Review: Catwoman

There's been a shift in movie tie-in games for some years now so rather than releasethe game on the back of the theatrical release some publishers choose to push thegame out on the back of the video release. Occasionally this is unavoidable due to extradevelopment time required to tweak gameplay and visuals or the project only being'green lighted' at the eleventh hour. More cynical corners of the industry would argue that it's morelikely to check out the box office before deciding whether a partially completedgame should continue in development after a weak showing at the cinema. This was famouslyreported with Fox's Titan AE, which was quickly pulled from development after themovie lost around $80 Million in the US Box Office alone.


Catwoman however is one of those now rare titles to have been released on the backof the movie and not the DVD, a movie that has been panned by the critics andtherefore underperformed in the US. It also managed to enter the IMDB bottom 100 movies of alltime, which is no mean feat. While this shouldn't have any bearing on the game'soutcome it will cause most casual gamers to overlook it at their local gaming outlet but arethey right to do so or has a weak movie spawned a classic game? Read on to see ifyou are indeed missing out on a GameCube classic...


Like those first images released of Halle Berry playing the feline actionhero some months ago, Catwoman looks wonderful. I am, of course, referring to themain character. Argonaut have pulled of something truly wonderful here with the felinelead looking just about as good as she could. She's also incredibly well animatedand given the amount of moves you'll require her to pull off, the main character animators willsurely be much sought after in future.


The same can't be said for the rest of the game unfortunately, with policemenappearing blocky and rather inflexible especially when engaged in combat and theenvironments also a bit on the bland side with the first few areas seemingly around the corner fromone another. The cut scenes are similar providing little insight into the game'splot or characters. In fact this is one of the few instances where comic book style stills would have beena much better option. It's a shame really, but Catwoman does look amazing.


It's encouraging to see the closer relationship between the games industryand Hollywood with actors and actresses lending their voice talent to a game.Strange though that Ms Berry produces nothing to enhance or further the atmosphere. In fact it wouldprobably have been better if she'd just purred instead of delivering line after lineof husky nonsense. Musically we're treated to a kind of Bond/Batman hybrid, which isundoubtedly the highlight of the audio section. Everything else is pretty stockstuff with sound effects including enemies moaning and the main character grunting as she performs her ratherspectacular moves.



Based loosely on the plot of the movie the developers have clearly gonefor the Tomb Raider / Prince of Persia fans, creating a kind of adventure platformerwith a fair number of combat elements. Your main character is pretty agile too and you're ableto jump, scale walls and even swing from flagpoles, to name just a few moves. Thisis before you master some of your extended feline skills but we'll talk more about that later.The missions themselves are wrapped around a seemingly endless number of cut-screensbut are generally a case of getting from 'A' to 'B' touching all the right bases along theway.


Problems arise when you actually try to do this as whatever the developers focusedon during the development process it certainly wasn't the control system. This ismost problematic when you're attempting to perform a collection of death defying moveshigh above the city streets where one false move means you hit the 'continue'button. This is mostly because you need to get the right button at just the right moment and, whilepractice makes perfect, the likelihood of anyone actually being patient enough toput in the required number of hours is seriously in question. Added to this is the ratheruncooperative camera, which never moves where you actually need it. This does appearto be a common problem in 3D platformers so why are developers still getting it so wrong?


You can increase your moves and abilities thanks to a 'credit shop' at the end ofeach section. You start out with enhancements to your whip, as the ability to disarmenemies from a distance will prove useful on many occasions. Apart from your general moves you alsopossess some 'cat like' skills that can be used to intimidate your foes andeventually contribute to your end score. This is a little tricky at first, especially as themanual and on-screen help do little to help the situation. Basically though Catwomancan taunt and generally scare the pants off, say a security guard, without actually doing themharm giving your end of level total a real push in the right direction. This 'catand mouse' like feature should work really well and there's no denying its uniqueness. The problem is thatonce the novelty has warn off and you've restarted the level for the umpteenth timedue to reasons we've explained earlier it does make your Cat senses somewhat redundant.

Final Say:

After something of a 'Golden Period' with a handful of multi-millionselling franchises EA have finally come unstuck with Catwoman. The problems are justtoo numerous to mention ranging from clumsy controls to frustrating camera angles and that'sbefore you even get to the rather weak AI of almost anyone you decide to battlewith. There's also a distinct feeling of 'gaming by numbers', which follows you throughout every leveland after the complete freedom in Spiderman 2, Catwoman is something of a linearaffair. It's difficult to recommend Catwoman as it's all been done before and generally a lotbetter. If you really must buy it hang on for the DVD to be released, as they'll nodoubt be giving this terrible game away with anyone who actually enjoyed the movie.

N-Europe Final Verdict

A cat you'll want to avoid whichever side of the street it's on!

  • Gameplay2
  • Playability2
  • Visuals3
  • Audio4
  • Lifespan2
Final Score



Catwoman Looks Incredible
Great Theme Music


Terrible Voice Acting.
Frustrating Cameras
The Gameplay

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