Games of Summer: The Adventures of Batman and Robin

Batman: Arkham City Screenshot - 1111397

With Comic-Con 2012 fast approaching, we felt like picking a Games of Summer this week that would truly relate to fans out there.  There were several picks that easily crossed my mind when it came to decision time – Konami’s X-Men: The Arcade Game, which is available on Xbox Live and PlayStation Network; Spider-Man the Arcade Game, which is a long lost arcade classic; and even The Punisher on Xbox and PlayStation 2, which is still a bloody delight.

But in the end, it came down to a Batman experience on SNES.  Now, The Adventures of Batman and Robin isn’t the only one you can play, as Konami’s take on Batman Returns is equally splendid, a side-scrolling beat-em-up where you can put the Red Triangle Circus gang in its place while tussling with Penguin and Catwoman.  But Adventures has a lot more to offer, especially if you remember the classic animated series from the 90’s.  That’s because this game is based on episodes from that show, featuring encounters with the Joker, the Penguin, Scarecrow and other members of Arkham Asylum’s crew.

Batman

Batman takes on these adversaries one episode at a time, and each one stems with content from the original show.  In Riddler’s stage, for instance, you’ll have to figure out a labyrinth while his virtual self watches over you, then pops a riddle out of nowhere before letting you proceed.  The battle with Catwoman is another good one, as you’ll climb up buildings while she attempts to flee in the background.  And the final battle is fantastic, as you’ll not only tangle with the shape-shifting Clayface, but also deal with the fast and ferocious Manbat.  That may sound like a spoiler, but believe me, the game is filled with plenty of excellent moments.  (Scarecrow’s fear-inducing blimp deserves a shout-out as well.)

Konami did a splendid job recreating the animated series on the SNES, not only including some great visuals, but also a spot-on soundtrack.  Each tune in the game represents its stage quite perfectly.  When you’re fighting through Penguin’s trap, for instance, a slow, haunting theme plays in the background.  And when you’re battling the Joker, the tempo picks up quite a bit.  Paying this kind of attention to content…you just don’t see it that often in comic book based games that much anymore.  It’s really quite stunning.

batman and robin

The gameplay is good too.  Along with using Batman’s fisticuffs, you’ll also utilize items on your utility belt, such as a grappling hook to get around and occasional accessories that will help you get through tough battles, such as the one where you fight Poison Ivy’s monstrous plant.  You can easily access these goodies through the menu system, with a prime selection before each stage starts.

Best of all, The Adventures of Batman and Robin on SNES was quite challenging without going too far over the top.  The same can’t really be said for Sega’s take on the animated series for Sega Genesis.  While it’s a moderately entertaining shooter, it’s way too damn hard to get through, even if you bring along a second player as Robin.  It was developed by Clockwork Tortoise to pay tribute to Batman while, at the same time, trying to pay tribute to the Treasure classic Gunstar Heroes, but these guys forgot to tone it down.  Not Konami.  The SNES game feels quite perfect, actually.

batman and robin

So if you’re done with Batman: Arkham City and seek a blast from the past with the dark Knight and the Boy Wonder, we humbly suggest tracking this gem down.  It’s certainly worth the moolah, and it’ll certainly put you even more in the mood to see The Dark Knight Rises when it comes out in a couple of weeks.

See you next time for Games of Summer!

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Robert Workman
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