It's fair to say that Batman has really started getting better treatment in video games as of late. His presence in NetherRealm's Injustice games is hard to deny, and he's been nothing short of excellent in Rocksteady Games' Batman: Arkham series, which recently wrapped with the enjoyable Batman: Arkham Knight.
But believe it or not, there was a time where Batman games weren't exactly the best out there. In fact, a few titles relied more on the general license rather than Batman's coolness itself, and, as a result, we saw some truly terrible Dark Knight games surface. Again, they've gotten better, and we'll look at the best Batman games in a follow-up this weekend.
But, for now, let's turn to the titles that are barely better than a steaming pile of guano. Let's look at the worst Batman video games in existence. Be warned – they come across like a cruel joke delivered by the Joker himself…
5. Batman: Revenge of the Joker (Sega Genesis)
When Batman: Retrurn of the Joker came out for the NES, it proved to be a pretty good game. Yeah, we weren't thrilled about the idea of the Dark Knight just shooting guns everywhere, but it was still pretty decent. The Sega Genesis port of that game, however, is awful. The team at Sunsoft lazily brought the game over with minimal effort, with slippery controls that made it hard to accomplish anything, and a color scheme that was so off-balance, it was almost like a comic book designer being dared to shade everything completely wrong. If you must play the Dark Knight on your Sega Genesis, stick with Sunsoft's original Batman game instead. Wayyyyy better.prevnext
4. Batman Forever (Sega Genesis, Super Nintendo)
This game came out in the midst of Acclaim's over-the-top licensing run, when it just kept producing lackluster games based on hit franchises, like Stargate, Judge Dredd and whatever the hell those awful South Park games were. Batman Forever failed to do anything good with the franchise, relying more on its motion-captured graphics than any sort of feasible gameplay. And even the visuals don't help, as the game just looks mediocre and uninspired. The movie, at the very least, had some laughs (intentional and unintentional) going for it, whereas the game just exists to produce boredom. The arcade game is a little bit better, mainly because it's far more manic.prevnext
3. Batman & Robin (PlayStation)
It seems only fitting that one of the lamest (if not the lamest) Batman movies would get an equally lame video game treatment. Acclaim tried to pump life into this 3D adventure, based on the 1997 letdown of the same name, but, despite its visuals, it just doesn't get anywhere fast. It did try to introduce detective elements that the Rocksteady crew put to good use in their Batman games, but the gameplay just never really comes together as promised. Plus, the pacing seems to be way off, the action isn't that satisfactory, and the game as a whole feels just as lame as the suit with the Bat nips. If you're curious, you can probably find a copy for cheap, but you aren't missing anything if you let it pass you by.prevnext
2. Batman: Dark Tomorrow (GameCube, Xbox)
At first, it was kind of cool to hear about a Batman game that would stick more to the source material from the older DC Comics, rather than something like the animated TV show or movies. But then Dark Tomorrow actually arrived and…yikes. Even though the game's opening movie is quite promising, this Bat-turd never lives up to its potential, mainly due to its completely miserable gameplay. You can't even use Batman's special toys without running into any kind of struggle. Throw in a number of repetitive missions, poor graphics and an incredibly bad camera system (hope you enjoy looking at walls), and you have a game that squanders its potential almost immediately upon starting it. Batman: Rise of Sin Tzu and Batman: Vengeance are way better offerings.prevnext
1. Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker (Nintendo 64, PlayStation)
At a time when beat-em-ups were thriving on home consoles, Kemco decided to give it a go, but with the Batman Beyond franchise. And it was a key opportunity to make the futuristic series shine in the video game realm, especially being based on the animated film Return of the Joker – one of the best that was released for that era. But, alas, wanting in one hand and crapping in the other are two different things.
Return of the Joker is just miserable. The fighting action is one note and fails to throw in any kind of innovation, despite the inclusion of a number of super suits. On top of that, the graphics and sound are beyond (get it?) disappointing, and there's hardly any appeal here at all. Even die-hard fans will be scratching their heads, wondering just what the hell happened. Batman Beyond deserves so much better.prevnext
BONUS: Batman: Gotham City Racer (PlayStation)
The idea of a Batman-based racing game isn't really that far-fetched – just look at what Raw Thrills did with its Batman arcade title that's currently making the rounds. That said, Ubisoft kind of missed the boat with its attempt, Gotham CVity Racer. In it, you'll race through a number of missions using the Batmobile, going up against all sorts of enemies. But, really, the action gets repetitive right away, and the only appealing thing about the visuals is some video lifted straight from Batman: The Animated Series. Ubisoft did fare better with Rise of Sin Tzu, but it totally missed the mark on the racing circuit. Fortunately, it's moved on to better roads with its The Crew series, so we'll overlook this little blemish.prev