As a kid growing up in the ‘90s and having a mild obsession with Bruce Wayne’s alter-ego from an early age, Batman: The Animated Series is something I remember very fondly for its terrific voice-acting, the cavalcade of quirky villains featured and for delivering arguably the best incarnation of Batman in animation to date. So when it was revealed that Traveller’s Tales were conjuring up a Batman: The Animated Series Level Pack for LEGO DC Super-Villains, my eyes widened with joy and the excitement couldn’t be contained. Now it’s arrived though, I have just the one question to ask myself: is the Batman: The Animated Series Level Pack worth your cash?
First let’s delve into what the Batman: The Animated Series Level Pack consists of, which is essentially an extra level to play through titled “Mask of the Phantasm” and eight additional characters to unlock, filling out the ridiculously huge roster that’s already present in LEGO DC Super-Villians even more. Upon loading up the level, which is playable at any point from the menus within one of the hub worlds, the disappointment immediately washed over me like a freezing cold shower.
Why? Well, the opening sequence of the show isn’t used and the wonderfully memorable theme tune doesn’t even make the cut. It’s a missed trick to not kick off the action with some authenticity, that’s for sure. Instead, it jumps straight into the comic book storyboarding technique with narration by Lobo – not even Batman?! – who sets the scene by talking us through the tale from the Mask of the Phantasm feature film, leading up to the big climax with the Joker.
Nevertheless, you’ll play as the team of the Phantasm and our beloved Batman through a level that is split up into two parts. The first section sees you partaking in an interesting activity using a Pachinko style machine, putting out a fire using a contraption and taking on Captain Clown in a mini boss battle. Avoiding the android’s damaging stomps and jumps is easy enough, with victory found through patience before striking. Even though he wasn’t in the film, seeing Captain Clown was an unexpected bonus.
Straight after that you move into another area of the Gotham Expo for a full-on boss encounter against the maniacal Joker. There are minions to take out, but the best bit is building two wacky inventions that are needed to bring him down to Earth with a bang. You see, in a nod to the final moments of Mask of the Phantasm, Joker flies about using a jetpack on occasion. Rinsing and repeating a trio of actions twice will signal the end of the entire level, which could easily take less than 15 minutes in total.
Factoring in the negatives like the length and lacklustre storytelling, alongside the more positive surprise cameo and little details in the backgrounds, I’m indifferent as to whether the Animated Series Level Pack DLC is worth it based solely on the level. Even when priced as low as £2.39 to be honest. However, the sheer number of extra characters also included as part of the pack should brighten up the outlook for potential purchasers.
Having variants of the Joker, Batman, and Harley Quinn in their Batman: The Animated Series attire isn’t overly enticing, but there’s the teleporting Phantasm and the big powerhouse that is Captain Clown to get your hands on to make up for it. On top of that there’s also the beasty Man-Bat and the coin-flipping dual-personality of Two-Face to unlock. My favourite addition though is The Mad Hatter, mainly due to the character design being utter perfection in terms of costume and small details like the correct number on the card stuck in his hat.
The LEGO DC Super-Villains Batman: The Animated Series Level Pack had huge potential to blow fans of the TV series away with something wonderfully nostalgic. Unfortunately, that doesn’t happen, but it’s still an absolute bargain for the price being asked. You’re getting eight new roster members, most of which are cool to see, as well as a level that’s very short while still being decent fun overall. Just don’t go into the level expecting a return to the glory days of Batman and you’ll find that it’s money well-spent.