Super Types

January 28, 2010

The Comics Console: Batman on the NES

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Written by: andrewhurst
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If you can believe it, there was a time when video games based on movies, or video games based on comic books, didn’t suck all the time. This was during the video game explosion of the late 1980s. In 1989, Tim Burton’s Batman was released, and Sunsoft jumped at the opportunity to create and publish a video game companion.

The funny thing about this game is that while the box art, title screen, and a few cut-scenes resemble the look of the film, the entire rest of the game has next to nothing to do with it. But this is still very much a Batman game, and more so, one of the best Batman games ever made.

One of the annoying catches to this game is it’s extreme difficulty level toward the end, which wouldn’t be so bad if there were any kind save system. So once your three continues are up, it’s back to stage one. So in case you just weren’t skilled enough to brave the 8-bit side-scrolling trenches, The Comics Console is here to show you how Batman plays out.

Stage 1-1

When the game starts you’re dropped right into the streets of Gotham City where goons with weird jet-pack looking devices on their backs will run right through you, causing damage, unless you punch them at just the right moment. You’ll also encounter crouched thugs with blow torches that are easily taken care of. As you defeat enemies, they’ll drop health and ammo for Batman’s three gadgets.

Batman’s arsenal includes Batarangs that looks more like boomerangs, a “spear gun” that is actually a rocket gun, and “Batdisks” that fire more like a triple-barrel rocket gun. One weapon doesn’t appear to have any stronger effect over another, although the spear gun and Batdisks have more range than the Batarang.

As you continue in the first stage you’ll crouch and punch at little crawling droids with spikes on them, easily avoid some pistol wielding goons and advance to the next stage.

Stage 1-2

Still in Gotham’s underbelly, you’ll face most of the same goons, and avoid tricky little land mines that will rush at you when you get too close. Soon you’ll wall jump — similar to Ninja Gaiden — up a narrow wall and face off against a swift goon flying, and firing at you from the sky. A few Batdisks make short work of him, and you’ll continue down another narrow wall where a ninja is waiting for you, casually leaning against a wall. A Batarang or two and you’ll advance to your first boss fight!

Boss Fight

this is your first of a few easy boss battles. Your opponent, resembling the Batman villain Firefly, will fly around erratically and fire at you from above. He swoops down to tackle you, and this is your ideal attack point. As you’ll find with most enemies, a few Batarangs will seal your victory.

Stage 2-1

You’re dropped into a chemical factory where the game’s difficulty will begin to increase. You find more of the same enemies as you jump from platform to platform, avoiding drops of deadly acid, and new enemies in the form of slow walking robots that are a bit tougher than previous goons you’ve faced. After more quick wall jumping you’ll move to the next stage.

Stage 2-2

The need for some skilled wall jumping is required in this stage, or you’ll drop onto some electrical cables that eat a lot of health. You beat up more slow moving robots and some weird mounted claw machines that shoot at you and retract and move forward, exercising your advanced wall jumping techniques.

Stage 2-3

You move deeper into the chemical factory on conveyor belts that will increase or decrease your speed while bombs are dropped from the ceiling and will shoot at your direction upon hitting the floor. Beat up more goons with blow torches and wall jump over the spiked floors and walls into the boss battle.

Boss Fight

This is a fairly unique boss as your opponent isn’t really a person or robot, but the room itself. Take out the turrets shooting at you on the wall in front of you, then move upward hitting a switch and destroying another gun turret, then repeat this process one more time to destroy a more deadly cannon.

Stage 3-1

Things get weird in what looks like the Gotham sewer system. Large scary monsters jump at you like a frog that are a bit tougher than your typical enemies of whom are also in this level. You run through shallow waters taking out the small spiked crawling droids and more frog monsters.

Stage 3-2

This stage is pretty light with only a few frog monsters to take care of. Head right and scale the wall to enter the next environment.

Stage 3-3

As you move upward through a cave, you’ll meet new tank droids that only require a Batarang or two to destroy, but they fire real quick moving grenades, so be carefull. More of the same goons and robots, but with different colors. A little more strategic wall jumping and you’re ready for the next boss fight.

Boss Fight

This one is tough, and a little cheap. If you aren’t at at least 85% health, you probably won’t survive. This big brute sports a mohawk and some electric claws that he uses to whip waves of energy at you that are completely unavoidable. To make things worse he jumps on either side of you after each blast at an alarming speed. You just have to endure the punishment and attack as quickly as you can.

Stage 4-1

Now is when things really pick up. You’re in a power plant filled with frog monsters, bombs dropping down at you, and land mines chasing you. You have to be extra careful with your wall jumping, timing it just right. You pass a set of TV monitors with the Joker’s laughing face watching you run his gauntlet. It’s a tough level, but at least it’s short.

Stage 4-2

No enemies you haven’t face before in this level. You’ll need to have mastered advanced wall jumping as you move from platform to platform, otherwise this stage is fairly simple.

Stage 4-3

This stage kicks it up again. You’ll drop down a long corridor destroying horizontally rotating machines and avoiding electrical pulses, then jumping from platform to platform over the burning floor. As you move upward through the room, you’ll find conveyor belt platforms that will force you to time wall jumps perfectly to advance in the stage. As you move up a few flights of stairs, you come across more robot tanks and a healthy array of enemies. This level is pretty difficult, and inexperienced players probably won’t survive.

Boss Fight

This is another pretty unique boss encounter. You’ll enter a room with 2 moving boxes. Wall jump onto the center platform and punch at either box as it moves close to you. Be careful because the boxes will shoot at you. Once you destroy one box, the other will begin to move at super speed, and project near unavoidable fire blasts. If you’re health is good, your best bet is to just attack it head on.

Stage 5-1

This clock tower is filled with blow torch goons and deadly rotating cogs. Patience and precise timing are your real weapons on this stage as you move upward, strategically taking out goons and robots. The environment is packed with danger and taking damage is inevitable. If you haven’t completely mastered wall jumping at this point, you will not survive.

Boss Fight

This boss is ridiculously intimidating, yet disappointingly easy. He looks like a reject Dragon Ball Z character and fights like one too. His pattern is simple. He’ll jump near you, back away, fire a ball of energy, back further away, and fire again. You can just stay in one stop jumping over his blasts and batarang him when he’s close to gain victory, though while easily defeated, he is tough and it will take some time, so hopefully you didn’t waste all your ammo.

Final Boss — The Joker

Joker is actually fairly simple. He’ll run from one side of the stage to the other, shooting at you with his long barreled gun that you’ll recognize from the movie, and every so often, summon lighting to crash down on you. If you’re careful to avoid the lightning, then you can defeat Joker pretty easily with some batarang action.

After you beat the Joker you’re treated to a weird cut scene that shows Batman punching out the Joker causing him to fall out of the clock tower and to his death.

…Not exactly how it happened in the movie, but whatever, right? Batman was a good game anyway. The graphics were sufficient, but probably not the best on the NES, and there is an occasional glitch where Batman or your enemy will just suddenly disappear for a moment. The music also isn’t much to speak of — they actually recycle some of the same songs for later levels — but I’m a little bias just because the opening theme is like an anthem to my childhood.

Batman takes about a half hour to beat, if you can beat it. Some people would consider the game’s insane difficulty a drawback, while others would call those people big fat wussies.  But if you like old school Mega Man style games, then you’ll love this one. 4/5

Andrew Hurst



  1. I remember playing this and thinking that it was the best Batman game ever! I would wall jump even when there was no need for it actually lol I was confused about why he was blue until I found out about the issue that if was in a black costume we wouldn’t have been able to see him. Other than that I logged a lot of hours on this one here, alas it has been bumped to my 2nd fav Batman game after Arkham Asylum but it held the title spot for a loooong time!

  2. Eli

    This was such an awesome game. That wall jumping was way too cool. We did that for hours, oh so many hours.

  3. Woah woah woah; you can beat this game in 30 minutes Andrew!? Holy shit! I don’t think I got past the second boss, but I still love this game.

    It’s one of my favorites as a kid: the feel is awesome and the music kicks total ass.

  4. billy

    Never played this one but Arkham Asylum is awesome. My son plays it constantly and he’s gettting pretty far. 🙂

  5. labratman

    the joker was “fairly simple”? no way! how about impossible!

  6. @labratman


  7. Dakk LastMinuteHero

    haha right?
    The Joker? no problem.
    Deciding whether or not to train the rook in Gears 2? … now thats a task i doubt even the Comics Console is up for. 😛

  8. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Gilberto Cardenas, and, said: The Comics Console: Batman on the NES #comics #batman #videogames […]

  9. […] of Batman fans everywhere. The most exciting Batman experience in a video game at that point was Batman on the NES, a game well past its prime and much too difficult for the modern era of gamers, and the […]

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