Batman, though he does his best to keep his identity secret, is not a stranger to the screen. The character of Batman was created in 1939 by comic legends Bob Kane and Bill Finger, and first appeared as "The Bat-men" In Detective Comics #27. Since, then, he has been featured in thousands of comics, books, animated TV series, movies, and more. Batman is one of the most recognizable figures in history. It is no surprise then that there are dozens of Batman video games that have been created over the years.
With so many Batman games, some are bound to be better than others, As you will see on this list, though, some Batman games are downright awful. This is not a ranking of all the Batman games. There are so many, to keep this in check we have narrowed it down to feature primarily Batman console games and games that feature Batman as a primary character. Sorry, Chaos In Gotham, ranking handheld Batman games is a list for another day.
From games that make no sense, are difficult to play, or just don't hold up over time to amazing games that have endless replay value and exciting gameplay, Batman video games run the gauntlet from worst to best. Here are 25 of the best and worst Batman video games. Can you make it through the terrible memories of the bottom tier to get to #1? Did we leave out your favorite Batman game?
25 Batman And Robin
Batman and Robin the game, based on the 1997 film, was highly anticipated. Batman fans wanted a game, and unfortunately, it kept being postponed and put off. Fans were still hopeful that the delay would mean a better game, but that was not the case. Batman and Robin focused on the plot of the movie, with Mr. Freeze trying to encase Gotham in ice. The ice puns were intact, but the game was a mess. You can play as Batman, Robin, or Batgirl, which is a nice touch, and the music definitely has a Batman vibe, but that's not enough to save this game. The attention to detail in the 3D world and the characters make it worth playing, but the organization is strange, and the game feels unfinished. For a game that fans were waiting for, this one failed to deliver.
24 Gotham City Racer
A racing game with Batman? Sounds great! Well, if you were expecting a sweet MarioKart style racing game with Batmobiles...prepare to be disappointed. The goal of the game is almost interesting. You have to blow up other players to stop them from robbing the bank. Everything about this game should be fun, but it is so busted it just ends up being frustrating. The graphics are awful and the controls are completely unmanageable. This should have been an exciting all-ages Batman video game, but the result is just a mess. The sound, the controls, the gameplay, the premise— everything is awful. The only cool thing about it is the Batman title, and it doesn't deserve that, it's barely a Batman game at all. Don't even bother trying to play this game, it might make you hate Batmobiles forever.
23 Batman Forever
Batman Forever? Batman Never would be a better choice. Even the diehard Batman fans should forget about this game. It's not worth your time or your money now, and it wasn't worth it in 1995, either. The characters are barely recognizable, partially due to awful, stocky character design and also because all the graphics are terrible. The entire game is dark, and not in a good way. It's hard to see anything, but if you turn up the brightness you will have to live through those awful graphics in the light of day, which no one should be subjected to. The gameplay is terrible, too. There are no redeeming features to this game. It's barely playable, and not worth trying to make it work. With so many better Batman games on the market, this one should be forgotten forever.
22 Batman Dark Tomorrow
Batman Dark Tomorrow is a stain on the history of Batman and all that is holy in comic books, and deserves to be forgotten in the back of your garage forever and ever. There was a planned version for PlayStation 2, but the reviews were so bad they never bothered to make it. The issue with connecting this game to the comics is they did it too much. There are aspects of the game that provide no context or instructions, so it's only possible to complete certain tasks if you paid a lot of attention to specific comics. The controls are awful, it's full of glitches, and it's not even fun to make up for the bad gameplay. The cutscenes are great for their time, but you're better off just reading the special comic that came with the game.
21 Batman Caped Crusader
In 1998, Batman starred in a game that almost seemed like it would gain redemption for the terrible games that came before it, but once again fans were disappointed. Batman Caped Crusader was a different approach to Batman games, which could have been a good opportunity to make an interesting, innovative game. Instead, Caped Crusader is a sub-par side-scrolling game with a vaguely Batman-ish overlay. The characters look kind of like Batman and the Joker, and the Penguin is involved, but without the batman label on the box, this would be pretty unrecognizable as a Batman game. It's not a completely terrible game, but it's barely a Batman game at all, which earns it a spot pretty low on this list. Batman games should look and feel like Batman games. Otherwise, what's the point?
20 Batman Begins
Batman Begins (the movie, not the game) signified a turnaround point for Batsy on the big screen. His new, darker characterization was embraced by fans, and the video game companion to the film was highly anticipated. This was the perfect chance to change course for the Batman video game line as well, but it didn't work out that way. While the voice acting takes the game up a level, the overall game feels like a hybrid version of most popular games on the market at the time. It follows the course of the movie almost exactly and doesn't introduce any new, cool gameplay, so it's missing elements for Batman fans and video game fans alike. Without the Batman label, this is just a weird movie adaptation that pulled from different popular games and never did anything special.
19 Batman Beyond: Return Of The Joker
This game was based on the original TV series, which was one of the best iterations of Batman in history. It should follow that the long-awaited game would follow suit, but that could not be further from the truth. This is one of the worst Batman games ever created, which is even more apparent because anything with the Batman and the Joker facing off should be epic. This scrolling game had potential, but all the possibilities of it being cool were squandered on bad gameplay, weird controls, shoddy execution, and lack of an interesting premise. Scrolling through beating up enemies in different Batsuits is interesting, but that's not enough to redeem this game, or distract from the awful, repetitive soundtrack. For a game that had so much potential, this failed to impress, and it's both boring and difficult to play. Pass.
Batman was released in 1986, and is technically a PC game. However, this was the first real, true Batman game to be developed, and leaving it off of any Batman game ranking is impossible. This is the game that brought the caped crusader to the playable screen, and original fans remember it well. The game is created in a 3D Isometric universe, which was innovative for its time. The goal is to collect pieces of the Bat-Hovercraft in order to save Robin. The most notable function of this game is the "Bat Stone" which enabled players to start over from a mid-point of the game instead of the beginning. Though it seems commonplace now, this was a huge step in gaming technology and earns this game a decent spot on this list, despite it being outdated.
17 Batman Vengeance
Though Batman Vengeance is remembered fondly by many fans of the time, it is a game that does not hold up over time. It is a fun play for longtime Batman fans, but for those who are not solely invested in the game for a peek into Batman's crimefighting world, the negative aspects of the game clearly outweigh the positives. For fans of Batman, the idea of making your way through the Caped Crusader's gallery of rogues is a lot of fun, and that pays out with visits from iconic villains like Mr. Freeze (cue the cold puns), The Joker, and Poison Ivy. Apart from that, though, the game suffers from shoddy construction, bad camera angles, and a "hero always wins" angle that makes for a mostly boring game. This game focused more on fun Batman experience than good gaming experiences, and suffered because of it.
This game is actually fun, if you could ever play it successfully. It is based on the classic Batman Animated Series, and it has a similar feel to the beloved TV show. Like many of the games of this era, it suffered from inconsistency. The SNES version is not very memorable, and you could only play as Batman. The Genesis version, however, is memorable, but not necessarily in a good way. It was notoriously hard to play, and the side-scrolling game, though it had an awesome soundtrack, was way too difficult to be fun. It's complicated and unnecessarily confusing to have the same game released on different systems, but be completely different in terms of gameplay. It might as well have been two games, and maybe one of them would have been playable.
15 Batman Returns
Batman Returns is another game that felt like it was rushed to completion as movie promotion, instead of a good video game in its own right. The storyline is fun, because it is based on a great movie. However, the gameplay doesn't measure up. Without Batman, this is just a simplified game with difficult controls. The game is not difficult, but the complicated controls make the game a lot less fun. Batman is pretty slow, too, which makes throwing clowns against the wall less exciting. The graphics make this game seem better than it actually was, though, The individual characters are recognizable and the clown-smashing animation never gets old. With some more work on the controls, this could have been a much better game. As far as movie tie-in games are concerned, it's OK, but there is room for improvement and virtually no replay value.
14 Batman: Rise Of Sin Tzu
This game is a bit of an outlier in the Batman universe, which is a good thing. In a line full of lackluster movie tie-in games and animated series adaptations, Batman fighting a warrior using Sun Tzu's Art of War as a template for his Gotham takeover was a much-needed fresh concept for the Bat. Sin Tzu was created for this game, but the roster of recognizable villains like Clayface and Scarecrow keep the game feeling like part of the Batman world. This is a fun 3D romp through Batman's glory days of beating up street thugs and punching villains right in the face, which is a nice change from the increasingly gritty Batman being pushed in the cinematic universe. Overall, Rise of Sin Tzu is a game remembered for being fun and new, and it's worth a replay even today.
13 Batman: Return Of The Joker
Batman: Return of the Joker is another game that is separate from the movies, which seems to be a positive for most of the games that aren't movie tie-ins. It's no secret that there are many versions of Batman across comics, movies, cartoons, and video games, and having games that get to develop their own characterization for Batman keeps the stories feeling fresh instead of recycled. This is a classic Batman adventure, with Batman fighting the Joker in Gotham. Batman has a fully functional utility belt, fun controls, and the setting provides many opportunities for jumping and fighting. It's a fun game with some decent replay value, and it really feels like a Batman game straight out of the old comics. This game isn't perfect, but it stands up over time, though the same can't be said for its later release for the Game Boy.
12 Batman: The Video Game
Batman: The Video Game is pretty straightforward, which is obvious from its name. It is loosely based on the beloved 1989 movie, and was one of the first pioneers of the darker, gritty Batman in games that actually made him seem cool. The NES release of this game is a true gem. It's undeniably a Batman game, and it is nonstop fun. The controls are not very intuitive, and there are only five levels, but the stream of villains and the exciting Joker fight at the end make up for the shortcomings in the control and gameplay. This is another Batman game that suffers from inconsistency, though, as releases on other platforms strayed further from the movie's source material and were not as successful or fun to play. Like the Batman movie, though, this game is worth revisiting every once in a while.
11 Lego Batman: The Videogame
Lego Batman was the first go at a Lego-based Batman game, but not the first go at a Lego game. Not much was changed for this version of the Lego video game, so it feels very formulaic and repetitive, with a little Batman thrown in for fun. This is not based on a movie or TV series like other games, but is a straight Batman game based on different interpretations of the characters. It is fun to play, but certainly feels like a game designed to sell toys. It is a very basic, overdone Batman plot of villains escaping from Arkham. The large cast of characters makes it fun, but even diehard Batman fans will be questioning the inclusion of certain fringe characters. This Lego Batman game was improved upon in later iterations, but this first attempt was just OK.
10 Injustice: Gods Among Us
Injustice: Gods Among Us is a DC game with a huge roster of familiar comic book characters, but somehow it still manages to be very much a Batman game. It is an impressive game for every skill level. For beginners, the draw is an intriguing storyline that feels very connected to comics (there are Injustice comics, after all), and features a huge cast of characters. For serious gamers, the game is unique and exciting, featuring an update on classic Mortal Kombat systems and an innovative story mode. This game did not have to be so detailed, and it still would have been fun, but they really went the extra mile to make it interactive and exciting. There were some issues with the interactive element, but overall it is a great play and a great Batman appearance.
9 Batman: Arkham Origins
Batman: Arkham Origins suffers the sting of being a sequel/prequel, and we know from Star Wars movies that this scenario does not always end well. While the game is interesting because the story and events set the stage for the other Arkham games, the actual content of the game by itself is not impressive. The other Arkham games are similar, but providing a new context for similar mechanics keeps them interesting. In Arkham Origins, everything feels predictable and eventually just plain boring. It does nothing to advance the series, and it is easily overshadowed by the other, more exciting Arkham games. The multi-player option is also convoluted and underwhelming. Overall, this game seems like it should be really great, and it was a highly-anticipated title, but it fell flat compared to other Arkham games.
8 Batman: The Brave And The Bold
Batman: The Brave And The Bold is a game modeled after the animated television series of the same name. Unlike some of the earlier Batman game adaptations from the cinematic universe, The Brave and the Bold is a perfect representation of the source material. This game is fun, funny, and an all-around good time for players of every skill level. It lacks online play, but the co-op implementation is simple and perfect to make up for that. Batman is always fighting alongside another hero, and the personalities of all the characters are well-crafted. The cut scenes are hilarious, and the entire storyline is exciting to play through. This 2D beat-em-up game feels like the cartoon, and the jokes coupled with easy gameplay and an interesting plot make this game one of the best Batman video game appearances.
7 Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham
Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham is a mostly fun game that just isn't sure what direction it wants to take. While it solves some of the problems of its prequels, and of Lego games in general, it has some definite problems as well. This Batman game plays more like a Justice League party game and every DC character was invited. It's not unlike the movie in that respect, but the huge cast of characters and the different versions of Batman make the story less clear. There are some puzzles that lack direction, and the plot doesn't always connect, but the characters are consistently fun (especially the Flash!). If you can survive this game without your ears bleeding from Conan O'Brien's grating, repetitive narration, this is one of the better Lego games on the market.
6 Batman: Arkham Knight
Arkham Knight is a worthwhile visit to Gotham, and takes a different approach to the storyline. In this game, you are forced to explore the darker side of Batman as he seeks out the Arkham Knight and deals with Scarecrow. Batman has to realize that he is not innocent in the suffering of his loved ones and his city, a plot that makes for a dark, serious game. The audiovisual elements and the combat are excellent, but that is true of the other Arkham games as well, which makes Arkham Knight feel safe and somewhat repetitive. The storytelling is heavy-handed at points, which takes some drama out of the big reveals. The best addition to this game is undoubtedly the Batmobile, but it feels like the game relies on that a little too much. This is a great game, but other installments in this line outshine it.
5 Batman: Arkham Asylum
Arkham Asylum is a familiar name, but this video game did the played out "Villains Breakout" scenario in an intriguing new way that actually made for a fun game, instead of a formulaic, repetitive plot. Eidos and Rocksteady produced a creepy, exciting, fun Batman third-person action game that feels like a dark, gritty realistic Batman story. The game opens right into the action and doesn't let up, even though the more nuanced detective work. Fighting iconic villains like Harley Quinn and Scarecrow are high points in the game. The controls are great and the gameplay is smooth, making for a fun game that keeps delivering all the way to the end. The voice acting, especially Mark Hamill's Joker, is irreplaceable. There could be more boss battles, but the riddles and mysteries make up for that. This game is excellent, and still fun to play almost a decade later.
4 Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes
This Lego game takes a few turns away from the generic Lego video game formula, which comes with a few growing pains but is a good choice that set the stage for the following Lego games. Lego Batman 2 features an open world, so you can veer from the story and the levels to explore all of Gotham. The characters have new powers and outfits, and the puzzles are workable and actually make sense. This is not only a great Lego Batman game, but it implemented positive changes that revitalized Lego games as a whole. There is so much to explore in this game, and the full voice cast fleshes out the characters and jokes like never before. It holds up and has a lot of replay value for all ages.
3 Batman: Arkham City
The Arkham games are all at the forefront of good Batman video games, but Arkham City is something special. The plot builds on Arkham Asylum, and takes place in a part of Gotham that now functions as a chaotic super-prison. Batman struggles to bring some semblance of order to North Gotham, but the villains have other ideas. The open world is incredibly detailed, down to each snowflake that falls on Batman's black cowl. The voice acting is superb and the interaction with the most famous villains from Batman's rogues gallery create endless twists and turns. The Arkham combat system is still intact, and is improved by more integration of Batman's many gadgets. This is an excellent game that pays tribute to classic Batman stories from the comics, and creates something entirely new. This is a Batman game that is hard to beat.
2 Arkham VR
The only thing better than playing a really great Batman video game is actually being Batman, and Arkham VR is about as close as you can possibly get to donning the cowl and protecting Gotham yourself. The story is somewhat repetitive, as it pulls from other games, and the gameplay is fairly straightforward. Where this game succeeds is bringing players directly into the action via virtual reality. Who knew all you needed to live out your dreams of being the caped crusader was a PlayStation 4? If this was not a VR title, it would probably be a little lower on this list based on gameplay alone, but the magic of calling the Batmobile, pulling gadgets out of your utility belt, and just looking into the mirror and seeing yourself as Batman is a comic book magic that can't be replaced.
1 Batman: The Telltale Series
Telltale has been turning the gaming industry around, focusing on titles that pull inspiration from comics and other properties to create intricate worlds with rich storytelling and solidly intriguing plotlines. This interactive gaming experience was released in five parts, and the chapters guided players through the real world of Bob Kane and Bill Fingers' iconic Batman comics. This series allowed players to not only become Batman, but to become Bruce Wayne, the man behind the mask. Besides some minor technical issues, this game is impeccable. It is also the perfect bridge from comics to video games for Batman fans, as the intricate storytelling and immersive world of Gotham are accessible to fans who have never played a game before. Telltale is catering to a new generation of gamers, and it seems that we will only see more amazing things from the current sequel.