Tracing the Evolution of Batman Video Games

Batman has appeared in video games for over two decades. The main theme of these games centered on Batman fighting against villains. Several versions were launched over the years, featuring different tasks and characters. Batman comics were the inspiration for these games, which later went on to incorporate features from the films.

Development of Batman video games: 1986 – 1988

In 1986, Ocean Software, a Manchester based company developed the first ever Batman game based on the comic book. The batman featured in this version was rather cute and chubby, and wandered around 150 rooms in search of Robin. Two years later, Batman: The Caped Crusader was launched, which was better in terms of digital color and had two campaigns, one with the Penguin and the other with the Joker. These could be played in any ordered decided upon by the player. Even though the launch of this version coincided with the release of Tim Burton’s Batman film, they showed no similarity.

1989 – 1992

In 1989 NES featured the Batman based on the movie. The goal was to reach the big boss, played by the Joker, by tackling smaller bosses that came first. The Batman was purple and was put up against robots and Gotham city thugs. The next year saw the arcade version by Atari and the pinball version by Dataeast. 1992 witnessed ‘Return of the Joker’, which was a sequel to the NES version. This game had improved graphics and funny commentary.

1993 – 1994

Batman Returns launched in 1993 was inspired by Tim Burton’s movie, it even featured the movie soundtrack. This game was more advanced with limited 3D features. Batman had to fight with several thugs, Catwoman and the Penguin to move up the streets. 1994 saw the release of The Adventures of Batman, which was a cartoon version of the game; it was powered by SNES and Genesis and met some criticism.

1996 – 2001

1996 and 1997 saw the release of Batman Forever by SNES and Genesis and Batman and Robin by PlayStation. Both these games did not have great graphics and met unfavorable reviews.
Batman: Gotham City Racer, Batman: Vengeance and other games were released in 2001. The graphics were average, although Batman Vengeance was the better of the two. The games were based on the New Adventures of Batman cartoons. City racer featured the famous Batmobile, while the latter saw batman fighting street thugs in Gotham city yet again.

2003 – 2007

In 2003, Batman: Rise of Sin Tzu was noteworthy, as it introduced a new villain and also highlighted several unlikely characters. Clayface, Bane and Scarecrow were some such characters. Batman Begins (2005) was more realistic than its forerunners. It had superior graphics and the plot followed the Christopher Nolan movie. The voices for the game were given by the cast from the film. Justice League Heroes (2006) featured Batman among other heroes like Superman fighting enemies.

The Lego Batman Video Game for the Wii

2008 – 2009

The Lego Batman released in 2008 was an upward turn in the series. It combined attractive Lego characteristics with Batman characters and made it enjoyable for both serious gamers and casual players. Batman: Arkham Asylum was launched in 2009 was a bench mark for the game. The graphics and settings were exquisite. The eerie atmosphere was lent by the Arkham mansion. This Batman could be controlled in very superior manner and he took on several villains in order to get to the Joker who was at the heart of the plot.

15 thoughts on “Tracing the Evolution of Batman Video Games

    • Christopher (admin team)

      Hopefully Annabelle’s article has been interesting for you then 🙂

      Thanks for the comment, welcome to the blog!
      Christopher – Admin Team

  1. I think batman will continue to be a good franchise. The new batman games have outstanding graphics and are really fun. I still think though that they are limiting the people who can play batman games because they are getting more violent.

  2. Thanks, enjoyed reading that. I’ve never played a Batman game. I bought Arkham Asylum last year but some issues prevented me from playing it yet but definitely looking forward to it when I can.


    • Christopher (admin team)

      Gosh, how times have changed Javier! Back then that was pretty cutting edge gaming, now it is laughable!

      Thanks for the comment, welcome to the blog 🙂
      Christopher – Admin Team

  3. I remember I had a Batman game for the ill fated Atari Lynx when I was a kid. I believe it was with the Penguin. It was SO HARD!!! I find the Lego series of games to be awesome. Lego Star wars was awesome, so I’m sure the batman version is as well. The new ones like Batman: Arkham Asylum are simply amazing. They deserve all of the GOTY praise they got, that’s for sure.

    • Christopher (admin team)

      It is interesting to see how games have evolved over the years, it is always fun to play the new ones, Lego games are the latest innovation 🙂

      Thanks for the comment Kenny, welcome to the blog.
      Christopher – Admin Team

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