Game Of The Year 2015

Its been a strange year for games this year, many of the big hitters have actually left me disappointed if I’m honest. But there have been a couple of games I was not expecting much from that have really impressed me.


So what is my game of 2015?
Well before I get to that, I want to recognise the elephant in the room…well two of them actually.
Two big games this year that I liked, but still left me feeling disappointed overall.
Just as a side note, possible spoilers ahead. Though I’ll try to avoid as much as I can.


Batman: Arkham Knight: I loved…sorry LOVE Batman: Arkham Asylum and I will stand by my opinion of it being the best of the franchise so far. I have felt the series has declined as it has progressed though, but that didn’t make them bad games, just not a great as the original was.
Still, I held out hope that Rocksteady would deliver an opus especially seeing as this was to be their final Arkham game in the franchise.

After completing the game, I just felt “empty” and to be honest found while playing the game it was mostly a chore rather then a pleasure.
Those Batmobile Vs tank battles dragged on and on. It was interesting the first time, not so much the second time, the third time they were tiresome and by the time you get to the final part of the game with 70 tanks to take down…it was just tedious and dull.
The big reveal of the Arkham Knight’s true identity was so obvious and telegraphed I fail to see how it was meant to be a surprise. I’m not the world’s biggest Batman fan, I know the basics. But even I called the reveal of the Arkham Knight after not too long.
I was really looking forward to Scarecrow being the main villain, but he is not due to the overbearing, overuse of a certain other villain…The Joker. Now don’t get me wrong, I love Joker as much as the next man. but he has been the focal villain in all the games so far and I so desperately yearned for a change. The whole Joker’s blood being in Batman was a nice idea and a great way to bring Joker back I admit. But it was just over done and too “in your face”. Climb a building and JOKER!. Crawl trough a vent and JOKER! Open a door and JOKER! He was just everywhere and I feel that concept of Joker being part of Batman would have been so much better if it was more subtle and used more on a subconscious level, tricking and misleading not only Batman but also the player.
The overall plot was so hackneyed and trite I quite honestly lost interest about halfway through.

The gameplay itself just didn’t feel as if it had evolved. Rocksteady claimed the game HAD to be next gen as the game was too ambitious for the previous gen…I saw none of that. Graphically far more impressive yes, but gameplay wise it had not evolved at all.

Bad game? Not at all. great game? Not even close.
Batman: Arkham Knight was just an average game at best.

Onto my second elephant in the room and this is a BIG one.


Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain: Just forgetting about the whole Konami Vs Kojima controversy for a while. This game got old fast. Now I think the shift to an open world styled map was a great one, just a shame the development team didn’t bother to make these open world maps interesting or engaging.

I constantly found myself repeating the same handful of missions over and over in the same locales over and over. This game offered very little in variation. The open world maps were mostly empty and barren as well as being such a pain to navigate.
The plot was paper thin and the voice acting was flat. It has none of the humour that made the MGS games stand out and none of the inventive or creative boss battles that were a staple of the MGS franchise.

I wish I had more to say about this game, but it really has very little worth talking about. There had been a lot of rumours about Konami cutting a fair bit of content from the game. For that, I am grateful as I don’t think I could stand any more of the banal, redundant and repetitive gameplay.
It is probably best that Kojima has no more ties to Konami and hopefully in the future we will see a truly great MGS game once more.

It was okay, but just lacking so much depth and variety. I can only assume the high praise this game got was due to drug educed reviewing…or being paid off.

So those were my two big disappointments of 2015. They were okay, but nothing great.
Lets move onto the games I really enjoyed before I get to my Game Of The Year.


Rise Of The Tomb Raider: After the more gritty and adult reboot of the Tomb Raider franchise in 2013 I was really looking forward to this one. Lara is back doing what she does best, jumping around in tombs and shooting endangered animals in the face.

This game has everything the previous game had, but brings with it a few new additions and also builds on what made the last game so enjoyable. With more weapon variety and even more upgrades and an improved stealth mechanic to help you deal with enemies quietly, coupled with new skills for Lara to learn. The game gives the player a lot to work with while you explore the semi-open world map, trying to find relics, treasures and even learn new languages along the way.
The crafting and upgrade system has also been improved as well as the addition an interesting weather system and time of the day which affects the type of animals you will encounter.

This really is more of the same, only with plenty of spit and polish to help improve the whole experience a hell of a lot.


The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt: This almost made my GotY…almost. A beautifully detailed open world to explore melded with the impressive combat and variety from the previous game. This game is amazing and well deserving of the high praise it receives.

With you playing as Geralt of Rivia the monster hunter trying to track down the sorceress Yennefer of Vengerberg. Along the way you get to explore and interact with this impressive game world the developers have crafted. With so much to see and do from finding abandoned villages, caves and even haunted forests. Then having the pleasure of drawing your sword and using your magic to take down the many, many monsters you’ll encounter along the way. With some monsters only appearing in specific locations or even only at certain times of day.

Each village you find even has its own economic and social conditions and depending on which village you are in and their personal beliefs or social conditions, you will find this affects they way they welcome, talk to and even interact with Geralt.

A wonderful action/RPG with so much to see and do, you’ll never get it all in one play through.


Mad Max: This is one of the games that I really didn’t expect too much of this year. Yet I have put in well over 40 hours into the game and still not bored of it. Its another open world style game all set in the world of Mad Max.

With you playing as Max, the game is not directly based on any of the films but it is inspired by the film series as a whole. It feels a lot like Mad Max 2, but has the aesthetic and style of Mad Max: Fury Road.
The hand to hand combat is similar to the Batman: Arkham series, however it feels much more brutal like Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor. But the game also features a really impressive car combat mechanic with you being able to use your car as a battering ram or even sit in the driver seat blasting away with your shotgun. You can even target individual parts of vehicles to weaken armour or take out the driver. Your car is fully upgradeable from improving the engine, armour, tires to even attaching weapons like a sniper rifle, flame-throwers and even a harpoon you can use to remove parts from enemy cars or tear down structures and gates to open new areas to explore.

Max himself is also upgradeable. With you being able to change cosmetics like how Max looks to more important upgrades that will improve Max’s personal armour, hand to hand combat and even learn new skills.

The game offers a hell of a lot, despite the really simple plot (a staple of Mad Max) which is your car being stolen and dismantled and you have to build a new car…or Magnum Opus as the game calls it and try to get hold of a V8 engine.

One thing that really surprised me was how interesting the world map is, seeing as it is just a desolate wasteland. It still has a lot of variation with plenty of places to find and explore. The game as a whole really puts me in mind of Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor (a game that almost made this list too) only with much more to see and do.

Cracking game and one that is often overlooked with reviews being very mixed. Yet a game I have found to be amazing and rewarding.

So, what is my Game Of The Year then?
Well if you have read this blog for the last few months, or if you are a friend/family member. Then you’d know that Fallout 4 has been my big game this year, the one game that got me to finally go next gen and the only game I have ever pre-ordered.
So lets get this out of the way then…


Fallout 4: Is not my GotY….shocker! I have to admit, it was a close call. A VERY close call indeed.
Fallout 4 is a wonderful game, no doubt about it. It is deep, engaging, funny (at times), emotional and offers a tonne of variety and gameplay. There is so much to see and do here its simply impossible to sum it all up in the short space I have allowed myself here.

Fallout 4 is a work of genius and a game you can put days and days into and still only just scratch the surface. Create your very own character with a very deep and intuitive character creation tool and go out into the post nuclear war Boston wastelands. Shape and create your character however you see fit. Be a pillar of the community and help out those less fortunate. Or break the law, steal, murder and become feared.
Learn from a plethora of skills and talents to help create and shape your persona.

With a huge open world map to explore, hundreds of individual locations to find and loot. Craft weapons, armour and even build settlements with plenty of more options to play around with. Want to build a farmland? You can by planting food and getting your settlers to look after the crops. You can build defences like turrets and guard platforms. You can even build entire structures and decorate/furnish them. Create stalls to bring in trade, build generators to provide your settlement with electricity. The list goes on and on…
Fallout 4 is one of the most in depth crafting games outside of Minecraft and the really amazing thing about all that is…its not even a main part of the game. You can play through the whole story not having to craft a single thing (after the opening tutorials). But that is the kind of game Fallout 4 is, so much of what you can do is simply not necessary. It is just there for you to play around with and enjoy if you want to and the more you do play around, the more you will find to play around with.

Fallout 4 was almost my Game Of The Year, but the reason it didn’t quite make it was simply because as great as it is…its not a major leap forward from the previous games. It just didn’t grab me as I hoped it would.
My actual Game Of the Year is my second surprising game this year (after Mad Max).


Dying Light: A spiritual successor to the Dead Island franchise with it being made by the same team, only without the licence. Dying Light is the game Techland wanted to make with Dead Island, but were held back by budget restrictions and other problems.

With this game, Techland took everything that was restrictive and cumbersome about Dead Island and threw it all out. They then took everything that worked with Dead Island and turned it up to eleven.
Its (yet) another open world game with you playing as Kyle Crane. Crane works for The Global Relief Effort (GRE) and is dropped into the fictional city of Harran, where a mysterious viral outbreak has turned most of the population into flesh hungry zombies. Crane is tasked to getting hold of a sensitive file stolen from the GRE by somebody called Kadir Suleiman, which he is using as leverage to blackmail the GRE.

This is an all action first person game with some really interesting and well implemented game mechanics. Crane is an expert at parkour and can run, jump, slide and climb pretty much any and everything in the game. This give you a real sense of freedom as you climb buildings and other structures. There is also a levelling and upgrade system that is split between three main skills. Strength helps you with your attacks and basic hand to hand combat/melee attacks. Stamina is where you can improve your parkour skills and basic cardio. Then there is survival which is where you learn any and everything that can help you survive the day to day life in Harran.
The game is very melee weapon based, but there are also plenty of guns to find and use too.

The most terrifying part of the game is when the sun goes down and night time comes.
During the day, you can go out quite safely and scavenge for supplies and items, as the zombies are mostly slow and predictable. But when the sun goes down, things get a little more intense as the infected zombies turn much more aggressive and faster, plus the night also brings out a new type of zombie that will actively hunt you down.

You can even craft and create weapons by adding elemental mods such as lightning, fire, etc as well as improving their durability, attack and other stats. Plus the game has an amazing four player co-op mode which is immense fun with a few friends.

I first played this game when my brother let me borrow his copy. I completed that and went out and brought my own copy and the season pass for the game too. The DLC was very, very weak…but coming in February 2016 is Dying Light: The Following. A HUGE expansion to the main game that is said to be just as big as the vanilla version of Dying Light. The DLC brings plenty of new additions aside from a whole new map there is a drivable buggy that can be upgraded, a load of new weapons, all new enemies…and it’s completely free for season pass holders.
I can’t wait for this slice of Dying Light goodness.

As I said, it was a close decision between Fallout 4 and Dying Light. But I feel Dying Light was a massive improvement and several huge steps forward over Dead Island while Fallout 4 was pretty much the same as Fallout 3 (not a bad thing at all) with a few minor tweaks. Plus with Dying Light, I really was not expecting too much and was pleasantly surprised when I did finally play it.

So there you go, my Game Of The Year 2015 all wrapped up.
Please check out my Film Of The Year 2015 too if you haven’t already.


I’m Batman: Games Retrospective – Part Two

Welcome back Bat-fans, to my retrospective of the Batman games that I’ve played over the years. Let’s kick things off with Batman’s first foray into the open-world sub-genre.

Batman & Robin


Developed by Probe Entertainment and published by Acclaim. Batman & Robin was unleashed on the Playstation in 1998 and based on the movie of the same name. This time around you could control either Batman, Robin or even Batgirl and each character had their own abilities, gadgets and even their own vehicle. Batman used the Batmobile, Robin had the Redbird motorcycle while Batgirl favoured the Batblade.

Following the plot of the film with the trio of heroes having to take down Mr Freeze (compete with endless freeze/cool puns) and Poison Ivy. Batman & Robin featured a semi-open world/sandbox style and even utilized Batman’s detective skills by having to use the Batcomputer to find clues. You’d even have to search around to find Riddler question marks… sound familiar? In many ways, this was the foundation for the Batman Arkham games we have today.


Game reviewers were not very kind to this title, just as film reviewers were not towards the film. Overall, the game was just very ‘meh’. But you really have to give the devs credit for putting Batman in an open-world environment. It was slow and clunky, but honestly, still pretty damn impressive for the time.

Batman & Robin was a great idea, but poorly executed and maybe very slightly ahead of its time? The clunky controls and sluggish combat really slowed the game down and the awkward camera was a pain.
It was a game that was just a bit too ambitious and the limitations of the hardware at the time could not deliver what the game was trying to do. A good effort, but just not good enough.

Batman: Gotham City Racer


Developed by Sinister Games (how apt) and published by Ubisoft. Based on the new (at the time) animated show: The New Batman Adventures and was released in 2001 for the Playstation. There were quite a few of these kinds of games popping around this time, where they took a franchise and turned it into a vehicle-based game. 007 Racing (2000) was another one.

Batman: Gotham City Racer was a simple point to point kind of affair. With you controlling various Batman vehicles around Gotham trying to stop the villains of the Batman universe. Some missions would be as simple as go to [insert location here] or follow [insert villain here] with very little variety or depth of gameplay. You would control Batman, Robin or Batgirl… or at least their vehicles anyway, all while being guided by a big floating green arrow.


The driving mechanics were terrible and the vehicles felt awful to drive. The levels were just so damn dull, even if the game oozed atmosphere and felt very moody, like the show it was based on. The best bits of the game were the little animation between the missions taken directly from the show. Batman: Gotham City Racer was just bad. Dull, empty and lifeless environment and no real gameplay variety.

Batman: Dark Tomorrow


Released in 2003, developed by HotGen and published by Kemco for the GameCube and Xbox. On paper, Batman: Dark Tomorrow really had a lot going for it… on paper. Veteran DC Comics’ scribe, Scott Peterson and Kenji Terada, the writer of the first three Final Fantasy games, collaborating on the story for the game. Even the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra were hired to play the game’s dark and moody score. Batman: Dark Tomorrow really was wonderfully dark and atmospheric.

But none of that could hide this game’s poor controls, terrible camera and repetitive gameplay.
This one received mostly negative reviews with many gamers calling this ‘the worst Batman game ever’. Really? Yeah, it’s bad, but at least it’s not Batman Forever on the SNES bad.


Really a shame about this game as it had a lot of potential. The graphics were really well done and detailed (for the time). The presentation was amazing with sublime cutscenes and great music. But the gameplay was horrible, dull uninspired missions, confusing navigation and sluggish controls just killed any hope this game had. A few tweaks, a bit more work and Batman: Dark Tomorrow could’ve been a really great game. Shame really.

Batman Begins


Based on the film and released in 2005 for Game Boy Advance, GameCube, PlayStation 2 and Xbox. Developed by Eurocom and published by EA Games. I’m going to be talking about the Xbox version here. Christopher Nolan breathed new life into the Batman franchise when he made his film, but could the game version do the same for the gaming world?

Bringing back all the original cast from the movie (except Gary Oldman) to record all-new dialogue and even using footage directly from the movie itself. Batman Begins followed the film very closely, but also added plenty of features solely for the game. One interesting feature was ‘intimidation’ where Batman could use the environment and his gadgets to strike fear into opponents, which would weaken them up for combat. The game also relied heavily on stealth by allowing Batman to sneak and use shadows to his advantage.


Batman Begins brought a lot of new and great ideas along with it. The environments were impressive with plenty of details and interactions. The voice acting was top-notch and it really captured the film well.
But overall, it was very, very average. The game was ultimately very linear, the AI was embarrassing making a lot of Batman’s skills redundant and it just felt very thrown together, as if they spent most of the budget on the license and actors and less on the game itself. A real shame as it could have been the game Bat-fans had been waiting for, but it was a huge step in the right direction.

Okay, so I’m nearing the end of this retrospective now.  As I have two separate series coming up but both series with multiple games each. I’m going to do each series as a bundle of games instead of separate ones this time around. First up we get a Batman game franchise from an unusual source.


Lego Batman: The Videogame
Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes
Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham

Released 2008, 2012 and 2014 respectively. All developed by Traveller’s Tales and published by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. Available for pretty much every games console at the time. Who would have thought some of the best and most fun Batman games would come from LEGO? Well, it’s true.
The LEGO games had already been around for a while with LEGO Star Wars and LEGO Indiana Jones, etc. So why not Batman?

These LEGO titles are infamous for their huge roster of characters, both heroes, villains and even vehicles each with their own special abilities. Explorable levels, humour, puzzles and overall just plain old fun gameplay. Each one of the games has been highly praised with favourable reviews for all three titles.


Seriously, if you’ve never played any of these games… go and do it now. Get all three as they are great fun (and cheap). With some very funny cutscenes and dialogue, plenty of replay value, hundreds of collectables and a great co-op mode. I’d be the first to admit that these LEGO titles are all very ‘samey’ but they are also damn great fun. There’s so much crammed into each of these games it’s amazing. From hundreds of characters, to hidden extras and missions… including bringing back Adam West as Batman in a 1960’s Batman-inspired mission. They just remind me of old-timey games when gaming used to be fun first and foremost.

Batman: Arkham Asylum
Batman: Arkham City
Batman: Arkham Origins
Batman: Arkham Knight


While Asylum, City and Knight being developed by Rocksteady Studios, Origins was developed by Warner Bros. Games Montréal. All four games were published by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and released between 2009 and 2015. Covering multiple formats including; Windows, PlayStation 3, Wii U and Xbox 360.

These four titles are often said to be the defining Batman games and the one series that really makes you feel like you are Batman. Multi-award winning, and selling millions upon millions of copies around the world. The Arkham franchise was actually a surprise hit when the first game was released. No one was really expecting too much when Batman: Arkham Asylum was first announced and shown, especially as the devs were mostly inexperienced and their previous game, Urban Chaos: Riot Response, was very ‘meh’ at best. But it became the big hit game of 2009 making Game Of The Year and winning numerous other gaming awards.

The Arkham series has gone on to massive critical acclaim from both the gaming press and gamers alike. With rich and varied gameplay, a roster of great characters, unbelievably awesome combat that is easy to do but hard to master, collectables galore, in-jokes and references to some of Batman’s illustrious life in the comics. This series really is the pinnacle of the Batman games so far, and even though Origins is often thought of as being the bastard son of the franchise… it is still a damn fine Batman game overall (it’s actually my favourite after the first one).


The series has always treated the comic book source and its fans with respect… yes even Origins. The developers are clearly big Batman fans and they cram the games with plenty of references and things to find. As well as hiring comic book talent like veteran Batman writer, Paul Dini. Along with Batman voice actors from various projects like: Kevin Conroy, Mark Hamill and Arleen Sorkin. The Arkham games just ooze atmosphere and gameplay, as well as featuring compelling and well-told stories. Using Batman to the best of his abilities from free-flowing combat, detective work and even stealth elements. The Arkham tetralogy is highly praised and rightly so too. Again, just with the LEGO series, if you have not played these games yet, go get them now.

Well, that just about wraps up my retrospective look at Batman in gaming. From the simplicity of the ZX Spectrum and Commodore 64 days, right up to the modern-day with the Playstation 4, Xbox One and beyond. Batman has been a part of gaming for almost as long as gaming has been around itself.


I know I didn’t cover every game and that there are quite a few I missed out. But hey, there are loads of Batman games and covering all of them would’ve made this retrospective stupidly long. So I just picked the ones I played and are familiar with, good and bad.

I think that, in terms of quality, Batman has had a better life in gaming than pretty much any other superhero. I can’t wait to see what the future brings for Bruce Wayne (spoilers) in terms of video games. The Arkham franchise has set an incredibly high bar, so it’ll be interesting to see where The Caped Crusader can go from here.

I’m Batman: Games Retrospective – Part One

The Defender of Gotham, The Dark Knight, The Caped Crusader, World’s Greatest Detective, one half of the Dynamic Duo… Batman. One of the most popular superheroes and perhaps DC Comics best asset? Anyway, Batman has had quite a decent run in terms of cinema with some pretty darn great films over the years. But what about his digital version, what about games?

Well, that’s exactly what I’m going to do here. I’m looking 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 bloody loads of them and this retrospective would end up running longer than my Pac-Man one. So I’m just sticking to the titles that I’ve played over the years and the games I remember most.

I feel that Batman has been treated with a lot more respect in terms of video games than most other superheroes and he 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.



Published by Ocean Software and developed by Jon Ritman & Bernie Drummond, released in 1986 for pretty much every 8-bit microcomputer at the time. Batman featured a 3D isometric viewpoint and had you playing as The Dark Knight trying to save Robin and collecting seven parts of the missing Batcraft. Pretty much a platform-puzzler with plenty of devious rooms to test your skills. Batman was very well received when it was released, getting high scores and praise from the gaming press. It even went on to reach number two in the UK sales charts.


Batman was really good fun back then and one I played quite a bit of… but still never completed it.
The game has been remade by several 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.

Batman: The Caped Crusader


Developed by Special FX Software Ltd and Published by Ocean Software. This game was released on a plethora of 8 and 16-bit computers back 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 an impression that you were flicking through a comic.

Batman: The Caped Crusader offered two different scenarios to play through, one featuring The Joker and another one featuring The Penguin. You could play through the scenarios in any order but they were pretty much the same thing anyway, just with different henchmen and backgrounds. Obviously, you play as Batman, who has to take down henchmen, solve puzzles and finally defeat The Joker/Penguin. This was 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 as 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 and clunky with all the walking around, getting lost and a lot of the screens being empty with nothing to do. The combat was also very limited and tiresome and the inventory screen was painfully slow and cumbersome too.



Also known as Batman: The Movie. This one hit the market in 1989 to coincide with the Tim Burton movie, developed and published by Ocean Software. This was another game that popped up on several of the 8 and 16-bit computers. You control Batman through five stages based on scenes from the movie including: the Axis Chemical Plant, Streets of Gotham and Gotham Cathedral. Mixing up several gameplay styles, using side-scrolling action-platforming for two of the levels, two vehicle-based levels where you use the Batmobile and Batplane and a puzzle stage where you have to find various components for Joker’s Smilex toxin.


Batman was very well received with it reaching number one in the charts and even being awarded ‘Game Of The Year’ in Crash magazine. This title was a cracker with a fair challenge and varied gameplay… but it was way too short and you could complete it in twenty-odd minutes once you know what you were doing. Still, I would often play and replay through the game over and over again. Plus, I still remember the ‘jammmmmmmmmmm’ cheat code after all these years.

Batman: The Video Game


This one was 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, then 1990 for America and Europe. Developed and published by Sunsoft. While this was based on Tim Burton’s movie, it also added a few ideas not in the film including villains besides Joker. Deadshot, Heat Wave, Nightslayer, Killer Moth and Firebug all make an appearance here to help pad out the action.

With you playing as Batman and using his many gadgets like the Batarang, and a Batspeargun. Batman could also wall jump, which was a very handy feature and used to get around some extremely 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. Welcome, but man was this tough. Never unfair though and you’d find yourself making steady progress as long as you utilised Batman’s gadgets and skills. An absolutely amazing action-platformer and still rightly regarded as one of the all-time great classic games.



This one was an arcade only game released in 1990. Developed by Numega and published by Atari Games. Batman was a simple scrolling beat ’em up-platformer and featured scenes directly based on the 1989 movie, as well as stages where you use the Batmobile and Batwing. Also uses voices and digitised images taken directly from the movie to tell the story as well as featuring Danny Elfman’s amazing Batman score. With you playing as Batman patrolling the streets of Gotham trying to stop The Joker. The game was shallow and repetitive… but it was also good mindless fun. It’s an arcade game and designed to eat up your loose change.


For a scrolling beat ’em up, this was not a bad one at all. The graphics were dark and moody, capturing Burton’s film pretty damn well. Not a great game, but it was still good enough to warrant a play or several.

Batman: Return of the Joker


The sequel to the NES Batman game that was based on the 1989 film. But this sequel NES game, released in 1991, was made before the official Batman Returns movie sequel (confused yet?). Yes, we have a sequel to a game based on a movie that (at the time) didn’t have a sequel. Once more developed and published by Sunsoft, so you know you’re in for an awesome soundtrack if nothing else.

There were various ports of this game released on other formats that all slightly differed from version to version, but I only played this NES version. The plot is that Joker has escaped from Arkham Asylum and you, playing as Batman, have to survive through several side-scrolling levels set in and around Gotham City and stop Joker. Batman is only equipped with a Batgun/wrist-thing that fires various, selectable projectiles which are collected through the levels.


I didn’t find this one as enjoyable as the previous NES Batman game, it just did not have the same feel. This one felt more like a scrolling shoot ’em up and an average one at that. It’s was not a bad game at all, just not as good as the previous one.

Batman Returns


Again, there were various versions of this title. But I’m going for the SNES version for this retrospective as it was really damn good. Released in 1993, developed and published by Konami for the SNES. Batman Returns was a scrolling beat ’em up with some really great little touches to add a lot of depth to this fairly shallow genre. Massively redundant and mindless but an awesome and satisfying experience nonetheless. Based on the film of the same name from Tim Burton, the game followed the movie really well too with you playing as Batman having to save Gotham City from Catwoman and the Penguin.


Simple in its style, but full of great little features and details. Like being able to grab two henchmen at once and smash their heads together, or the ability to throw enemies into the background smashing windows and denting lampposts, etc. Stages were intercut with amazing cutscenes and written dialogue taken right from the film as well as using Danny Elfman’s infamous Batman score to great effect. Another thing that I always remember is how you could save Selina Kyle in the game just like in the film… ”you missed”. Well worth playing through if you can and one of the better 16-bit beat ’em ups.

The Adventures Of Batman & Robin


The Adventures of Batman & Robin was an action-platformer (and a bit of puzzling too) released in 1994 for the SNES. Developed and published by Konami and based on the critically acclaimed and utterly awesome Batman: The Animated Series TV show. You play as Batman, with Robin only appearing in cutscenes. Each level was based on one of the main villains, with a rogues gallery like: The Joker, Poison Ivy, The Penguin, Catwoman, Two-Face, The Scarecrow, The Riddler, Clayface and even Man-Bat. Each level had its own flavour and style based on each of the villains which in turn was based on an episode of the TV show itself. The Riddler stage featuring a lot of puzzles and riddles for example.


The Adventures of Batman & Robin really was a fantastic game. Dark, moody and well animated, it looked just like the TV show it was based on. As each level had its own villain based aesthetic and style, they brought a great mix of gameplay styles that offered plenty of variation from simple beat ’em up and platforming action to head-scratching puzzles and more.

Batman Forever


From one of the best Batman games on the SNES to one of the worst. This was released in 1995 for the SNES, Sega Mega Drive and a few others. Developed by Probe Entertainment and published by Acclaim. Let’s be honest, it does not matter which version I talk about here as they were all really, really, really bad.

Based on the third film of the same name. This one has you playing as either Batman or Robin, or even Co-Op 2 player… if you can find anyone that would want to play this game. A side-scrolling beat ’em up with some of the worst and most awkward controls ever seen in a game. Sluggish combat inspired by Mortal Kombat that just does not work, awkward gadget selection and usage.  Topped off with some truly terrible level design with little to no idea of where to go or what to do.


I really have nothing to say here. It’s a terrible game and should be avoided at all costs, not even worth playing just for curiosity sake. This game is so bad that I’d rather watch the film that it is based on.

Batman Forever: The Arcade Game


Yet another game based on the movie of the same name, but a very different game from the previous Batman Forever… thankfully. Developed by Iguana Entertainment, published by Acclaim and released in 1996. This was an arcade game that was later ported to the Sega Saturn, Windows and PlayStation.

While this was another one of those redundant scrolling beat ’em ups. But unlike the last Batman Forever game, this one was actually pretty decent. It was another mindless button-mashing game and allowed you to play co-op as Batman and Robin trying to stop The Riddler and Two-Face.


Decent action romp with a pretty good combo system allowing you to do a 150+ hit combo on one enemy if you knew how. Plenty of OTT powerups, weapons and gadgets to use along the way too. Yes, it’s an inane button-masher, but it still has some playability value in there and it’s far, far, far better than that previous Batman Forever game. Worth checking out.

I’ll end here, but there is more Batman action to come in Part two. Same Bat-website, same Bat-time… sorry.