Game music of the day: Batman: Return of the Joker

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.


Game music of the day: Jurassic Park
Jungle area by Jonathan Dunn



Game music of the day: Mega Man X
Spark Mandrill by Tomozawa, Yamamoto, Horiyama, Iwai, Takehara



Game music of the day: Command & Conquer: Red Alert
Hell March by Frank Klepacki


  • HowdyCowboyCheesesBurger0911 - January 15, 2011 2:09 a.m.

    The music is suprisingly upbeat
  • lolwizards - January 13, 2011 7:27 p.m.

    I had this game on the game boy...totally kicked my 5 year old ass.
  • FauxFurry - January 13, 2011 4:38 p.m.

    I think that I must have been too distracted by Bat-Man's wrist mounted (Bat-Arang firing?)guns and what looked like 8 and a 1/2 bit graphics to pay proper attention to these tunes. Being able to listen to it now long after the NES gave up the Boo on this site is one of those things that I most appreciate about the Internet. It's obvious what the other thing I appreciate most about the Internet...blogs.
  • TheElephantManchurianCandidate - January 13, 2011 4:11 p.m.

    If you press up on the D-pad you can sort of make Batman dance to the music. It's in the AVGN review.
  • philipshaw - January 13, 2011 1:35 p.m.

    I never played this but I love the hella bass in the music
  • Lando81 - January 13, 2011 6:20 a.m.

    The Game Boy of this has the same music and is equally awesome in much the way DKL is to DKC. It's also my favorite Game Boy outside of Pokemon. Too many hours were spent playing it.
  • Megamonki - January 13, 2011 3:06 a.m.

    you guys should do Superman for the Sega genesis--OK game great soundtrack
  • CancerMan - January 13, 2011 3:04 a.m.

    Love hearing these old NES tunes even though I have almost no memory of actually playing a NES.
  • WickedSid - January 13, 2011 2:36 a.m.

    Really great choice, I never played any of these games but the music is great and it made me think of my Three game NES Days.
  • CaptainTrotski - January 13, 2011 2:20 a.m.

    I think Game music is a lot better then "real" music. It's always so good too. Keep up the good work, guys!
  • batmanboy11 - January 13, 2011 1:13 a.m.

    Played this on an emulator like 10 years back and it was awesome. Nice choice, Brett.

Showing 1-11 of 11 comments

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