The day is finally here. After years of rumors and speculation, months of teasers and trailers, The Dark Knight Rises finally hits theaters today. As the huge Batman fan that I am, I’ve been getting my bat-fix by watching the excellent animated series from the 90′s and playing loads of video games starring the caped crusader. To help get you in the mood for the epic finale of Christopher Nolan’s series, as if you weren’t already, here is a list of the five best Batman games.
5. Batman (NES)
This is the game that started it all. Okay, so there were a few Batman video games that came before it, but Batman on the NES was not only a perfect example of how Dark Knight games should be, it was a solid experience all around. Wall-jumping to reach new areas, a slew of bat-gadgets to take down thugs, and an awesome boss battle against The Joker made this one an unforgettable masterpiece. As if that wasn’t enough, it was based on the first Tim Burton Batman film, proving that not all movie-licensed games suck!
4. The Adventures of Batman and Robin (SEGA Genesis)
Picture this: Batman and Robin slinging an insane amount of Batarangs at wave after wave of projectile-firing enemies, flying robots, and giant killer bosses. Sound like a good time? Then you’re in luck, because that’s exactly what The Adventures of Batman and Robin is all about. This is one of those titles that truly shines on the SEGA Genesis. The graphics are some of the best of the era, featuring some excellent level design based off of multiple well-known bat-villains. Each stage is based off of a particular villain, including Harley Quinn, Mad Hatter, and Mr. Freeze, and a few others. Don’t confuse it with the SNES version, either. While it’s still a good game, bother titles are entirely different, with the SEGA Genesis version being more of a shoot ‘em up rather than a traditional platformer.
3. LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes (PS3, Xbox 360, etc.)
For some reason, LEGO games always get overlooked. Most “hardcore gamers” look at the LEGO games as nothing but a childish waste of time and fail to see the pure genius that goes into each game. Sure, the first LEGO Batman was an utter disappointment, but Travelers’ Tales have come a long way since. After the success of both LEGO Harry Potter games, they decided to continue pushing the open-world format and give players a huge Gotham City to explore, while maintaining the fun puzzles and incredible charm that the LEGO games are known for. Not only does it have a great original story that fits perfectly into the Batman universe, it features well-known voice actors including Clancy Brown reprising his role of Lex Luthor, Nolan North, Steve Blum, and Laura Bailey. The puzzles are clever, the humor is laugh-out-loud funny, and the comic/movie/game references can be seen everywhere. This is one title that should never be overlooked by fans.
2. Gotham City Impostors (PS3, Xbox 360, PC)
When I first heard that a Batman-related FPS was being developed, I cursed the video game industry, vowing to burn it to the ground if such a game should ever see the light of day. Then, I kicked myself in the bat-ass, because it turned out the be the single greatest multiplayer shooter I’ve ever played. Okay, so Batman doesn’t even make an appearance in the game; instead, it focuses on two groups of people: Batman-wannabes, and Joker-wannabes. Taking inspiration from The Dark Knight, Monolith decided to focus on the men and women who like to dress up like their hero (or villain) and play vigilante. Featuring maps based on Gotham City locations and some awesome weaponry, Gotham City Impostors is a shooter that puts CoD to shame. Not only can you customize your loadouts and use cool gadgets like a grappling hook, glider, and roller skates, you can customize your own Joker and Bats outfits. The game has plenty of humor in the one-liners that the characters shout during matches, a few great game types, fast-paced action, and so much more. If you haven’t picked this one up yet, now is the time to do so.
1. The Arkham Series (PS3, Xbox 360, PC)
I know that everyone reading this article already expected the Arkham series to be number one, but can you really blame me? As I mentioned before, I’m a huge Batman fan. The Dark Knight has had a long history in video games, but it has always been a very rocky one with many more downs than ups. Rocksteady came along and changed all that with Arkham Asylum, delivering a Batman game with an original story that was truer to the look and feel of the comics than anything we had seen before. The game was the epitome of perfection, and when a sequel was announced, fans wondered if Rocksteady was pressing their luck. Arkham City, however, surpassed Asylum in every respect, delivering the one of the most engaging and emotional stories ever seen in a video game. Rather than stick to the same old devices, Rocksteady even threw in some villains that only true Batman fans know, such as Deadshot, Hush, and Solomon Grundy, but did it in a way that never felt forced. Some of the best moments in the game involved going back to Batman’s roots as a detective, searching crime scenes for clues and solving lethal puzzles. It was an experience like no other, and one that makes you proud to be a Batman fan.
Now it’s time to grab my Batman cowl and hit up The Dark Knight Rises. Happy Bat-day, Explosion readers!