15 Best Batman Games To Go Batty For

The Arkham titles are obvious contenders, but what other great Batman games are there?

Arkham Knight is coming back to PC

10. Batman NES

Batman NES

Developer: Sunsoft
Publisher: Konami

We’re not sure what the best part of this licensed NES game is – that Batman received the same color treatment as Jason Voorhees in Friday the 13th: The Game, or that Batman NES ends with a boss battle against a version of The Joker that can summon lightning.

Batman NES is your typical licensed video game, following the events of the movie as much as it can while providing players with enough punching and kicking to be entertaining. The game doesn’t revolutionize anything, though it is one of few games based on a movie to actually be fun.

The Dark Knight (or the Purple Knight, in this game?) is devoid of so many of his fun Bat-toys, but he does bring a rapid-fire Bat…gun, Batdisk, and his classic Batarang. Ultimately, the enjoyable experience boils down to exploring hazardous levels that have no affiliation to the movie with the end goal of punching Jack Nicholson’s ThorJoker.

 

9. LEGO Batman: The Video Game

Lego Batman game

Developer: Traveller’s Tales
Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment

Somehow, one of the best Batman video games is one that kind of mocks the brooding nature of the Dark Knight and turns his over-the-top villains into comedic characters. LEGO Batman: The Video Game turned the toy line into an outlet for an all-new story, the first of Traveller’s Tales games to not rehash concepts from a movie series.

The best part of LEGO Batman is a toss-up between the fun take on the Dark Knight and the roster of villains/superfriends and the story that fits as well as a LEGO game can within Batman’s darker universe.

Using the staple gameplay mechanics of Traveller’s Tales LEGO series, LEGO Batman takes it a step further by introducing an array of Batsuits that progress the story and player progress. Despite the lighter tone, Traveller’s Tales did a fantastic job of capturing the moodiness of Gotham City in the surprisingly detailed levels.

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8. Batman: The Enemy Within

Batman The Enemy Within

Developer: Telltale Games
Publisher: Telltale Games

If there were an intellectual property ripe for the story-driven games of Telltale Games, it’s definitely Batman. Batman: The Telltale Series set the stage for this successful sequel, which enhances plenty of what was laid out in its predecessor.

Players get a taste of what it’s like to be Bruce Wayne and the Dark Knight as Gotham succumbs to the villainous minds that oppose the Caped Crusader. The Enemy Within doesn’t just rehash the narratives laid out in Batman comic books and movies and even lays out new origins to some of Batman’s classic villains. The original story does follow Bruce Wayne as he tries to balance his life as a vigilante and a playboy, which is a pretty common theme.

As with other Telltale games, The Enemy Within focuses on player choice and is less about action. Decisions made throughout lead to a pair of different endings that spell two very different futures for Bruce and Batman.

 

7. Batman: Arkham Knight

Arkham Knight

Developer: Rocksteady Studios
Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment

As the final game in the Batman: Arkham series, the stakes were high for Arkham Knight. Having already pushed Batman to his limits in Arkham City, Rocksteady Studios had to find a way to create an even more harrowing situation, which it did using a “new” villain as the framework. Unfortunately, Arkham Knight failed to have the same impact as the original two, but it still earns a spot as one of Batman’s best video games.

There is a lot happening in Arkham Knight and Rocksteady introduced new mechanics like driving the Batmobile, but the continued focus on the relationship between Batman and the Joker continues to be the best parts of the game. Even in death, The Joker taunts Batsy and plays off their symbiotic relationship, creating unforgettable segments among a largely standard story that focuses on Scarecrow and the Arkham Knight.

Outside of the horrid and forced moments behind the wheel of the Batmobile, gameplay retains the same feel and impact from Arkham City. Beating up thugs and the Dark Knight’s large list of villains still hasn’t gotten old.

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6. LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes

Lego Batman 2

Developer: Traveller’s Tales
Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment

LEGO Batman 2 falls neatly between the original and Beyond Gotham for an almost perfect take on the Dark Knight’s LEGO franchise. Teaming up with a host of DC heroes, Batman and Robin set off on their blockiest adventure yet to take on the likes of Gotham City’s most vile residents.

LEGO Batman 2 may not have the roster of Beyond Gotham, but it’s a much tighter story – or as tight as a LEGO-driven story can be. It features the humor expected from Traveller’s Tales, but also does a great job of capturing the tribulations of being the Dark Knight and a DC Comics hero.

Along with 75 playable characters, DC Super Heroes also introduces new gadgets, including a new suit for Batman and the Man of Steel’s heat vision. The LEGO games have always been about variety and staying true to the source material, and DC Super Heroes is a suitable balance between the two, earning it praise as one of Batman’s best games.

 

5. Batman Returns

Batman Returns

Developer: Konami
Publisher: SEGA

Batman Returns does a fantastic job of capturing the look and feel of its source material while delivering a mostly enjoyable gaming experience. While Batman isn’t known for prowling the streets of Gotham, searching for the next wave of thugs to beat up, the side-scrolling beat ‘em up format of Batman Returns is entertaining.

The concept is a simple one that’s been used time and time again. You move through different stages, punching, kicking, and throwing a variety of enemies. Reach the end of the level and you’re treated to a fun – and sometimes difficult – boss fight.

Slamming baddies’ heads into Gotham City storefronts doesn’t get old in Batman Returns. The game would have benefited from a two-player mode, though it’s quite understandable why one wasn’t included.

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4. The Adventures of Batman & Robin

The adventures of batman and robin

Developer: Konami
Publisher: Konami

There were several different versions of this game, but our focus is the SNES side-scrolling platform, a gem among the rougher iterations. Named for the second season of Batman: The Animated Series, The Adventures of Batman & Robin borrows plenty from the popular cartoon, including the familiar art style and story elements.

Players battle their way through a multitude of levels that capture the grim and gritty nature of Gotham. The Dark Knight squares off against staple villains such as The Riddler, Poison Ivy, Penguin, Scarecrow, Man-Bat, and The Joker in memorable boss battles. To keep from getting stale, the game features puzzles, driving segments, and a unique variety of levels that play on the strengths of the Caped Crusader’s classic bad guys.

The Adventures of Batman & Robin is a fun adventure that showcases the difficult life of the Dark Knight in a medium that appeals to both kids and adults.

 

3. Batman: Vengeance

Batman Vengeance game

Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
Publisher: Ubisoft

It’s bad enough when The Joker has Batman over a barrel, but it’s somehow worse when the Clown Prince of Crime vanishes entirely. Vengeance starts with some classic Joker trickery that ends in an allegedly fatal encounter with Batman – and we can almost believe it for a moment as we get distracted by the antics of Mr. Freeze and Poison Ivy. Not to get into spoiler territory, but of course things aren’t as they seem and Vengeance winds up delivering some of The Joker’s best scheming.

When it comes to gameplay, Gotham City is a 3D world that the Dark Knight punches, kicks, and glides his way through. Equipped with an assortment of different gadgets, the Caped Crusader is quite fun to control through this original story, which fits right at home with Batman’s animated incarnation.

Driving segments break up the action and fully voiced cutscenes help Batman’s latest adventure unfold with the talents of Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill at the helm.

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2. Batman: Arkham Asylum

Arkham Asylum

Developer: Rocksteady Studios
Publisher: Warner Bros. Entertainment

When Rocksteady Studios revealed it was working on a new 3D Batman title, there was warranted hesitation from the Dark Knight’s fanbase. With only one moderately received first-person shooter under its belt, taking on a Batman title seemed ambitious. The end product, however, wound up being one of the best Batman games to date.

Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill return to bring their characters to life, and it’s the perfect touch to make the game that much better. A completely new story showcases the darker side of the Caped Crusader’s exploits as Batman is forced to battle through the halls of Arkham Asylum after The Joker’s escape. Harley Quinn, Scarecrow, The Riddler, Bane, and other classic Batman villains impede the Dark Knight’s path to his arch nemesis.

Arkham Asylum splits the focus between straight on hand-to-hand combat and Batman’s ability to stick to the shadows. Stealth is a big part of surviving through Arkham Asylum, making this one of the first Batman games to really emphasize Batman’s sneakier nature. The first, by the way, being Batman Begins, but you probably forgot all about that one by now.

 

1. Batman: Arkham City

Arkham City

Developer: Rocksteady Studios
Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment

How do you follow up one of the best Batman games of all time? By expanding the scope, increasing the villain count, and giving the Dark Knight a host of new gadgets. Where Arkham Asylum was a bit more claustrophobic, Arkham City is a partially open world filled with the worst scum of Gotham City.

After a section of Gotham is quartered off to serve as a walled-off prison city, Batman once again gets caught up in The Joker’s shenanigans and finds himself battling his greatest enemies.

The only thing more fun than taking on waves of enemies are the clever boss battles, which require you to use everything available in your utility belt. When it comes to side content, there is so much going on, but it’s one of those games where tackling as much of it as possible is more fun than tedious.

Arkham City is, in every way, an improvement on Asylum and undeniably Batman’s best video game adventure yet. A solid story supported by an incredible cast off voice actors like Troy Baker, Tom Kane, and, of course, Conroy and Hamill, brings Batman’s universe to life like never before in this medium. It’s a cliche, but the worst thing about Arkham City is that you can only play it for the first time once.

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