Mean Machines Sega

Batman: Revenge Of The Joker

Publisher: Sunsoft
Machine: Sega Genesis

Published in Mean Machines Sega #7

Batman: Revenge Of The Joker

They say that behind the smiles and laughter of every comedian there lurks a private sadness. Some, like Bernard Manning, have to face every day in the shadow of obesity. Some, such as Smith & Jones, aren't as funny as they used to be. And others, Jimmy Tarbuck for instance, just aren't very funny at all. However, there is one comedian whose private tragedy outweighs that of all of his contemporaries. Yes, the Joker, for it is he, is cursed with having had his act at Bridlington Pier and his own gameshow on satellite TV cancelled when he refused an appearance on Celebrity Squares. Now a washed-up has-been of the comedy scene he once strode over like a Colossus, the Joker can't even get a job presenting Lucky Ladders. What's a guy to do when faced with such interminable odds? Joker has no way to keep himself in the style to which he had grown accustomed other than turning to a life of crime.

Now the Joker plans to wreak his revenge on those who mocked him and the audiences who didn't laugh loud enough. He has robbed a number of hi-tech weapons facilities and purloined a good deal of deadly armaments. So, under the pretence of being a major promoter, Joker is organising a bit 'chaa-ridy' bash featuring all of the comedy old school. Now, when the Royal Really Big Hall is filled to capacity with stars and their fans the Joker and his cronies shall unleash a furious barrage of fiery doom. And only the Joker's old adversary (and purveyor of good taste in comedy) Batman can save the world in this - gasp! - horizontally-scrolling platform shooter from Sunsoft, creators of the original Megadrive Batman game.


Sequel to the Megadrive Batman game, this time converted from the NES sequel of the same name.

How To Play

Batman: Revenge Of The Joker

Guide Batman across the shoot-'em-up or platform stages. Take care to watch your limited energy supply, though.

Take My Wife...

Batman may be a costumed fighter of crime and seeker of justice, but no-one's safe on the streets any more. As a result, Batson has ditched his familiar fisticuffs as a means of self-defence and tooled himself up with some slightly heavier weight kit. He starts the game with a rapid-fire Batarang gun, which fires sharp-edged Batarangs at his foes.

Whilst this is highly useful for ridding the world of your average street thugs, the Joker's henchmen are made of somewhat sterner stuff, and as such Batters needs to take advantage of the many power-up crates littered around the path to the Joker's hideout.

Batman: Revenge Of The Joker

You see, Batman's new costume has a number of built-in weapons, each one requiring batteries. When Batman picks up one of the power cells hidden in the many crates lying around he is able to choose which weapon to power up next, although only one weapon is available at any one time. Batman's arsenal is as follows:

1. Batarang Standard Batarang armament, although these ones are equipped with groovy heat-seeking capabilities. A bit of a pain when they start homing in on boxes when there's an enemy on screen, though.

2. Crossbow Fires single energy bolts. Easily the most powerful weapon, capable of destroying even the hardest enemy in one or two shots, although the fire rate is very slow. One for the pinpoint marksmen.

Batman: Revenge Of The Joker

3. Sonic Neutraliser Not a device for crippling hedgehogs (tee ho), but a really clever weapon that shoots two beams of Sonic Batarangs in a criss-cross pattern across the screen. Very fast fire rate, but not all that powerful.

4. Shield Star Fires star-shaped darts in three directions. Sadly, this weapon is a bit of turkey. The fire rate doesn't match the Sonic Neutraliser, and neither does the power. Absolutely hopeless.

I Just Flew In From Chicago...

Batman's defences aren't merely limited to guns and bombs, despite his move towards more deadly territory. His martial arts skills are still in good working order, and indeed, they make quite an appearance in Revenge Of The Joker. With the single press of a button Batski executes a short-ranged but very powerful Ninja King Fu Chun Li donkey-style kick.

Batman: Revenge Of The Joker

Pressing the kick button in conjunction with UP on the joypad or the jump button makes Batty Boy perform an impressive flying kick for altitudinally-advantaged opponents. What's more, due to the fantastic anti-friction soles on Batman's boots he's also capable of pulling off amazing one-foot walking kicks from a standard start!

These moves are more powerful than the standard gun attacks but they do leave our hero more open to attack.

I Wouldn't Say My Wife's Fat...

Eerily enough, Batman, named after a bat, has absolutely none of the abilities of the nocturnal flying mammal. He can't fly, he can't use sonar and he can't even hang upside down by his feet. He can, however, slide along the floor at high speeds. The manoeuvre is effective for both offence and defence. Used offensively this sliding tackle sweeps opponents feet from under them, causing them to die.

Batman: Revenge Of The Joker

It's also a useful move for dodging low bullets or sneaking past really hard hazards and guards. Mind you, I think I'd rather be able to fly and hang upside down by my feet.


Sunsoft certainly scored well with their original Batman game, capturing as it did the Gothic feel of the film in the excellent early Megadrive platform game. Well, since then the Megadrive has been flooded with platform games, including another Batman effort, and this time Sunsoft don't have the big-name film licence to cash in on.

However, although the odds are stacked firmly against Revenge Of The Joker being worth mentioning, it's actually really good. The graphics are fantastic, very colourful and detailed, capturing the spirit of the comic the same way the first game captured the spirit of the film.

Batman: Revenge Of The Joker

The action is very varied indeed, switching between standard platform stages, jet-pack shoot-'em-up stages, scrolling zeppelin chases and loads of other styles. The whole thing is worked together seamlessly, so there's none of the patchiness you may expect from such a varied title.

Revenge Of The Joker is also abso-blinking-lutely dead rock hard indeed. There's so much going on and so much to watch out for you can't relax for a second. It may be a conversion of an NES title, but ROJ is a splendid game.


Cor, it's only March and I've already got a leading contender for Donkey of the Year - namely this game's playtester! Whoever came up with the idea for both a password system and infinite continues should be shot immediately.

Batman: Revenge Of The Joker

The problem is that it effectively gives you infinite lives - meaning that you can spawn your way through the levels and note down the passwords - it's almost like cheating through the game. Eventually, you find yourself at the Joker.

Now, by this time, you've died so many times, you've collected masses of special power-up crystals, meaning that just a few taps of the A, B and C buttons is enough to finish the game. I cannot state in words how pathetic that is!

It's a real shame because otherwise it's a great game, with some excellent, moody graphics, decent sound and addictive gameplay - quite ironic really, considering it's the addictiveness that exposes its incredible flaw.


Batman: Revenge Of The Joker

Presentation 90%
P. Loads of Bat intermissions and Bat presentation screens. N. Limited Bat options.

Graphics 92%
P. Big, detailed sprites, great use of colour, fine backgrounds and smart animation.

Sound 87%
P. Atmospheric tunes accompany the game and the effects are varied and of good quality. N. One gun noise in particular is extremely irritating.

Batman: Revenge Of The Joker

Playability 89%
P. Fast, responsive, loads of things to see and do, and Batman himself has a wide repertoire of moves.

Lastability 58%
P. Seven long levels, and a decent challenge. N. Both infinite continues and passwords enables you to spawn your way through the game too quickly.

Overall 68%
Probably the best adaptation of Batman ever. It's a great game, unfortunately ruined by the sad inclusion of both a password feature and infinite continues, meaning you can sail through it with only a few sessions' play.