big plus in the genre.
What I really loved was the bosses! They are so creative and random! If you didn’t know yet I love randomness! The first boss fight is the windy plane ! A airplane you fight… INSIDE a PLANE! If you beat it enough it becomes a crying unicycle! So sad! I wish I did not have to put it down! I tried sparing it .. but it kept driving over it..so WHACK! I had to put it down! It’s a fairly straight up fight! But a very solid first boss! Straw is a really good match for it.. I think! I worked really well when I re-encountered it again! Straw is really a good shout out for the first stage in general.. I’d say over all he was my favorite bat man!
In the second stage we fight Mad Lax.. which is two Lego coloured baseball people sitting in a pink female-ish monster truck like buggy. Said buggy can obviously summon some wind up crocodiles toys..which are bright blue. Since this boss spawns a lot of adds I suggest taking Ryno into this fight. He can quickly deal with those pesky adds and is quick enough to catch up with this fairly fast enemy. Oddly Roger is quite good as well.. using his special move he can quickly pick off some tightly packed crocs! Blimey! This boss fight doesn’t do all that much special things either but it’s pink so that’s already amazing.
The third boss is the Deffending Slotmachine and no that is not not a typo, that’s actually how the game spells it so that’s his name. This fight is rather random. Ideal you step in first with Roger and finish him with Straw but if you want to save on quarters I’d say that Jose is actually best equipped for this fight. He is a bit of everything so no matter what this boss throws at you you can counter it. This boss mainly fights using stage hazards so the two I pick are kind of a hassle to use. I really lucked out with Straw getting him into a stunlock like state and finishing it without to much quarters relieved from my fictional pants. Wait.. I meant fictional quarters… darn it.. you are going to use that against me aren’t you?.
We then get to my favorite boss! The Ghost Buffalow of Texas.. he is a possessed refrigerator with a buffalo head mounted on top.. giving himself a chicken body by possessing a shield, two violins some chandeliers a carpet and some swords. Roger is your friend here because you want to get in those heavy hits. But in its second phase it has some pretty wide AoE attacks so switching to Straw will almost be mandatory. I couldn’t do a thing anymore. Still ever since I was a kid I dreamed about fighting my refrigerator with an animal head made into a turkey! Now I finally did!
Florida the fifth stage ends off with a showdown against the mechanical alligator. A bit of a generic boss that reminds me of Leatherhead of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.. .. wait.. is THAT the franchise that’s like this game? I am sure it isn’t ?! He is very big and one of the most tricky bosses out there! His tail can detach and become an powerful enemy itself. However Jose and Straw really do the trick here. I clobbered him with Roger at first but that got me nowhere fast. Wasted 3 quarters on this man! I could have bought some soda for that! Luckily when he is defeated he turns into a crocodile leather purse so that makes up for things!
The second to last both is the gangster boss of Chicago! This is a menacing god father who has two Kawaii twin tails sticking out besides his fedora. If you manage to get around his attacks and beat him up a lot you can reveal that underneath the hat is yet another tail! Triple Tail! Kawaii as Heck! He just wants to be loved and look cute! .. But unfortunately for him I really got good at playing as Straw.. so I whacked him until he was not cute anymore. This boss-fight was a bit of a deception.. kind of a push over. Using Straw’s basic special move i would whack him to one side of the screen then piledriver him and rinse and repeat until the chicago mobster was no more! I really liked his name and gimmick though!
The final stage is a quarter devourer.. we get a lot of Umpire enemies (which are like double shielded ghosts that drop bomb enemies when their two shields are broken) there is a small boss rush before the final fight.. and then we fight The King Babe! This boss ate 5 Quarters! Jose is definitely the one you should use here. My usual suspects were just too slow to deal with those charging attacks. Eventually I got unlocked Ultra Instinct on Straw though (Not an actual unlockable) and I piledrived this guy into oblivion! He is just the meanest baseballer you have ever seen! I did not know Babe Ruth was this evil .. but I am glad this game showed me! I wouldn’t know who the guy is though.. so unless he looks like a video game boss I have a problem still!
This game is amazing, the combat feels a bit floaty ..as if I hit air.. but weirdly in a nice way. If you play Turtles in Time.. hits feel to not do anything they just pop enemies.. Final Fight for example has really connecting hits. While I would have preferred Final Fight I liked this sensation as well. It felt as if I was making attacks.. but they did not really hit.. still I got the sensation of swinging. The weirdness and the tempo make it less serious and viceral which improves the atmosphere. The special moves DO have that nice WHACK! Sensation to it.. which makes me want to use them more and fight a bit more diversely.. which games like these need to stay varied. The special moves also do not take away HP which is a godsend and a rarity in this genre. The game can be finished in about the same time as watching a movie so it’s also a nice thing to just pick up and play. Perfect for people like me who want to show you what kind of weirdness there is in the world of video games. This is a wonderful time and with a friend to play with you it will even be more wonderful! If you can get it.. it’s certainly worth a try! As far as arcade games go, this sits among the best I have played! (Right now at least) So since it now is a favorite of mine……
Do you know of any (preferably short) but weird games I can play?! Have you ever played this game?! Next week i’ll stick with the same genre and look at other weird things that allegedly can be Ninja’s but after that I am still looking for ideas!