Crispy Gamer

The Five: LEGO Batman: The Videogame

The 10-Cent Tour: The Dark Knight and his Gotham City stomping grounds get the breakaway brick treatment in this holiday multiplatform release. Can the Dynamic Duo quell the chaos that results when an army of lawbreakers breaks out of Arkham Asylum?

1. Bruce Wayne's masked alter ego is not the only one who'll be battling Gotham's worst criminals. You'll be able to use the acrobatic attacks of Nightwing (the grown-up identity of the first Robin, Dick Grayson) against the game's bad guys, too. The developers also teased that you might see more Bat-allies show up, as well. LEGO Batgirl, anyone?

2. Clothes make the (Bat)man in this action/adventure title. Different outfits provide the caped crusader with different abilities, so you'll be able to use your Detonator suit to blast your way through to objectives. Just make sure the Boy Wonder's not in the blast radius.

3. Bad is good, baby. Say what you will about Gotham's villains, but when you play as one of the crazy criminals from Batman's rogues gallery you certainly get some cool toys. Whether it's using the Joker's electric joy buzzer, Mr. Freeze's cold gun or the Penguin's explosive-bearing waterfowl, you'll be able to wreak havoc with a variety of villainy. Villains won't have alternate outfits, however. You'll have to cause a ruckus with a single get-up.

4. Of course Batman has his toys, too. With stuff like the WhirlyBats (look 'em up), the Batmobile and Batplane taking up space in the cave beneath Wayne Manor, LEGO Batman will offer three levels of vehicles with which you can round up evildoers.

5. In the Story mode, you'll only be able to play as Batman and Robin. Like previous games, you'll be able to mix and match unlocked characters in the Free Play mode. Co-op play will be limited to offline only.

The Crispy Forecast: Sunny, but in a darkly avenging way. With the success that the Star Wars and Indiana Jones franchises found in LEGOland, the Traveller's Tales development studio clearly has cracked the formula for licensed property games that are fun and accessible. With the plethora of characters and gadgets to be found in Bat-universe, expect a fun (if mute) romp through the streets of Gotham later this year.

This preview is based on a publisher-driven demo that took place behind closed doors at E3 2008. This game should be released during the holiday season of 2008.