Every Batman Video Game Ranked From WORST To BEST

Every Batman Video Game Ranked From WORST To BEST

The Caped Crusader. The Dark Knight. The Billionaire Playboy Who Likes to Punch
Poor People. Batman has had countless incarnations over the years, not least in video games across almost every system. Unlike Spider-Man or Superman, Batman games
come frequently and regularly, even when there isn’t a new movie or television show to
promote. Batman doesn’t go through dry spells; he’s
always there, in some form, fighting crime by hurting people very, very badly. What’s more, a number of Batman games have
stood out as true gems through the years. Whereas other super heroes are lucky to have
their name attached to one or two great games, Batman has had a pretty solid run in general. Having said that, his record has been far
from flawless, and today we will take a look at every last one of his video game outings,
ranking them from worst to best. In doing so, we will be considering both how
the games played at the time of release and how well they’ve held up over the years. We will also be considering how true they
are to Batman’s character, something I’m sure will spark no disagreement in the comments
whatsoever. But before we get to the rankings, a few ground
rules. Firstly, we won’t be looking at Batman’s
educational games. Fact is, they weren’t really designed to
be games as much as they were teaching tools, and comparing them to the likes of the Arkham
series just doesn’t make sense, quite frankly. Similarly, we are excluding anything that
was released exclusively on mobile. These sorts of games are here today and gone
tomorrow, what with the rapid turnover of mobile hardware and software, so unfortunately,
we’ve all missed our chance to play swathes of them, and you can bet your bottom batarang
there’s no footage of them out there on YouTube either. Finally, if a game doesn’t specifically
focus on the Batman franchise throughout, we also won’t include it. He’s cameoed in a number of games – both
officially and otherwise – to the point that we’d be including all sorts of strange
entries if we were to allow every one of his video gaming appearances, so unless it’s
actually a Batman game, we don’t consider it to be a… Batman game. We defy you to poke holes in that logic. Anyway, better get started. We’re going to be here a very long time. I’m Peter from TripleJump, and this is every
Batman Video Game Ranked From Worst To Best. #56 – Batman: Dark Tomorrow
2003 GameCube, Xbox
Batman: Dark Tomorrow has a great selection of villains, fully-voiced cutscenes, and an
urgent mission with the highest possible stakes. Unfortunately, it’s also bloody terrible. There is no remotely redeeming aspect of Batman:
Dark Tomorrow, aside perhaps from getting to do battle with villains rarely seen in
games such as Ratcatcher and The Ventriloquist, but everything else feels like it was chemically
engineered in a lab in an attempt to create the word Batman title possible. I mean, if that was actually the intention
then…hey, well done I guess. Success. With complicated controls, a dreadful fixed
camera and the game’s nasty habit of plopping you into active combat situations the moment
a loading screen goes away, Batman: Dark Tomorrow honestly seems to be intentionally awful – the
icing on the cake is perhaps the fact that whenever Batman takes damage he decides to
lie down and have a little nap, with nothing stopping enemies from pummeling him to death
in his motionless recline while you shout at the television. They couldn’t even represent the franchise’s
characters that well either. The voice acting is almost uniformly terrible
and Batman’s model looks like a baked potato. Everything about Dark Tomorrow looks cheap,
sounds cheap, and feels cheap, so hey, learn a lesson from this game and be cheap yourself,
by not ever buying it. #55 – Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker
2000 Nintendo 64
Not to be confused with the several dozen other games called Return of the Joker, this
one is based on the Batman Beyond animated series, and the Return of the Joker film it
spawned. This is a rare chance to play as a Batman
other than Bruce Wayne; here it’s Terry McGinnis, who assumed the mantle upon Bruce’s
retirement. Unfortunately for Terry, this game is the
absolute pits. The controls while walking are far too sensitive,
and the controls while jumping aren’t nearly sensitive enough. The brawling is an irritating slog with enemies
who can reach farther than you can and who gang up on you relentlessly. The level design is frankly careless, with
rooms and corridors that lead to literally nothing, and the soundtrack is often downright
painful. Perhaps this game’s strongest offense, however,
is its visual presentation. We all know that the Nintendo 64 wasn’t
always great at displaying realistic graphics, but this game is based on an animated film. We’ll see later that lesser hardware had
no problem accurately capturing the look and spirit of Batman’s animated adventures,
so why did this game try to translate gorgeous 2D animation into a hideous 3D downgrade? It’s one thing to be uninventive when you
make a game, but another thing entirely to purposefully deviate from the visual stylings
of the source material. #54 – Batman
1989 Amiga, Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, Commodore 64,
GX4000, MSX, PC, ZX Spectrum The most interesting thing about this game
is that it represents your only opportunity to play as a version of Batman who recently
pooped his pants. We looked at the Amstrad CPC version, which
actively dares you to find something to enjoy about it. The animations and controls are almost insultingly
stiff, and the game’s idea of challenge is to give you massive levels full of identical
rooms and let you blindly stumble your way through them. At times it doesn’t feel like the game was
“designed” at all; it’s more like some levels were built for some game or other,
then Batman wandered into them, and that was that. In the first stage, you knock Jack Napier
into a vat of chemicals to turn him into The Joker and in the last stage, you knock him
to his death. Batman does nothing between these two events
aside from sit in traffic, play Mastermind, and forget where the Batcave is, just like
in the Tim Burton classic released in the same year, right? I don’t know; it’s been a while since
I’ve seen the movie. #53 – Batman & Robin
1998 game.com
Look, kids! It’s the best Batman game based on the best
Batman movie on the best video game console. Actually, my mistake; all of those things
are lies. Batman & Robin for the game.com- …am I even
saying this right? Do you even pronounce the dot? It just sounds like a website. Batman & Robin for the game.com is a sluggish,
lifeless, uninventive side-scroller, which technically has a combat system but only in
so far as if you press a button, something might happen. It controls as well as anything else in the
game.com library does, which is to say it controls like you died years ago and are trying
to communicate with the game through a medium. Anyone who is brave enough to try this best-forgotten
piece of Batman’s history should be prepared to be driven insane by the game’s only track:
a short loop of your grandmother’s least favorite music box fed through a MIDI synthesizer,
often drowned out by the noisy metallic clanging of Batman’s attacks. Of course, it isn’t all bad. Batman & Robin on the game.com does let us
appreciate something all of the other games on this list somehow overlooked: The Dark
Knight’s long, sexy legs – ooohft, they just go all the way up… #52 – Batman: The Caped Crusader
1988 Amiga, Amstrad CPC, Apple II, Commodore 64,
PC, ZX Spectrum When a game is released on so many different
platforms at once, it’s for one of two reasons. Either it’s a great game that the publisher
expects will sell well to a wide audience, or there’s so little substance to it that
it’s very cheap to port across. We’ll leave you to guess which category
Batman: The Caped Crusader falls into. The game isn’t exactly a long one, but it
sure is padded, with objectives existing sometimes just to make you walk back and forth across
a room several times before progressing, and combat being every bit as clunky as you’d
expect from a Batman game on primitive systems. Its best idea is the fact that it unfolds
as a series of playable comic book panels, a design choice that varies in effectiveness
across the six versions of the game. It’s the kind of thing we’d love to have
seen in later games on hardware that could better pull it off, but still, credit where
credit is due, even if that’s about all the credit it’s due. #51 – Batman Forever
1995 Game Boy, Game Gear
Like the infamous console versions of the game, which we’ll come to in a moment, the
version of Batman Forever released for handhelds is, how shall we put this? Among mankind’s greatest atrocities? This build of the game is somehow even clunkier,
more dull, and less fun to such an extent that it’s almost impressive. The smaller number of buttons means that the
controls are necessarily simplified, which is a good thing in a way, but that’s immediately
counterbalanced by the fact that everything Batman does is so sluggish that it feels like
he’s fighting his way out of a tub of raspberry jam. There’s nothing less satisfying than watching
The Dark Knight cycle through a tedious attack animation long after you’ve actually pressed
the button, and it makes every enemy feel like a chore to encounter. Pretty sure this is why they call it Batman
Forever #50 – Batman Returns
1992 Atari Lynx
Batman as a character is an athletic sort and, as we know, he’s prone to plenty of
jumping and punching. Fortunately, these are both fundamental aspects
of video game control, and no developer could possibly screw them up. Sorry, I couldn’t keep that
up. Ugh, what a ludicrous claim
Batman Returns is a standard left-to-right sidescroller that controls like ass. The music feels like it would be far more
at home in a game about a surfing gorilla and frankly, that sounds like much more fun. Some enemies in Batman Returns walk blindly
into your fists, which is very nice of them, and a whole bunch of them can be avoided simply
by constantly ducking. Others, however, like to pitch projectiles
that are nearly impossible to avoid. Worst of all are those who like to zip along
the screen without warning, such as these bikers that are nearly too wide to jump over
without taking damage, which really adds to the fun. Things wouldn’t be so bad if it weren’t
for the view being so tight on Batman. With a little more warning of what’s coming
your way, you might actually be able to react to some of this, but it’s just such an uncomfortable
close-up. Now we’d maybe understand this choice if
the artists were actually proud of their spritework, but our hero looks less like Batman than he
does some guy dressed as Batman that you’re trying really hard not to make eye contact
with on the bus. #49 – Batman: Return of the Joker
1991 Game Boy
This game may share a title with Sunsoft’s second NES Batman game, but its gameplay is
much more similar to Sunsoft’s first, which we’ll get to much later on in the list. Like that game, Return of The Joker has more
focus on wall-jumping, exploring large stages, and taking bad guys down with Batman’s quick
fists of justice. Unlike that game, though, this is pretty awful. Batman controls in a bizarrely floaty manner,
making precision platforming – or platforming in general –an exercise in frustration. While wall-jumping in search of hidden areas
and to get around stage hazards should be fun, it’s actually far too difficult to
do reliably, with Batman often feeling like he’s responding to a personal interpretation
of what you’ve politely asked him to do rather than to the buttons you’re actually
pressing. There’s also a grappling hook triggered
by pressing Up on the D-Pad, but we defy anyone to play the game without at least 80% of the
times they use it being accidental. #48 – Batman: Gotham City Racer
2001 PlayStation
“Wouldn’t it be fun to drive the Batmobile?” Said every child ever. No, apparently It would not be fun to drive the Batmobile. Gotham City Racer is based on The New Batman
Adventures, a cartoon that wasn’t quite as good as The Animated Series but was worthwhile
enough in its own right. Gotham City Racer, however, is a damn sight
more mediocre. The character portraits look great, styled
in the same way as the TV show, and the game’s cutscenes are excerpts from actual episodes. All good! Unfortunately though, everything else looks
unfinished and untextured, even by PS1 standards. Gotham, one of fiction’s most famous cities,
is reduced to a series of indistinguishable grey rectangles positioned so poorly that
their windows sink into the ground. Gotham City Racer seems to believe the only
thing Batman does that’s worth immortalizing in actual gameplay is his nightly commute. While the cutscenes show Batman being…you
know…Batman, a hero who does things, the gameplay itself consists entirely of driving
him from one place to the next. It feels less like you’re playing as Batman
than it does like you’re playing as Batman’s Uber driver. Man, I hope he tips me. He’s a billionaire, you know. #47 – Batman: Revenge of the Joker
1991 Mega Drive
You will see Mega Drive games on this list that look very good. This is not one of them. In this utterly incompetent port of the NES
game of nearly the same name, everything in the game looks careless, right down to the
animations. Everything Batman does is so unnecessarily
exaggerated and overdone that it feels like you’re controlling a struggling actor who
played the lead in some Batman-themed adult film. You might at least think the animations lead
to a sense of fluidity and momentum, but they are far stiffer than they look. Batman: Revenge of the Joker is a stubbornly
unresponsive game that reminds you, with every button press, just how much it hates you. Even Batman’s moveset feels odd, with an
uncommon reliance on projectile combat rather than melee. Presumably the developers thought that, instead
of Bat’s signature martial arts skills, players would much rather use something resembling
a gun, in this case, a full automatic batarang launcher. All in all, this title just sort of feels
like a bunch of Batman sprites have just been slapped over a pre-existing game… and not
a very good one either #46 – Batman Returns
1992 Amiga
The Amiga version of Batman Returns tried very hard to be the worst version of Batman
Returns, but it even failed at that. Unfortunately though, despite being slightly
better than last place, it’s still no fun at all. It can’t be easy for Batman games to find
so many different ways to ruin a core gameplay loop of “beat this guy up then beat that
guy up,” but this catastrophe proves that the possibilities are endless. When the game begins, your comically small
Batman sprite is immediately killed by a crowd of bikers with no time to prepare. You might wonder why the game isn’t beginning
with its best foot forward, but actually it probably is. You’ll then respawn, only to be swarmed
by tiny jumping enemies that sometimes gang up on you but sometimes perch in accessible
areas, including off screen. You have to defeat them all to progress, so
have fun waiting patiently for them to decide to become vulnerable. When you finally do clear the area, you’ll
be thrilled that you can move on to the next screen at last. Do so and get shot and killed instantly by
an enemy it was impossible to see. Great. All this, and we’ve not even mentioned the
fact that Batman is capable of jumping around the screen at speeds it’s safe to say the
actual Michael Keaton has never reached in his life. Screw all of this. Presumably there’s more to the game beyond
the offscreen gunman, but we have it on good authority that no human being ever played
it farther than this. #45 – Batman
1986 Amstrad CPC, Amstrad PCW, MSX, ZX Spectrum
Laugh all you want, but video games really used to look like this. This very first official Batman game received
near-perfect scores at the time of its release. This might seem rather difficult to believe
nowadays but the novelty of playing a Batman game at all was enough to give this game a
sense of inherent excitement at the time. You guide our hero through various isometric
environments, solving simple puzzles to progress, with your main objective being to rescue the
Boy Wonder, Robin. The enemies and hazards aren’t quite specific
to Batman’s universe, with giant-mouth monsters and Zelda-style spinning blades hindering
progress, but it’s the constant beep-and-boop sound effects, serving as a sort of aural
water torture, that really make it difficult to progress. This game is, of course, an interesting piece
of computing history but can we say anything more positive than that? Well, no. Not really. But hey, it did technically lay the groundwork
for whatever your personal favorite Batman game is, so you have to thank it for that,
and this is admittedly still one of the Dark Knight’s best-reviewed games ever, so you
know what? Well done, Batman 1986! #44 – Batman: Chaos in Gotham
2001 Game Boy Color
Has there ever been a subtitle more redundant than “Chaos in Gotham”? In fact, the futility of this game’s name
is symptomatic of the larger problem here, which is that Batman: Chaos In Gotham exists…
but doesn’t really do much more than that. In short, it’s a standard brawler with platforming
elements just tricky enough to be irritating and never creative enough to be fun. As Batman you’ll navigate small platforms,
punch faceless thugs, and die from touching things that didn’t look like hazards, with
the action slowing to a crawl whenever too much is happening on screen, making the experience
worse simply by virtue of extending it. The music is probably the best thing about
the game but even that isn’t great. Chaos in Gotham makes it this far up the list
on the grounds that it isn’t actively painful to play, but unless you’ve been dying for
an opportunity to square off against minor villain Roxy Rocket – which incidentally,
makes you the only person watching this video who knows who Roxy Rocket is – there’s
no reason at all to recommend it. #43 – Batman Forever
1995 Mega Drive, SNES, PC
Batman Forever is a game in which you kick seven shades of guano out of an endless series
of goons, which is pretty much the template for every beat-em-up in existence. It’s also, however, a game that forgot to
be any fun. For such a simple premise, you’d guess that
tight controls and satisfying combat are about all you’d need to create an enjoyable experience. And you would be right. But Batman Forever is mired by needlessly
complicated controls for what, in practice, is actually a fairly basic moveset. It’s overcomplicated to a fault, which is
a strange decision as nearly every enemy can be defeated by swatting your fists blindly
in the air until they walk into you and die. Clearly inspired by 1992’s Mortal Kombat
with its digitized actors, health bars, and special moves, Batman Forever seems like it
might have been developed as a one-on-one fighting game that was forced for some reason
to become a brawler instead. As such it ends up controlling like the former,
and not in a good way, while feeling like the world’s dullest beat-em-up. On the bright side, it allowed you to play
with a friend. On the less-bright side, it would ensure that
you’d lose that friend forever. #42 – Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker
2000 PlayStation
The PlayStation version of Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker is far better than that
of the Nintendo 64. We’d like to make that perfectly clear before
we get to our next thought, which is that the PlayStation version of Batman Beyond:
Return of the Joker is also appalling. It’s not exactly the same as the Nintendo
64 version in terms of content, but it’s quite similar, and it improves on that game’s
controls without question. Despite this upgrade though, the brawling
still isn’t even remotely enjoyable. The visuals are an improvement on the N64
version as well, but they too leave us with the same question: Why rebuild the movie’s
gorgeous animation with lesser 3D technology? And while we could just about excuse the single-image
cutscenes on the Nintendo 64, there’s no excuse for them on the PlayStation, with its
disc technology. All in all, this version may well be better,
but it’s certainly no less lazy. #41 – Batman: The Animated Series
1993 Game Boy
Batman: The Animated Series is brilliant. Batman: The Animated Series on the Game Boy
is not. It’s not bad either, but definitely not
brilliant. Developed by Konami in what must have been
one of their least-inspired moments, the game is well built and decently designed. Progress is made both horizontally and vertically,
the combat is responsive if not particularly interesting, and there are lots of goodies
off the beaten path for those who explore. But that’s about it. It’s a competent game, but not one that
scratches any itches or excites us in any way. Even the characters – who look great in
cutscenes and faithfully represent The Animated Series – just seem like blobs of pixels
in the actual gameplay. Batman: The Animated Series for the Game Boy
feels like the first draft of what could have been a great adaptation with a lot more work,
but was far too content to just be a playable one. #40 – Batman & Robin
1998 PlayStation
There are a lot of nice things we can say about Batman & Robin for the PlayStation,
but they’re limited entirely to the game’s fundamental components. There are three playable characters. The game runs on a clock meaning you need
to figure out which villain will be attempting which crime and when. And the game is largely faithful to the source
material. Yes, we know no human being likes the source
material, but it’s at least nice that the game doesn’t just slap the name on something
completely unrelated to the movie. But that’s about all we can say in Batman
& Robin’s defense. Though the game features two distinct gameplay
types, they both control terribly. Driving is a slippery, imprecise nightmare,
with pop-in and limited visibility making it nearly impossible to see what’s coming. Then when on foot, we are stuck using tank
controls, and while you can probably name a handful of great games with tank controls,
those likely relied on firearms or other projectiles in combat. Batman, of course, is a fist fighter, and
having to slowly rotate on the spot to face the guy that’s already been beating the
crap out of you for several seconds is even less fun than it sounds. The basic idea of Batman zipping around Gotham
to stop criminals in the nick of time is a solid one, but the execution was bungled,
and the constant, unstoppable ringing of shrill alarms while responding to break-ins – which
is something that occupies about half the game – just adds insult to injury. #39 – Batman: Rise of Sin Tzu
2003 GameCube, PlayStation 2, Xbox
The sequel to Batman: Vengeance, which we’ll get to, does one really great thing right
off the bat: It introduces a brand-new villain, unique to this game and its handheld counterpart,
for Batman to match wits with. It’s something I wish more Batman games
did, but that’s about all we’d hope for a future game to copy. Rise of Sin Tzu is a strange game in that
it’s either far too easy or far too difficult. On easy mode, the game is an absolutely mindless
button-masher with no real incentive to experiment with strategy, and it gets repetitive very
quickly. On normal mode, though, it is positively brutal. And while this does mean that combat in the
early stages requires you to think several steps ahead, which is good, it also means
combat in later stages requires superhuman reflexes and patience, which is bad. And BAD is NOT GOOD
In some cases, there is a timer that requires you to fight quickly, something very much
at odds with the calculated combat demanded of you by this mode. If you do reach the objective in time, it
will almost certainly be with only moments to spare. It’s ratcheted up to an insane degree in
one stage that requires you to defeat 75 enemies within 14 minutes. That is no mean feat, and so you can look
forward to replaying a 14-minute battle over and over in the hopes that you’ll get lucky
enough to just barely complete it. Joys. #38 – Batman Forever: The Arcade Game
1996 Arcade, PlayStation, Saturn, PC
This is a game that certainly has its defenders, so we’re likely to get some angry comments
over its low placement, but the fact that the game needs “defenders” at all might
say something in itself. Batman Forever: The Arcade Game is a side-scrolling
beat-‘em-up. We’ve already seen a lot of that in this
list, and this game doesn’t seem interested in doing anything unique. By 1996, fans of arcade games had seen more
side-scrolling beat-‘em-ups than they could possibly count, and aside from its license,
Batman Forever: The Arcade Game doesn’t do anything those other games hadn’t already
done better. Having said that, the fact that the damage
percentages pop up 1960s-style when you sock a bad guy is a cute touch, and the animations
are impressively smooth, holding up very well more than 20 years later. Outside of the arcade, the game was ported
to various platforms. The PlayStation version certainly didn’t
improve the game but ran it well enough but the real tragedy is that the Sega Saturn and
PC releases struggled with choppy animations and frame-rate issues, thereby stripping Batman
Forever 1996 of its one redeeming quality. Oops! #37 – Batman
1990 TurboGrafx-16
There’s a common misconception that Batman’s secret identity is one Bruce Wayne. We think the confusion comes from the fact
that so few people played 1990’s Batman for the TurboGrafx-16, which quite clearly
reveals that the caped crusader is actually Pac-Man. Wait a moment…Batman…Pac-Man…the answer
was right there in the name all along! You sneaky so-and-so, you. This particular Batman game is playable, certainly,
and achieves what little it sets out to do, but it’s mind-boggling that someone sat
down to make a Batman game and could not come up with anything more creative than a Pac-Man
clone. Certainly if this had been an Atari game from
1980, that would have been acceptable. But video games had come a long way by the
time of the TurboGrafx-16, and steering Batman through some mazes to pick up various goodies
whilst hoodlums walk around like Inky, Blinky, Pinky, and Clyde makes you wonder if the development
team even knew who Batman was. Okay, that may not be entirely fair, as the
game allows Batman to use his Batarang to stun enemies, which is a damn sight more than
Pacman can do. However, he’s locked in place as he waits
for it to return, meaning the game also allows him to use his less-famous “standing still
like a big idiot” ability, which this yellow chomp boy wouldn’t dream of doing. #36 – Batman: Justice Unbalanced
2003 PC
Batman: Justice Unbalanced is a minigame collection… if… if three minigames counts as a collection,
that is. Um… either way, with Justice Unbalanced,
you’ll be pointing and clicking your way through a barely animated adventure. There is a plot holding these disparate minigames
together, involving Two-Face and The Penguin terrorizing Gotham with… little… explosive
eggs… well, they tried, bless them.. but the eggs don’t look anything like real eggs
and they tick loudly so it’s unlikely there would be any victims at all. Still, Batman and Robin already got dressed,
so they set out to stop the bad guys. They do this by solving color puzzles, matching
tiles, and clicking objects in the precise sequence you were told to click them. It’s riveting! There is some light platforming toward the
end, but making it that far requires you to endure an unhealthy amount of egg puns, so
we can’t recommend it. It’s eggs-cruciating #35 – Batman: Toxic Chill
2003 PC
Oh, look. It’s Batman: Justice Unbalanced, only now
it’s Batman: Toxic Chill. The basic structure of the game is the same,
but here the plot is noticeably improved. Not because it’s clever (which it isn’t), interesting
(which it isn’t), or well-written (which it isn’t), but because it features a teamup between The
Riddler and Mr. Freeze, a pairing we wish we saw far more often and in far better places. Mr. Freeze plans to freeze Gotham City, obviously,
but he only seems to have drafted The Riddler into the plan just so Batman would have a
trail of clues to follow and stop him, so either he didn’t think this through, or
everyone involved with Toxic Chill’s development didn’t think this through. Players will surely be on the edge of their
seats as they click their way around mazes and solve word puzzles but, better yet, there’s
a series of levels that takes place in the sewers, which is nice because you actually
get to control Batman rather than click on static screens that look like they came directly
from a child’s coloring book. #34 – Batman Returns
1992 Mega Drive
There’s an impressively dark atmosphere in this game, but there’s little else to
recommend it. The controls are far too stiff to give you
a fair shot at the enemies that barrel in at you from all angles, the vertical design
which should be a selling point becomes a liability with far too many blind jumps, and
there is nowhere near enough variety to keep the game interesting. The soundtrack is certainly not bad but is
immediately forgettable, and the visual design is…well, let’s just say it helps if your
favorite color is purple. Batman is purple, the sky is purple, the objects
are purple, the platforms are purple. I think the fact that you encounter Penguin
on his giant Tim Burton rubber duck near the end of the game is a better reward than the
satisfaction of completing the story, just because it’s nice to see a bit of grubby
yellow for a change. By far the worst thing about Batman Returns,
though, is that it often forgets its own rules, making trial-and-error gameplay unavoidable
at every step. You know there’s a platform beneath you
because you just fell on to it, but climb higher and now that same fall counts as a
bottomless pit. The foundation of a good game is here, but
none of the trimmings #33 – Batman Returns
1992 Mega-CD
This is an enhanced version of the previous game, though it may not seem like it at first. The graphics in the stages are almost identical
to what you see on the Mega Drive, and with a passing glance it may look like this is
a simple port and not worthy of its own spot on the list. However, a number of things have been added
throughout the game. For one thing, the cutscenes look far better
and are gorgeously animated. The soundtrack has also been completely redone,
taking advantage of the hardware’s ability to play CD-quality audio. And these aren’t simple remixes; they are
an entirely new set of pretty solid compositions. The biggest change is that a number of vehicle
sequences have been added, which are fun enough to make this version much easier to recommend
than its Mega Drive counterpart. These moments won’t change your life, but
they lack the problems the platforming stages had, making for a notable improvement. There are even very welcome options in the
menu to play exclusively through the vehicle stages or the platforming stages, if you enjoy
one but not the other. It’s just enough of an improvement to render
the previous version redundant. #32 – Batman: Return of the Joker
1991 NES
Sunsoft’s aforementioned classic Batman game on the NES is still to come later in
the list but Batman: Return of The Joker was their follow-up to that game and so had a
lot to live up to. Unfortunately, it doesn’t quite manage it. The sprites and animation are absolutely lovely
and the soundtrack is every bit as good as its predecessor’s but things fall down a
bit in the overall execution. Here, Batman relies on long-range weaponry
in contrast to the tight, rapid melee combat of the previous game. While that in itself is not a bad thing, it
does feel a bit at odds with how Batman usually gets things done. What’s more, the platforming puzzles scattered
throughout the game’s predecessor are absent here, replaced by far more simplistic layouts
that offer only one very obvious way to progress. None of this makes Batman: Return of the Joker
bad, but it does make it less interesting and ultimately less fun. #31 – Batman Returns
1992 PC
In the 1990s, fans of point-and-click graphical adventure games were well served by the likes
of Lucas Arts and Sierra Online, and if you grew up playing such things, you’ll know
the broad strokes of what to expect from the PC version of Batman Returns. Whereas other games based on the film had
a heavy emphasis on combat, this iteration is focused entirely on finding items and solving
puzzles. The adventure unfolds over nine in-game days,
with some generous wiggle room for players to take their time finding clues, analyzing
them, and advancing the story. Careful though, take too long, and the nefarious
Penguin wins the mayoral election and chaos reigns. This is an absolutely perfect genre for a
Batman game, but, sadly, this game doesn’t do a great job of proving it. There is little to do other than click, watch
video clips, and select different areas from a map screen until you figure out what to
do next. There combat takes place across automated
sequences, and though you can choose the items you bring into battle, the game handles the
rest for you. For an adventure game, Batman Returns is a
disappointingly passive experience. It’s totally playable, but it’s rarely
engaging, and the computer gets to control Batman more often than you do. #30 – Batman: Arkham VR
2016 HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, PlayStation VR
If this seems to be ranked a bit low to you, we understand. As a virtual Batman experience, Arkham VR
is pretty great. I ruddy loved it, actually. As a game, though, and especially one with
the Arkham branding, it’s significantly lacking any kind of replay value. The first thing that comes to mind when you
think about the Arkham series is likely the combat, the satisfying, stylish, cinematic
combat that offers you plentiful ways to deal with nearly any threat. And yet in Arkham VR, there is no combat at
all. The gameplay is less about fighting your way
out of situations in which the odds are stacked against you than it is warping from place
to place and looking at what the game wants you to look at. It’s also extremely short, with a blind
runthrough of the entire game taking little more than an hour. To be clear, that’s not a speedrun; that’s
the length of the experience. So even if one chooses to see Arkham VR as
an interactive movie, which would be a fairer way of looking at it, it doesn’t even feel
long enough to qualify for that. It’s not a train wreck so much as it is
disappointing, partly because it’s so much fun on your initial session that you wish
there was more of it, and you wish that all subsequent playthroughs didn’t feel so underwhelming. Arkham VR can hold its head high for the fact
that our biggest complaint is that we wanted more of it, but that doesn’t stop the game
from feeling like little more than a proof of concept, which I fear is fairly typical
of the best PSVR experiences thus far. #29 – Batman
1990 Game Boy
If you’ve ever wanted to play a game starring your nephew in a Batman costume, Batman on
the Game Boy is the game for you. Our only guess as to why the Dark Knight looks
like this is that the developers were attempting to break the world’s record for smallest
recognizable Batman sprite. It gets even better when he crouches, at which
point he resembles a Batman-themed Mr. Potato Head. If you can get past the game’s silly appearance,
though, it isn’t half bad. It’s certainly fun enough to serve as a
decent distraction and, as we’ve seen, poor Batman has endured far worse than this. That said, there are some issues with the
jumping controls, as Batman can be steered in midair but also retains some degree of
momentum, making platforming a finicky affair. It’s far from game-breaking, but it’s
guaranteed to result in a number of otherwise unavoidable deaths as you adapt to it. On the whole though, this is an okay title
by early Game Boy standards, even if it doesn’t actually feel much like Batman. I know that there have been many incarnations
of the character over the years, each one with its own quirks and characteristics, but
I think the one thing everyone expects Batman never to do is walk down the streets of Gotham
shooting people. Is Batman on the Game Boy a good game? Sure. Is it a good Batman game? Not quite. #28 – Batman: Vengeance
2001 Game Boy Advance
It’s nowhere near as good as its console counterpart, but Batman: Vengeance for the
Game Boy Advance is pretty fun in its own right. It controls well, its difficulty is fairly
pitched, and its soundtrack is truly great. It’s not without its issues, though they
are mainly due to the hardware. The small screen of the Game Boy Advance limits
visibility in the vehicle stages, making it very difficult to avoid obstacles and giving
the impression that Batman is driving without his glasses. And while the graphics are certainly good,
they often seem like they’re not designed with gameplay in mind. For instance, in the Joker fight toward the
beginning of the game, there’s a wall that blocks your Batarangs. There is, however, a gap in the wall that
you can fire through, smashing the crates he’s standing on, but my god, is it hard
to actually see said glory hole The top-down puzzle stages are also not great,
as you slowly navigate mazes, shoving boxes around to create new paths and figuring out
how to handle each obstacle you encounter. Putting these long sequences between the side-scrolling
action stages and frantic vehicle sections was a pretty bad idea, not least because they
hamstring the pace of an otherwise competent adventure. #27 – Batman
1990 Mega Drive
It may not be nearly as polished or as fondly remembered as its NES counterpart, but Batman
on the Mega Drive is decent if forgettable fun. It certainly looks great, and the soundtrack
is no slouch, but it’s also extremely short and not particularly challenging. Still, it makes for a fun experience, and
if you’re looking to kill an hour, there are many worse games to play through than
this one…for instance, every game we’re already talked about in this list. On the other hand though, the MegaDrive’s
Batman also feels uninspired, with precious little enemy variety and almost no thought
given to interesting stage layouts. In truth, this game doesn’t feel specific
to Batman; it’s a competent sidescroller, no question, but it could feasibly star anybody. Even Batman’s grappling hook, which should
lead to interesting opportunities for exploration and strategizing, serves as little more than
a rope to climb from one platform to another in predetermined places. A few vehicle combat stages later in the game
do add an admittedly fun wrinkle, but beyond that, this fairly entertaining game often
still feels like a bit of a missed opportunity. #26 – Batman: Arkham Origins – Blackgate
2013 3DS, PlayStation 3, Vita, Wii U, Xbox 360,
PC In the words of nobody I’ve ever met, “A
downgraded spinoff of the worst-received Arkham game? I can’t wait to get my hands on that!” Batman: Arkham Origins – Blackgate, the game
so nice they subtitled it twice, could have worked quite well. Restricting the game to a single, complex
environment didn’t harm Arkham Asylum at all, and Blackgate Prison had
the potential to offer similar densely packed and well-designed challenges. Instead though, the game takes a 2.5D approach
that confuses the experience far more than it should. Despite the fact that nearly all of your time
is spent moving left and right, the overall map requires navigation to the north, south,
east, and west. This means it’s often impossible to know
in which compass direction you’re actually heading, and you’ll be fiddling with the
map constantly without the disorientation ever going away. Had the game been built specifically as a
2D adventure, players would at least be able to know where they are. Sadly that’s not the case, and cramming
the open-world 3D design of the other Arkham hits into a game that literally comes from
another dimension makes the Blackgate feel somewhat undercooked. Thugs form an orderly 2D queue, politely waiting
their turn to have their spines broken and it’s really quite difficult to play the
game stealthily, which was one of the chief joys of the other games in the series. This game might fancy itself as an Arkham
title, but it really kind of isn’t. #25 – Batman: Rise of Sin Tzu
2003 Game Boy Advance
Rise of Sin Tzu makes great use of the Game Boy Advance’s ability to display fun, cartoony
visuals, effectively capturing the look of The New Batman Adventures. The animations are also wonderful, with Batman’s
moves feeling like they have real weight and bad guys collapsing convincingly after getting
their skulls kicked into next week. For a side-scrolling beat-‘em-up, there’s
nothing Rise of Sin Tzu does especially wrong. It’s a competent experience with responsive
controls and some great ideas, such as the introduction of a Spyro-like hover to allow
Batman just a little more height at the end of his jumps. There’s also a nice attempt to include more
of Batman’s rogues gallery than the title suggests, with Scarecrow, Clayface, and Bane
all putting in appearances. It is also, however, fairly dull, with many
enemies doing really very little as you beat them to death, which almost uniformly takes
far too long to do. Timed switch puzzles, blind jumps, and a general
lack of direction do ultimately leave you with the impression that this game doesn’t
fulfill its own potential but it makes a pretty good go of it. #24 – The Adventures of Batman & Robin
1994 Mega-CD
The Adventures of Batman & Robin for the Mega-CD looks at first to be strictly a driving game. But you’d be wrong. Actually, I misspoke; you’d be right. However, there is one truly interesting feature
that in the eyes of many fans elevates it significantly: a lost episode of Batman: The
Animated Series… ooohh! Or at least, that’s what fans have taken
to calling the cutscenes that were made exclusively for this game by one of the actual studios
that worked on the cartoon. That show’s stellar voice cast even reprises
their roles, giving the game a greater sense of legitimacy than most others. So admittedly, it’s not an actual lost episode,
but it could certainly get away with going to a costume party dressed as one. That’s a huge plus — and, to be honest,
the main reason it’s this high on our list — but there isn’t much else the game can
offer. It controls well enough, but the stages drag
on too long with little variety in the obstacles you’ll be avoiding. It also has the same problem Gotham City Racer
had: Everything Batman does, he does between stages. When it’s your turn to take control, you
just chauffer him around like a good friend after The Dark Knight has had too much to
drink and you’re the designated driver #23 – Batman Returns
1992 Master System
The Master System version of Batman Returns is not a great title, but it comes closer
than one would probably expect. It’s a simple game, and the graphics are
certainly nothing to write home about – assuming your parents are actually still around and
haven’t decided to catch a film at The Monarch theater – but what it does, it largely does
well. The soundtrack is genuinely great — easily
one of the best on the Master System — and players are given a choice of which route
to take through the stages, giving the game some respectable variety. The real highlight of a playthrough, though,
is the implementation of Batman’s grappling hook, which feels genuinely ahead of its time. The ability to climb, swing, and strike with
it adds some spice to the platforming and the strategy, and it’s impressively fluid
in its execution. Unfortunately though, the game is mighty short
and unnecessarily difficult. Batman dies in a single hit in this game,
making him canonically weaker than Pepsi Man. And while the stages often allow for you to
find alternate routes around the danger, boss fights are absolutely frustrating when every
single attack results in a one-hit kill. #22 – Batman Returns
1992 Game Gear
Would you believe the Game Gear version of Batman Returns is better than the one on the
Master System? We can just barely believe it ourselves, hence
the almost identical placement. We even considered lumping this one in with
the previous entry, but ultimately it deserves to stand on its own for one reason and one
reason only: Batman… HAS A HEALTH BAR!!! With that one, simple difference, Batman Returns
stops being frustrating and starts being fun. It retains just about every positive aspect
of the previous entry and corrects its most irritating one. Yes, the graphics have experienced an obvious
downgrade, but they still look servicable, and there’s some clever hardware manipulation
at points, such as when the game introduces a snow effect. And actually, there are some visual features
that are an improvement on the Master System version, such as your attacks doing visible
damage to Cobblepot’s campaign bus. Honestly, if you can overlook the limitations
of the hardware, it’s obvious this is the version that got just a little more care invested
in it. #21 – Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker
2000 Game Boy Color
On the subject of hardware limitations, this is a surprisingly solid game that makes impressive
use of the resources available, resulting in a beat-‘em-up that allows for Z axis
movement, feeling something like Double Dragon or Final Fight, or perhaps even some other
game without an alliterative title. The combat is more responsive and fun than
we expected it to be, and there’s something compelling about punching robots to death
in the halls of Wayne Enterprises. There’s even an impressive amount of items
and weapons to use, and the music manages to achieve greatness on a few occasions too. Seriously, check out the continue-screen song. Genuinely funky stuff. It’s worth pointing out that it does suffer
from slowdown and responsiveness issues when too much is happening at once, there’s an
irritating tendency toward mazelike designs, and the action is halted a bit too frequently
for story moments, so it’s far from perfect. But it’s also a damn sight better than it
has any right to be. #20 – Batman
1990 Arcade
The 1990 Batman arcade game is much more faithful to Tim Burton’s film than most other tie-ins,
with high-quality voice samples and great-looking images taken directly from the movie. It’s also impressively varied, with developer
Data East refusing to simply slap together a repetitive brawler. This game breaks up the action with vehicle
sections that… admittedly aren’t fantastic but at least control well and keep the experience
interesting. In addition, the music absolutely SLAPS, the
graphics are respectable, and The Joker isn’t just a sprite to beat up; he really does act
like The Joker, popping up at various points to interfere with your progress and play nasty
tricks on you. For instance, in one stage he disappears down
a hole in the street, but if you follow him – and why wouldn’t you? – you discover it’s a death trap. You’ve got to love that guy’s sense of
humor. #19 – The Adventures of Batman & Robin
1994 Mega Drive
Like the SNES game of the same title, which we will discuss soon, the Mega Drive version
of The Adventures of Batman & Robin is based on Batman: The Animated Series. You’d be forgiven for not realizing that,
though, because unlike the SNES version, this one is not nearly as faithful to the show’s
art style. It is, however, still impressive and fun,
considering its age. It’s a fluid and fast-paced beat-‘em-up
that requires some unexpected strategy. Combat can be as simple as punching goons
and moving along, but it’s smarter and much more fun to take them out with flying kicks,
flips, and projectiles as well, transitioning gracefully from one attack directly into the
next as you defeat thugs from all angles. The Arkham games were rightfully celebrated
for their free-flowing combat that allowed Batman to automatically snap from one enemy
to another mid-melee, but this game requires you to keep track of every bad guy on the
screen and do that yourself, manually. The Adventures of Batman & Robin is far from
easy, but it’s also forgiving. Batman has a generous health bar, which means
you can definitely get away with making a few mistakes, but you can’t stumble blindly
through the game, either. The combat does become quite repetitive after
a while, and once you get into the rhythm of clearing out waves of baddies without taking
damage it becomes more of a task than an adventure, but that’s kind of part and parcel of brawlers,
if you ask me, and so all-in-all, the game is definitely worth a spin. #18 – Batman Begins
2005 Game Boy Advance
As we’ve seen, attempts to depict realistic-looking characters on handheld systems don’t tend
to go well. It’s remarkable, then, that Batman Begins
on the Game Boy Advance looks and animates as well as it does. It’s a short game, but an intriguingly complex
one, with Batman having a large number of moves, items, and ways of dispatching enemies. There are even some pretty great visual effects
for the system, particularly in terms of the way lighting plays against Batman’s sprite. We also like the neat touch that the tutorial
sequence comes directly from the movie, presented here as the training Bruce Wayne receives
from Henri Ducard. That said, it kind of feels like Bruce should be the one giving the training, given that he can somehow DoubleJump It’s better than direct movie tie-ins usually
are, offering tight combat, effective stealth, and an optional second run through the game
with unique collectibles. Nice #17 – Batman: The Brave and the Bold – The
Videogame 2010
DS When it comes to licensed tie-in games, there
might not be a better developer than WayForward, a company that consistently takes other people’s
ideas and does them perfect justice, having made hits based on Duck Tales, Contra, Alien,
Adventure Time, and even 2017’s weird The Mummy. So what happens when they’re given the reins
to the animated series Batman: The Brave and the Bold? Well, they turn in a pretty darned solid game
that looks the part, is true to the show’s lighter spirit, and is a lot of fun to play. It’s also, however, a very short game, with
a blind playthrough likely to last only two hours. What is here, though, has a decent amount
of variety and the brawling feels great. Also, if you have both the DS and the Wii
version you can unlock Bat-Mite as a playable character, which we think gives both games
a bonus point. Rocksteady, when can we expect Bat-Mite VR? #16 – Batman Begins
2005 GameCube, PlayStation 2, Xbox
The console version of Batman Begins is faithful to the film of the same name, but perhaps
to a fault, leading to a series of completely linear stages and limiting Batman’s use
of gadgets such as the grappling hook and Batarang to a small number of predetermined
moments. The game feels afraid to chart its own territory,
leaving players to feel like they’re doing little more than running through a strict
obstacle course. Having said that, Batman Begins does a number
of great things. For starters, it brings nearly all of the
film’s cast into the studio to record new lines for the game, with Michael Caine’s
Alfred getting a welcome role as a constant source of information for Batman. What’s more, the game looks excellent for
its age, with characters resembling the actors who played them and Christopher Nolan’s
dark atmosphere being respected while still providing players with enough light see what
they’re doing. Most interesting, though, is how well the
game paved the way for Rocksteady’s Arkham games. Here Batman is a stealthy presence that attacks
from all angles, he uses fear tactics to make enemies panic, he interrogates thugs for more information and he plays minigames
to hack systems…those are all ideas the Arkham games would build upon and refine,
and it’s impressive that Batman Begins got to… aha… BEGIN them a full four years earlier. #15 – Batman: Arkham Origins
2013 PlayStation 3, Wii U, Xbox 360, PC
Origins is without question the black sheep of the main Arkham games, and that’s understandable. Rocksteady wasn’t involved in the development,
Batman and The Joker were both played by different—though admittedly good—voice actors, and the entire
experience is detached by design from the other games, as it takes place in the distant
past with very different versions of the characters we saw in Asylum and City. But, to be fair, while it’s certainly as
good as those games, I’d say it’s better than its reputation suggests. Arkham Origins is often seen as “more of
the same, but worse,” and there’s some truth to that. But its unique ideas work quite well, from
setting the adventure on Christmas Eve to allowing Batman to visit crime scenes and
actually be a detective, and an impressive side-story in which Black Mask places a bounty
on Batman, which draws the attention of eight deadly bounty hunters. Arkham Origins’ biggest crime, though? Relegating Mr. Freeze – an absolutely perfect
fit for a Batman adventure on a snowy night – to optional downloadable content. #14 – Batman Returns
1992 SNES
Developed by Konami, arguably the kings of licensed brawlers with classics such as Teenage
Mutant Ninja Turtles, The Simpsons, and X-Men under their belt, Batman Returns on the SNES
gives us exactly what we want. It’s a crunchy, tactile experience with
big, gorgeous sprites and attacks that feel every bit as powerful as they should. It’s a relatively mindless game, but we
mean that as a compliment. All of the focus is on the experience of exchanging
blows with The Penguin’s nimble henchmen, and that’s exactly as it should be. Even the digitized images from the film look
great, and Batman can use environmental takedowns such as smashing enemies through windows and
other bits of scenery. Batman Returns does nothing to advance Konami’s
formula, but it certainly does make the most of it, providing a compelling, addictive experience
within the world of the film. In fact, it’s hard to believe they did even
better with another version of the game, but we’ll get there shortly. #13 – Batman: The Brave and the Bold – The
Videogame 2010
Wii Similar but not identical to the DS game of
the same name, WayForward not only designed a whole different set of levels and a largely
unique set of characters, but they brought the cartoon’s voice cast into the studio
to make the entire production feel as much like the series as possible. The developers even used the show’s animation
production sheets to make sure everything stayed on model and would look true to the
cartoon. Like the DS version, the game shares the show’s
themes of pairing Batman up with other heroes, such as Aquaman, Plastic Man, and Blue Beetle,
and presents a respectable number of deep cuts in Batman’s rogues gallery. Did you want to fight Clock King? Of course you wanted to fight Clock King;
come on now. Everything about the style and presentation
of the game is a perfect match for its source material, which itself was pretty great and
the gameplay was good stuff too, even allowing for two-player action, unlike the DS version. The combat absolutely does get repetitive
over time, but the game isn’t long enough for that to be a serious drawback, and fans
of the cartoon really couldn’t be in better hands. #12 – Lego Batman: The Videogame
2008 DS, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, PlayStation
Portable, Wii, Xbox 360, PC Well before 2014’s The Lego Movie gave Lego
Batman a fixed personally, Traveller’s Tales gave us a Lego-styled comedic Batman experience
in video game form. And, like just about all of the licensed Lego
games, it’s a hell of a lot of fun. Traveller’s Tales had already worked with
major licenses such as Star Wars and Indiana Jones before this, but for Batman they pulled
out all the stops. Lego Batman: The Videogame was by a wide margin
the biggest Lego game to date, containing the most content, and following for the first
time an original storyline. Now, this was the old era of Lego games where
the cutscenes had no voice acting, but I’ve always thought those little toys are expressive
enough to convey the plot and the jokes without any problem. Perhaps the smartest thing the game did is
let gamers play as a slew of Batman’s villains. How on Earth it took until 2008 for a game
developer to realize the giddy thrill inherent in playing as Gotham’s many bad guys is
a mystery not even the world’s greatest detective can solve. Especially when his head is hollow and made
of plastic. #11 – Batman Returns
1992 NES
There’s no shortage of Batman Returns games, as you’ve certainly noticed by now, but
this is by a decent margin the best of them. It doesn’t quite reach the heights of Batman’s
first NES outing, but it comes admirably close. The game plays a lot like 1990’s Teenage
Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Arcade Game, right down to the fact that jump-kicking is
nearly always the optimal strategy, and that’s probably because both games were made by Konami. Basically, if you enjoyed that game, you’re
guaranteed to enjoy this one. And there’s a lot to enjoy here, chiefly
a criminally underappreciated soundtrack. There’s also a respectable variety of enemies,
each of which requires a unique strategy to fight effectively. Batman has a large health bar and can collect
life boxes that serve as 1-ups, allowing even unskilled players to make it through the first
few stages, but anyone who intends on fighting through to the end will need to learn the
ins and outs of combat, something that in many of these games would have been a chore,
but which here is easily a delight. #10 – Batman: Arkham Knight
2015 PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC
After two back-to-back great games, expectations were high for Arkham Knight, which would close
off the trilogy. It might have been unfair to pin such high
hopes on a single game, but developer Rocksteady had proven that if anyone could bring the
Arkham games to a perfect finale, it was them. Unfortunately, they didn’t. Arkham Knight is a fine game, don’t get
me wrong, but it sadly fell a little short of the perfection it almost necessitated. It lacks the focus of Arkham Asylum, but doesn’t
do much with its expanded scope. It gives us a large open world like Arkham
City, but fails to populate it with anything interesting. Granted, the empty streets factor into the
story as well, but it sure doesn’t help the adventure feel meaningful when there’s
nobody around to even save. The biggest disappointment though, was of
course the increased focus on the Batmobile, something that should have led to exciting
new ways to play but which was, in practice, little more than a slog. Gotham has been resigned to allow for it,
but even though the streets are wider there’s too much clutter in them to make driving much
fun. Now this might all sound rather negative for
a game that’s made it to the #10 spot in the list, but I should clarify that these
complaints are really just to illustrate why it doesn’t rank as highly as City and Asylum. Critique aside, the takehome point has got
to be that being only the third best game in the Arkham series is still an achievement,
and so Arkham Knight is a worthy top tenner regardless. #9 – Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham
2014 3DS, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Vita, Wii
U, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PC With more than 150 playable characters to
choose from, this is definitely the biggest of the Lego Batman games, but it isn’t necessarily
the best. The good news is that the simple fun of brawling
and bashing and smashing your way through familiar locations is as satisfying as ever,
and the tongue-in-cheek humor is just corny enough not to wear out its welcome. The bad news is that the few new things Lego
Batman 3 tries aren’t necessarily steps forward from its excellent predecessor. Lego Batman 2’s open world has been replaced
here with several different hub areas, making exploration feel less natural and more like
a task. It also widens its scope beyond DC Comics
to include cameos from figures that distract from the game more than they add to it, such
as Kevin Smith, Conan O’Brien, and even Daffy Duck. It’s far from a bad game though, as its
placement on this list should make clear. One thing we absolutely must give Lego Batman
3 credit for is the fact that the late Adam West – the Batman of the 1960s television
series – voices “Classic Batman,” making this the only video game in which he got to
play the character he helped make famous. #8 – Batman: Vengeance
2001 GameCube, PlayStation 2, Xbox, PC
Batman: Vengeance is based on and true to the look of The New Batman adventures, a successor
to Batman: The Animated Series. This list proves that the translation of 2D
animation to 3D art doesn’t always go so well, but in this case we’d call it a huge
success. In fact, the game’s visuals largely hold
up to this day, almost 20 years later, and it reunited the Animated Series voice cast
eight years before Arkham Asylum got around to it! The game has a surprisingly good story, with
Batman suspicious that The Joker has faked his death, though our hero doesn’t quite
know how or why. He tangles with Mr. Freeze, Poison Ivy, and
Harley Quinn as he unravels the mystery, employing stealth, gadgets, and a huge amount of style
along the way. It’s not a perfect experience, with enemies
that are especially reluctant to throw the first punch and a poorly implemented first-person
mode, but it comes respectably close. The highlight is the Batwing stage, which
is satisfying, engaging, and controls like a dream. It’s actually remarkable how great that
stage is considering the vehicle isn’t used anywhere else. Developer Ubisoft clearly knew that Batman’s
toys should be every bit as fun to use as they look. #7 – Batman
2013 Arcade
If you were lucky enough to find the 2013 Batman arcade game somewhere, the chances are you didn’t just play it once and move along, especially if you found the version
that allowed for two players. That’s both because the game is extremely
fun and because it’s so punishingly hard you likely wouldn’t have seen much of it
without paying for a continue. Arcade games are famously designed to suck
your money away, which is certainly the reason for this game’s steep difficulty, but this
one was apparently also designed to be genuinely fun. Imagine that. The game focuses entirely around vehicular
combat, with 10 vehicles to choose from spanning a number of Batman’s various incarnations
over the years. And, remarkably, it actually makes using the
Batmobile feel fantastic. You’d probably think the Batmobile would
be an easy win for game developers – as, seriously, who doesn’t want to drive that
thing around? – but I’d say pretty much every game on this list that has attempted
to integrate it has come up short. In some games it’s the focus, in some games
it’s just for a driving stage or two, but in all cases, it’s never been the imaginary car we used to drive around in our playground
games. Perhaps no video game will ever replicate
that level of cool but man, the Batmobile of Batman 2013 is addictive, exciting, and
stylish, and about as close to the real thing as we’d ever need it to be #6 – Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes
2012 3DS, DS, PlayStation 3, Vita, Wii, Wii U,
Xbox 360, PC Lego Batman 2 gave us exactly what we wanted
from it: ie. more of a very good thing. This sequel to the first Lego Batman game
featured a massive 75 playable characters, including many from other DC properties such
as The Flash, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, and, of course, Superman. As with their first Batman outing, Traveller’s
Tales used the second game as an opportunity to introduce some new features to the various
Lego series, with full voice acting and an explorable open world making their very welcome
Lego debuts. The story makes great use of the DC-wide crossovers
from the start, with Bruce Wayne, The Joker, and Lex Luthor vying for the coveted Man of
the Year Award, and while this does eventually lead to more exciting setpieces, the low stakes
of the initial conflict set the tone very well for what is still one of the most charming
Lego games. Compared to the first game, there are more
places to go, more characters to meet and play as, and new gadgets to experiment with. If you like a dash of silliness in your superheroes
– and, honestly now, you really should – this game is not be overlooked. #5 – Batman: Arkham City
2011 PlayStation 3, Wii U, Xbox 360, PC
With the critical and popular success of Arkham Asylum, a sequel to that self-contained game
was basically inevitable. And though Arkham City is frequently voted
the people’s favourite of the series, we feel it doesn’t quite reach the heights
of its predecessor in many ways. Here, Gotham City has walled off a disused
area and dumped its criminals inside, essentially letting them wipe each other out. It’s cruel and inhumane, but with Gotham’s
nonstop supervillainy, we can understand why they’d probably want to try that at least
once. Of course, Batman isn’t too keen on the
idea, and it’s up to him to learn the secrets of Arkham City and make it out alive. This game broadens the scope of Arkham Asylum,
introducing more villains and allowing Batman a much vaster environment to explore. It also, however, loses a bit of that game’s
focus, and it’s not unlikely that players will find themselves partway through a multitude
of quests while gliding around Arkham City, not quite sure which one to follow up on. It’s perhaps a harsh criticism. Most players thought the expansion of scope
in Arkham City was its biggest selling point. We totally get that argument, but reckon that
Arkham City felt maybe just a little too broad in the end. However, nobody can disagree that if you are
looking to explore a large world as Batman, fighting crime as you find it, seeking out
collectibles, and restoring Gotham to order one thug at a time, you will find yourself
very happy in Arkham City. #4 – Batman: The Telltale Series
2016 PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox
One, Switch, PC Batmanis a franchise that benefits from strong
narrative but, as you’ve seen, most of his games reduce him to a platforming bruiser,
which is fine. Exploring the nature of the broken man hiding
beneath the cowl and cape, though, is so much more rewarding. It is, after all, what makes him such a compelling
figure in films, animation, and his many comicbook outings. Batman: The Telltale Series is arguably more
a story about Bruce Wayne than it is about the superhero and it’s a great one because of that. There has always been a grey morality behind
the character of Bruce Wayne. He develops a themed persona… to take down
villains with themed personas. He stalks in the shadows… to stop those
who stalk in the shadows. He defies the law… to make Gotham City safe
from those who defy the law. There’s an intriguing ethical balance behind
the guy, rooted in childhood trauma, reinforced by a lifetime of being necessarily unable
to truly confide in anybody. Batman: The Telltale Series allows you to
experience that inner conflict firsthand and decide how Bruce Wayne – the actual human
being rather than the larger-than-life legend he’s still creating – would respond to
it. Both lashing out and bottling it up have consequences,
and this excellent story paints Bruce as a hero who may succeed, but who cannot win. #3 – The Adventures of Batman & Robin
1994 SNES
Everyone has their favorite version of Batman’s on-screen adventures, but perhaps the one
that is the most universally appreciated is Batman: The Animated Series. The show ran from 1992 to 1995, during which
it picked up an appreciative following that continues to this day. For its final 15 episodes the name was changed
to The Adventures of Batman & Robin, hence the title of this game, which is actually
rather unfortunate, because fans of Batman: The Animated Series may overlook this classic,
not realizing that it’s a faithful and deserving way to dip back into that universe. The graphics, for the time, are absolutely
fantastic. They really capture the character designs
and animation of the cartoon with remarkable fidelity for a 16-bit title, and still manage
to hold up visually to this day. The game is even structured like the cartoon,
with title cards before each stage, and levels tying directly into the events of actual episodes. Admittedly, the controls do feel a bit stiff
nowadays, with Batman’s vigorous running animation completely incongruous with his
fairly slow movement speed, but it doesn’t take more than a few minutes to get used to
this and truly enjoy the stylish atmosphere and creativity of the game. Players can choose from an impressive assortment
of Batman’s gadgets, the fighting offers a surprising number of ways to take down thugs,
and despite having only eight stages, Konami crammed a respectable number of Batman’s
top-tier nemeses into the action. The only real drawback is one that can’t
be helped: The game looks exactly like the cartoon, but without technology that allowed
for voice acting, it simply couldn’t sound like it. #2 – Batman: The Video Game
1989 NES
I told you Sunsoft’s best was coming up, didn’t I? Seems a long time ago that I said that now. This is probably the first Batman game most
of you watching this video will remember, and it’s still one of the best. The relatively limited hardware of the NES
did absolutely nothing to hold this back from being one of Batman’s most fun, most interesting,
and most memorable adventures. The atmosphere is appropriately moody, the
soundtrack is absolutely fantastic, and the gameplay is tight and challenging. Even the animation is great, with Batman’s
cape taking a frame or two to settle after moving. Crucially, controlling Batman is more fun
and interesting than it would be in almost every game that came later, with his wall-jump
ability feeling both natural but appropriately challenging to master. Initially it just seems like a fun little
feature, but once you’ve completely nailed the timing, you’ll be finding shortcuts
throughout the game to help you progress more easily. What could have been a lazy licensed adaptation
ended up being one of the best games on the system, and it still stands out as a highlight
today. It is really quite difficult at first, but
that only gives you a greater sense of reward when you truly get to grips with the game’s
design. After all, Batman never said his job was easy. #1 – Batman: Arkham Asylum
2009 With Arkham Asylum, developer Rocksteady seemed to achieve a kind of alchemy, doing perfect
justice to Batman as a character. Every aspect of Arkham Asylum – both the
game and the location – is perfectly designed. There is no wasted space, and yet it never
feels cluttered or overcomplicated. It’s packed full of many of Batman’s most
famous villains, and a good number of his less-famous ones either make an explicit appearance
or are represented in some subtle environmental detail. It’s an incredible celebration of the many
different facets of The Dark Knight’s history, brought together into his most cohesive and
rewarding adventure yet. The environmental design is so remarkably
meticulous, with Easter eggs and clues absolutely everywhere. This is also the introduction to the free-flowing
combat that made the Arkham series so urgently addictive, rewarding players for maintaining
tricky combos and varying their moves, while also allowing less-skilled players to beat
their way through hordes of baddies by focusing on simple prompts. Arkham Asylum tells just about the most straightforward
story possible: The Joker lures Batman into a trap, and he needs to use his wits and reflexes
to survive the onslaught of deadly villains. Despite the simplicity of its premise though,
the game works better than any other adaptation in Batman’s history. It’s a claustrophobic nightmare in which
not only Batman triumphs over impossible odds; we triumph over those odds with him. The Arkham series got bigger after this, but
we reckon it never got better. Holy massive list, Batman! That’s every Batman game ranked worst to
best. Which ones did we get wrong? All of them, obviously; we know how this works. So let us know your own favorites and least
favorites in the comments section. Also, if you have suggestions for other “Every
X Ranked Worst to Best” videos, be sure to sound off below. You can follow myself and TripleJump on Twitter
here and if you want to support the things you enjoy then check out the rewards on our
Patreon. Finally, don’t forget to like the video,
share it with your friends and subscribe to the channel. I’ve been Peter from TripleJump, and thanks
for watching.

100 Comments on “Every Batman Video Game Ranked From WORST To BEST”

  1. Arkham knight at 10? arkham city at 5? This has got to be a joke? and your reasons for arkham knight, the road wasn't big or wide enough? doesn't have anything to do in the open world? If you cant drive the batmobile in those streets then your just bad, If you think theres nothing to do then you just haven't played the game. Theres gonna be people that just hate the game because why? The boss battles were garbage sure, along with an over use of the batmobile but the story? The arkham knight was obvious but that's only because they wanted it that way, if they didn't want you to know then you wouldn't have. They managed to give no hints to the fact that they were gonna kill of the joker and had what people considered the best story in the arkham franchise and that's for a reason so if they wanted to hide he's identity then they would have.

  2. The Adventures of Batman & Robin and Batman '89 the game have no reason being so high. Why on earth are they higher than Arkham Knight, City and the telltale series. Also why is Asylum in the no. 1 spot. I feel you only have it there because of nostalgia when it's easily surpassed by City and the telltale series.

  3. My top 5 are:
    5. The adventures of Batman and Robin
    4. Batman Arkham Asylum
    3. Batman Arkham City (don’t judge)
    2. Batman Arkham Knight
    1. Batman Arkham Origins

  4. honestly i think arkham asylum is the worst of all four of the games, sure it was a great start and whatever but when i tried to replay it i just got bored with how constrictive it had been. with origins, city, and knight you had huge worlds, with asylum you had like three buildings on an island

  5. The only real disagreement I have with this list is putting Arkham Asylum above Arkham City. Arkham City brought back everything that Asylum did right but expanded on it greatly.

  6. this ranking was as absurd as trump being the president,as absurd as logic of the earth being flat,as absurd as area 51 rumors .
    i demand u to give me back my precious 1hr 12 mnts which u numbjacks wasted.

  7. Is it weird that I prefer Arkham Origins over Arkham Knight. I mean Origins is my favorite in the saga because of the boss battles, the soundtrack, the character development of Batman, the Joker, Alfred, Jim Gordon, and Bane. I know the combat isn't the best, but this game is underrated.

  8. This has nothing to do with anything but I was walkinh home and I saw a guy dressed as batman really well in a buggy thing with the batman logo it was odd but a laugh oh and great video

  9. Ew Telltale above Arkham city? No thanks, I like my Batman games about Batman not the player. I don’t want to play a game as me as Batman; I want to play as Batman playing Batman and experience a story as such.

  10. There's no way someone would rather play an nes batman game over origins, knight, or especially city. Lost faith in the list whenever origins was 15th. You cant tell me that an arcade game you literally have to pay to play is better than sitting at home and investing hours into origins or city.

  11. Again, incredible work guys! The work and effort that clearly went into this is absolutely staggering!! You are the hidden gems of gaming youtube channels!

  12. i do like origins batmans voice actor more for some reason no offence to the best batman voice actor ever i mean have you seen btas but yeah

  13. Great video dudes. I'd love to see you do the same for the myriad of Xmen games over the years. Been some great ones, and some clangers.

  14. Having played Asylum and City back to back in just the past five days. I'm gonna have to say even with loss of focus in regards to the nature of the plot immediacy, City is just superior. Combat vastly improved, gameplay through maneuvering improved and more fun, The plot when not being distracted by the side quests? Improved over Asylum. The extreme linear nature can in it's own way be just as much of a thorn in it's paw as the argument that City isn't linear or focused enough. They even improved on the boss fights which many have often cited as the biggest overall weakness in Asylum, from solid like Grundy and Clay face to the well deserved adulation that the Mr Freeze fight, which is still a greatly executed boss battle to this day

    Another real problem with Asylum is that the backtracking is worse than City's, as you don't get all essential gadgets until the final two back to back boss fights. Asylum was revolutionary in so many many ways but I can honestly say that it doesn't hold up quite as well compared to City in so far as being a game, the combo combat is in fact clunkier than you probably remember and honestly needed those two years in the oven in City. I also think the bad rep that Origins gets isn't very well deserved, and would still rank it higher than Asylum despite how much groundwork and foundation Asylum gave us for should still be recognized as an amazing game in it's own right, just not as good as what ultimately followed.

  15. For the most part, this is pretty accurate, but HOW IN THE HELL do you put the TellTale games higher than ARKHAM CITY!? That's just some kind of blasphemy!!

  16. My 5 favorite games:
    1. Batman Arkham Knight
    2. Batman Arkham City
    3. Lego batman: the videogame
    4. Batman Arkham Asylum
    5. Batman the enemy within

  17. Fans: We love these games! More of the same please! Combat, gadgets… perfect. Don't really need improvement.
    Origins: Okie doke! We'll take this excellent foundation and craft a compelling story around it.

    Fans: Asylum was awesome, but hello dull bosses! City's Mr Fries fight shows you how it's done. Strategic.
    Origins: Alright then. How about not just one but two strategic boss fights?
    Fans: It always bugs me how Bane's never treated with intelligence in these games. Especially Asylum.
    Origins: Give Bane a fair characterization in a boss fight? Got it.
    Fans: Would be neat to see Deathstroke!
    Knight: In a TANK BATTLE, right?
    Origins: Hell no! We'll do Deathstroke right.

    Fans: It's really neat to play as Batman.
    Knight: In a TANK BATTLE, right?
    Origins: Shut up, Knight.
    Knight: You don't like our tank battles? You'll pay, you mark my words!
    Origins: What are you gonna do, leave us out of a storybook?
    Knight: ……….. yes.

    Fans: Detective mode! Oh how cool was that.
    Origins: Right you are! We'll expand on that.

    Fans: We liked that Calender Man bonus stuff from City. With him being all seasonal.
    Origins: That gives us an idea…

    Fans: Oh and the Joker is THE BEST!
    Origins: Well we may not have the original voice cast, but you're gonna love what we've…
    Fans: … but we don't want to see him EVER AGAIN!
    Origins: Um… huh?
    Fans: Take points off for focusing too much on the Joker.
    Origins: But all the other games did that too…
    Fans: Yeah wasn't the Joker so awesome in those?
    Origins: What the hell do you guys want?!?

    No detractors at all: This game seems rushed. Some assassins aren't as epic as others.
    Origins: That would actually be a valid complaint.

    Everybody: Not part of the series! Not made by the brand!
    Actual game: Literally holds up and feels totally like a part of the series, and is actual prequel.
    Blackgate: Exists as an example of a game those criticisms could ACTUALLY be levelled at.
    Fans: Shut up, Blackgate. We're trying to hate on Origins.

    List: "… but worse!"
    Actual game: Has no gameplay downgrades at all compared to previous entries.
    Actual real-life store employee in actual real-life video game store, to one of my friends: "Don't buy this game."
    Me: What the hell did these guys do to piss everyone off so bad?

    XBox, recently: Batman games sale!
    Recent XBox Batman games sale: Every single Batman game except Arkham Origins.

    This has to be the most puzzlingly intentionally-overlooked game since Sonic 2 for the Master System. I really don't know what everyone's beef is with it. Even when people give it a chance, they always give it a chance starting from a default position of "but obviously way worse, goes without saying". And I just simply don't get what earned that!

    Nice list though, never mind the disagreement. Fun to watch. 🙂

  18. 23:05–23:18 I agree, I think certain licensed games in general could make adding their own original characters for the game itself to expand upon.

    I think Arkham Knight and Batman the Telltales series comes to mind for memorable characters/villains.

  19. Pretty good list, but i still cannot understand how people can say that out of all the batman games….Arkham Asylum is the best. It's not, it's very good indeed, but that's exagerating a bit right? Batman Begins is my personal favorite.

  20. Me: Oh, this will be a nice one to watch
    Also me: gets to 2:25
    Guy in video: starting with number 56
    Me: maybe later

  21. While I do disagree with this list alot. I still enjoyed the video alot and respect your opinion. One that I wasn’t a big fan of besides city at 5 was the lego trilogy. I wasn’t a big fan of 2 and thought 1 and 3 were alot better. But thats just my opinion. Is there anyone whi agrees with me?

  22. My favorite is arkham Knight because there’s a little bit of something for every batman fan. It has a wide variety of skins for the batmobile and batman, as well as being a great game graphically and from a gameplay standpoint. Not to mention the loads of content and a great story mode looking into Batman’s psyche. It’s the ultimate batman game.

  23. >Batman Telltale series over Arkham City

    Are you out of your mind?! Arkham Knight in 10th place?! Arkham Origins lower then Batman Vengeance?!

    Bullshit. Arkham games should be on first five places, Arkham VR being on 5th place. What a joke

  24. something everyone seems to make. LEGO Batman for console and LEGO Batman for handheld are different games. The levels are different, there are added missions, and way more characters. I dont get why people never cover this, considering it only expands the universe.

  25. Like and sub well deserved old friends.kudos on such a long video also. (Now the internet hate begins) HOW DARE YOU NOT PUT CITY AT THE TOP. much love dave from scotland.

  26. I love you dudes but maaaaaaaaaannnnnnn the Arkham series should've been top three. and furthermore (imo) Knight and City are both far better than Asylum.

  27. The only thing I feel strongly about is Telltale ranking so high. That game ran in single digit FPS at times in PS4. Completely unacceptable.

  28. You need to sort out your "kerning" on your game title screens. "Telltale" looks like "tellt ale". …Aside from that, great video (aside from the hideously low placing of the ZX Game). Whoop!

  29. The Arkham series is a bit (massively?) overrated, as much as I actually like the series.

    The never-ending and empty-headed meme that it 'makes the player feel like Batman' ably ignores the lack of any real detective work and the pedestrian, avuncular characterization for Batman.

    The Telltale game, ironically, does a better job exploring what it is to be Batman. Doesn't that, in many ways, mean 'feeling' like Batman.

    I was also happy to see The Adventures of Batman & Robin ranked over Arkham City. This is a fantastic game that was sadly overlooked; it came from peak Konami, and is as great or nearly as great as stuff like Super Castlevania IV and Contra III.

    It captures the tone of The Animated Series perfectly, which should be a big deal considering how much Arkham has traded on that series popularity with the casual fanbase.

    The Catwoman level in The Adventures of Batman & Robin may be the greatest example of making the player 'feel' like Batman that I've experienced in a game. All done in 2D, yet it captures the thrill in both a gameplay and thematic context of Batman as predator chasing prey, tied in with the cat and mouse of his relationship with Catwoman.

    The closest any Arkham game comes to such an event is in random combat encounters in the streets of Knight — which are wonderful — or the boss fight with Deathstroke in Origins.

  30. corection: the Batman arcade game isn't by data east, it was made by atari. you may be thinking of the pinball machine.

  31. Batman telltale series was basically computer fights and than answer questions, and than look for evidence in a crime sceene. Wasn't that great at all.

  32. The best part I liked about Arkham City was that you could change into so many costumes for Batman and Catwoman.

  33. Does anyone here know how the free Batman game on a cd that you got from McDonalds was called? I didnt fin it on the list.

  34. Oh shit!
    And here I was thinking I was one of the few people to remember the Batman game on the Game-com! I spent so many days as a kid playing that game… maybe too many looking back.

  35. Genuinely surprised on how low Batman the Movie and the original Batman game was rated in this list. Both were considered classics on the relevant computer systems (not consoles) back in the day. Batman The Caped Crusader is also worth a go and is far better than you give credit for.

  36. Me: (sees Arkham city didn’t get #1 spot) there’s a disturbance in the force these people don’t know Arkham city is one of the best batman games

  37. I sat here and listened. I’m 41 mins in and all I can say for it is. He just complains about each video game. Look we have AVGN and other channels that do this. but what makes them different is they are usually funny and their videos aren’t 60 mins long. Cut down time and actually rank the games don’t just complain. And you would have a good video my ranking of this video 4/10

  38. Great vid, but you guys missed Adventures of Batman & Robin on Game Gear. Would love to know your thoughts on it. :p

  39. I bought Dark Tomorrow without reading a review thinking "It's Batman, it will be awesome"….how wrong was I!!!
    Cut scenes were good though.

    Tad unfair on Caped Crusader, I had that for my C64, always enjoyed that game.

    Origins (Not including MP) was better than Knight and City was better than Asylum.

  40. Oh and another reason why Arkham Knight was not as good – They did not get Paul Dini back to write the story.

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