Batman: Return of the Joker by Sunsoft puts the Dark Knight back on the streets in yet another battle against his arch-nemesis the Joker. Sure the plot line sounds familiar, but this Bat-adventure is loaded with enough surprises to challenge even the most seasoned Caped Crusaders.
Fans of the Batman comic book will find this game closely mimics the look and feel of the classic strip that made the Dark Knight a legend in his own time. Sunsoft called upon the same team of programmers that created the original NES Batman to create the sequel. The crew kept some of the best features of the original game but also added some exciting new twists.
Batman himself is about four times as big as he is in the original adventure, and his moves, whether he's crouching, taking a quick glance over his shoulder, or sliding along the ground, are all new. Gorgeous graphics made possible via 3 megs of memory and the SUN5 chip -- SunSoft's custom MMC5 chip -- are about as close to 16-bit as the NES is gonna' get!
This one player game features seven stages of vertically and horizontally scrolling walking, jumping, and flying action. Each stage has two sub-stages, and a third sub-stage where Batman fights a boss or one of the Joker's sinister mechanical machines. The boss battles have a great comic book feel with an unusual system of point-countdown power meters for the boss and Batman.
ProTip: Beat Stage 3-3's boss by always jumping behind him when he's about to fire his gun. It's a little cowardly but blast away from behind!
Batman's "Wonderful Toys"
Batman's task is pretty straight-forward -- battle his way through each stage and survive to defeat the Joker. The Caped Crusader has a Life Meter and takes hits from dangerous obstacles or enemies. There's no way to recharge his Meter.
The Dark Knight has an entirely different Bat-Combat system that's a combo of some slick new moves and the different kinds of ammo he can fire out of his Wrist Projector. Each of the four different kinds of shots (Cross Bow, Bata-rang, Sonic Neutralizer, and Shield Star) have different strengths and weaknesses. Batman can change his ammunition frequently by blasting crates that carry Wrist Projector Ammunition icons. The crafty Caped Crusader will quickly learn which ammunition works best where.
- Shoot the ammunition icons repeatedly to get them to change to the different types of ammo.
- The Shield Star is the least useful ammo because its firepower is the least concentrated.
- Use the Sonic Neutralizer during Stage 1-2. It enables you to clear a path far in front of you while you hang back behind the deadly Zeppelin bomb blasts.
Batman can also supercharge each of the four different kinds of shots to make them extra powerful. Just lean on Button В for a while and then get ready for some special effects. Sometimes when Batman nails an enemy an energy capsule appears. If Batman can grab eight energy capsules he gets the ultimate weapon -- invincibility for a few seconds along with a deadly trail of Sonic Neutralizer fire that blows everything and everyone to bits.
- To defeat the Joker's knife-throwing crony in Stage 3-2, just hop across the gap and stand behind the crate. Now power-up the Sonic Neutralizer weapon and take him out risk-free!
- Destroy the statues in Stage 1-1 by sliding up to their base and using a super-powered blast to blow them to smithereens.
The Caped Crusader's smart enough to know he's got to rely on more than just firepower. He can't climb walls in this sequel, but he can crouch, jump, and do a Slide Attack move that helps him out of all kinds of tight spots.
- When you reach this area of Stage 3-2, creep under the deadly spikes with a little help from Batman's slide attack.
- If you don't have a strong weapon when you reach Stage 6-2 try to jump to the left of the screen and stay ahead of the mad bomber. Just jump over the spiked balls as they fall. Of course, you'll never beat the Joker in Stage 6-3 if you don't have a strong weapon!
The Dark Knight Returns
More often than not sequels to classic games just don't stand up to the original. Fortunately, top of the line graphics bring Batman: Return of the Joker to life as an original saga whose smokin' guns deliver different (and in some places more) bang for the buck. And the theme music's as cool as the rest of the game. We've got just one complaint. Why give the game endless continues and a password system? The crime-fighting here is fairly tough, but it would be a lot tougher if you weren't able to begin again and again at the same spot. Aspiring Dark Knights will find this game definitely isn't as challenging as the original because of the password system, but don't let that hold you back. This is still one of the best NES games of the year. And that's no joke!
Batman: Return of the Joker DownloadsBatman: Return of the Joker download
Other games by
Batman: Return of the Joker