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As I’ve been a fan of Batman and the Joker since I was about 4 years old, I thought it would be fun to compile a list of my top 10 Batman games of all time.
Expect to see a mix of retro and recent games in this list. The only rule I’ve set myself is to include just one game from a particular series. So with Arkham or Lego, I’ve limited my choice to just one favourite. This is to try and keep the list interesting and varied, rather than filling it up with 3 to 4 Arkham titles. So here we go…
10) Batman: Return of the Joker (NES)
Batman: Return of the Joker is a bit different to most Batman games as this is more of a side-scrolling shooter. You can fire Batarangs and other types of ammo, plus on certain stages you even equip a jetpack and fly about. It’s a lot of fun, even though it doesn’t feel like an authentic Batman experience. It’s also quite challenging as some enemies attack as soon as they appear on screen, making them tough to dodge and often resulting in you getting knocked back and down to your death. Thankfully though, there are infinite continues and a simple password system in place.
The graphics are some of the best I’ve seen on the NES and with this game developed by Sunsoft, the music is great as well, just like their original Batman game. There was an “updated” version released on the Mega Drive called “Revenge of the Joker”, but honestly I think the visuals and sound looked worse than the 8-bit original. I recommend the Nintendo version out of the two.
9) The Adventures of Batman & Robin (Mega Drive)
The Adventures of Batman and Robin for the Mega Drive and Sega Genesis is a two-player action game and a real showcase of what the console is capable of. The graphics, animation and amount of action on screen is incredible. The developers certainly knew how to get the most out of the system.
Some may argue that this game deserves to be higher up on the list, but I found it too damn hard, which unfortunately really limited my enjoyment of the game. It’s punishingly tough, but it is fun in short bursts and worth a look at if you have a lot of patience or an Action Replay cartridge. Unfortunately I don’t have one of those and even though I suck at the game, it’s one I keep coming back to.
8) Batman: Vengeance
Batman: Vengeance is another game based on the excellent animated tv show from the early 90s. This particular title takes its art direction from the 4th and final series. Whilst it isn’t my favourite as I don’t like how they changed the Joker, it’s still interesting to see in 3D. This is complimented by the original voice actors such as Mark Hamill and Kevin Conroy, each giving an excellent performance as you’d expect. The boss battles are fun and I found the overall story, broken up into an episode format, a really enjoyable experience that was true to the show.
The gameplay does unfortunately suffer from a few camera and control issues, especially during the first-person view when Batman has to use gadgets, but if you can get past these annoyances which come with the majority of old 3D games and if you’re a fan of the animated series, you’re in for a real treat.
7) Batman Begins
Batman Begins feels like a game that’s rarely talked about, but it really impressed me for a licensed game based on a movie. These sort of tie-ins are often terrible as they’re rushed for release or lazily rely on the license name to make quick and easy sales.
This game is dark, gritty and does a great job of capturing the essence of Batman. It utilises stealth, gadgets, combat, plus fear and interrogation, years before Rocksteady did it with their excellent Arkham series.
Batman Begins is not a perfect game by any means, but I was pleasantly surprised and really enjoyed it. The actors from the movie reprised their roles for the voice work, the graphics and character models are good for their time, and I feel like the team who made this game understood Batman and loved working on it. It’s well worth trying if you haven’t played it before.
6) Batman: The Telltale Series
Batman: The Telltale Series was thoroughly enjoyable despite its flaws. I got a real sense of how it felt to be both Bruce Wayne and Batman, requiring some really tough decision making. I loved how I got to be the Batman I wanted to be, with the game’s story adapting based on my choices, like many other Telltale games. It’s just unfortunate that while playing this I encountered numerous bugs and glitches that completely broke the immersion, which regrettably is also like many other Telltale games. From volume issues, stuttering animations and large sections of the screen going black, to the game just crashing completely, it was very frustrating at times. If it weren’t for these problems, it would have scored much higher on my list. Don’t let that put you off entirely though, as it’s definitely still worth playing for the story alone.
5) Batman (Mega Drive)
I must admit that this Batman game was one of the toughest decisions to make in this list. The NES version is a classic with great platforming action, wall-jumping and fantastic music, but honestly I just had more fun with the Mega Drive version. I think it’s partly down to the fact that visually it’s linked closer to the Tim Burton movie, plus it has has the Batmobile and Batwing stages which I really enjoyed.
The main downside to the Mega Drive Batman game was that it felt like I spent too much time on the ground doing low kicks to try and avoid damage. There’s also no wall-jump in this version, but there is the classic grapple and Batarangs.
I would suggest you play both versions of this classic game as they’re excellent in their own right. They just weren’t different enough to justify two entries in this list when there are so many Batman games to cover.
4) Batman Returns (SNES)
Batman Returns on the Super Nintendo is an excellent side scrolling beat-em-up, ideal for fans of games such as Streets of Rage or Final Fight. This is completely different to the Mega Drive and Sega Genesis version, making it a very pleasant surprise when I first played it.
Even though it’s based on the movie, I wish they’d incorporated a two-player mode into this game somehow. It’s still fun in single player, but it would have been even better with a friend. I love how you can pick up enemies, smack their heads together, smash them into the ground or even throw them into a shop window.
Batman Returns is simple in terms of gameplay and some may find it quite repetitive perhaps, but personally I love it and it’s a game I come back to time and time again.
3) Lego Batman: The Video Game
While Lego Batman: The Video Game is quite a simplified and comedic action game, the level designs, references, music and characters made this arguably the best 3D Batman game ever at the time. Honestly before this, a lot of people had almost given up on the possibility that anyone could ever make a good 3D Batman game. Infact I loved this game so much, that I held off completing it for ages as I didn’t want the experience to be over. Quite hard to explain and sounds a little bit weird maybe, but I thoroughly enjoyed it, went on to 100% complete it and then bought it on the Nintendo DS to go through it all over again.
As for the other Lego Batman games, while they’re still good, I don’t think any of them quite captured the feel of the first game. Branching out into space and flying about is still fun, but I prefer to stay in Gotham with all the Batman characters. I’m also not a huge fan of the split screen mode they added in the later games as it can be quite disorentating.
2) The Adventures of Batman & Robin (SNES)
The Adventures of Batman and Robin is easily one of my favourite games to play on the Super Nintendo. Not only because it’s incredibly faithful to the animated TV show in terms of its visual style, but because it captures the feel of it as well.
Much like Batman Returns, this is completely different to the Sega Genesis and Mega Drive version, being slower paced and with a stronger focus on gadgets. The level design, character interaction, graphics and animation all make it feel like an interactive episode. Sure, there isn’t any voice acting in this due to the hardware limitations, but it has aged really well.
It’s very challenging, which may put a few people off, but to me it feels more fair than the Mega Drive alternative. This game will take several attempts to learn different mechanics as there’s a lot of variety between levels. It’s not perfect, the Batmobile section in particular is a bit ropey, but overall I consider this to be the best 2D Batman game available at the moment.
1) Batman: Arkham City
Of all the Arkham games, Arkham City was my favourite. If you’re a fan of Batman, it’s likely you’ve played these already, but if not, start with Arkham Asylum and enjoy the ride. This game built upon everything that made the original so amazing and opened up the environment with various side missions and objectives. There was also the opportunity to play as Catwoman, which added a new perspective and her combat style and story sections were a cool addition. She even had her own Riddler trophies to collect, in areas that weren’t accessible to Batman.
Even though the most recent Arkham Knight game is bigger and features better graphics thanks to it being released on a next-generation console, I feel that Arkham City was the most enjoyable experience, with the best combination of main villains to fight and overall story, where Batman was pushed to his limits.
Do you agree or disagree with this list? I’d love to hear about your favourite Batman games in the comments below. If you enjoyed this video, please hit the like button and consider subscribing and as always; thanks for watching and I’ll see you in the next video!