Ranking the DC Comics Games on SNES
Since I've already looked at the DC Comics games on GameCube, and Simon looked at them on the NES, I decided it was about time I looked at the Super Nintendo Entertainment System games, because it's one up from the NES. Still, as I've mentioned before most of these are Batman games. It definitely didn't help that the SNES was in the sweet spot of the age of movie tie-in games, and two Batman movies were released during its lifespan.
So anyway, which is the best DC Comics game on the SNES? Does Batman have what it takes to kill the Justice League? Let's find out!
7. Batman - Revenge of the Joker
(1992) ICOM Simulations, Inc.
I can only assume the Joker is threatening Gotham, but that's more than it says on-screen!
An absolutely rock-hard, tough-as-nails platformer that I'm convinced is unbeatable, and is probably the reason it never actually got released in stores. One enemy takes all of your health in one hit! Another enemy doesn't take damage until it attacks you - which it only does when you're in range of its attack!
There is nothing you can say to convince me that this isn't a reskin of something "too Japanese for America", so they slapped Batman and Joker on it. None of the enemies look like anything Batman would usually fight, and his only attack is a gun! Batman doesn't use guns, let alone a bat-gun that is upgradeable with multi-shot and others.
6. Justice League Task Force
(1995) Blizzard Entertainment
Darkseid has declared war on Earth, and it's up to the Justice League to beat each other up! Wait...
A straight-laced fighting game that, as you'd expect, doesn't hold a candle to its peers. Nevertheless, I'm ranking it against other superhero games, so at least it's more fun than that aforementioned Batman game... Weirdly enough, this is the only game on the list to have a female character - Wonder Woman.
It's based loosely on a comic by the same name, and has six playable characters. Five of them are from the comic, plus Superman. You take a fighter through nine bouts to put an end to Darkseid's plans, the entire time wondering why the story is "Hmm, why is my friend fighting with me, I should ask another friend" when they're obviously evil robots because they explode when defeated! At least the stages look fantastic.
5. The Death and Return of Superman
(1994) Blizzard Entertainment
The power in Metropolis has gone out, and a deadly threat is on it's way to town...
There's something to be said for a good story, and The Death and Return of Superman is a great one. However, there's only so much you can do with an adaptation of a storyline, and 'by the numbers beat 'em up' was probably the wrong choice.
To break up fighting the same five enemies with different colour schemes, there are shoot 'em up sections. They are the easiest part of the game, since you just hold fire and pick up a health token after every second wave. It's not an awful game, but it's a boring one. And Superboy couldn't shoot energy from his hands...
4. Batman Returns
Gotham is under threat from a penguin-shaped man and it's up to a bat-shaped man to stop him!
A nice selection of enemies doesn't save this from being a run-of-the-mill side-scrolling beat 'em up. The gadgets don't add enough variety to combat, especially since batarangs do barely any damage.
The graphics are good, the music is a great rendition of the movie soundtrack, but it doesn't go far enough. At least you can chuck a batarang at the motorcyclists and make them crash, which is more effective than kicking them off.
3. Batman Forever
(1995) Probe Entertainment
Two-Face and Riddler are in the midst of a crime spree - Gotham needs your help, Batman!
This is a very clunky side-scrolling fighting game. Sure, the sprites look super dated, with their Mortal Kombat-esque "digitised person" style, but the levels look pretty good and suit the style from the movie which this is loosely based on.
With two punches, two kicks, button combinations and gadgets, this is a very complex game. It's not aided in being very slow, too, as Batman shuffles from one place to another, or uses his grapnel to go up to the floor above. It's definitely an interesting take on the beat 'em up, but a bit sloppy.
2. Wild C.A.T.S.
(1995) Playmates Interactive Entertainment
The daemonites are building a machine, and it's up to (three of) the Wild C.A.T.S. to put a stop to it!
What looks like a fairly standard side-scrolling beat 'em up, it winds up being more than it appears. For instance, not a lot of beat 'em ups have a character who can shoot energy blasts from their hands, and fewer still who can climb up walls.
However, the chunky sprites mean that the levels feel very small, since you can only move a short distance before the next wave attacks, and the screen is about five sprites wide. Still, the game is detailed and it has a decent enough story to go along with it.
1. Adventures of Batman & Robin
Joker has taken to the airwaves to taunt the Dark Knight, and Batman isn't one to step down from a challenge!
This straddles the line between platformer and beat 'em up quite well, with a utility belt full of gadgets that you can change the loadout for each level. Batman can also roll as well as block, which puts this a bit above the average beat 'em up.
It has the theme music from the show, and the sprites are perfectly stylised in the same manner. There's not a lot to criticise, as even the levels have a lot of dimension to them - quite literally in the Riddler's case as you're in a maze.