Batman: The Video Game is a video game inspired by the 1989 film Batman. The game was developed by Sunsoft and it was released in 1989 in Japan for the Famicom, but mouths later in 1990 was released in North America for the Nintendo Entertainment System and other mouths later in Europe. The NES version of Batman is a platform action game that features locations from the 1989 movie. It contains five levels culminating in a showdown with the Joker in the belltower of Gotham Cathedral.
The game has a feature that was unusual to side-scrolling platform games at the time, largely to the NES itself. Unlike the other Batman game that was released for the Mega Drive/Genesis, Batman has the ability to wall jump, which is reminiscent of wall scaling in Ninja Gaiden. He is also able to use three projectile weapons: the Batarang, Batdisk, and Bat Speargun, which are powered by pellet cartridges.
The citizens of Gotham City are busy planning the city's 200th Anniversary Festival, but there is not much to celebrate. Crime and violence rule the city.
After Jack Napier falls into a vat of chemicals he became "The Joker", and now he has terrorized the population by spreading poisonous DDID Nerve Gas all over town.
The only man who can free the city from the Joker's evil clutches is one and only "Batman".
Batman recalls the Joker as the murderer of his parents when he was a kid, and Batman with full force has to defeat the Joker and save the good people of Gotham City and avenge his parents death.
Batman is armed with special weapons and acrobatic strenght. He must defeat different types of enemies and machines to come face-to-face with the Joker on the final battle in the Cathedral.
- Gotham City: Batman Begins his Adventure in Gotham City as he investigates the "DDID" Nerve Gas Scandal, Batman travels through the dark, deserted main street. In the second area he encounters a shopping mall background with skyscrapers at the bottom. There is no sign of life, only the steel skeletons of buildings and the steel structure of freeway. Finally Batman reaches City Hall, located in the center of Gotham City where he must defeat the Boss "Killer Moth"
- Axis Chemical Factory: The Joker's hideout, the Axis Chemical Factory, is Batman's next challenge. Here, he must cross a Liquid Waste Floor, the plant to processing chemical waste; the Spark Floor, equipped with operational panels of power for the entire factory; the Conveyer-Belt Floor, where chemical materials are refined; and finally the Nerve Center where Batman must out-smart security traps and destroy the entire "Machine Intelligence System".
- Underground Conduit: Even though Batman successfully destroyed the Chemical Factory, he is caught in a trap by the Joker and dropped into an underground conduit. Underground Conduits I and II are a network of swers connecting all Gotham City. Here, Batman must find the secret exit, the underground Cavern. The water flowing through the conduits generates power for the Underground Station in the Cavern. When Batman finds the exiit, he must defeat "The Electrocutioner".
- Laboratory Ruins: The Joker's other hideout, the Laboratory Ruins, is a contaminated, deserted laboratory. As Batman enters the Research Laboratory he sees an array of futuristic life samples made by genetic engineering. The next area Batman searches is the storage room, an almost empty warehouse with reserch engineering tools and equipment, energy conduits and power driving motors. Finally Batman reaches the Thermal Processing Plant where a burning hot flame is used to process waste and refuse. After Batman finds the exit he must destroy the "Dual-Container Alarm".
- Cathedral: The secret Transmitter leads Batman to his greatest challenge - The Cathedral. After climbing the dark narrow staircase to the Bell Tower, Batman is attacked by the Joker's trusted bodyguard, "Firebug". After eliminating Firebug, he is greeted by none-other-than "The Joker", where he has his final battle.
Batman has to face many villains in the game besides the Joker:
- Maxie Zeus
- Mobile Tracker
- Mobile Home Mine
- The Enforcer
- Drop Claw
- Rail Runner
- Killer Moth: The Joker hired this assassin to attack Batman by shooting fireballs.
- Machine Intelligence System: This machine controls the power of the Axis Chemical Factory. Is protected by 3 Targets: "The Electric current controller" - when destroyed the movement stops and Batman can move freely over otherwise moving pillar. "The Cannon" this target controls the shield wall who protects the Nerve Center. "The Nerve Center" is awakened after the first two targets are destroyed.
- Electrocutioner: The Joker's strongest warrior. A self-electrogenic man, who is capable of transmitting a "Moon Attacker" (a 10 Mega-Giga volt killer beam) out of his arm.
- Dual Containment Alarm: This machine controls dual-container vehicles that can stop any intruder. In an emergency, he is programmed to trigger fire bombs.
- Firebug: The Joker's most trusted bodyguard. He wants to revenge on Batman for personal reasons. Batman defeated his brother, so Firebug will stop at nothing to kill Batman. He can emit 600 million °C fireballs that will instantly dissolve anything into atomic pieces. He is definitely Batman's most powerful enemy besides the Joker.
- The Joker: Batman's greatest enemy, who wants Batman dead to take control of Gotham City, and also because Batman threw him into an vat of chemicals in the past. The Joker is equipped by his big gun who shoots deadly energy missiles, and also has a Lightning glove, when he raise his hand three deadly lightning bolts will fall.
The prototype version of the game had some significant differences, such as a 1UP icon and entirely different cut-scenes. The cut-scenes are pixelated takes on Brian Bolland's panels in Killing Joke. The game's original last boss was Firebug and there was no Joker boss. Instead, Batman defeats the Joker in the ending cut-scene. The art and dialogue were changed from the prototype to the final version to better reflect the look and events from the movie.
The NES version has received positive reviews by critics and players. Allgame editor Brett Alan Weiss called the game "the best superhero game for the NES". The NES version is also considered by many players and reviewers to be one of the most difficult games ever released for the system.
The game is also remembered for having one of the best soundtracks for the NES history, composed by Naoki Kodaka.