Batman: The Video Game

aka: Batman, Batman
Moby ID: 31037
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Description official descriptions

The NES version of Batman: The Video Game is loosely based on the 1989 movie. It is a side-scrolling game, with a blue dressed Batman fighting enemies such as robots, jet-packed soldiers, ninjas and mutants.

The game consists in five levels somewhat related to the movie: Gotham City streets (with Killer Moth as the final boss), AXIS Chemical Factory (with Machine Intelligence System as boss), Underground Conduit (with Electrocutioner as boss), the Laboratory Ruins (the Dual-Container Alarm as boss) and Gotham's Cathedral (with Firebug as boss) where Batman finally faces the Joker. Before each level, a cutscene with scenes from the movie is displayed.

Besides his ever trusting punches, Batman has plenty of weapons in his utility belt: the Batarang, the Spear Gun and the Dirk (a three direction weapon). Batman has an ammunition counter shared for the three weapons. The Batarang takes one pellet per shot, the Spear Gun two pellets and the Dirk, three. Batman also has an eight hit life bar, which can be replenished by collecting hearts dropped by killed enemies. The enemies will also drop pellet items (10 pellets per item) and bonus items (which will only sum up points).

Batman can also perform a "wall jump": he'll grab a wall when jumping toward it, allowing him to escalate some narrow passages. Batman has three lives and unlimited continues.

Spellings

  • バットマン - Japanese spelling

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Credits (NES version)

16 People (11 developers, 5 thanks)

Program
Design
Music
Special Thanks to
Presented by
  • Sunsoft

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 83% (based on 30 ratings)

Players

Average score: 3.9 out of 5 (based on 71 ratings with 4 reviews)

Batman's great foray into action-platforming.

The Good
The gameplay's fast, dynamic and very retro in its charm and vibe. It's an honorable extension of Batman's legendary status as a pop-cultural staple of a character. The action's nice and crunchy, satisfying and the platforming is tricky yet very fulfilling once you've mastered the controls.

The Bad
The platforming can be imprecise sometimes, but that's really the only gripe I have with the game. It encourages you to overcome the game's challenges anyway.

The Bottom Line
This was Batman's first golden moment on console gaming, and this game plays like a superhero crossed with Double Dragon, Super Mario Brothers and Metroid. It's damn good fun.

NES · by John H. (52) · 2019

Outstanding (and unprecedented) movie adaptation

The Good
Video game adaptations of popular blockbuster movies are notoriously awful (the reverse is often true as well). This rule was particularly true on the NES. Happily, Batman shattered that rule.

This is one of my all-time favorite action video games. I like everything about it: The graphics were top-notch for the NES. Everything is dark and grim, just like the franchise upon which the game is based. The attention to animation detail is phenomenal. Nowhere is this better evidenced than in the Dark Knight's cape-- it flows beautifully as the character moves and rests perfectly on stop.

Then there is the music. Excellent music on every game level that exquisitely highlights the dreary feel of Gotham City's sewer and the urgency of climbing the Gotham cathedral bell tower.

What about gameplay? Sharp and responsive. The Batman character is strong and reasonably quick. He also has a fantastic and versatile ability to bounce off walls to simulate a climb up narrow spaces. Weapons? Batman has 4 separate offensive options at his disposable. Each has benefits and drawbacks, forcing the player to consider weapon trade-offs during the game.

How about challenge? I have always considered the level of challenge to be just right-- not too hard, not too easy. You will have to work at it, but you should be able to complete it in a reasonable amount of time. And you will have a short but sweet ending sequence waiting for you at the end.

Then there is the matter of movie accuracy. The game sort of loosely follows the rough outline of the movie plot. That's a good thing. Too many movie-based video games try to follow the plot too carefully and it winds up being (one of many reasons for) a game's downfall. The game relates various plot points through the use of cinema cut scenes. Fortunately, these scenes are always short and to the point; a lesser game would have stretched the scenes out much farther.

The Bad
The level 5 music is the same as the level 1 music. Too bad there was not another tune since the audio composer, About.SS, writes some amazing tunes.

The Bottom Line
The NES adaptation of the 1989 Batman movie is one of the best action video games ever published, excelling in all areas that count for a video game.

NES · by Multimedia Mike (20664) · 2007

I'm Batman! And a great movie-based game!

The Good
There is a thing going on that movie-based games are usually made with little effort, the only idea behind them being a quick cash grab following the success of a popular movie. For the most part it's true but this game proves that movie-based game can be made with care and attention to details.

Story: I really enjoyed the Batman movie from 1989 and since this game is based on that movie it already has my attention. All you need to know is that Batman goes after the Joker. Good enough for me.

Gameplay: It is a solid platformer with some Ninja Gaiden elements. Batman can jump from wall to wall (which is completely necessary to master in order to beat some of the later levels) and he has an assortment of gadgets at his disposal which help the player approach situations differently. The levels are all memorable and do the movie justice. There is a good variety of enemies and all of the bosses present a challenge worthy of any hardcore NES gamer. Speaking of which the game is quite difficult but it's a fair challenge since the game has very little handicaps. Beating the Joker is almost impossible and it took me around 15 tries. As the credits rolled after that I felt like a long and successful day at work was over. It felt satisfying.

Graphics: For NES standards the game is beautiful. It's dark and atmospheric just like the movie. The levels are nice to look at and the in-game sprites are well animated. There is no choppiness and everything runs really smooth. The cutscenes are awesome and set the mood for the upcoming levels.

Music and Sound: Pure awesomeness! The music score is one of the best I've ever heard on the NES and fits each level perfectly. Each song is catchy and memorable, and many of them linger in my head long after I've put down the controller. The sound effects are also pretty good, my favorite one being when Batman punches. My keyboard makes the same sound when I bash it against my desk.


The Bad
I have a few gripes with this game but it's mostly nitpicking.

Story: No complaints.

Gameplay : Same problem as Ninja Gaiden. When Batman gets hit he jumps backwards and some times right into a bottomless pit, though it does not happens as often. Some of the jumps are outrageous. The Joker shoots lightning....I am speechless.

Graphics: No major complaints. The Joker is fairly large and he makes Batman look like a kid.

Music and Sound: Absolutely no complaints.

The Bottom Line
This should appeal to both NES fans and Batman fans. The combination of solid platforming, great graphics, amazing soundtrack and challenging difficulty make this an awesome movie-based game and one memorable 8-bit experience.

NES · by Ivan Obretenov (30) · 2015

[ View all 4 player reviews ]

Trivia

Music

The music in the first two levels of the Japanese and western version is swapped.

Awards

  • Electronic Gaming Monthly
    • December 1989 (Issue 5) - Best Movie to Game
    • January 1990 (Issue 6) - Game of the Month

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Corn Popper.

NES added by Unicorn Lynx.

Additional contributors: Frumple, Terok Nor, Apogee IV, Alaka, Dan K, Bregalad, LepricahnsGold, Patrick Bregger.

Game added November 11, 2007. Last modified March 1, 2024.