Batman’s Best and Worst Games

Batman: The Movie Arcade - 1991
Atari - Arcade

Again based on the film, this old-school beat-em-up featured actual voices and themes from the film. There were also first-person driving sections in the Batmobile and Batwing where you had to shoot cars and helicopters out the way, respectively. Of note - the batsuit is modeled exactly like the one worn in the movie - none of that cute purple nonsense.

Batman: Return/Revenge of the Joker - 1991-1992
Sunsoft - NES, Genesis, GameBoy

Strangely billed as a semi-sequel to the film yet primarily taking inspiration from the comics, the Joker is back and Batman needs to kill him - again. Side-scrolling action levels rule the roost here, with different weapon power-ups. Also known for having some of the best graphics ever seen on the NES as the actual Batman and character sprites were much larger than before. Inventive and also one of the last times we’d see the Batman license based solely on the comics.

Batman Returns - 1992-1994
Konami - NES, Super NES, PC
Sega - Genesis, Master System, Sega CD, Game Gear
Atari - Lynx

Never mind the already saturated market in the early-mid 90s of Final Fight clones, Batman Returns was actually pretty damn good (at least on the SNES). Based on the incredibly dark Tim Burton sequel, you walked from left to right, beating the crap out of clowns, Catwoman and the Penguin in levels based on the film. The Genesis version contrasted wildly - with levels containing a darker color palette and resembled a straightforward action game.

Batman: The Animated Series - 1993
Konami - GameBoy

The first game based off the amazing cartoon, you control Batman (and occasionally Robin) in another side-scroller beat-em-up. At the end of each level, you fight one of the main villains from the series - Joker, Riddler, Catwoman, Mr. Freeze, etc.

The Adventures of Batman & Robin - 1994
Konami - SNES
Sega - Genesis, Sega CD, Game Gear

Again - two wildly different games. In the SNES version, only Batman is playable as he traverses environments faithful to the animated series and fights just about every main villain. The Genesis version on the other hand was notoriously frustrating (seriously, we hated that game), but at least Player Two got to play as Robin. Each boss fight was also played in a different style (Mode 7-like scrolling for Mad Hatter, use of jetpack versus Mr. Freeze). The Sega CD version was just like the Genesis one, except with added driving levels and animated custcenes made specifically for the game.

Justice League Task Force - 1995
Acclaim - SNES, Genesis

Evil badass Darkseid is about to take over Earth and it’s up to the Justice League to pound the crap out of each other. Wait - really? Apparently the only way to defeat the evil mastermind is through beating the pulp out of the other heroes in this generic, glitchy and unbalanced fighting game. Oh yeah, Batman’s in the cast.

Batman Forever - 1995-1996
Acclaim - Super NES, Genesis, GameBoy
Probe - GameGear, PC

Based off the neon pageant masquerading as the third film (we know, we really loved it when it came out), this hideous beat-em-up featured motion-captured characters (think the Mortal Kombat digitized fighters) and had you punch and kick similar-looking thugs to death. At the end, you fight a mo-capped Tommy Lee Jones and Jim Carrey. Can’t forget this soon enough.

Batman Forever: The Arcade Game - 1996
Acclaim - Arcade, PlayStation, Sega Saturn, PC

Another beat-em-up, this time with foreground/background depth like Final Fight - Batman Forever: The Arcade Game enabled you to play as Val Kilmer and Chris O’Donnell yet again. For this go around, you collected a shit-ton of power-ups like screen exploding grenades or flaming batarangs. Naturally, you can cause a 400-hit combo on a random thug. He’s already dead, Batman. He’s already dead.

Batman & Robin - 1998
Acclaim - PlayStation, Saturn

Mike Nelson of Mystery Science Theater 3000 fame called Batman & Robin not the worst movie ever made, but the worst thing ever made. By extension, a 3D beat-em-up starring George Clooney, Chris O’Donnell and Alicia Silverstone that handles like crap and looks like shit based on the worst thing ever made probably isn’t worth your time. Oh, Batman. You and your follies.