The Adventures of Batman and Robin Sega Genesis Review
By: John C. Mayberry
September 5, 1992 marked the premiere of Batman: The Animated Series on the Fox network, which decades later is still considered to be one of the best representations of the beloved character that first appeared in Detective Comics #27 in 1939. And sure enough, when any network has an animated property that becomes a huge success, they’ll promote it through merchandising including things like coloring books, toys, and especially video games. The show would be adapted to video game form on several consoles, like the Super Nintendo, GameBoy and Sega Genesis, not one game being the same or in any way as similar as the other.
The story of the game is revealed in an opening sequence that depicts someone orchestrating the escapes of Joker, the Mad Hatter and Two-Face from Arkham Asylum. They mystery figure’s face is never shown, but anyone familiar with the Batman mythos will figure out who it is immediately. Konami, the same company behind the Contra series, co-published the game with Sega and features some similarities to Contra, especially in its run and gun style gameplay, with the player’s primary attack being batarangs combined with limited physical attacks. The one hit deaths are replaced with a small life bar, and the challenge of dodging a merciless onslaught of enemies and enemy attacks is present as well, probably right up there with difficulty when compared to Contra, if not more so. Difficulty aside, this is yet another gem of the Sega Genesis console which pushes the limits of the sound quality of the console as well as graphics capabilities. Very reminiscent of the art style of the show, the game also features some of the most fluid movements in any game of the olden times of the 16-bit era. The button response is also on point, which is key since the game’s obstacles will have your fingers doing acrobatics never thought humanly possible.
With batarang upgrades and numerous health pick-ups (you will need them, trust me) to help you along the way, The Adventures of Batman and Robin for the Sega Genesis is truly something to behold for fans of Batman: The Animated Series and gamers alike. A definite challenge for anyone who pops this into their console, sure, but one challenge that will keep you coming back to test your hand-eye coordination in ways you never thought possible. With that said, load this into your Genesis if you’re brave enough and be ready for a nostalgic visit back to the early 90s, where the cartoons were the best and the video game difficulty was just downright malevolent sometimes. Malevolent, but addictive all the same.
- Opening Cutscene – With smooth transitions and images that stay consistent with the look of the show, it also does a good job in laying out the game’s basic plot while also attempting to add a hint of mystery in the mix by not revealing the face of the mastermind.
- Smooth Gameplay – Keeps with the show’s fluid and smooth animation by providing the same effect for the game in character and object movements.
- Responsive Controls – Thinking of the level of hand-eye coordination and reflexes needed to play this game it helps that the game controls are very responsive and don’t let you down in the least when facing the more challenging parts of the game.
- Graphics – Aside from retaining the look of the show, the graphics are something else too in how sharp and clear they are. Even the structures have a bit of a 3-D effect and are presented as though they’re looming over you in sinister fashion, adding emphasis to the slightly darker tone of the show compared to other cartoons of the time.
- Soundtrack – Although probably not the kind of music you’d hear from the Batman: The Animated Series, and sure some won’t see it as perfect, but Sega definitely pushed the Genesis to its limits with this one with regards to sound quality and music composition. Although some of the game’s music gives off more of a techno, club kid kind of feel, others sound darker and are more fitting to the tone of the game. Fitting or not fitting, and although not without its small flaws, a great example of the Genesis’ sound capabilities, nonetheless.
- Difficulty – Although like Contra gameplay wise, the game does also share similarities in difficulty. Playing through some players may find themselves easily overwhelmed by an almost non-stop onslaught of enemies from nearly all directions, requiring your eyes to be sharp and reflexes to be faster than some might be used to, especially to the younger audience this game was aimed at.
- Prolonged Levels – On top of the game’s difficulty there were also at least a couple of instances where the game’s level’s go on longer than they should have. The sky battle stage is the most notorious example of this, with the multiple enemies and projectiles attacking you at once with the level itself easily lasting two or three times longer than any section of any arcade style aerial combat game. Some will likely put the controller down and power off their console out boredom, probably frustration also, just for how long this level is.
- Unbalanced Audio – Not very prominent in the game at all, but there are sound effects throughout that could distract players for sure because of how overpowering they are compared to the rest of the game’s audio. The music alone can be easily drowned out, and quite possibly the inducing of shock and urination of anyone who happens to play their games with the volume up high.
- Method of Attack – The batarang is one of Batman’s most used items in his entire arsenal of non-lethal offensive tools. They’ve been known to be used often, but I’m sure not as often as having near lightning speed to do it constantly. This is basically his main method of attacking (thank the virtual gods you can just hold down the attack button instead of having to push it repeatedly, can you imagine how sore your thumbs would be?) which to some may come off as a little ridiculous. The hand-to-hand fighting that I’m sure would have been preferable and more effective to many takes a back seat, only becoming active when the enemy is in range of being punched or kicked, or if the player does a double-jump which automatically results in an air kick. Gone also are the various gadgets that could’ve enhanced the experience to be more than what it was.
OVERALL RATING – 6.75 out of 10
Another out of the many examples of the nostalgic 90s, The Adventures of Batman and Robin on the Sega Genesis, does have a few good things going for it. With the graphics, color schemes used and fluidity of character and object movement, you are drawn into the world of Batman: The Animated Series in a way unique to the Genesis console. For all of its good qualities, however, there are just as many things that could’ve been done differently or avoided altogether to make the game more playable rather than a test to the player’s patience.