Guide: Best Batman Games On Nintendo Systems

Image: Nintendo Life

Ah, Batman. The superhero that could easily solve a ton of the problems in Gotham just by redistributing a little bit of his billions in wealth, but instead chose to construct a giant man-cave full of gadgets and wear a cape to fight ludicrously silly crimes. We bloody love it.

And, since there’s a new Batman movie out, with a brand-new man in the Batman bat-cape (Robert Pattinson), what better time could there be to rank every Bat-game on Nintendo systems?

Much like our list of every Spider-Man game, this here list is designed to celebrate the Batman by rating every single one of his games, from his Batman Begin-nings on the NES to his Batman Return-ings on the Switch, and every LEGO Batman, cartoon Batman, and gritty reboot Batman between.

The ranking will be done through each game’s user rating on the site, which means that you can be the world’s greatest detective by figuring out which games you enjoyed the most, and giving them a resounding 10/10 (or an 8 or a 9 — they’re fine scores, too!), or you can be the caped crusader against bad games and give a bat-thumbs-down to the worst of them.

And yes, much like the Spider-Man games, the best Batmans are often found on the more powerful consoles of Sony and Microsoft… but that doesn’t mean we haven’t got a few bat-bangers of our own (although let’s keep our fingers crossed that the Arkham Trilogy for Switch rumour is accurate). In fact, we’ve got 36 games to get through!

So, grab your Robins and your Alfreds and let’s take a look at the Best Batman Games ever to grace Nintendo systems…

Note: Remember that ranking here is updated in real time according the each game’s corresponding User Rating in the Nintendo Life game database. Even as you read this, it’s entirely possible to influence the order below. If you haven’t rated your favourites yet, simply click the ‘star’ of the game you wish to rate and assign a score right now.

Batman: Dark Tomorrow (GCN)Batman: Dark Tomorrow (GCN)

Publisher: KEMCO / Developer: HotGen

Release Date: 25th Mar 2003 (USA) / 11th Apr 2003 (UK/EU)

Oh boy… This wasn’t a great time for the caped crusader. Widely considered to be the worst bat-game of all the bat-games, Batman: Dark Tomorrow was so poor that a planned port for the PlayStation 2 was cancelled thanks to the overwhelmingly negative reception. Littered with bugs with repetitive gameplay and a botched camera system, Dark Tomorrow’s attempt at stealth-action gameplay would be nearly perfected just 6 years later with Arkham Asylum.

Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker (N64)Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker (N64)

Publisher: Ubisoft / Developer: KEMCO

Release Date: 13th Dec 2000 (USA) / 19th Jan 2001 (UK/EU)

Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker tried to pay homage to titles like Streets of Rage and Final Fight with its side-scrolling beat-em-up gameplay, but ultimately the game failed to even come close to emulating the slick gameplay of its primary inspirations. It also happened to be an incredibly short game, with many folks beating it in just 1 – 2 hours, an issue exacerbated by the low difficulty on N64.

Batman: Chaos in Gotham (GBC)Batman: Chaos in Gotham (GBC)

Publisher: Ubisoft / Developer: Digital Eclipse

Release Date: 16th Apr 2001 (USA) / 2001 (UK/EU)

With a plot not entirely dissimilar to Batman: Arkham City, our brooding hero finds himself up against a bevy of escaped Arkham inmates running rampant around Gotham City, including The Joker, Poison Ivy, Bane, and Mr. Freeze. The game’s launch came just before the release of Nintendo’s Game Boy Advance and featured a decent variety of locales, with some pretty cool boss fights to boot.

Batman Vengeance (GBA)Batman Vengeance (GBA)

Publisher: Ubisoft / Developer: Ubisoft Montreal

Release Date: 30th Oct 2001 (USA)

Like many handheld games from back in the day, Batman Vengeance was a heavily altered version of its GameCube counterpart. Swapping 3D environments for side-scrolling 2D action, the game featured Batman going up against a whole bunch of rocket launcher-wielding thugs. With some pretty nice visuals and some interesting Batmobile sections the game wasn’t a total bust, but its home console sibling enjoyed a bit more praise.

Batman Forever (SNES)Batman Forever (SNES)

Publisher: Acclaim Entertainment / Developer: Probe

Release Date: Aug 1995 (USA) / 7th Sep 1995 (UK/EU)

Okay, we all know that Batman Forever isn’t great. But let’s take some positives from the SNES beat ’em up. The music is pretty darn good – Tim Follin, Andrew Brock, and Geoff Follin did a fantastic job creating music that sounds appropriately Batman. And if you want a quick flashback to the ’90s, then this commercial will teleport you straight there. But the SNES version of this game is disappointing. Long load times and objects that obscure your view are just the beginning.

Batman: Rise of Sin Tzu (GBA)Batman: Rise of Sin Tzu (GBA)

Publisher: Ubisoft / Developer: Ubisoft Montreal

Release Date: 27th Oct 2003 (USA)

With gameplay similar to Batman Vengeance for the GBA, Batman: Rise of Sin Tzu arguably boasted much smoother animations and visuals. Created specifically for the game’s plot, villain Sin Tzu would ultimately go on to appear in mainstream Batman comics, but his appearance here set the game apart from other tales in the Batman universe. Another fairly short title, this one can be beaten in about 2 – 3 hours, but its decent gameplay makes the effort worthwhile.

Batman Begins (GBA)Batman Begins (GBA)

Publisher: EA Games / Developer: Vicarious Visions

Release Date: 14th Jun 2005 (USA) / 17th Jun 2005 (UK/EU)

Here we go – the age of the scratchy throat Batman. Batman Begins for the GBA opted for a more realistic visual approach in keeping with the gritty nature of Christopher Nolan’s new Batman trilogy. Following the movie’s plot fairly closely, sections of the game let you play as Bruce Wayne in all his civilian glory, primarily during his training with Ra’s al Ghul. It was a distinctly average game overall, and the planned sequels were ultimately cancelled after a host of development issues.

Batman Forever (GB)Batman Forever (GB)

Publisher: Acclaim / Developer: Probe

Release Date: Aug 1995 (USA) / 1995 (UK/EU)

Although similar in terms of plot to its SNES counterpart (they are, after all, based on the same movie), the Game Boy version of Batman Forever is naturally heavily downgraded to function on Nintendo’s plucky handheld. Nevertheless, the action was reasonably well implemented and there are a few groovy tunes in the mix, but this one simply doesn’t hold a candle to its more accomplished sibling.

Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker (GBC)Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker (GBC)

Publisher: Ubisoft / Developer: KEMCO

Release Date: 20th Nov 2000 (USA) / 8th Dec 2000 (UK/EU)

Reception towards the Game Boy Color version of Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker was slightly more positive than the N64 version, with particular praise given to the game’s cutscenes. Nevertheless, the gameplay was pretty choppy a lot of the time and its overall runtime came in at just over an hour if you’re a dab hand at beat-em-ups. Not a terrible game, but not a particularly good one, either.

LEGO  Batman 3: Beyond Gotham (3DS)LEGO  Batman 3: Beyond Gotham (3DS)

Publisher: Warner Bros / Developer: TT Games

Release Date: 11th Nov 2014 (USA) / 14th Nov 2014 (UK/EU)

Although naturally not as visually accomplished as the home console versions, LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham nevertheless delivered an authentic, reasonably fun LEGO title starring our favourite gritty superhero. It was hampered by clunky and repetitive gameplay and the enemy AI was pretty poor. This is perhaps one for diehard LEGO fans, only.

Batman: Rise of Sin Tzu (GCN)Batman: Rise of Sin Tzu (GCN)

Publisher: Ubisoft / Developer: Ubisoft

Release Date: 11th Nov 2003 (USA) / 5th Dec 2003 (UK/EU)

The GameCube version of Batman: Rise of Sin Tzu featured some frantic beat-em-up gameplay; not exactly the kind of over-the-top action you’d necessarily expect from the Dark Knight, but it worked reasonably well. Players had the choice to control either Batman, Batgirl, Robin, or Nightwing, with the game featuring a kind of precursor to horde modes, throwing enemies at you without the need for a pesky storyline. Not a bad entry!

Batman Begins (GCN)Batman Begins (GCN)

Publisher: Electronic Arts / Developer: Eurocom

Release Date: 14th Jun 2005 (USA) / 17th Jun 2005 (UK/EU)

Batman Begins is the only film in the Christopher Nolan trilogy that ever got a video game release, and to be honest, it wasn’t too bad. It gave a new generation of Batman fans the chance to become the caped crusader, and you can see a lot of what the Arkham games would perfect here, such as stealth segments, and a variety of staple weapons such as grenades and batarangs. But unique to Begins is the ‘HF Transponder’, which allows you to stun your enemies with “fear”. For a movie tie-in, it’s more than passable.

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