BATMAN is one of the most successful and popular comic book superheroes. Ever since his debut in Detective Comics no. 27 in 1939, Batman has over the years won over many fans and still remains the favorite Superhero for millions. One of the main attributes that make him a favorite is his lack of “Super Powers”.
Also known as, the caped crusader, he has been adapted in other mainstream media as well. Numerous films and Games based on the character have been released. Just as the films, many of the games were well received, and many were not.
A lot has been discussed about the movies and comics and it appears, the debate will continue for another lifetime. However this read is about worst batman games in order. A completely different read, featuring the worst video games of the superhero which were panned by critics and fans alike.
To begin with, the first game, aptly named BATMAN was released in the year 1986 and the last to be made available was BATMAN: The Enemy Within of The Telltale series released in the year 2017. More than 30 games have been released over 3 decades by various developers and studios for different platforms. The Arkham Series, Batman: Lego, The Telltale series, and few others of the Batman series of games went on to be commercially and critically acclaimed. BATMAN: ARKHAM ASYLUM (2009) even won the “Most Critically Acclaimed Superhero Game Ever”.
Let’s change the focus to the list of few games that are considered worst in terms of Batman franchisee. Lackluster stories, sloppy graphics, unreliable game mechanics, mediocre problem-solving puzzles, and other plaguing issues did a lot of damage, with many fans left disgruntled.
The List of Worst Batman Games (in no particular order)
1) Batman: Gotham City Racer (2001): Develop by Ubisoft for PlayStation platform, this game is more of a chasing villain or race against clock game. The only consolation would be the cut scenes from the animated series before and after missions. The word Racer in the game is a misnomer. There is no racing but only chasing. After a mass breakout from Arkham Asylum, it is up to Batman to chase and catch the prisoners before they wreak any havoc in Gotham City. As lame as the story sounds, the lazy implementation of the game and control mechanics do combine to make things worse. Trying to fuse the idea of Mario Kart with the idea of Batman (A cool Idea), it became more of a chore to chase around villains. A very forgettable game in the PS 1 series!
2) Batman & Robin (1998): Released after the final Batman Series film “Batman & Robin”, it was an Action-Adventure game and was touted as the next big thing. Conceptualized and designed by the same developer of the 1995 and 1996 game for the PlayStation platform. Published by Interactive Entertainment and DC Comics, it was a sandbox-style game.
Some say the game itself is bigger than Gotham City. Time and Distance has a big part in the game. Driving around Gotham city to collect clues, power-ups, and gadgets can use up much of the time, as the player needs to reach a crime scene in real-time of the game. Players were also put off by the flawed perspective and combat systems.
The game offers the players to choose between Batman, Robin, and Batgirl, with each of them having their own vehicles at their disposal. Upon release, it received unfavorable reviews of 2.3/10 by EGM and low scores from various other publications.
The game was commercially and critically a dud.
3) Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker (2000): Released by Ubisoft for PlayStation, Nintendo, and Game Boy Color, the game was poorly received. EGM gave it a score of 1/10. As noted, most of the Batman games that were panned were meant for the PS1 platforms. Based on the original animated series of the same name, It only had 5 stages and no way to save progress, which was annoying to players.
4) Batman Forever (1995): Inspired by the 1995 Batman movie, starring Val Kilmer as Batman in the titular role. Developed by Probe Entertainment and published by Acclaim Entertainment, It was a Beat ‘em up game for the Genesis, Game Gear, Game Boy, Super NES, and DOS systems. A two-player CO-OP mode was added to the Game Boy and Game Gear versions.
Apart from receiving negative reviews of 1.25/10 by EGM, all the versions of the game were panned by critics. It was one of the least favorite games in the order of Batman games series. Critics found the game controls to be sloppy and the weak storyline made things worse for the players in general. Despite the impressive but boring and mediocre graphics, coupled with weak sound, this game didn’t fare, as it was meant to be.
The Batman video games mentioned above found the going tough with no takers at all. Despite showing promises were a no-show in the gaming world. Most of the games were released in the late ’90s or early 2000s when the gaming technologies and platforms were changing. Though the games failed, we should thank the developers and publishers who took the risk and released the games, so that players might have some fun (though not the case anymore).
More or less, the lessons learned did go a long way to help the gaming studios and the copyright holder of the BATMAN to contemplate on- “What Batman games in order should not be like?”