The Top 5 Batman handheld games

Holy handheld, Batman! We dig deep into our Batcave to find the best Dark Knight experiences around

The Top 5 Batman handheld games
N-Gage + DS + Game Boy ...

It's that time of the year again when Hollywood dazzles us with multi-million dollar summer blockbusters. This year, Batman is back on screens in The Dark Knight, allowing a new generation to enjoy the Caped Crusader, and making us older fans feel a wee bit guilty.

We keep throwing Batman out of our lives, see, only for the night-loving crimefighter to fly back like a wonky batarang, smacking us right between the eyes. Deservedly so, perhaps. Although lacking super powers, Bruce Wayne is touted by fans as the ideal hero, using his own wit and guile (and martial arts expertise, exceptional physique, high-tech gadgets and so on) to bring Gotham's scum to justice.

And ladies, he's absolutely loaded!

All of this source material is excellent fodder for a great game and developers over the years have more than capitalised. As well as movies, cartoons and comics, Batman has found himself on the kind of consoles that fit right into your own utility belt. Some have been bad enough to send fragile gamers to Arkham Asylum, but some have given us a swashbuckling account of what it's like to be the Bat.

With the Batman phenomenon screeching around every console, we've decided to take a look at the five most notable handheld Batman games to date (in chronological order).

The Top 5 Batman handheld games

Batman (1989)
Format: Game Boy
Developer: Sunsoft
Publisher: Nintendo

Batman had already tasted success on home consoles, but the Game Boy release in '89 marked the first time gamers could fit Master Bruce in their pockets. Players took control of Batman as he hunted down the Joker, trying to stop him and his henchmen wreaking havoc around Gotham City. A platformer based on the Tim Burton film, it was nothing like the movie at all. Michael Keaton never had to jump across floating girders to grab a giant floating 'N', but developer Sunsoft remained faithful to the plot. Jack Nicholson cut-scenes sandwiched between a fast-paced Batplane level led to a thrilling showdown in the Gotham City bell tower.

The Adventures of Batman and Robin (1995)
Format: Game Gear
Developer: Novotrade
Publisher: Sega

A title released in '95 across all systems to coincide with the Warner Brothers animation of the same name, the plot differed in each game with the handhelds being no exception. The Game Gear version saw Robin being captured by the Joker, with Batman going on the hunt to save his young apprentice. Maybe if Robin wasn't busy in his room worrying about bat-spots and bat-girls then Batman wouldn't have had to slug his way through a pretty standard beat-'em-up, taking on some of Gotham's most psychotic crimelords. Kids, eh - who'd have 'em?

Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker (2000)
Format: Game Boy Color
Developer: Ubisoft
Publisher: Kemco

You might not have heard, but the year is 2040 and Bruce Wayne is suffering from a bad case of rickets. Released in 2000, Return of the Joker stars a Bruce Wayne who's more like Bruce Forsyth, forced by decrepitude to hand over his cape to 16-year-old punk Terry McGinnis in line with the Warner Brothers cartoon. Young Terry is tasked with taking on the JoKeRz - a futuristic Hitler youth following the exploits of the Joker - by relying on his new high-tech bat suit. With Neo Gotham littered with booby traps more hazardous than the GBC colour palette, Terry ends up saving the world after beating up lots of generic enemies in side-scrolling fashion. Hmm, sounds familiar.

Batman Begins (2005)
Format: Mobile
Developer: Klear
Publisher: Warner Bros Online

The '05 mobile incarnation of the Batman Begins movie (we gave it a rather respectable 7/10 when we reviewed it) tried things a little differently by introducing stealth to Batman's talents. An action game at heart, Batman Begins invites you to infiltrate some of Gotham's seediest buildings to take down the criminal underworld and seek revenge on the killers of Bruce Wayne's parents. With slick new tools to match those in the movie, Batman Begins delivered gameplay tighter than Katie Holmes's top with the stealth gameplay making Batman more translucent than Christian Bale's talent. A top-notch download.

Lego Batman: The Videogame (2008)
Format: DS, PSP
Developer: TT Fusion
Publisher: Nintendo

We're awfully excited about this one. And yes, we're jumping the grappling hook gun by including it before the game is finished. But we've played it and can't see how it shouldn't make this list. Traveller's Tales has already brought the Lego magic to Star Wars and Indiana Jones and on current evidence you should expect the same with Batman in September. If so, we'll have a party at Wayne Manor to celebrate. Promising two-player co-op, the game allows you and a sidekick to either save or destroy Gotham, depending on your persuasion, as you star as the hero or villain. Expect to have the whole Batman roster to tackle in a portable Lego brick Gotham City, including Gary Oldbloke himself, Commissioner Gordon. If there is a regret, it's just that Lego won't do Catwoman's cleavage (and the Bat's fabulously moulded pecs, obviously) any favours. You can't have everything.
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