We have finally arrived – the final part of the definitive bat-game rankings, and my top 12 favourite Batman video games. This one’s a doozy! I reckon at least a few of these would go on most people’s top 10 lists, but I’m also pretty sure pretty much noone in the universe would agree with my ranking order. But hey, that’s pretty much the entire point, right? In any case, let’s get this show on the road!
We’ve arrived at part four of five in our Batman video game rankings, and with that we’re starting to get to some actual quality stuff! I’m gonna need less and less qualifiers for calling these games interesting (or even good), which is fun, but I reckon we’re also starting to get to the games that people actually care about and have opinions on! You know what that means – we’re definitely entering Hot Take City. Very excited for people to yell at me about how wrong I am!
But I digress. Part four of my definitive Batman video game rankings, which will take us from #23 to #13, begins here. Let’s go!
It’s time for part three of my ranked list of all the Batman games I played for The Caped Crusade – this time we will be taking a look at the games ranked #34 through #24, taking us up from the bottom half and into the… good games? Well, technically it’s all smack dab in the middle of mediocrity I guess, relatively speaking, anyway. In any case, let’s find out which games make it to these, uh, coveted spots. Here we go!
Continuing from where we left off last time, here are my continued rankings of every Batman video game I played for the Caped Crusade over the past two years or so. This time, we’ll check out games #45 through #35 – how many hot takes are going to be served up this time? Well, let’s read on and find out!
So over Easter weekend, I finally finished The Caped Crusade, my quest – two years in the making – to explore the history of Batman video games. While I sadly can’t say I have played through every single Batman game (I elected to omit a number of mobile and arcade games due to unavailability), I can say that I have played an awful lot of them. 56 to be exact!
With all this experience under my belt, the capstone to these two years of Bat-adventures seemed obvious: Review and rank all 56 games! The ranking itself was originally done live on stream in a single 8+ hour sitting – so these rankings are essentially my gut reaction based on my experience with each games, and the criteria I use to rank the games may (and likely do) vary wildly. That is to say, I make no claims that this is an objectively, definitively correct list, but it is my list – and with several hundred hours of research going into it, I dare say it’s at least a pretty well researched one.
So without further ado, here is part one of five of my collected Thoughts On the 56 Batman games, ranked from worst to best.
For about as long as I can recall, I’ve been a big fan of Technos Japan. The DOUBLE DRAGON and KUNIO-KUN games were absolute favourites of mine in formative years, and almost certainly a big reason why I’m still very much fond of beat ’em ups. Although not every Technos and Technos-related game over the years has been of the highest quality, I’ll always have the utmost respect and admiration for the company and their games for their innovation, creativity and sheer personality.
Like many game companies from the 80’s, Technos eventually went under, even if some of the same people, brands and games stayed active in one form or another. As of 2015, The Technos brand and associated IP is owned by Arc System Works, who – so far – seem to be doing a commendable job keeping the spirit of Technos alive with quality re-releases and even brand new KUNIO-KUN games, among other things.
But perhaps the most delightful thing about Technos’s newest incarnation is how it seems to maintain one of the things that fascinate me the most about the company: their unusually relaxed handling of their IP.
Guest characters and crossovers in fighting games is a tradition almost as old as the genre itself – Ryo Sakazaki was a secret “Dream Match” boss fight in FATAL FURY SPECIAL, Gouki was a secret playable character in X-MEN: CHILDREN OF THE ATOM, and the entire premise of THE KING OF FIGHTERS ’94 was seeing characters from a bunch of different SNK games share the screen with each other. Although the idea mostly started with developers having their characters make unexpected appearances for a goof, with time the concept of guest characters has increasingly become a means of cross-promoting other brands.
You could easily write an entire lexicon of guest characters, crossovers and cameos in video games, but today I wanted to focus on the various guests we’ve seen over the years in MORTAL KOMBAT. While by no means the first, MORTAL KOMBAT kind of ushered in the modern era of bringing in high-profile guest characters, especially as paid DLC – a practice which isn’t always well received by series fans, but unlikely to stop any time soon given that the guests consistently outsell any other character DLC.
My personal standpoint on guest characters in general is that it can be a bit of fun, but also a bit of a bummer for sure. In the case of MORTAL KOMBAT, I’m definitely in the crowd who will always have a ton of legacy MK characters I’d love to see over any potential guests, and I do find it disappointing to see guests making out a full 50% of the DLC lineup in recent MKs. That said, given that it’s inevitable at this point, I don’t find much reason in getting too worked up about it – If we’re getting characters I didn’t ask for, I’ll at least hope they are well done and incorporated well into the game! So as we’re waiting for the latest batch of guests to show up in MK11, I thought I’d take a look back at the last decade of MORTAL KOMBAT guests.
A couple of months back, seemingly out of nowhere, DotEmu announced they were bringing out STREETS OF RAGE 4 – the first new STREETS OF RAGE game in 24 years (and counting)! Like many people out there I am hugely fond of the original SOR series, and am largely positive, excited even, for this new game. But given that I am a long-time fan, you bet I’ve got some Thoughts on SOR4.
First off, it should of course be noted that this is early days still. My impressions are all based on the small handful of trailers and screenshots that have been released, and considering the game doesn’t even have an official release date yet, I think it’s fair to say that we are pretty far away from the full picture. Still, based on what DotEmu & co have chosen to show of the game, I think there’s a number of things worth commenting on.
Although SOR4 will (presumably) be the first STREETS OF RAGE game to actually hit the market since 1994, it’s far from the first attempt at bringing the series back. SOR developers Ancient themselves put together concept art as well as mockups for a 3D incarnation back in the 90’s, but this original SOR4 was infamously axed by a SEGA exec unfamiliar with the SOR brand. Continue reading Thoughts on Streets of Rage 4’s art
DEAD RISING is one of my absolute favourite games of all time. I could (and probably will, at some point) write at length about why I love it, why I disagree with most fans’ assessments of the sequels (DR3 is clearly the second best in the series, at least if you play it the right way), or why DEAD RISING 4 is a hot piece of garbage that pisses all over the series’ legacy (YouTubers Tehsnakerer and GhenryPerez have covered that last point pretty well though, so by all means check out their videos – I largely echo their thoughts). But for now I thought I’d share some musings on the state of the DEAD RISING series, in the wake of Capcom Vancouver (lead developer of the DR series starting with DR2) imploding earlier this year.
So DEAD RISING had been Capcom Vancouver’s bread and butter for a number of years, up until DEAD RISING 4 in 2016 (re-released and ported to PS4 in 2017 under the groanworthy moniker FRANK’S BIG PACKAGE). For a brief period Capcom Vancouver were also responsible for a much-maligned mobile free-to-play reboot of SUPER PUZZLE FIGHTER II TURBO. While that might sound like a great idea, CV’s PUZZLE FIGHTER not only looked absolutely hideous, it apparently played poorly too, quickly devolving to pay-to-win with the actual puzzle-solving aspect apparently second to building a sick deck with rare loot drops or whatever. I wish I could give a first-hand report on the game, but it was shut down before I got around to even trying it out. Continue reading Thoughts on the DEAD RISING series and Capcom Vancouver going under
I finished YAIBA last night, and… well, I felt rather compelled to amend my previous post on the game.
I still largely stand by what I wrote – the game isn’t AS bad as rumors make it out to be, the combat is pretty serviceable, the semi-automatic jumpy platformy bits are a fun palate cleanser, and the writing and story are atrocious. But what I can say with the benefit of hindsight, is that before writing the other post, I had happened to stop playing right before an absurd difficulty spike that served to highlight and exacerbate most of the game’s biggest problems: Mission 5.
“Mission 5: Ryu Hayabusa” is essentially nothing but a boss fight. Having reached the point where I was mostly satisfied with what I’d seen and was kind of waiting for the game to wrap up, I was thrilled to see the level starting with you facing off against Hayabusa right off the bat, without the need to go through a long level. I didn’t really talk about it last time, but up until that point, the boss fights had actually been decently fun. They had certainly exposed some of the weaknesses of the combat system; many combo attacks make cancelling into dodging or blocking inconsistent and thus completely unreliable – but figuring out how to work around that sort of became part of the puzzle, and coming out on top was just hard enough to make it a satisfying challenge to overcome.
Unfortunately, Hayabusa throws all that out the window. Continue reading Additional thoughts on Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z