“I’m Batman”, Part III

Welcome back Batfans to my retrospective on the Batman games I played.

As we leave Batman Forever behind, next up is Batman’s first foray into the open world/sandbox 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 with 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.
The game 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. But overall the game was just very “meh”.

B&R 2

Batman & Robin was a great idea, but poorly executed and maybe just slightly ahead of it’s 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 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.

Sticking with the Playstation for Batman’s next outing, this time he’s taken up racing.

Batman race

Batman: Gotham City Racer: This one was 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 of the Playstation.

There were quite a few of these kind of games poping around this time, where they took a franchise and turned it into a vehicle based game. 007 Racing (2000) was another one.
This one 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.

Batman race 2

This one was just bad. Dull, empty and lifeless environment and no real gameplay variety.

Now Nintendo get into the mix with a game from the Gamecube.

Batman darkT

Batman: Dark Tomorrow: Unleashed onto the public in 2003, developed by HotGen and published by Kemco. Released on the GameCube and Xbox.

This one really had a lot going for it.
Veteran DC Comics writer Scott Peterson as well as Final Fantasy’s Kenji Terada collaborating on the story for the game. Even the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra were hired to play the game’s dark and moody score. The game was wonderfully dark and atmospheric.

But none of that could hide the this games 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.

Batman darkT 2

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.

So far, the Batman games seem to be getting slowly worse. Bringing new ideas to the table, but just not pulling them off very well. Where to “begin” on the next one?

Batman begins

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 game 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 2

This game 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 patched together. A real shame as it could have been the game Batfans had been waiting for.

So what next for Batman?
Well we’ll find out in part IV, the final part of my Batman gaming retrospective where the games finally get good again.


“I’m Batman”, Part II

I’m still Batman.

Welcome back to part II of my retrospective look at the Batman games I grew up playing and even still play today.
We left off with one of the all time classic and best NES games, Batman: The Videogame, which was inspired by the Tim Burton film. But the NES game was not the last game based on the movie.

Batman arcade

Batman: This one was an arcade only game released in 1990. Developed by Numega and published by Atari Games.
This was a simple scrolling beat em’ up and featured scenes based on the 1989 movie as well as stages where you use the Batmobile and Batwing. The game also used voices and images taken directly from the movie 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.

Batman arcade 2

For a scrolling beat em’ up, this was not a bad one at all. Not a great game, but it was good enough to warrant a play or several. Followed the film fairly closely too and was interspersed with scenes taken directly from the film.

As we leave Tim Burton’s Batman inspired games behind, Sunsoft just could not wait for the next film for their next Batman game.

Batman 2 Nes

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?)
Again Developed and published by Sunsoft.
There were various versions of this game released on other formats that all slightly differed from version to version, but it’s only the NES one I played.

Joker escapes Arkham Asylum and you playing as Batman having to survive through several side scrolling levels set in and around Gotham City. Batman is only equipped with a “Batgun” that fires various, selectable projectiles.

Batman 2 nes 2

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. It’s was not a bad game at all…just not as good as the previous one. Still as it was from Sunsoft, you can again expect some great music. Worth a look.

Next up we get an official game based on Tim Burton’s sequel film; Batman Returns.

Batman R

Batman Returns: Again, there were various version 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 it was also an awesome and satisfying experience.
Based on the film of the same name from Tim Burton, the game followed the film really well with you playing as Batman having to save Gotham City from Catwoman and the Penguin. The game also featured a stage where you get to use the Batmobile.

Very well received at the time and still fondly remembered as a great title.

Batman R 2

Simple in its style, but full of great little features and details. Like being able to grab 2 henchmen at once and smash their heads together (see above image), or being able to throw enemies into the background smashing windows and denting lampposts, etc. The game followed the film really well and was intercut with amazing cutscenes with 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.

I’m going to stick with the SNES for my next pick of Batman games, this time based on the animated TV series.

Batman animated

The Adventures of Batman & Robin: Was an action/platformer released in 1994 for the SNES. Developed and published by Konami and based on the critically acclaimed Batman: The Animated Series.

You to 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 it’s own flavour and style based on each of the villains which in turn was based on an episode of the TV show itself.

Batman animated 2

A really great game. Dark, moody and well animated…just like the TV show it was based on. As each level had it’s own villain based aesthetic and style. The game brought a great mix of gameplay styles that offered plenty of variation from simple beat em’ up to head scratching puzzles.

Next I’m going to tackle one of the worst Batman games ever made.

Batman forever

Batman Forever: Was Released in 1995 for the SNES, Sega Mega Drive, Sega Game Gear, Game Boy and PC. Developed by Probe Entertainment and published by Acclaim. Lets be honest, it does not matter which version I talk about as they were all really, really, really bad.

Based on the third film in the Batman series of the same name. This game 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.
This was a side scrolling beat em’ up with some of the worst controls ever made in a game. Sluggish combat inspired by Mortal Kombat, awkward gadget selection and usage. Even bad level design with little to no idea of where to go or what to do.

Batman forever 2

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.
Lets move on…

Still, there was more from Batman Forever yet.

Batman forever arcade

Batman Forever: The Arcade Game: Also based on the movie of the same name, but not the same game as the previous version. Developed by Iguana Entertainment, Published by Acclaim and released in 1996. This was an arcade game but later ported to the Sega Saturn, Windows and PlayStation.

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.

Batman forever arcade 2

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 powerups, weapons and gadgets to use along the way.
It is 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 a quick look.

So ends part II, but I will return in part III with the next Batman game based on the next Batman film. Same Batwebsite…yeah, I already did that one eh?


“I’m Batman”, Part I

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 Ocean 2

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.

Batman Ocean 3

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 CC

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.

Batman CC 2

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 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.

Batman movie 2

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 NES

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.

Batman Nes 2

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.