Sunday, August 30, 2009

Mister Bones' Top 5

As I'm sure you've figured out for yourselves, my absence from The Batcave this past week was largely due to the fact that a video game starring a certain Dark Knight was released and has taken the gaming world by storm. Apologies, but this game absolutely owns my soul right now.

I wanted to take a little time though, to reflect on Batman's often cringe-inducing career in gaming. While not as bad a Superman's, it's definitely been a bumpy road for Batman *cough*Dark Tomorrow*cough*. That's not to say they've all been bad though, there have been some genuinely good Batman games over the years. As expected, yours truly has played 'em all, both the good and the bad.

Sounds like it's time for another Top 5, don't it?

Top 5 Batman Video Games

5. Batman (NES) - My very first Batman video game, the NES classic. Like most games of it's time, this thing was insanely difficult, especially for a kid my age. My love for Batman wouldn't allow me to give up though, and I would eventually finish this thing (which is a feat that I do not believe I have the skill or patience for today). Remember that opening cinematic? I thought that was the most amazing thing I'd ever seen. Oh how far we've come....

4. Batman Vengeance (PS2) - This game came this close to being great. It did almost everything right, save for a couple of minor control issues, and some bad vehicle levels. Can't fault the devs for trying to mix things up a bit, but most of the effort was obviously put toward the on foot stuff. The game had some really memorable scenes and boss encounters (Mr. Freeze!) and worked with the style of the Animated Series beautifully. I would eventually 100% this one after several playthroughs on the PS2, and then again on the Gamecube. I also had the Gameboy Advance version, but well, the less said about it, the better.

3. Lego Batman (PS3) - This is without a doubt the cutest Batman game you will ever play. The combination of Lego and Batman is an idea that should've come along years ago, right around the time that chocolate and peanut butter was discovered. Thankfully though it eventually happened and gave way to this wonderful little game. This freakin' thing has EVERYBODY in it, on both the hero and villain side, and you get to play both sides! It requires several playthroughs of each level to complete 100%, as with every other Lego game, but getting to play in the Lego Bat-Universe makes it worth every minute.

2. The Adventures of Batman and Robin (SNES) - I tell you no lie when I tell you that I still have callouses on my thumbs from playing this game. This one is directly based off the Animated Series, and is probably the finest example of an action-platformer that I've ever played. I'm sure the fact that it's Batman has nothing to do with that though, ahem. Every level was self-contained and felt like playing through an episode of the show, and if that's not enough for you then I don't know exactly what your problem is, but you need to fix it. I actually went back through this one a couple of months ago on my Dreamcast, as both my SNES and games have somehow disappeared throughout my many moves since finishing high school. Thank God for roms!

1. Batman Arkham Asylum (PS3) - Technically I haven't finished this one yet, in fact I'm playing it so slowly that I've barely scratched the surface. So far I have about 10-12 hours on it, and I'm sitting at 12% completion. I'm playing this way on purpose as I refuse to miss anything, the game is that good. The time that was spent on every detail is absolutely amazing, and the little inside nods to comic fans make me squeal like a school girl. This is the Batman game that Batman fans have always wanted. If I absolutely had to nitpick one little thing, it would be the Bat-costume. Yes, graphically it looks amazing, but it's also the "armored" look from the movies, and I will always prefer the spandex (or whatever the hell that material is) from the comics. I'm rocking this one on the PS3 for several reasons, the first of which being that as I've gone on and on about before, I'm currently on Xbox 360 #5, and still on PS3 #1, and God help Microsoft if I got red ringed while playing this game. But the PS3 got exclusive challenge levels that allow you to play as Joker, and also gives you a Batcave to use in PS Home. These kind of little bonuses made the choice an easy one.

I hesitated for about half a second on whether or not to proclaim a game that I hadn't finished yet as the best, but I think it's safe to say, even at only 12%, that Arkham Asylum is the best Batman video game to date. In fact if the game ended at 13% it still would be. About the only way this could end up being less than perfect is if Batman dies after the first couple of levels, and the game then makes you play as the buddy-comedy duo of Snake-Lips and Twinkle-balls, the faggy vampire bitch from Twilight, who are tasked with transporting the top-secret script for GI Joe 2 to Stephen Sommers through the land of fairy sparkledust and butterflies.

There were a couple more that almost made the list, so I thought I'd give them honorable mention shouts.

First on the list is a beat 'em up on Xbox and PS2 called "The Rise of Sin Tzu", which was pretty good for a beat 'em up and featured a villain designed by Jim Lee. It's major flaw was a needless timer though, which made getting through all the waves of baddies more of a chore than an enjoyable gaming experience. Still the animated series style of the game was nicely done, and the Scarecrow boss fight was awesome. You could also play as Nightwing, and I've always said that more games should allow you play as Nightwing whether they're Batman-themed games or not. Nightwing and the Curious Village ftw!

And the other one was the obligatory movie cash-in from Batman Begins. This one was an action/stealth/platformer that was actually surprisingly good. The real star of the game though was the Tumbler levels which were done by the Burnout guys if I remember right. Your first time through required you to wear the movie Bat-suit, but you could eventually unlock lots of others, including the blue and gray with yellow oval logo, which may not excite anybody else, but I was giddy about. I think I ran through this one three times or so before putting it down.

There are your Top 5 Batman Games of all time! Agree or disagree? Then make your own damn list!

1 comment:

Jay Amabile said...

I need to get Arkham Asylum ASAP! I think it's great that you can unlock the original costume. I'm a big fan of the blue/grey of the late '70s and '80s. I'm not such a big fan of the tumbler batmobile though.