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Batman- Return of the Joker is no Laughing Matter on NES – Today in History – December 20th, 1991

Besides the slight identity crisis that we saw with Batman: Return of the Joker, it was also not all that well received by the fans.  This was the first Batman game for Sunsoft since their debut with the license on the NES, Batman (which was quite a success on both Genesis and NES).  The cards were stacked against this Batman game from the get go.  Rather than being dark and gloomy like the first Batman game, Return/Revenge was quite colorful.  The NES versions music, handled by Naoki Kodaka, was good for the system while Tommy Tallarico (Terminator CD on Sega CD, folks, get that) was tapped to adapt it to Sega Genesis (covered here in Revenge of the License).  It was not all fun colors and doom this time around.

As Michael mentioned in his “Revenge of the License” article, Batman Return of the Joker is CHEAP!  There are constantly points where you are penalized for everything.  Go too fast.  Penalty.  Go too slow.  Penalty.  Go just right and take on enemies as they appear, pay attention to the level.  Penalty.  This results in more cheap hits than a bullet hell scrolling shooter.  Forget one manning Contra, if you can beat Batman- Return of the Joker on NES (or Revenge on Genesis) with one man then you are a gaming savant.

Now onto the good stuff.  Batman- Return of the Joker uses one of the MMC-X series of chips (X being the number, I don’t know it off hand, probably MMC-5).  This allows the Nintendo Entertainment System to do some stuff that only the 16-Bit consoles could.  This includes more enemies on screen, parallax scrolling and more sound effects.  This all comes at the expense of flicker, which can be deadly in this game, especially the snow stage.  It doesn’t help that enemies popup from everywhere, and thanks to the larger sprites, there is less screen space for them to occupy.  More cheap hits.

Michael Crisman did a Revenge of the License for the Sega Genesis version of Batman Revenge of the Joker here on Retro Gaming Magazine.

Additional coverage of Batman titles includes:
Batman and Superman join Streets of Rage 2
Batman 1986 being ported to the MSX 2 and Windows computers
Batman Collectible action figure based on the NES game
Lego Batman created for Sega Genesis (Bandit Gaming)

History articles:
Batman: The Video Game (Game Boy)
Batman: The Video Game (NES)
Batman Forever (SNES/Genesis)

If you realize that you are missing Return/Revenge of the Joker from your collection, or want another Batman game, hit Ebay.  Your purchases help us bring more articles to you like this one.

Carl Williams

It is time gaming journalism takes its rightful place as proper sources and not fanboys giving free advertising. If you wish to support writers like Carl please use the links below.

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2 Responses to “Batman- Return of the Joker is no Laughing Matter on NES – Today in History – December 20th, 1991”

  1. oVg says:

    24 years already, how far we have come but darn this game is still solid today. The 90s kids had some crazy hand eye co-ordination.

    Ever danced with the devil in the pale moonlight? Tim Burton FTW.

    • Carl Williams says:

      Oh yeah, this is definitely a hardcore title. As I mentioned in the article, if you can beat this game on one man then you are a gaming savant. That is true skill.

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