Caped Crusader’s Comeback: Batman – Return of Joker NES Review

Batman – Return of Joker for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) is an iconic game of its time. As a sequel to Batman, this game stands out amongst the plethora of Batman games due to its unique graphics, music, and storyboard. The game was released in 1991 and was developed by Sunsoft. Fans of the caped crusader were excited to dive into the world that Return of Joker presented. In this article, we’ll be exploring the different aspects of this game, including the background, gameplay mechanics, graphics, and soundtrack. Additionally, we will be analyzing the game’s reception and the lasting impact it had on future Batman games. Join us as we take a detailed look at this beloved NES game.

Batman has long been a staple of the video game industry, with his first appearance in a game known as “Batman” in 1986. Since then, Batman games have evolved alongside advancements in gaming technology. These include games like “Batman: Arkham Asylum” and “Batman: Telltale Series.” However, one game that fans of the franchise still remember is “Batman – Return of Joker” for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES).

The game was first released in 1991 by Sunsoft and was praised for its innovative gameplay mechanics and striking visuals. It was one of the early NES games that pushed the limitations of the system, and its development process was a perfect blend of creativity, technology, and timing.

Developers at Sunsoft made it a point to focus on Batman’s unique skills and abilities, such as his stealth tactics and his unwavering will to overcome any obstacle. They also paid close attention to the game’s villains, particularly Joker, who played a prominent role in this video game adaptation.

It wasn’t just the game’s mechanics that made it stand out, though; it was also the way the game’s characters and environments were rendered. Sunsoft’s artists mastered the use of light and shadow and created dynamic levels that mirrored the comic book world.

Overall, “Batman – Return of Joker” was a product of a significant time of creativity, ambition and technological advancements in gaming, making it the perfect addition to the Batman gaming universe.

Gameplay Mechanics

Batman – Return of Joker NES game features Batman as its protagonist, who must navigate levels and combat enemies through various gadgets. The game is a platformer, in which players move left or right to find a path that leads them to the new sections of the level.

The game is renowned for how it uses Batman’s gadgets to create an immersive experience for the player. Batman has a variety of gadgets at his disposal, and each serves its unique purpose. For example, the batarang will allow players to attack foes from afar, while grappling hooks can enable Batman to swing across the screen.

Return of Joker is renowned for its challenging gameplay mechanics. Players must be skilled in navigating Batman across levels covered in obstacles that hinder progress. Enemies, including robots, tanks, and other villains, provide aggressive opposition too. Bereft of a health bar, it only takes one enemy attack to defeat Batman.

Return of Joker features a wide range of enemies, each with unique skills and strengths. Players face enemies who attack from a distance or engage in melee combat. They must be vigilant and choose specific weapons to counter the attacks of each type of enemy.

Batman – Return of Joker is a game that challenges any player’s reflexes and skill. From the difficulty of the levels to the variety of enemies the player faces, it is a game that immerses the player into the world of Batman.

Graphics and Soundtrack

Batman – Return of Joker NES is unique in terms of graphics and soundtrack. Comparing it to other NES games, the game developers gave significant attention to the visuals and sound. When players engage in combat in this game, the graphics employed make the experience unique.

Graphics play a significant role in creating an immersive and exciting gameplay atmosphere for gamers. The graphics team at Sunsoft, the game makers, went above and beyond in designing and replicating some of the iconic places present in the Batman series. Their efforts in graphics helped to maintain and uphold the integrity of the game, especially for fans of the Batman series.

The soundtrack is also impressive in the game. The Return of Joker NES game’s theme music complements the game’s intense and challenging nature. The music perfectly captures the attitude, tone, and energy of the game. The upbeat tracks stimulate the player’s cognitive processes and enhance enjoyable moments in the game.

Overall, Return of Joker NES game’s graphics and soundtrack are impressive and contribute significantly to the entire gaming experience. Both components work together in tandem to provide an immersive gaming experience. Sunsoft’s attention to detail sets this game apart from its competitors in the NES platform.

Reception and Legacy

Upon its release in 1991, Batman – Return of Joker for NES sold well, receiving generally favorable reviews for its challenging gameplay, graphics, and soundtrack. Critics praised it as a worthy successor to the original Batman game, lauding its improved graphics and soundtrack. The polish on the game was appreciated as Return of Joker provided varied and challenging levels with a difficulty curve that felt rewarding upon completion, adding to its replay value. It was highly rated in magazines like Nintendo Power, VG & CE, and Electronic Gaming Monthly.

Even though the game’s reception was good, its legacy is somewhat understated. Batman – Return of Joker marks the last NES game featuring the Dark Knight until 1992, when Batman Returns game was released on the Nintendo console. While Return of Joker was not a commercial success as expectations, it retains a strong following among retro gamers today. Batman – Return of Joker’s legacy is more prominent considering that it was the last game of the franchise for several years, and also that it maintains a cult classic status today, as it has been included in Batman video game compilations.

The excellent gameplay of this game contributed to capturing Batman’s essence in an action-packed game. Additionally, the soundtrack, produced by Naoki Kodaka, perfectly complements the game’s atmosphere. It sets the tone for a superhero adventure through the upbeat action tracks and dark, foreboding tones. The graphics are also some of the NES’s best, with detailed visuals making for one of the most impressive games of the hardware’s lifespan.

Without a doubt, the Nintendo Entertainment System era holds an exceptional place in the evolution of video games, and Batman – Return of Joker is a hidden gem among the thousands of titles released. The game’s successful reception upon release and its enduring legacy make it an underrated classic. Return of Joker is an innovative game that defined the Batman franchise in the 1990s. It’s regarded as a unique platforming game that accurately captures what makes the Batman character enjoyable and exciting to play, and it should be celebrated for what it did for the superhero genre, as well as for being a genuinely remarkable NES game.


After thorough analysis of Batman – Return of Joker NES game, it’s safe to say that it remains one of the best Batman games of all time. The game’s history, graphics, soundtrack, and gameplay are still stunning and entertaining even today. It’s still an excellent example of what a good side-scrolling action game should be.

Return of Joker’s impact on future Batman games is still significant, as it laid the foundation for modern Batman games. With its intriguing storyline, graphic style, and impressive mechanics, it has become an iconic game that will forever be remembered for what it brings to the Batman gaming universe.

For those who have yet to play this classic game, we highly recommend giving it a try. Fans of beat ’em up style action games, Batman games, and retro gaming enthusiasts should consider immersing themselves in the world of Batman – Return of Joker NES. It’s a game that stands the test of time and continues to be a must-play game for gamers of all ages.


1. What makes Batman – Return of Joker NES game stand out?

The game stands out for its challenging gameplay, impressive graphics, and amazing soundtrack.

2. What gadgets can players use in Batman – Return of Joker NES game?

Players can use various gadgets such as the Batarang, Grappling Hook, and Rolling Shield to defeat enemies and progress through levels.

3. What kind of enemies will players face in the game?

Players will face a variety of enemies such as Joker’s henchmen, robots, and bosses that require unique strategies to defeat.

4. How was Batman – Return of Joker NES game received upon release?

The game received positive reviews upon release and was praised for its challenging gameplay, graphics, and soundtrack.

5. How did Batman – Return of Joker NES game impact future Batman games?

The success of Batman – Return of Joker NES game paved the way for future Batman games to focus on challenging gameplay, impressive graphics, and immersive soundtrack.

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