Jump to content

Batman: Return of the Joker

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Batman: Return of the Joker
Packaging for the NES version
Ringler Studios (GEN/MD)
Designer(s)Yoshiaki Iwata
Tadashi Kojima
Programmer(s)H. Suzuki, Hirokatsu Fujii (NES)
Chris Oke (GEN/MD)
Michio Okasaka (Game Boy)
Artist(s)Lance Hutto, Karen Ffinch, Klee Miller, Chris Oke, Simon Ffinch, Ed Ringler (GEN/MD)
Naoki Kodaka
Game Boy
Manami Matsumae
Tommy Tallarico
Platform(s)NES, Game Boy, Sega Genesis
  • NES
    • JP/NA: December 20, 1991
    • EU: November 19, 1992
    Game Boy
    • JP: March 28, 1992
    • NA: 1992

Batman: Return of the Joker[a] is a 1991 platform video game, the follow-up to Sunsoft's first Batman game on the Nintendo Entertainment System. Unlike that game, which was based on the 1989 Batman film directed by Tim Burton, Return of the Joker is entirely self-contained and based more on the modern comic book iteration of Batman, but the Batmobile and the Batwing are featured from the 1989 film. A remake of Return of the Joker, titled Batman: Revenge of the Joker, was released on the Sega Genesis by Ringler Studios in 1992. A Super NES version of Revenge of the Joker was completed but never officially released; a ROM image surfaced online in later years.

A completely different version of the game was released on the Game Boy in 1992.


NES version[edit]

In Batman: Return of the Joker, the titular hero is on journey to the Joker's secret hide-out after called by Gotham City to find metals stolen by the Joker, one of which is highly toxic and used to build explosives for missiles.[1] The NES version of Batman: Return of the Joker consists of seven stages, each of which have two sub-levels (except for the last stage) and a boss level (except for the second and fifth stages); from beginning to end, they are the Gotham City cathedral, the Joker's warehouse, a snowy mountain, a refinery, an underground conduit, an ammunition base, and the Island of Ha-Hacienda.[2] Although Batman has three lives, the game has unlimited continues[3] and stage passwords that can be accessed by pausing the game.[4] The game's five bosses include the Ace Ranger, a Minedroid, the Master C.P.U. of the refinery, and two battles with the Joker;[2] for regular levels, Batman's health is represented in increments, but in the boss stages, both Batman and the boss's life meters are represented in numbers.[5]

Return of the Joker is a side-scrolling run and gun platformer.[6][7] Batman's weapon is a wrist projector[8] which the player change its type of ammunition by collecting icons throughout the levels: "C" icons for the crossbow, which shoots arrows that makes an enemy explode, "B" icons for "Batarangs", where its direction follows the movement of on-screen enemies, N for "Sonic Neutralizers" that shoots two patterns of Batarangs in a criss-cross shape, and "S" for "Shield Stars" that shoots three darts going separate directions.[9] Batman can slide by pressing the A-button and down on the D-pad, a move that is also an attack (although it only works against some enemies).[8] Batman can also collect energy capsules that, if eight are obtained, will make him become invincible for a few seconds.[9]

Game Boy version[edit]

The Game Boy version, unlike the NES version where the character shoots, is only a platformer.[7]


Dave Cook of Nintendo Life wrote that while Batman: Return of the Joker was "fun and challenging it doesn't feel as revolutionary as its predecessor despite being a commendable effort".[39]

Syfy Wire, in 2017, ranked the NES version of Batman: Return of the Joker the fourth most essential DC Comics video game adaptation to play.[40] Den of Geek ranked the Game Boy version the 22nd most underrated Game Boy game, praising its return of wall-jumping and beat 'em up mechanics of the 1989 Batman NES title, although complained about its limited continues.[41]

In 2019, IGN ranked the game's final boss the third best video game portrayal of the Joker of all-time.[42]

The Gamer, in 2020, claimed Return of the Joker to be the best-looking NES game ever, reasoning that the "sprites are fluid, the game's color palette is moody & atmospheric, and the backgrounds are as fleshed out as can be for an NES game".[43] Yacht Club Games artist Nick Wozniak has named the game's Batman sprite as one of his all-time favorite in games: "As an adult, I was in shock at what I was seeing… There's only ever one or two humanoid enemies on screen because they are completely bombing the NES with the graphics. They give him a powerup where he turns gold and he shoots a bunch of guys. It's like Super Batman. They don't care".[44]

The Gamer has also called it one of the best all-time Batman video games: "The graphics are surprisingly spritely for an early 90s game, with entertaining gameplay and an intriguing storyline helping make this game an enjoyable experience".[6] It has also been ranked the ninth-best Batman game by Uproxx[45] and the tenth-best by IGN Spain.[46] In a worst-to-best list of Batman video games by The Things, Return of the Joker came in number 12: "Almost everyone who reviewed it remarked on how amazing the graphics and backgrounds were. This was 16-bit quality on 8-bit machines. The gameplay wasn't as good as the prior Batman game, but only just. Building off the '89 game, combat-focused from attacks to gadgets, giving players greater variety. A better difficulty curve was also introduced".[47]


  1. ^ Known in Japan as Dynamite Batman (Japanese: ダイナマイトバットマン, Hepburn: Dainamaito Battoman)
  2. ^ a b In Electronic Gaming Monthly's reviews of both the Game Boy version and the NES version, two critics gave it an 8/10, one a 7/10, and another a 6/10.[14][15]
  3. ^ GamePro gave the NES version a 5/5 for graphics and four 4/5 ratings for sound, gameplay, fun factor, and challenge.[16]
  4. ^ Nintendo Power gave the NES version a 4.3/5 for graphics/sound, a 3.5/5 for challenge/excitement, and two 3.8/5 ratings for play control and theme/fun.[21]
  5. ^ Nintendo Power gave the Game Boy version 3.9/5 for graphics/sound, 3.4/5 for play control, 3.5/5 for challenge, and 3.6/5 for theme/fun.[22]
  6. ^ Nintendo Acción gave the NES version three 3/4 ratings for graphics, gameplay, and fun, and a 2/4 score for sound.[28]



  1. ^ NES instruction manual 1991, p. 4.
  2. ^ a b NES instruction manual 1991, p. 12.
  3. ^ NES instruction manual 1991, p. 11.
  4. ^ NES instruction manual 1991, p. 10.
  5. ^ NES instruction manual 1991, p. 9.
  6. ^ a b Handke, Tobias (August 27, 2018). "The 15 Best Batman Video Games Ever (And 14 That Are Embarrassing)". The Gamer. Retrieved September 17, 2020.
  7. ^ a b Davis, Justin (October 4, 2014). "A Complete History of Batman Video Games". IGN. Retrieved September 17, 2020.
  8. ^ a b NES instruction manual 1991, p. 6.
  9. ^ a b NES instruction manual 1991, p. 7.
  10. ^ Miller, Skyler. "Batman: Return of the Joker". AllGame. Archived from the original on November 15, 2014. Retrieved September 16, 2020.
  11. ^ Weiss, Brett Alan. "Batman: Revenge of the Joker". AllGame. Archived from the original on November 14, 2014. Retrieved September 17, 2020.
  12. ^ "Batman: Return of the Joker". Go!. No. 9. pp. 6–7.
  13. ^ Anglin, Paul (April 1993). "Batman: Revenge of the Joker". Computer and Video Games. No. 137. p. 40.
  14. ^ Harris, Steve; Semrad, Ed; Alessi, Martin; Sushi-X (May 1992). "Batman: Return of the Joker". Electronic Gaming Monthly. No. 34. p. 32.
  15. ^ Harris, Steve; Semrad, Ed; Alessi, Martin; Sushi-X (November 1991). "Batman 2". Electronic Gaming Monthly. No. 28. p. 20.
  16. ^ Earth Angel (December 1991). "Batman: Return of the Joker". GamePro. No. 29. pp. 26–27.
  17. ^ Scary Larry (May 1993). "Batman: Revenge of the Joker". GamePro. No. 46. p. 56.
  18. ^ Leach, James (April 1993). "Revenge of the Joker". GamesMaster. No. 4. pp. 42–43.
  19. ^ "Batman Return of the Joker". GameZone. No. 12. October 1992. pp. 58–59.
  20. ^ L'avis de Greatkev (June 16, 2011). "Batman: Return of the Joker". Jeuxvideo.com (in French). Retrieved September 16, 2020.
  21. ^ "Batman: Return of the Joker". Nintendo Power. Vol. 31. December 1991. pp. 8–17.
  22. ^ "Your Guide to the Latest Releases". Nintendo Power. Vol. 36. May 1992. p. 105.
  23. ^ Radion Automatic, Julian; Rignall (September 1992). "Batman: Return of the Joker". Nintendo Magazine System. No. 1. pp. 60–63.
  24. ^ "Total! Recall". Total!. No. 14. February 1993. p. 90.
  25. ^ James (October 1992). "Batman: Return of the Joker". Total!. No. 10. pp. 70–71.
  26. ^ "Batman: Return of the Joker". Zero. No. 36. October 1991. pp. 80–81.
  27. ^ "Batman II, Return of the Joker". Vol. 1, no. 2. July 1992. Retrieved September 17, 2020. {{cite magazine}}: Cite magazine requires |magazine= (help)
  28. ^ "Batman Return of the Joker". Nintendo Acción (in Spanish). No. 4. pp. 60–61.
  29. ^ "Batman: Return of the Joker". GB Action. No. 1. June 1992. pp. 20–21.
  30. ^ "Batman: Return of the Joker". N-Force. No. 2. August 1992. p. 47.
  31. ^ Mellerick, Paul (April 1993). "Batman Revenge of the Joker". Mega. No. 7. pp. 46–47.
  32. ^ Nick (May 1993). "Batman Revenge of the Joker". Mega Drive Advanced Gaming. No. 9. pp. 26–27.
  33. ^ "Batman: Return of the Joker". Mean Machines Sega. No. 7. April 1993. pp. 50–52.
  34. ^ "Batman Revenge of the Joker". MegaTech. No. 16. April 1993. pp. 58–59.
  35. ^ "Batman: Revenge of the Joker". Sega Force. No. 17. May 1993. pp. 82–84.
  36. ^ Wekh, Robbie (April 1993). "Batman: Revenge of the Joker". Sega Pro. No. 18. pp. 50–51.
  37. ^ "Batman Revenge Of the Joker". Sega Zone. No. 7. May 1993. pp. 42–43.
  38. ^ "Nintendo Power Awards '92: The NESTERS! And the nominees are". Nintendo Power. No. 46. March 1993. pp. 96–9.
  39. ^ Cook, Dave (March 24, 2016). "Feature: Batman V Superman In The Battle Of The Nintendo Games". Nintendo Life. Retrieved September 17, 2020.
  40. ^ "WATCH: 7 essential DC Comics video games that will make you feel like a superhero (or supervillain)". Syfy Wire. December 29, 2017. Archived from the original on August 14, 2020. Retrieved September 17, 2020.
  41. ^ Freiberg, Chris (August 27, 2018). "25 Underrated Game Boy Games". Den of Geek. Retrieved September 17, 2020.
  42. ^ Adler, Matthew (October 12, 2019). "The 5 Best Versions of Joker in Video Games, Ranked". IGN. Retrieved September 17, 2020.
  43. ^ Fontes, Renan (August 4, 2020). "10 Classic NES Games That Still Look Amazing Today". Game Rant. Retrieved September 17, 2020.
  44. ^ Kohler, Chris (July 30, 2014). "The 8 Best Sprites in Videogame History". Wired. Retrieved September 17, 2020.
  45. ^ Birch, Nathan (March 24, 2016). "Digital Dark Knight: Ranking The Titles That Prove Batman Is A Video Game Winner". Uproxx. Retrieved September 17, 2020.
  46. ^ Soriano, David (July 21, 2015). "Los mejores juegos de Batman". IGN Spain (in Spanish). Retrieved September 17, 2020.
  47. ^ Duval, Nicholas (May 23, 2019). "Batman: Every Video Game From Worst To Best, Officially Ranked". The Things. Retrieved September 17, 2020.[permanent dead link]


  • Batman: Return of the Joker (NES) instruction manual. Sunsoft. 1991. pp. 1–12.

External links[edit]