A local game room recently added to their pinball lineup a shiny new Stern BATMAN! I pumped in some quarters and took it for a spin...
First of all, this is a nice looking game. It's bright colors on the playfield stand out against it's largely blue/purple cab. The large yellow crane and the Batpod race ramp catch your attention, as well as the Joker cylinder, which revolves to show a Joker face, a Joker figure, or a Gotham skyline... speaking of that, the Gotham Skyline backboard is awesome and really makes this game style wise.
There's really only one ramp on the game (it's STDM when you miss it) that will divert the ball either to the Wayne-tech mini PF (kinda like the Path of the Dead in LOTR, but smaller and on the opposite side) that feeds the right lane, or the Race ramp (which is pretty cool, it really rockets the ball down the left side of the PF) which feeds into the left inlane after a small pause. The Joker "lock" is a craftily designed lane with a kickout, sometimes guarded with a drop target (kinda like No Fear) and the Scarecrow has both the crane under his control, which works great and acts as 5 or 6 roving targets and a hole you can shoot, which pops the ball back into the Wayne-tech exit. Besides that you have a left/right orbit shot, pops and 8 to 10 various standups, so no shortage of shots on this one.
My only issues with the game at this point are/were the early software (1.2 at the time) which didn't ruin the game, but certainly will improve it when/if it gets updated (Stern has released 2.1, but ops these days...) and some of the cosmetics. In my opinion, the game really should have been branded "Batman: The Dark Knight" on the translight as it's based totally on that movie, plus it's a cool term for Batman in general, and hell, it's an awesome name. Also, the "off the peg" Batman, Scarecrow and Joker action figures that they slapped on the playfield look lame and out of place. Yeah, it worked on Family Guy and LOTR, but not here.
Honestly tho, those are nitpicks. This game is awesome, and George Gomez (designer of LOTR) has designed a real winner of a PF, and as long as Lyman Sheats can get a killer rule set designed (it's solid now, but not mind-blowing) it could really be the next big thing for Stern. It's certainly one I wouldn't mind bringing home someday!