Aquaman: Battle for Atlantis is the kind of game that happens when a developer has a license and not much else. The game itself has only the bare minimum requirements necessary to technically be called a game, and even these components are an ugly mess. Even the most hard-core Aquaman devotees will likely find little use for this short, shallow, problematic ramshackle game.
The gameplay is so achingly repetitive that any kind of narrative seems like a moot point.
Though the majority of the non-comic-book-reading populace probably recalls Aquaman as the clean-cut, orange-shirt-wearing Super Friend who could talk to fish, times have changed. In the early '90s, a quick and brutal series of events left Aquaman short one hand, which he replaced with a crazy trident/hook hand. He's also since grown out a majestic mane of hair and a full beard and rarely wears a shirt at all. The story of Battle for Atlantis pits Aquaman against the usual Aquaman-exclusive nemeses, including Black Manta and Lava Lord. The game uses comic-book-style panels in between levels to move the story along, but these story sequences are too boring on their own to draw in your attention, and the gameplay is so achingly repetitive and on the verge of being broken, that any kind of narrative seems like a moot point.
The action in Aquaman goes something like this. Using the onscreen radar, you guide Aquaman through the waters of Atlantis, looking for small, isolated clusters of bad guys. Upon locating and beating up said bad guys, you begin looking for another small, isolated cluster of bad guys, who are also in need of some corporal discipline. That's about it. Sometimes you'll have to locate some kind of item, and sometimes the number of bad guys in the cluster will vary, but the action and the surroundings remain largely unchanged through the length of the game. Perhaps if Aquaman had some really sweet, Devil May Cry-style fighting system, this repetition might be a shade less offensive, but this is not the case. Upon approaching one of the bad-guy clusters, Aquaman will automatically lock on to one of the enemies--sometimes the one closest to you, sometimes not. Aquaman has basic punch, kick, and grab attacks, a half dozen or so combo attacks, and a couple of special moves, including the ability to call in the help of some nearby sea life, but simply mashing on the A button for the duration of the game works sufficiently.