"I Want You To Tell All Your Friends About Me. I'm Batman!"
Released in 1990, a year late to the party, due to Nintendo, having game developers sign an exclusive deal, to publish only on the NES.(How lame is that?-MM-) Batman: The Video Game, finally made it to the then most powerful console on the market, at the time, the Sega Genesis. Was it worth the wait?
It would be a fallacy for me to not tell you, that this is far and away the most accurate Batman game, based off of the 1989 film. It follows the movie almost too well. There are no “filler” levels like in so many other games of this genre. Every scene of the film that has Batman is represented here.
Based on the film, which was based or inspired by, Batman: The Killing Joke.(Not The Dark Knight Returns, as some allege.-MM-) We find that Batman is just beginning his career as, “The Caped Crusader”. In a particularly grim Gotham City. After falling into an acid bath, Jack Napier, becomes the “Clown Prince Of Crime”, The Joker. And now Batman has his work cut out for him.
The game plays much like most side-scrolling action games of it’s day. Batman, can punch, kick, and use his gadgets like his batarangs and grapple gun. And there are even cool vehicle stages, in the first one Batman takes to the streets of Gotham in his Bat mobile. In the second Batman must destroy the Joker’s gas balloons in the skies over Gotham, in his Batwing. This is a very fun and challenging game. But not to the point of frustration. With regular play it can be mastered.
The graphics are very good for the time. And while there are better looking Genesis games. And the graphics show there age. The are still serviceable. And do an admirable job of re-creating the dark look of the film of which it is based.
And in between the levels there are animated scenes, that are recreated from the film. And they look great, considering. I wonder why so few games used this technique?
The sound effect are well done. And remind me of those of “Streets Of Rage“. But it is the music where this game really shines.
The music by Naoki Kodaka, is not digitized from the film. But trust me when I tell you that it is off the chain. It sounds really good and holds up well, better than the graphics. It is filled with rocking tracks, and just great tunes. Is it any wonder when Mr. Kodaka is also responsible for one of the best JRPG scores of all time, “Albert Odyssey Legend Of Eldean”?
Once you master the game, you will wonder why it was so difficult in the first place.
Not much of a complaint, but I would like to comment on why did Sunsoft not make more Batman games? Between this, and “Batman: Return of The Joker“, they showed that they really had the knack. What about a Batman beat’em’up? How cool would that have been?
The Bottom Line
If you think that the NES Batman, movie game is good, you have to play this one. It will blow your mind. And I think that in the end if you can get past your nostalgia you will agree with me that this is the superior Batman video adventure.