Super Types

March 11, 2010

The Comics Console: Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker

I’ve never been a huge fan of “else world” or “what if” stories, but one of the best I’ve ever seen was Batman Beyond. At first glance, the idea of some troubled high school student suddenly hi-jacking the Bat-Suit and becoming the new Dark Knight with Bruce Wayne’s blessing is a frightening thought. But Bruce Timm and the boys behind Batman: The Animated Series showed us that Terry McGinnis is truly a hero worthy of donning the legendary mantle.

After 3 seasons, Batman Beyond culminated in the direct-to-video movie Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker, where McGinnis battled the original clown Prince of Crime, who has been resurrected in some strange science fiction fashion. Along with the movie, a video game adaption was developed by Kemco for the Nintendo 64 and Playstation and published by Ubisoft…unfortunately the game wasn’t anywhere near the level of awesome that the movie was.

Batman Beyond is a 3D side scroller beat-em-up that is extremely dull and repetitive. It’s a sad thing too because the Batman Beyond license is such a great property. When you start the game, you choose what style Bat-Suit you want (defensive, offensive, etc.), but it’s pretty worthless since none of the suits or their special attributes really affect gameplay. You even have an unlimited supply of gadgets like throwing discs or nunchucks (when was the last time you saw Batman wield a pair of chucks?), but all of them are useless and unnecessary. Batman’s basic punch and kick are all you’ll need to take out the moronic non-threatening enemies.

Yes, the same two robots and two thugs you fight throughout the game are practically harmless. The deadliest enemy here is the game’s controls. For a super hero who’s known for his agility and finesse, Batman moves like a robot on speed, and his jump is more like a soft hop than a heroic leap. In some levels you’ll face evil pipes blowing out steam that your high tech multibillion dollar Bat-Suit is defenseless against, and it’s impossible to jump over them without taking damage. And when you’re not easily bashing in Joker’s minions, you’re collecting keys to open doors to new areas. This again is lame and insignificant, because I’m pretty sure half the keys I picked up I never even had to use.

The four levels you fight through are pretty bland with low resolutions and are not very interesting to look at. The best part about these levels is that on the back of the box it says there are “16 action packed levels.” Seriously? You play through a Museum, Wayne Enterprises, Arkham Asylum, and the Jolly Jack Candy Factory and that’s it. I would kind of understand if each of the four levels were divided into four sections, but that’s not the case here.

The cut scenes are just poorly rendered screen shots from the movie with text boxes, and the music is actually so annoying I turned the volume off. It’s the same single guitar riff in each level.

Licensed games like Batman Beyond are usually affected by time and budgeting, hence the poor quality of the game, and that’s a shame because this series deserves to have a great game. Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker earns a 2/5.

Fortunately, most remember Batman Beyond for the amazing action show that it was and not a terribly boring video game. And even though the only comic series for Batman Beyond was the one based off the show, Terry McGinnis has made an appearance in DC cannon in Superman/Batman #22 confronting Bizarro. I personally would love to see McGinnis back in the comics at some point; it would be terrible for such an interesting concept to just die. But at least fans still keep the “Tomorrow Knight” alive with things like costume mods for the PC version of Batman: Arkham Asylum.

Just awesome.

Checkout The Comics Console next week when we play Marvel Nemesis: Rise of the Imperfects!

Andrew Hurst



  1. Another bad Batman game lol But I didn’t know there was a Batman Beyond skin for the PC version…wow those guys are lucky!

  2. That Arkham Asylum design looks %#$&ing AWESOME!!

  3. billy

    Arkham Asylum has made all the crappy Superhero games go away. lol

  4. […] A quick news bit: Kevin Conroy, the voice of Batman in Batman: The Animated Series, Justice League, and Batman Arkham Asylum, let slip that Two Face will indeed be in the Arkham Asylum sequel during a Q&A at C2E2 this past weekend. “There’s a very complicated cast,” Conroy laughed after realizing what he said. “A lot of villains are in it. I’ll just leave it at that!” Conroy also described the game as being “very dark,” and comparing it somewhat to Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker. […]

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