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Obituary Celebrated video game artist Bernie Drummond has died. His designs were among some of the most loved on the ZX Spectrum, and some of his signature titles are among the computer’s top-rated games of all time: Batman in 1986, and Head Over Heels and Match Day II in 1987.

The Batman franchise is huge now, but it wasn’t when work on the game began in 1985. This was before Tim Burton’s eponymous film (1989), Alan Moore and Brian Bolland’s Batman: the Killing Joke (1988) or even Frank Miller’s Batman: the Dark Knight Returns comics (1986). It was not an obvious choice for a game, but that’s what Drummond suggested to programmer Jon Ritman, who asked Ocean Software to license the elderly comic character. The game’s look is visibly influenced by the 1960s TV series starring Adam West.

Batman wasn’t the first isometric 3D game on the Spectrum. The system had been implemented earlier by Ultimate for its Knight Lore. Arguably, though, Batman did it better – partly in its distinctive look, and partly via easier up-down-left-right controls as opposed to Knight Lore’s turn-then-walk system, along with smooth animation and charming details such as the protagonist impatiently tapping his foot if left to stand for too long.


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