Last Bat Time
When asked to count the good movie-based games on the NES, there’s only a handful that would even make the list. Most movie tie-in games were hastily slapped together cash grabs that had to nothing to do with the film on which they were based.
Nowadays, the well for these types of games has been so poisoned over the years, that if a movie does have any sort of video game connection, it’s usually in the form of some mobile app.
With that being said, there’s one game based on a movie that was so good, it vies for a top spot in the entire NES library: Batman.
While some will argue that it’s not based faithfully enough on the movie, those same people can try eating a dick. The game may take some liberties, but until the Arkham games came out during the Seventh Generation of Consoles, no other game made the player feel more like the Caped Crusader.
The Clown Prince of Crap
After Batman proved to be a hit, Sunsoft wasn’t going to wait around for the next Batman movie. Instead, they scraped the Joker off the Gotham City pavement, brushed him off, and gave him another game to try and foil Batman. Hence, Batman: Return of the Joker.
The player once again laces up their Bat Boots to take on the persona of the hero Gotham deserves and/or needs (I’m not sure which as I never really understood what that meant at the end of The Dark Knight).
Noticeably, the character sprite of Batman and enemies are much larger than the previous game, but the positives pretty much end there.
Where Batman was an agile character, much like Ryu in Ninja Gaiden, in the original game, he is pretty much restricted to walking and attacking in this game with no cool wall jump abilities.
Batman does have a useless slide, which is sure to strike fear in the hearts of no one. Also, he no longer punches, opting to shoot a bunch of random projectiles from his wrist as a way of finding a loophole in his no-guns policy, I suppose.
Some Men Just Want to Watch the World Burn
Return of the Joker starts off promising enough. There’s a bullshit part where Batman’s walking along and spiked balls fall down from seemingly nowhere, but it’s nothing that can’t be looked past.
The first boss fight is a little lackluster, but so was the first one in the original game. There’s even a fun little side-scrolling shooter section where Batman jams a rocket up his ass.
Once the player reached the third level, though, any promise of an enjoyable outing is thrown off the top of a cathedral by stereotypical NES bullshit.
Ice levels are typically bad enough, but the choice to have snow falling mixed with similar-looking rockets falling out of the sky makes the player inch along the frozen tundra. On top of that, the boob lady from The Simpson’s Movie is there to throw tornadoes at you for some reason.
Thankfully, the game uses a short password system, and in the age of the internet, jumping to any level in the game is just a quick Google search away. Not all of the levels are hair pulling exercises in frustration, but the game needed to do a better job of straddling between too easy and ball smashing difficulty.
Where Does He Get Those Wonderful Toys?
Along the way, Batman will pick up upgrades to his wrist shooter thingamajig. There’s also some Altered Beast style orbs that will transform Batman into an invincible, golden killing machine once he collects enough.
And Where Is The Batman?
If you absolutely have to play every Batman game that’s ever existed, Return of the Joker would be more on the mediocre side. There’s not enough to truly ruin the experience, but there’s nothing too memorable to make the player want to return to the game year after year.
My advice is to stay blissfully unaware of any NES Batman games after the first one and move straight to Batman Returns and The Adventures of Batman & Robin on the Super Nintendo.