Game: Batman: Return of the Joker
Song: Level 1
Composer: Kodaka, Nobuyuki and Seya
Above: Level 1 from Return of the Joker
Just as everyone was ready to write off the NES as a dead system (what with the Super NES and Genesis already going toe to toe), Sunsoft released this remarkably capable Batman sequel that sported graphics well above the 8-bit average. The visuals, when coupled with a rockin' soundtrack, created a damn good last-minute NES game that's been overlooked due to its unlucky release window.
I too missed out on Return of the Joker, and barely played it at all when it first appeared. Later on though, its soundtrack lured me back in and I've come to appreciate it on technical level, if not strictly as a game. I present the game's opening level music because 1) It's what I'm most familiar with and 2) You've gotta admit, that's some pretty solid stuff. Great beat, excellent use of the NES' "crunching guitar" noise and all-around impressive piece of work.
Above: Stages 2-2 and 5-2 share this song, which sounds right out of Sunsoft's Gremlins 2. Bass crazy!
Above: There's a reason Game Boys are used to power chiptunes bands - the GB version of ROTJ is just as awesome as its 8-bit cousin
Above: And then there's the Genesis version of Level 1, though the game was called Revenge of the Joker, not Return
ROTJ is interesting in that it's primarily based on the comics, yet has a handful of connections to the 1989 Tim Burton film (such as the movie-specific Batmobile). It's also bizarre that Sunsoft released ROTJ the same year as the Batman Returns film (1992) and waited a full year before creating tie-in Batman Returns videogames. I suppose Return of the Joker was meant to be a stopgap solution while Sunsoft created tie-ins to the '92 film, but in reality, their "tide you over" game was better than the real deal. Assuming you're not dizzy from all the "Returns" in this paragraph, be sure to check out the original Batman game for even better tunes.
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