Just kidding, the Joker never left
RELEASE DATE: December 1991
Batman blew gamers away with how well-crafted it was. Batman: Return of the Joker just blows. Many of the elements I praised Batman for have been removed or omitted, thanks to some strange design choices. Sunsoft’s enlarging of the Batman sprite seems to have forced clunkiness on the controls. In Batman, he felt graceful and elegant; in Return, he feels like a truck driver in a Bat-suit. Enemies also attack you right when they see you, without giving you a chance to retaliate. When you get hit, you pause for a brief second, which can give them enough time to move out of your line of fire and hit you from a different standpoint. Wall-jumps, one of the best parts of the first game, are gone too. Batman’s too large to do any proper wall–jumping in Return, I suppose, but that doesn’t make their exclusion right. There’s challenge, yes, but it’s the cheap kind of challenge and Sunsoft knows it; the inclusion of a password system – something the first game lacked – reveals all. Instead of using your fists and your wits to get through a stage, you rely solely on the Batarang and the many upgrades that come in easily explodable boxes strewn throughout the level. Strangely, most of the upgrades are weak and slow as crap. When enemies pop out of nowhere and get three hits on you before you can give one, stronger Batarangs hardly matter anyway. Return of the Joker is as welcoming as a thick fog. Listen to your Bat-sense and stay away.