Batman’s Best and Worst Games

Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker - 2000
Ubisoft - N64, PlayStation, GameBoy Color

Loosely based on the surprisingly awesome Beyond series (and movie of the same name), Return of the Joker is one of the more horrible Batman games. Okay graphics don’t outweigh the terrible controls and the horrendous game length (20 minutes?!). Watch the movie (make sure to get the director’s cut) - it’s a bit longer and way better than this atrocity.

Batman: Chaos in Gotham - 2001
Ubisoft - GameBoy Color

Chaos in Gotham is another action-adventure, which pits Batman and Batgirl in level after side-scrolling level against multiple thugs and villains from The New Batman Adventures. Surprisingly decent and the art style mimics that of the show. Win-win, really.

Batman: Gotham City Racer - 2001
Ubisoft - PlayStation

Another game based on The New Adventures, Racer places you in the Batmobile’s driver seat and tasks you with cleaning up Gotham’s city streets. That should be relatively easy due to the lack of vehicles, people or buildings found in Gotham City. Just try not finding the one car containing bank robbers you need to shoot down (wait, why is Batman killing people?). At least you get cutscenes from the cartoon in between each level.

Batman Vengeance - 2001
Ubisoft - Xbox, GameCube, PS2, GBA, PC

One of the better Bat games, Vengeance’s darker tone - in art style and story - was praised by fan and critic alike. The 3D action wasn’t half bad either. Drawing from the comic and animated series (and even utilizing the same voice actors), you pummeled the series’ colorful villains in an attempt to clear your name from a conspiracy, while protecting Gotham City from impending doom.

Batman: Dark Tomorrow - 2003
Kemco - Xbox, GameCube

While Dark Tomorrow was praised for its cutscenes and morbid story (inspiration was drawn solely from the comic), DT was shit on for everything else: namely terrible gameplay, repetitive missions and a horrible camera. Also known for itsfour endingsbased on whether or not you disarm bombs ordefeat Ra’s al Ghul in a swordfight(three of which are “bad” endings that involve Bats dying or Gotham blowing up). At least DT involved villains that are generally don’t get that much screen time - Ratcatcher, Zsasz and Scarface to name a few.

Batman: Toxic Chill - 2003
The Learning Company - PC, Mac

Holy edutainment Batman! The Riddler and Mr. Freeze are about to destroy Gotham. Our only hope is children ages 7-10, who need to solve a bunch of puzzles to defeat them. We never played this. Your kids probably didn’t either.

Batman: Justice Unbalanced - 2003
The Learning Company - PC, Mac

Did you say more edutainment to keep kids busy?! No? Good. We don’t care.

Batman: Rise of Sin Tzu - 2003
Ubisoft - GameCube, PS2, Xbox, GBA

Developed by the same team behind Vengeance, this follow-up pits Bats and co. - Robin, Nightwing and Batgirl - against brand new menace, Sin Tzu. Even with co-op gameplay, Rise was criticized for its repetitive beat-em-up gameplay and lack of depth considering the team’s previous effort was pretty damn good for a Batman game. And what’s with casting three B-villains - Scarecrow, Bane and Clayface - as the only bosses? If we can’t at least battle a Harvey Dent, then what’s the point?

Batman Begins - 2005
EA/Warner Bros - Xbox, GameCube, PS2, GBA

Staying remarkably close to its source material - without question, the best film in the series - Begins pits dreamboat Christian Bale against the thugs of Gotham. Grounded in “reality”, you have to use fear and intimidation to beat the bad guys. That’s another way of saying this is a Splinter Cell clone with added Batmobile/Burnout-style levels. Kind of an average game. Probably the reason why there’s no game based on The Dark Knight.

Justice League Heroes - 2006
Warner Bros, Eidos - Xbox, PS2, PSP, DS, GBA

Similar in play to X-Men Legends and Marvel Ultimate Alliance, JLH is an action-RPG that plays like the old Gauntlet games. Batman joins the other Justice Leaguers like Green Lantern, Superman and Flash as they fight through hundreds of thugs. Just like X-Men and Marvel, you can fight cooperatively with a friend and even customize your stats/armor/abilities on the fly. Also gets repetitive fairly quickly.

Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe - 2008
Midway - PS3, 360

For some reason the characters from Mortal Kombat duke it out with DC Comics’ superstars for the sake of… well, something. Not too many details are known, but the first promotional trailer featured Batman and Sub-Zero turning each other’s faces into hamburger. While there was an initial brouhaha surrounding the removal of fatalities (what makes MK so great), that has since been determined to be false. We’ll have more details on the collision of worlds in the coming weeks.

LEGO Batman - 2008
Warner Bros Interactive - PS3, 360, PS2, Wii, DS, PSP

Coming soon to every platform under the sun will be Batman’s exploits as a swallow-able plastic toy. Utilizing an upgraded (visually) engine that was used for LEGO Star Wars and LEGO Indiana Jones; you get to play as the Caped Crusader and his allies in 18 hero levels. Additionally, another 18 levels are featured in a villain storyline, not to mention almost every character in the Batman universe making this quite the packed title. We should have more details as we get them.

Jul 11, 2008