In honor of the upcoming release of Batman: Arkham Asylum, I assumed it was only natural to start acquainting gamers with Batman games. The Adventures of Batman and Robin was a successful title from Konami, that was based off the hit TV series.
The Adventures of Batman and Robin was a platformer at heart, but had elements of racing, detective work, and even a few puzzles mixed in.
Most of the levels are played in a basic platformer fashion. You have your punches, kicks, gadgets, and trusty grappling hook at all times. Before you start a level you’re allowed to choose with gadgets you want to bring along with you (convenient). For instance, you will need the flashlight on The Penguin’s level to see the hidden landmines on the ground. With the use of your grappling hook, and wall jump manoeuvre (Ninja Gaiden style), you could pretty much go anywhere you wanted. The batarang is useful in this game as well, because when you hit an enemy with it, they actually drop their guns (nice touch).
Batman’s animations in this title are incredibly crisp, and the controls are tight. The style of the game also captures the Animated Series’ look perfectly, even including exact portraits of the villains from the show. Unfortunately, Robin is a non-playable character in the SNES title, as opposed to the entirely different Genesis version, which features 2-player coop. Also, as a general rule, this game is pretty hard: you’re only given 3 continues, and when you’re out, the game is over. As a result, I’ve only beaten the game a few times. The levels have a lot of pitfalls and tricks that will keep you on your toes, and the Two-Face themed driving level is extremely difficult.
One of the best features of the game is that you’ll find yourself immersed in the villain’s personality in each and every world. In a ton of retro games, you’ll find that the level is either vaguely related, or completely disconnected from it’s end-boss. In The Adventures of Batman and Robin, you’re literally in “the theme-park that Joker built”, and trekking across Poison Ivy’s garden. The Riddler’s stage was also infamously well done. While traversing one of Nigma’s labyrinths, you’ll come across various riddles such as “what is the shortest distance between two points?” Easily enough, you choose the picture with the straight line. At the end of the road, you’ll have to answer this little gem:
I have millions of eyes yet see in the darkness. I have millions of ears yet only four lobes.I have no muscles yet rule two hemispheres
What’s the answer? The human brain of course! But you had to input this into the game as “H.B.”, assuming you already knew the answer, and didn’t have to consult a FAQ.
The boss fights themselves were also epic. Fighting The Joker on a moving roller coaster? Dueling Scarecrow on his fear-gas cropduster? Becoming a pawn in The Riddler’s chess game? These confrontations were the stuff of legend. A large amount of them were multi-tiered battles as well, and the Catwoman stage is entirely spent chasing her down throughout Gotham City, culminating in a final confrontation. Konami really went out of their way to make each boss fight meaningful through multiple direct cinematic conversations at the beginning and end of each level.
Oh, and I almost forgot to mention: CLAYFACE! Even though he doesn’t get his own environment, on the last level (which is set up like a Mega Man boss gauntlet of sorts), you’ll fight one of the best Batman villains of all time. This game really was a “Killer Croc, and Bane away” from including every major Batman nemesis.
The Adventures of Batman and Robin should not be missed by anyone who considers themselves a Batman fan, or a platformer enthuisiast. The crisp visuals mixed with accurate controls, and extremely characteristic levels mesh into one exciting package.
It’s a rather rare find, but you can buy it here, among other vendors.