Welcome back to the second part of our in-depth review of Stern's Batman game.

After examining the external hardware and artwork, the playfield layout and the various toys and mechanical devices in part one, it's now time to consider how the rules tie all those together with the sounds, the dot matrix animations and the lighting effects.

As we explained in the first part, the software on Batman is not complete. When we first played the game it was running version 0.7 software which was the initial release with most of the features functional, if not completed.  We returned to try it again with 2.2 and it is this version we will be reviewing here.

So let's waste no more time and get on with the first item on the agenda, the rules.


The coin plunks into the cash box, the credits appear and we're ready to push that start button to get on our way. 

The game springs into life and the first ball appears in the shooter lane.  We have our first choice to make as we come to the skill shot which, like several things in Batman, is a two part affair.

The shooter lane
The shooter lane

Above the grooved part of the shooter lane is a switch and three round inserts which form the first part of the skill shot.  They are The Scarecrow, The Batmobile and The Joker.

The skill shot choices
The skill shot choices

The three inserts light in turn and when the switch is first activated by the ball, the currently lit one is awarded and remains lit while the others go out. Lit inserts remain lit throughout the game unless you collect all three at which point they reset.

The first ball scores 250K and that increases by 25K for each subsequent ball including extra balls.

Even if the ball doesn't make it out of the shooter lane and rolls back to the plunger, the choice for that ball is locked in with the first activation of the switch, which incidentally scores an impressive 70 points. You'll spot this mystical 70 points score cropping up in quite a few places throughout this review.

You might expect the Batmobile skill shot to have some relevance to the Batmobile feature, but none of the three skill shot choices seem to relate to, or advance, their equivalent features on the playfield.

It is quite possible to select a previously lit insert in which case you get the same points award but you run the risk of missing out on the payoff for completing them all.

Yes, get all three skill shots and the third one also doubles your end of ball bonus.  It's hard to see how you can use this strategically since you surely expect every ball to be the best ever and you are unlikely to choose to defer it until a later ball.  It's also not quite as attractive as it seems since the end of ball bonus is a relatively small part of your overall score, but it's a nice feature to get nonetheless and could make all the difference in a tournament.

The second part of the skill shot takes place as the ball leaves the shooter lane and ends up at the three bat symbol rollovers.

The top rollover lanes
The top rollover lanes

At the start of each ball, one of the inserts is flashing - initially the centre one but you can use the flipper buttons to change it - and if the ball rolls through the flashing lane you get the second part of the skill shot award.

This is another 250K + 50K more per additional ball, plus a juicy 5x added to your end-of-ball bonus multiplier.  Sadly, there's no "hands free" boost if you get the flashing lane without using the flipper buttons to steer it. It is also possible for a strong plunge to bounce the ball around enough for it to end up in the saucer.  If mystery is lit you get that award but if you hit the saucer, the second stage of the skill shot is cancelled.

So the ball is in play and we have to choose which shots to make, so let's look at the options.

Your progress through the game is shown on the feature wheel above the flippers and it gives a good idea of what you have to do.

The feature wheel
The feature wheel

The aim of the game is to complete all eight features on the wheel in order to get to the wizard mode feature in the centre.  There is a sub-plot involving the three rectangular inserts under the wheel which lead to a Bat Signal mini-wizard mode.  These are referred to as the "Final Battle" and "Middle Battle" respectively in the game settings and audits.

The more accessible of the two is the Bat Signal Challenge feature so we'll look at that first.

To enable Bat Signal Challenge you have to light all three rectangular inserts. 

The Bat Signal inserts
The Bat Signal inserts

The left green insert lights when you start Joker multiball, the right hand yellow insert lights with Scarecrow multiball while the centre blue Batmobile insert comes alive when you collect a Batpod hurry-up.

Joker Multiball

To start Joker multiball you have to lock the ball three times.  Yes, the recent trend has been reversed and ball locks are back, although sadly they're still virtual.

Locking a ball involves shooting the Joker drop target to knock it down and allow access to the Joker lock lane behind.

The Joker drop target
The Joker drop target

Apart from the usual solenoid to raise the drop target, there's also another one to lower it, which allows the software to award "light lock" from the mystery feature and drop the target when super jackpots are ready.

Light Lock is awarded
Light Lock is awarded

For the first Joker multiball, it only takes one hit on the drop target to knock it down.  This is adjustable in the settings but one hit is the factory default.  The next time you need two hits to drop the target and light the lock, the next time it's three, and so on.

Once the target is down, the green arrow pointing at the Joker lock lane is dimly lit. This lamp definitely needs a power boost or replacement by a bright LED as it's often hard to tell when it's lit and when it isn't.

But it is lit, so a ball shot into the lock lane first hits the green targets at the end and then rolls down to a kicker which sends it into the rollover lanes.

The Joker lock lane
The Joker lock lane

In earlier software the green targets were used to boost the Joker multiball jackpot value but that seems to have disappeared in the newer versions. They are still important though as we'll see shortly.

Once the ball lands at the kicker, the first of three ball locks is awarded.  The first time you play Joker Multiball the locks are shown by first one, and then two of the Joker's goons sliding down a wire as they do at the start of the movie.  Here's the first lock animation...

...and here's the second.

The second and subsequent times you build towards Joker multiball, there are different ball lock animations involving clips from the movie.  These actually look better than those shown above and it's surprising they are held back for later in the game.

This also provides a good illustration of the curious mix of animated and digitised graphics used throughout the game which we'll examine later in this review.

With two balls "locked", knocking down the drop target lights the lock lane for a final shot to start multiball.

Batman uses the same technique pioneered in Spider-Man where an animation runs to a freeze frame which then dims as text is overlaid.  It also suffers from the same problem where the dimmed image only uses a couple of shades and turns into a blobby mess at times.  Fortunately, the effect is minimised in Batman by not holding on the freeze frame for too long but it's still noticeable at times, especially when using clips from the movie.

Once you get this far, the Joker green insert is lit.

The Joker insert is lit
The Joker insert is lit

Joker multiball starts with two more balls auto-launched from the shooter lane to join the locked ball in the rollover lanes and pop bumpers.

There are five major shots in the game which are used for modes and multiballs.  They are the left loop, the Joker, the centre ramp, the Scarecrow scoop and the right loop.  Each one has a red arrow insert (except the Joker which is green) to show when it awards a jackpot, super jackpot or feature award.

The jackpot shots
The jackpot shots

When Joker multiball begins, all the shots are lit for jackpots.  The jackpot value starts at 200K for the first Joker multiball and rises by 25K each time you play it.

That doesn't sound like much of a jackpot, but the value itself is less than half the story. Each shot can have a multiplier of 2x, 3x or more applied to it. We'll explain how later but you can see that starts to make the jackpot score more attractive.

Then, all the jackpot values you score, be they single values or multiplied, are also added to the super jackpot value.

When you collect all five jackpots on the major shots, the drop target is lowered and you can shoot the Joker for not just one, but two super jackpots. That is worth a minimum of 1M (5 jackpots at 200K each) but it can be worth quite a lot more.

If, for instance, the Joker shot has a 2x multiplier on it, not only is the jackpot scored there worth double (400K), but that 400K is then added to the super jackpot value and because the super jackpot is also collected by shooting the joker, the super jackpot value is doubled too.

To score a super jackpot you have to hit the green standup targets behind the Joker drop target. Simply entering the lock lane and rolling down to the kicker is not good enough so if the shot is too weak or rattles around too much, you can miss the green targets entirely and you won't collect the award.

Once both super jackpots have been collected, the Joker drop target pops up, all five jackpot shots are relit and the sequence continues.

In later Joker Multiballs, as with the ball locks, many of the cartoon-style animations are replaced with movie clips of The Joker and Rachel which generally look more impressive despite their shortcomings.

Joker multiball ends when you are down to one ball.

So that's how you light the rectangular Joker insert to build towards Bat Signal Challenge.

The second insert comes from the game's second villain - The Scarecrow.

The Scarecrow

The Scarecrow scoop
The Scarecrow scoop

The factory default setting for Scarecrow Attack makes it almost impossible not to start it. One shot into the Scarecrow scoop scores a juicy 2 million points and the mode begins, lighting the Scarecrow insert.

The Scarecrow insert is lit
The Scarecrow insert is lit

The feature does get progressively harder to start, requiring more shots to the scoop for the second and subsequent times but it would seem like a good idea to increase the default difficulty for home players.

The Scarecrow's toy is the crane with a suspended ball. It's not entirely clear why but some questions are best left unanswered and anyway it's a cool toy, so let's leave it at that.

The Scarecrow's crane
The Scarecrow's crane

Once the mode begins, the crane swings out across the playfield and stops on one of five designated spots picked out with a yellow cross hair insert.

The crane's stopping points
The crane's stopping points

Each point lines up with one of the major shots - the left loop, the Joker, the centre ramp, the Scarecrow scoop and the right loop. The crane moves to one of the points and waits a few seconds before moving to another, continuing to move from point to point.

The ball is ejected from the Scarecrow scoop, onto the right wireform and down into the right inlane to the right flipper. If you shoot the crane's suspended ball when it is positioned over one of the yellow inserts, you score a hit, light the insert and move the crane to an unlit one.

Like Joker jackpots, Scarecrow hits begin at 200K and increase by 25K each time you play it. You might also notice from the above screen shots how it's not exactly a nice round 200,000 points since you get the mystical 70 points awarded as well.

Your aim is to light all five inserts by hitting the suspended ball over each of them.

If you manage this, you get a nice payoff of 750K and start the second part of Scarecrow Attack - Scarecrow Multiball.

This is a two ball mode and it flows on from the first part with the same idea of hitting the suspended ball in all five of its stopping positions. Each hit scores a Scarecrow jackpot which also begins at 200K.

If you collect all five without losing either of the balls in play, the Scarecrow scoop is lit for a super jackpot of 5x the jackpot value.

Once you collect the Scarecrow super jackpot, the five lit stopping positions go out and you have to relight them by hitting the suspended ball in each of the five positions again.

This time, the jackpot value has increased by 25K...

...which means the super jackpot grows by 5 times as much to 1.125M

This sequence continues until you lose one or both of the balls in play.

At this point it's worth pointing out how Joker Multiball and Scarecrow Attack/Multiball can run together and how it can be a lucrative way to rack up the points. With Joker multiball being a 3 ball mode, combining it with the 2 ball Scarecrow multiball increases the chance of accidental crane hits and allows one ball to drain without Scarecrow multiball ending as it usually would.

Scarecrow Attack is also a mode that carries over between balls, so if you drain before you get to the multiball part - and it wasn't your last ball - the crane is still available when you start the next ball and the feature picks up where you left it.

One slight annoyance we pointed out in the first part continues with the latest software. Because there is only one sensor in the Scarecrow scoop to detect the presence of a ball, it has no way to know how the ball arrived there.

During single ball play Batman uses a preceding pop bumper hit to assume the ball arrived from the bumpers and not from a direct flipper shot. When multiball is running, this technique can break down if one ball is in the pop bumpers and you then shoot the scoop with another. This can result in a perfectly good Scarecrow super jackpot shot appearing to not register.

Attack From Mars addresses the same issue by abandoning the bumper hit rule during multiball, allowing lit features to be awarded from balls exiting the bumpers and falling into the scoop. The problem appeared to be reduced compared to the earlier software but Batman should probably do the same as AFM since players will get annoyed if valid shots are ignored.

The third and final feature needed to qualify Bat Signal Challenge is The Batmobile.

The Batmobile

The centre ramp is the Batmobile shot and it can send the ball in one of two directions depending on the progress of the Batmobile playfield inserts.

The Batmobile progress inserts
The Batmobile progress inserts

The Batmobile has three stages which advance with each shot to the centre ramp.

As the ball goes up the ramp it encounters a game-controlled gate which either allows the ball to pass round the back of the playfield and end up at the teeter-totter device, or blocks the ball and sends it onto the Batgadget mini-playfield.

Batmobiles 1 and 2 send the ball to the mini playfield while number 3 routes it to the teeter totter and resets the sequence.

With factory default settings, the game starts with Batmobiles 1 & 2 completed, leaving the first shot to the ramp to light Batmobile 3 and complete the sequence.

So what happens when the ball arrives at either the Batgadget mini-playfield or over the opposite side of the playfield at the teeter-totter?

The Batgadget mini-playfield is physically very similar to the Paths Of The Dead from Lord Of The Rings. It consists of a rectangular playing surface divided in two vertically, giving a left side and a right side. Both sides have two rollover switches and the ball bounces around between some rubber rings and posts at the top, before deciding which of the two sides to take and which rollover switch to trigger.

The top of the mini-playfield
The top of the mini-playfield

Then, half way down, there are some more posts which may make the ball change sides, or perhaps not, but there are two more switches - one on each side.

The mini-playfield
The mini-playfield

Each of the four rollover switches corresponds to a lamp on a board at the top of the mini-playfield. They are lit by hits on the Commissioner Gordon white standup targets on the main playfield. Each hit lights one of the lamps until all four are illuminated. After that, further hits cause each lamp to start flashing.

Rolling over an unlit switch does nothing except add a few points. But trigger a lit one and you first qualify and then collect a Batgadget. These are Batman's toys created for him by Lucius Fox and there are eight in all to collect including such delights as the Grapnel Gun, the Bat Suit, a couple of Sonar Imaging Devices, Gauntlets, Batarangs and a Mangler!

The display is a little confusing when collecting Batgadgets since you never see the number of gadget collected increase. You start with 0 out of 8 and your first lit switch qualifies gadget number 1 with the second collecting it. If you roll over a switch whose corresponding lamp is flashing you immediately collect the Batgadget, completing the two stage qualifying and collecting in one stroke.

But when you collect the first Batgadget, the display stays stubbornly on zero until your next visit to the mini-playfield when it updates to show 1 of 8 collected. This can make the learning process tricky since it appears you've done the wrong thing and not collected anything whereas in fact you've done the right thing and collected a Batgadget as intended.

The ball exits from the Batgadget mini-playfield onto the right wireform and down to the right flipper.

If you shoot the centre ramp to collect Batmobile 3 however, the ball heads over to the teeter-totter device where it sits briefly before the platform tilts forward to release the ball into the left outlane.

Although the device is fairly pointless, getting the ball into the teeter-totter does start a Batpod hurry-up on the right loop.

Shooting the right loop stops the countdown and awards the current value.

The actual points value may be small, but it is important to collect at least one hurry-up, since this lights the Batmobile insert to advance towards Bat Signal Challenge.

The Bat Signal inserts
Collect a hurry up to light the Batmobile insert

When all three are lit, the Bat Signal at the back of the playfield starts flashing to indicate something good is available if you shoot the ball up here.

The Bat Signal flashes for Bat Signal Challenge
The Bat Signal flashes for Bat Signal Challenge

The "something good" is Bat Signal Challenge and the shot you need is into the top saucer, either from the left loop, or possibly from the right loop with a lucky bounce on the rubber above the rollover lanes.

Bat Signal Challenge is the first stage of a two part feature which, just like Scarecrow Attack starts with a number of shots required and then continues into multiball.

You qualify Bat Signal Challenge by lighting the rectangular inserts for The Joker, The Scarecrow and The Batmobile, so these are the three shots you need to progress through the first stage.

The Joker shot is the Joker drop target, the Scarecrow shot is the Scarecrow scoop while the Batmobile shot is the centre ramp (all the way to the top).

Making one of these scores a jackpot of 250K, while the next one scores 255K and the third 260K. Remember though, it is possible to add shot multipliers to any or all of these shots, so the second and third jackpots you see below have a 2x multiplier on their respective shots.

With all three collected, you are ready to collect your jackpot and progress to the second stage of Bat Signal Challenge.

The second stage is a four-ball multiball called, not unexpectedly, Bat Signal Multiball.

Bat Signal Multiball relights the Joker, Scarecrow and Batmobile shots to collect jackpots.

As soon as a shot is made, it is unlit and no longer available until all three jackpots have been collected, at which point they all relight.

That's pretty run-of-the-mill stuff, but as with all multiballs in Batman, there is a Super Jackpot available. When all three shots have been made, apart from them relighting, the Bat Signal starts flashing to indicate the Super Jackpot is available by shooting up the left loop and into the saucer.

The value of the super jackpot is the combined total of all jackpots scored in Bat Signal Multiball during the game since you last collected it. So each jackpot not only scores immediate points, it also adds the same amount to the super jackpot value, including any shot multipliers in effect.

It's a tidy pot to collect but there's more. Because you shoot the top Bat Signal saucer through the left loop, if you happen to have a shot multiplier on that, you can double your super jackpot value as well.

This means if you score a Bat Signal Multiball jackpot, not only can that be doubled by a shot multiplier, that doubled value is added to the super jackpot total which itself can be doubled. You quickly see how shot multipliers can play a pivotal role in building huge scores, so now would be a good time to see how they work.

Mini-Mine Shot Multipliers

The key to adding shot multipliers is the pair of white standup targets - one to the left of the Joker drop target and one to the left of the Scarecrow scoop.

The left white standup target
The left white standup target

The right white standup target
The right white standup target

Each of these targets has a Gordon insert and a Light Mini-Mine Multiplier insert. The Gordon insert is pretty much always lit on both targets but the multiplier insert swaps from one to the other when they are hit. Hitting a target when it is lit counts down towards the multiplier award.


The final hit of a lit white standup arms the mini-mine multiplier.

If you think back to the Scarecrow Crane stop positions, each of the yellow inserts also had a mini-mine graphic directly below. These looked like they were related to the crane positions but in fact they relate more to the five major shots that the crane blocks when in those positions.

The shot multipliers
The mini-mine shot multipliers

When the mini-mine is armed, all unlit mines start flashing and as soon as you make one of their associated shots, that shot is multiplied for the remainder of the ball.

So if your first shot after arming a mini-mine is the left loop...

The left loop's mini-mine is then lit solidly, the flashing mines are extinguished and the number of hits on the white standups needed to light the next multiplier increases by one.

When all five shots have 2x multipliers, the next time you arm a mini-mine you get the opportunity to increase one of those multipliers to 3x.

As you can imagine, getting triple jackpots in Bat Signal Multiball and adding that same value to the super jackpot which itself is then tripled can lead to some massive scoring during the mode.

Bat Signal Multiball ends when you have drained three of the four balls, at which point normal play resumes. There is a separate high score table entry for the best Bat Signal Challenge which defaults to 25 million.

The feature has some wonderfully stirring and triumphant music to go with it. It is the same music you get when entering initials on the high score table and is so good we though you might like to hear it.

Get the Flash Player to hear this audio clip.

Got problems hearing the audio? Consult our help page for assistance.

Bat Signal Challenge is the easier of the two major targets in the game. The much harder one is to complete the feature wheel we showed you earlier.

The feature wheel
The feature wheel

Wheel show you (geddit?) how to light all eight lamps and what happens when you do. So let's start at the top with Mr Bruce Wayne himself.

Bruce Wayne

The clue to lighting the Bruce Wayne insert is shown on the playfield next to his likeness. It's the list of Bat Missions.

The Bat Missions
The Bat Missions

These are four timed modes which can run alongside other multiballs or can be played by themselves.

Starting a Bat Mission involves completing the six-bank of B-A-T-M-A-N standups on the left of the playfield.

The B-A-T-M-A-N standups
The B-A-T-M-A-N standups

You might assume that these, being such a large expanse, would almost complete themselves through various ball bounces. In fact, it seemed to require deliberate shooting to complete the sequence, especially at the top end of the bank.

Hitting any unlit target will light it, earning you 75K.

If you manage to hit two targets with one shot, you get two lots of points.

There is a hidden helper to make the sequence easier to complete. Although it says you have to shoot the unlit shots, if you accidentally hit the lit target next to it, you'll still be awarded the shot.

If you hit any other already-lit B-A-T-M-A-N target though, you'll get 10K points. Well, it says 10K but it's actually 10K plus our old friend 70 points.

Completing the sequence the first time produced a nice payoff of 250K

This increases by 25K each time and can reach a reasonable value during a long game, although there's no shot multiplier for these targets so everything is single value only.

When the B-A-T-M-A-N targets are completed, the blue Bat Missions insert is lit at the entrance to the left orbit and the Bat Signal flashes as a reminder something good is waiting for you at the scoop.

The Bat Missions insert lights

Send the ball into the scoop and the currently lit Bat Mission starts. The missions change with pop bumper hits and you can't start any of them a second time until you've played all four the first time. Each one has its own individual music track which gives a bit of variety and a welcome respite from the main theme.

Starting at the top of the list, we come to Locate The Joker.

It's fair to warn you now, all the modes are more or less the same and not exactly complicated to play. "Shoot all the flashing shots to finish it within the time limit." There you go, that's the in-depth coverage of the rules for all four.

Well, perhaps it's not quite that simple, but as we shall see, that's not too far from the truth. Thankfully, all the mode scores have been beefed-up since the earlier software which now makes them worth playing.

Locate The Joker

As with all the Bat Missions, you shoot the top saucer to start the mode and the major shots to play it.

The big red (and green) arrows flash on all five major shots to show they are lit for Locate The Joker awards. These start at 500K, increasing by 50K with each successful shot and you have 40 seconds to get them all as the rather sparse display makes all too clear.

Each shot turns off the flashing arrow and earns you a short animation of the Sonar Imaging device hunting down The Joker as we get ever nearer to him. Because they are the major shots they can, of course, be subjected to shot multipliers.

Finally, with the fifth shot, we score 700K and come face to face with the joker, who comes off a definite second best after tangling with Batman's fist.

That final award completes the Bat Mission and ends the mode, allowing you to start - or build towards - the next one.

Without any shot multipliers the total for completing Locate The Joker - as with all the Bat Missions - is 3 million.

The second Bat Mission on the list is rescue Rachel

Rescue Rachel

The starting sequence is the same - complete the B-A-T-M-A-N targets and then shoot the top saucer and the mode begins.

We have another 40 seconds on the clock and Rachel is falling from a tall building. It is up to Batman to save her before she hits the ground Sniper Tower fashion, although without the helpful dog.

All the major shots lit for Rescue Rachel awards starting at 500K and increasing 50K each time, with shot multipliers where applicable.

For the first shot, Rachel actually drops out of frame, but for the subsequent ones she stays in the picture as the points are awarded.

The fifth shot brings Batman in to save the day and Rachel.

The 700K award ends the Bat Mission and gives you your total, which once again starts at 3 million plus any shot multipliers.

Next on the list is Extricate Lau - surely the first time the word "Extricate" has appeared on a pinball machine.

Extricate Lau

Same rules - all five shots are lit, so shoot them within the allocated 40 seconds to complete the Bat Mission.

Like the other Bat Missions, Extricate Lau uses hand-drawn animations rather than clips from the movie. The designs are a little simplistic and look more like the animated TV series than either the comic book or the film, but they work well enough.

Each successful shot sees one of Lau's bodyguards taken out.

The final animation sees Batman capture Lau and drag him back to Gotham City.

The final Bat Mission mode sees the real Batman battle a group of wannabe super heroes.


Same rules, same 40 seconds, same scoring.

For the final shot, Batman confronts the impostors.

So those are the four Bat Missions. You cannot have more than one Bat Mission running at once but you can advance the B-A-T-M-A-N targets during a mode to get the next one ready and if you can combine them with a multiball or two, the modes pretty much complete themselves.

When you start the fourth, the Bruce Wayne insert on the feature wheel lights. It's one of the harder features to complete, not that any of the modes are complex or complicated, but you do have to light the B-A-T-M-A-N standups then shoot the saucer four times and play four the modes, all of which requires a decent ball time.

The next feature on the wheel somewhat easier to complete.

Commissioner Gordon

We stated earlier how the Gordon targets added the green lights to the Batgadget mini-playfield and build towards the mini-mine shot multipliers, but they also have their own feature which can be worth quite a few points.

The left white standup target
One of the two Gordon targets

A hit on one of the Gordon targets counts down to the start of the Commissioner Gordon feature. It takes 12 hits to start which sounds like a lot but is actually quite easy over the course of a game. Each hit on the targets scores 10K (and 70) points.

The twelfth hit scores 250K and causes the mode to start immediately.

During Commissioner Gordon mode, there is a jackpot which starts at 500K and one of the five major shots is nominated to collect it.

Make the shot and you take home the jackpot but there's a far more lucrative option.

With the mode running, the other major shots all score 500K and add 500K to the jackpot value. If there's a shot multiplier that is included too, making these shots worth a million or more and adding the same to the jackpot.

Although only tiny by comparison, the Gordon standups also score 50K and boost the jackpot by the same amount.

The Commissioner Gordon mode isn't timed and keeps running as long as you don't shoot the designated shot to collect the jackpot and keep the ball in play. Starting a multiball usually brings it to a conclusion though as one of the balls ends up making the jackpot shot.

Once again though, shot multipliers are your friend and make a tempting jackpot value very tasty indeed.

It seems like a minor feature but with a little planning and appropriate shot multipliers, the Commissioner Gordon jackpot total can be built much higher than this.

Next on the feature wheel is The Dark Knight's love interest, Rachel Dawes.

Rachel Dawes

This feature would appear to be one where development was cut short, since it seems there should be more to it than we currently see.

The feature, such as it is, is based around the Rachel target to the bottom left of the pop bumpers.

The Rachel target
The Rachel target

Each hit on the target scores 50K (and 70) points and counts down to the Rachel feature which starts every 10 hits.

Get to the tenth shot and...

... the Rachel insert on the feature wheel lights. That's it, there's not actually any mode or big payoff and the count continues with further hits.

If you reach 20/30/40 hits and already have the Rachel light lit (ie. you haven't completed the feature wheel and reset it) then nothing happens.

Hopefully the Rachel feature will be fleshed out in some future update since it's clearly not finished yet.

Moving on round the wheel, our next stop is...

The Scarecrow

We've already covered Scarecrow Attack and how playing it once lights the rectangular insert for Bat Signal Challenge, but to light the Scarecrow insert on the wheel, you need to play it three times and complete Scarecrow Attack 3.

This concept continues with the next feature wheel insert.

The Joker

Just like The Scarecrow, to light the Joker insert on the wheel you have to start Joker multiball three times.

Unlike Scarecrow Attack, the game doesn't display a count of the number of Joker multiballs played but if you're seeing a movie clip of Rachel for the jackpot and super jackpot animations, you're on your third Joker multiball.

Only three more feature wheel inserts to go and the next one is probably the most least clear of the bunch.

Harvey Dent

If you're familiar with the character you'll see why it is appropriate that the Harvey Dent feature is split into two parts.

The first part involves hits on the pop bumpers.

The pop bumper area
The pop bumper area

When the ball enters the bumpers, an animation of The Joker defacing one of Harvey's campaign posters is shown on the display. In earlier software this was all you got, but now there is a counter in the top right corner which counts down with every bumper hit.

The Joker appears in different ways, even upside down.

Each hit scores 10K (+ 70) points and when the count reaches zero, the Joker's work is done and first part of the Harvey feature is completed.

The first time it takes 25 hits on the pop bumpers to complete stage 1 but the number increases by 5 each time you play it during the same ball. It returns to 25 at the start of each new ball.

After stage 1 comes, naturally enough, stage 2 where the action moves down the playfield slightly to the Harvey spinner featuring his newly defaced picture.

The Harvey spinner
The Harvey spinner

Once the required number of hits have been made on the pop bumpers, the Harvey Dent arrow lights to show that the spinner is now available.

Completion of the second stage takes approximately 20 spins on the Harvey spinner at which point his insert on the wheel lights, although there is no fanfare or other indication you've completed the feature.

After that, it's back to stage 1 as the number of pop bumper hits required rises and the spinner value increases.

The penultimate character on the wheel is, alongside Bruce Wayne, one of the last two you're likely to complete.

Lucius Fox

Lucius is Bruce's gadget man and as we saw earlier, you earn your Batgadgets on the mini-playfield by rolling over the switches corresponding to the green lights which are in turn lit by the Gordon standups.

Lucius isn't the most visible character on the playfield, especially with a screw hole drilled through his eye, but he's there at the exit of the mini-playfield.

The Batgadget mini-playfield
The Batgadget mini-playfield

To light Lucius on the feature wheel you have to collect all eight Batgadgets. These gadgets don't appear to help you in any way during the rest of the game but you need them all to complete the wheel.

The final character you need to collect on the wheel is Bruce's long-time butler and confidant, Alfred.

Alfred Pennyworth

Alfred Thaddeus Crane Pennyworth's role is to guide and assist Bruce in his two personas of himself and Batman. Alfred reveals his past as an intelligence agent through the cunning skills, techniques and discretion he uses to aid Bruce. In the game though, his armoury of crafty ideas is a little depleted.

The Alfred target
The Alfred target

The Alfred target is used to give a semi-random helper award when lit. At the start of the game it is lit and it can be relit by completing the three bat symbol rollover lanes above the pop bumpers.

During multiball modes it can be used to launch an additional ball into play when you have fewer than four ball on the go - a feature which can be deployed just as a draining ball would end a multiball mode in order to keep it going.

Outside multiball though it seems to be lacking any of the usual helper features such as more Bat Mission time, adding B-A-T-M-A-N letters, or advancing any of the features. This was presumably on the cards but has not been implemented in version 2.2 software which simply awards 100K points every time the lit target is hit.

Alfred is the final award on the feature wheel and when he, along with all the others, is collected, the inserts around the edge and the large clear insert in the centre all start to flash.

If you don't want to know what happens when you've collected all the characters, click here and you'll jump down the page past the relevant section.


Final Battle

Clearly something good is awaiting you, and the place where you can collect it is revealed by the flashing Bat Signal.

The Bat Signal flashes
The Bat Signal flashes

Unfortunately though, this is another area where the software is incomplete - a clue to which might be the absence of any wording on the large clear insert in the centre of the feature wheel. The name of the feature in the menu system is Final Battle and like the Middle Battle, there is a high score entry for best Final Battle score which defaults to 75 million.

However, Final battle is not implemented in this version, so in its place you get a points award of 100 million.

Although that's a nice reward and somewhat better than Roadshow's "Wow" display, it still feels like you've been cheated out of a fitting finale to the game.

It would be nice to think this will be completed in an upcoming software revision but reports suggest we may not be getting any further updates for Batman. Hopefully that is not the case though.



If you skipped the Final Battle section, welcome back as we continue with the rules for Batman.

Mystery Award

If Alfred is not willing to give up his helper awards, there's another place on the playfield where we can get assistance.

The four inlanes and outlanes all have "Light ?" inserts above their respective switches which light when the switch is triggered.

The inlane and outlanes
The inlane and outlanes

Lane change allows the flipper buttons to rotate the lit inserts and when all four are completed the mystery award is available at the top saucer plus you also get 1X added to your bonus multiplier.

Put the ball in the saucer and along with any other awards available there you'll get the mystery.

Each of the four Joker henchmen is illuminated in turn, each revealing their award before the animation comes to a stop on one of them, giving you his selection.

Awards seen so far include Start Bat Mission, Light Shot Multiplier, Hold Bonus Multiplier, Award Joker Lock, 500K points and +2X Bonus Multiplier, although there are doubtless others. Earlier versions of the software included comic awards such as 1 Billion Points and Hot Fiery Death but these have now been taken out.

When the ball is kicked out of the saucer it bounces around before falling through one of the three bat symbol lanes.

The bat symbol lanes
The bat symbol lanes

Like the inlanes and outlanes, the lit bat symbol lanes change with the flipper buttons and once you are past the initial skill shot we described earlier, completing all three bat symbols adds 1X to the end-of-ball bonus multiplier, scores 50K the first time + 2.5K for each subsequent time and relights the Alfred target.

The bonus multiplier resets to 1X at the start of each new ball unless the multiplier is held by a mystery award.


To the right of the rollover lanes, over in the right orbit lane, is another feature which needs completion - the Batpod.

The Batpod feature
The Batpod feature

At the start of the game, the four inserts are unlit and the first - the cannon - is flashing. A shot round the right orbit collects the flashing award and advances to the next one.

The score for the first award is 35K which rises by 25K for each additional item, topping out at 105K for the Batpod.

So what happens when you collect all four? Not very much. The four insert lamps turn off and you start the sequence again. It's easy to think these gadgets tie-in with the Batgadget mini-playfield gadgets, but the two appear separate and unrelated.

When the right orbit is not lit for anything except Batpod awards, the controlled gate allows the ball to flow round to the left orbit entrance and back to the flippers for repeated orbit combo shots. If there is a jackpot or Commissioner Gordon award available, the gate closes and the ball is directed into the pop bumpers.

Extra Ball

Lighting the extra ball is a fairly easy affair if you can make the centre ramp shot. The factory default settings light the extra ball after collecting two items from Lucius, although that may increase after prolonged play once the auto-percentaging kicks in.

The extra ball is collected by shooting the Scarecrow scoop and brings quite a nice animation of Batman landing on - and crushing - a car's roof with a suitable crunching sound.

The final in-game feature we're going to look at is the spinner on the left orbit.

Left Spinner

In part one we extolled the scoring potential of this spinner but newer software versions have made it more difficult to boost the spinner's value. It can still reward you with impressive scores, but it now takes longer to reach that level.

The spinner starts off worth 2,500 points and increases by 100 points with every hit of the white Gordon standups while other targets may also increase it.

Although the score is not significant at the start of the game...

...after a longer period of play it becomes a bit more useful.

Bear in mind this is a fairly safe shot and often leads to bigger and better rewards at the top saucer.

In the end, we all have to bow to the inevitable and face the bonus count.

End-Of-Ball Bonus

There really is very little to the bonus count. It simply consists of a score based on the number of switch hits and a fixed value for each ball.

That value is then multiplied by the bonus multiplier and that's your final bonus unless you also collected the third shooter lane skill shot in which case...

As with Indiana Jones, you still don't get to see your final score with the bonus included until the game over display comes up which is strange as all scores are added to the small score on the left immediately they are earned with the exception of the bonus.

If you happen to get this...

...then everyone has to wait until the initials have been entered before the final scores are known.

The high score entry, replay and shoot again are the only displays which break away from the split screen layout, losing the score details, and they are all core legacy displays which pre-date the split format.

If you're familiar with Spider-Man's rules you'll notice a lot of similarities in Batman, although there are fewer features you can safely ignore and leave to complete themselves.

You'll also appreciate the same extended grace periods at the end of each feature which give you plenty of time for extra jackpots or to restart multiballs with a shot to Alfred, as well as the lengthy ball saver which comes into effect with Bat Signal multiball.

Phew, that was a lot. But it's covered the rules in version 2.2 of the software, so now it's time to move on to the other aspects of the Batman game and we'll continue with something you've already seen quite a lot of - the display effects.


If you've seen the video quality in Indiana Jones you'll know the kind of quality possible with the display system and Batman is nearly as good as Indy, although the darkness of Batman inevitably leads to a few problems with such a limited number of shades. It's much better than Spider-Man though.

But it's not so much the movie clips that are the problem with Batman, it's the lack of them, or more precisely the strange mixture of live action and hand animated graphics. It seems as though these animations were put in there with the intention of replacing them when suitable movie clips were available, but those clips either never materialised or arrived too late.

For instance, part way through the three Joker multiballs needed to light the Joker lamp on the feature wheel, the Super Jackpot animations change from this...

to this...

It's the same with the ball lock displays, almost as though two completely different people were working on the same graphics. Which is a shame since the two different styles work well by themselves with some skillful and attractive animations, just not juxtaposed like this.

Some of the movie clips do look great though. Memorable examples include the extra ball and the start of the second Joker multiball with everyone rushing into the bank. The gradual fade from the freeze frame to the darkened backing for the text has been dispensed with so everything flows much more and there are fewer incoherent blobby frames to look at.

The split screen effect seems to "divide" opinion but having scores available at all times is a great advantage (especially for tournaments) and it allows more clips to play on the right side than would otherwise be possible, so on balance it's welcomed.


We'll start with the music because Batman has some really catchy themes and although the main soundtrack can become rather repetitive - while doing this review people were coming out of the office humming it - the supporting tracks are just as good and often don't get the exposure they deserve.

Joker multiball, Scarecrow multiball, Locate The Joker, Rescue Rachel, Extricate Lau, Impostors and Bat Signal Multiball all have their own distinctive themes which is a pretty good number for any pinball.

So high marks for the music on Batman and the sound effects are pretty impressive too. Crashes, explosions, the Batmobile zooming away and smashing into the crane all leave you in no doubt you've found the mark. The Joker drop target could do with more audible feedback but the quibbles are minor and the overall sound is of a high quality.

But - and you knew there'd be a "but" didn't you? - the whole audio package is somewhat let down by the voices.

Indy was bad with unenthusiastic shout outs alongside poor voice impersonations and Batman has gone much the same way. Christian Bale you can get away with and nobody really knows what The Scarecrow sounds like anyway, but some of the others are decidedly ropey - and in particular it's the British Knights that get it again. Last time it was Sir Sean Connery, this time it's a highly dodgy Sir Michael Caine.

There is a reasonable selection of sampled voices from the movie but these come across as unbalanced - noticeably quieter than the impersonated one.

That said, there's some good work getting Bale to sound enthusiastic about Joker multiball jackpots. You can only go so far without breaking character and they've pushed it to the limit to get the best effect possible. The same with The Scarecrow too so credit where it's due.


Starting with the cabinet art, Batman looks every inch a classy machine. The rich steely blues of Batman combine with the inky purples from The Joker to perfectly set up the themes of contrast and complement.

Backglass artwork
The Backglass artwork

It ties the game very firmly to The Dark Knight (despite having a Batman name) which is a double-edged sword for longevity but the movie's success will reflect well on it for a few years yet.

Cabinet side artwork
Cabinet side artwork

Under the glass things look a little different, but then those dark colours would never work well on a playfield by themselves.

The playfield
The playfield

The main hues are still there augmented by green hints for The Joker. Purple would have stayed in theme but the Joker toy is wearing green so it makes some sense. The bright yellows certainly make The Scarecrow stand out and while that can be a good thing, in this game it only emphasises what a disproportionate amount of the game is given over to what is ultimately a fairly minor character in the movie.

The armoured mesh at the bottom of the playfield becomes rather dominant with the game's lighting pattern giving it undue prominence but overall there's a reasonable balance between the need for a bright and attractive-looking playfield and keeping to the theme.

The photo-realistic depiction of the various movie characters does tend to annoy some people but if you're going to put them on the playfield, better that they are immediately recognisable.

So overall, the interior is much more high-tech looking without becoming too clichéd, while giving the impression of a game packed with features to enjoy.


The use of spotlights is now becoming commonplace to keep the central playfield suitably illuminated and they work well here in achieving that. Perhaps the one part of the playfield in need of a boost is the area directly in front of the flippers.

We have boosted the brightness of this image so you can see the flipper rubbers which otherwise tend to melt into the background.

The two flippers
The two flippers

Elsewhere, the remainder of the play surface is kept bright and thanks to the cutouts in the lane guides letting light onto the playfield, even the orbits look good.

The left orbit
The left orbit

Lighting effects are good and they help the sound effects reinforce the scoring awards. The flashers in the pop bumper area look as effective as ever and they are needed, because the LEDs on top of the pop bumpers still fail to impress.

Using green lights for the Batgadget mini-playfield lights confuses the established colour coding since green is The Joker's colour on the playfield, so these should be swapped out for blue or purple lamps to match the mini-playfield branding.

The mini-playfield
The mini-playfield

The flasher behind the Bat Signal does its job but is a little underpowered for the task of attracting attention during a busy game so perhaps a small board with a cluster of high power white LEDs could really send out the message.

The back of the back panel
The back of the back panel

We still haven't seen the benefit of all those general illumination lamps situated behind the back panel. Will we ever see what effects are possible by backlighting the cityscape more dramatically?


It's time for that part of the review where, having given you our thoughts about each individual aspect of the game, we wrap everything up with our overall thoughts.

Like watching the movie, playing Batman has been a rollercoaster ride of emotions. The expectations climb before even getting our hands on one, then the first look takes us up higher as the superb looks encourage further exploration.

The initial drop comes from the confusing two stage skill shot, but then it's climbs and dips as it becomes clear this game isn't going to put the rules in your lap - you're going to have to work at them to get the best from the machine. If Indy puts everything at the front of its stall, Batman has enough on show to tempt you to come closer for a look. Only then will you discover if there's more to interest you further back.

Batman's front-end candy is primarily The Scarecrow and the teeter-totter device. The Scarecrow is all ready to go with just one shot and it keeps going between balls so it's likely even a poor player will get to the two-ball multiball. The signposting for the super jackpot is poor but there's enough to have immediate fun.

The teeter-totter is all show with no player interaction so a dip in the emotions when, as an experienced player you realise that, but it too is only a shot away for the novice players to make something interesting happen.

Joker Multiball is on the next row of difficulty for players who know what to do, even if they can't always do it. The Bat Missions are there too and so it goes on, providing something for players at most levels to enjoy while giving them something beyond their immediate grasp to aim for.

So the rules seem pretty much idyllic, except for one small fly in the ointment - they're not finished.

Of course there's "finished" and there's "finished". Everything on the playfield does something, but even if the rules were completely fleshed out to provide all the missing elements, the sound and the display effects need to be sorted out too.

As it stands, Batman is lacking cohesion. It shows all the signs of a game with great ideas well planned and thought through, but under-resourced and rushed in its implementation.

And that's so frustrating because Batman really could be a superb game. The crane could be used in more ways in more modes, the teeter-totter could become a timed ball lock, Million Plus on the mini-playfield, Alfred could give all manner of help, the possibilities are endless.

But to make it what it could be would take twice as long as it's been given, which unfortunately means it's not cost effective to make Batman any better than it is. You have to wonder what that means for future games.

However, what we have now with Batman is a good game with some fun toys and plenty of strategic planning needed to get the best scores.


To end this review we come to our ratings for the various different elements in the game. If you've read the whole review, first of all well done and secondly, none of these ratings should come as a surprise to you as they only support what's been written above.

Don't worry if they don't match your own personal opinions. They're only that - personal opinions - and we give different weightings to various features, so variations are inevitable.

Editor's Ratings

Total score: 56.5 out of 70

Remember, these are proper marks out of 10 for each element of the game, so a rating of 8 means Batman is 80% as good as the best ever game in that category. No game is ever going to get 10 in every or indeed in many categories.

The rankings are totally subjective and are included only as a guide. Feel free to disagree with them.

If you jumped straight here, please go back and read the full review to see whether you agree with them and if you put the same significance on certain features.

Finally, a big thank you to the good folks at Electrocoin for their assistance.

With that we end this in-depth review of Batman. Thank you for reading it and we'll be back with our reports on Steve Ritchie's new "24" game towards the end of the year.


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