Batman: Arkham Knight, after several delays is finally released in a few days. I think I can safely say without hyperbole that I think it’ll sell upwards of 3 copies.
So to celebrate what developer Rocksteady is claiming to be the final Arkham game (yeah right). I’m going to look back on some of the Batman games I grew up playing and take a look at Batman in gaming over the years.
I’m not going to cover every Batman starring game, cos well there are 35 of them and this retrospective would end up longer than my Pac-Man one.
So I’m just sticking to the ones I’ve played over the years and remember.
I think Batman has been treated with a lot more respect in terms of video games than most other superheroes and has had quite a few good and even great games.
So let’s start with the first ever Batman game I played and the first one released.
Batman: Published by Ocean Software and developed by Jon Ritman & Bernie Drummond, released in 1986.
The game was released on the ZX Spectrum, Amstrad CPC, Amstrad PCW and MSX.
The featured a 3D isometric viewpoint and had you playing as Batman trying to save Robin and collecting seven parts of the missing Batcraft.
Batman was very well received when it was released, Crash gave it a 93% rating, Your Sinclair scored it 9/10 and Sinclair User gave it five stars. The game went to number 2 in the UK sales charts.
The game was really good fun back then and one I played quite a bit of…but never completed it.
Batman has been remade by fans over the years. Watman was released for PC in 2000 and there was also a fantastic remake produced by Retrospec’s Batman that is well worth checking out.
Next up is comic book inspired Batman game.
Batman: The Caped Crusader: Developed by Special FX Software Ltd and Published by Ocean Software. This game was released on Amiga, Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, Commodore 64, Apple II, MS-DOS and ZX Spectrum in 1988.
Using a comic book style where leaving one screen would open a new “panel” keeping the last panel in the background as to give a comicbook aesthetic.
The game offered 2 different scenarios to play through. One featuring The Joker and another one featuring The Penguin, which you could play through in any order.
With you playing as Batman who has to take down henchmen, solve puzzles and finally defeat The Joker/Penguin.
Another Batman game that was originally well received upon release. With many reviewers praising the colourful and detailed graphics, but also noting the game was very maze like and it was easy to get lost, resulting in a lot of backtracking.
To be honest, I never really liked this one too much. I just found it a bit dull with all the walking around and getting lost. The combat was also very limited and tiresome.
Now we move onto the first Batman game based on the Tim Burton movie.
Batman: A.K.A: Batman: The Movie. Hit the market in 1989 to coincide with the Tim Burton movie, it was released for the Amiga, Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, Commodore 64, MS-DOS and ZX Spectrum. Developed and published by Ocean Software.
Controlling Batman through five stages based on scenes from the movie including; Axis Chemical Plant, Streets of Gotham and Gotham Cathedral. The game mixed up several gameplay styles using a side scrolling action/platforming for 2 of the levels, 2 vehicle based levels where you use the Batmobile and Batplane and a puzzle level where you have to find various components for Joker’s Smilex toxin.
This one was very well received with it reaching number 1 in the charts and even awarded Game Of The Year in Crash magazine.
This game was a cracker with a fair challenge and varied gameplay…but it was short and you could complete it in 20 odd minutes. Still I would often replay through the game over and over again. Plus I still remember the “jammmmmmmmmmm” cheatcode.
There was not only one game based on Tim Burton’s movie though and this one is for my old mate Lee.
Batman: The Video Game: Also based on Tim Burton’s movie, but this is not just a port of the previous game. This was a whole new game built from the ground up just for the NES. Originally released in 1989 in Japan and 1990 for America and Europe. Developed and published by Sunsoft for the NES.
While this was based on Tim Burton’s movie, it also added a few ideas not in the film including villains besides The Joker like; Deadshot, Heat Wave, Nightslayer, Killer Moth and Firebug.
With you playing as Batman and using his many gadgets like; batarang, and bat speargun. Batman could also wall jump which was a very handy feature and used to get around some tricky platforming sections.
As the game was from Sunsoft, you got great story lead cutscenes and amazing music as most Sunsoft games had.
The game’s reception was very good and is still referred to as one of the best NES games ever made.
I remember playing this on my friend’s NES back in the early 90s. Being a huge fan of the movie, the game was a welcome addition. The game was tough, but never unfair and you’d find yourself making steady progress as long as you utilised Batman’s gadgets and skills.
An absolutely amazing game and still rightly regarded as one of the all time best games.
I’ll end here, but there is more Batman to come in Part II. Same Batwebsite, same Battime…sorry.