Ranking the 9 Worst Batman Movie Tie-In Games
To celebrate The Batman arriving in cinemas, I decided to check out all of the Batman-related movie tie-ins! Honestly, it made sense to me months ago when I came up with the idea.
Of course, I couldn’t just list each of the surprising number of different versions of each movie tie-in! I had to pit them against one another to find out which Batman game is the best Batman game! Who’s the Darkest Knight, the Capediest Crusader, the holy synonym there’s a lot of names to call him isn’t there…? Say what you will about the Arkham games, they’re nothing like this lot…
So here are the worst Batman games, ranked worst to “best”.
9. Batman Forever (Probe Entertainment/Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, Acclaim Entertainment)
SNES, Mega Drive, DOS
Two-Face has taken over Arkham Asylum, can Batman and Robin stop him?
A slow-moving side-scrolling beat 'em up with those graphics where they scanned in real people and downscaled them poorly. With really awkward controls, no on-screen prompts, and routes that can be less than obvious, I simply cannot recommend this game.
8. Batman Forever (Probe Entertainment/Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, Acclaim Entertainment)
Game Gear, Game Boy
Two-Face is stealing the largest safe from the Second Bank of Gotham!
While it’s a graphical marvel, boasting the same “scanned in” sprites of its console brother, it also suffers from the same failings. The sprites are ugly, the controls are weirdly difficult, and the level design is a mess. If your characters move slowly, don’t make the levels difficult to explore… It’s only higher up this list because one of the Riddler fights doesn’t confuse and disorient you like it does on console.
7. Batman Returns (Atari Corporation)
Batman must stop the Red Triangle Gang!
A side-scrolling platformer that’s light on platforms, and heavy on punching people (and penguins) in the face. It’s very repetitive, and while you fight Catwoman once and Penguin a couple of times, it never actually names either of them. The Red Triangle Gang is the only thing apart from Batman that gets a name. Not the most fun, or most adaptive.
6. Batman Forever: The Arcade Game (Probe Entertainment/Iguana Entertainment, Acclaim Entertainment)
Arcade, MS-DOS, PlayStation, Sega Saturn
Batman or Robin (or both) go out to beat up bad guys!
A side-scrolling beat 'em up hopped up on bath salts. There’s really no other way to describe this, I’ll be totally honest. It’s frantic, constant action with tons of flashing pick-ups, an automatically activating super move, and power-ups that can (amongst other things) shrink either you or your enemies at random. As a videogame, it’s certainly not boring. But as an adaptation it’s sorely lacking, because while it stars the right characters, there’s barely any mention of the plot.
5. Batman: The Video Game (Sunsoft)
Batman is beating people up for some reason!
With really linear levels and a difficulty level primed to break the hardiest of joypads, the fun level is low. You have to constantly swap between weapons (including missiles?) to get anywhere, as from the first level there are knee-high enemies which you can’t punch. The cutscenes (which don’t progress the story and just have movie quotes from Joker) look really good in 8-bits, and the music is great, but I struggled to find any enjoyment in this. It does have wall-jumping, though, the second ever game to do it.
4. Batman Returns (Denton Designs, Konami)
When the Winter celebration is attacked, Batman is called in to help!
With well-animated sprites in a large play area, this platformer slash beat 'em up would have been pretty good, if not for how generic and repetitive it is. There are only a handful of levels, but each one seems to be never-ending; this isn’t aided by the first two being the exact same with some minor graphical differences. Plus, the music on every level is the same.
3. Batman (Sunsoft, Sega)
Batman must stop the Joker, apparently!
While nice to look at and with some good music, this one falls short of feeling very Batman-y. There are scenes recreated from the movie, but the story is incoherent, with little in any level except the final boss looking like anything related to Batman. Additionally, there are other games on this list whose driving levels didn’t turn into shoot 'em ups, and axe-wielding maniacs didn’t guard repeatedly dropping chandeliers.
2. Batman Returns (Aspect/Malibu Interactive, Sega)
Mega Drive, Mega CD
Penguin has killed the Ice Princess and framed Batman!
The Penguin shows up at the end of every labyrinthine level, and Catwoman only shows up as a mid-level boss one time before vanishing from the game! She appears again in the end credits of the Mega Drive version, but that’s it. The Mega CD version is a little better because it has some driving levels that are a nice change of pace, and the music is obviously miles better. It’s far from the easiest, and not that great an adaptation (merely the “cliff notes” version), but it’s not the worst game here.
1. Batman: The Video Game (Sunsoft)
Batman has to get to Axis Chemical to stop Jack!
The levels are pretty well made, the power-ups are varied, but until you pick up the Batarang power-up you’re basically just Batman with a gun, which just doesn’t feel like Batman. Not even Batman ‘89. It is fun, though, even when it’s a little frustrating, so it’s certainly not the worst of this list.
Make sure to keep an eye out for the rest of the tie-in games, which make up the 10 Best Batman Movie Tie-In Games!