VGATW Season 3 Episode 9 – The History of Batman in Video Games Preview

The very first Batman games came out for Amiga,
the ZX Spectrum, MSX and Amstrad PCW. The first Batman game was released in 1986. It is an 3D isometric action-adventure game
by Ocean Software for the Amstrad PCW, Amstrad CPC, ZX Spectrum, and MSX, and the first Batman
game developed. The game received favourable reviews. An unrelated Batman game was released two
years later, titled Batman: The Caped Crusader. Both games for their time had impressive gameplay
and graphics. The first Batman game’s concept was to to
rescue Robin by collecting the seven parts of the Batcraft hovercraft that are scattered
around the Batcave. The gameplay takes place in a 3D isometric
universe, which programmer Jon Ritman and artist Bernie Drummond would further develop
for 1987’s Head over Heels, and is notable for implementing an early example of a save
game system that allows players to restart from an intermediate point in the game on
the loss of all lives rather than returning all the way to the start (in this case the
point at which Batman collects a “Batstone”) As for it’s sequel, The Caped Crusader is
an action-adventure which uses a unique style, innovated by Jonathan Smith and Charles Davies,
to display the action as though it takes place in a comic book. This technique involved having each game location
set in its own panel, often with a comic book style caption in the upper-left corner, with
inactive panels faded out behind the current active location. This concept was expanded upon by Sega’s Comix
Zone seven years later. A further notable feature was that the game
was split into two independently playable parts in which Batman is faced with two of
his most well-known adversaries: “A Bird In The Hand” featuring the Penguin and “A Fete
Worse Than Death” which involved the Joker. The gameplay involves Batman using punches
and kicks and his batarang (a thrown weapon) in order to fight the villains’ henchmen as
well as solving puzzles.

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