STORY / GAMEPLAY
Unlike the first Batman release for the NES, which was based on Tim Burton’s 1989 Batman film ,the Return of the Joker is entirely self-contained and based more on the modern Batman comic book iteration. The story begins with the Joker escaping from Arkham Asylum and, along with his henchmen, he tries to drive Gotham City into chaos. Batman will have to use his powers through snowy stages, jump from one train wagon to the other, ride blimps, avoid or jump over traps and also fly, in several side-scrolling levels. He also has to defeat all five levels big bosses, to secure Gotham’s safety. Batman has five weapons at his disposal, all with different powers and magnitudes. Upon starting the game, Batman is armed with a gadget belt that allows him to collect various types of gadgets throughout the stages, in order to shoot different types of batarangs and projectiles. Batman is chased by a whole bunch of bullets and bad guys all over the place that is almost impossible to make it out alive. Fortunately, there is an infinite number of “continues”. The big boss at the end of each stage is accompanied by incoming foes, which makes the battle too harsh! The game’s controls are quite stiff. Batman moves like a “stiff” android on the platforms (much like Robocop) and timing your leaps and avoiding the enemy shots is sometimes extremely difficult, due to the slow response of your input commands. Problematic controls aside, Batman: Return of The Joker is a wonderful game to play.
GRAPHICS / SOUND
I was pretty much amazed by its visuals and sound. The action is pretty intense and the graphics are solid offering nicely designed sprites and beautifully animated (especially Batman himself). The backdrops are good too, featuring a few levels of parallax scrolling, while each stage’s details are nicely drawn (and sometimes animated). The sprites are large and your super hero has his own cool style as he uses his weapons and gadgets in beautiful animations. Regarding the game’s sound, it offers a few nicely composed tunes along with several “catchy”, “action game” sound FX such as explosions, gunfire and more!