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Who doesn’t want to be Batman? Fast cars, a utility belt full of gadgets, and a brain loaded with punch-based dental techniques for discouraging criminals makes for the ultimate–and believable!–superhero, provided that you have the cash and willpower to adopt that lifestyle. For most of us, the closest that we’ll get to being Batman is to boot up one of the many video games that have been released over the years: vigilante simulators that have attempted to merge the many elements of Batman together into a cohesive package of brains, brawn, and Batmobiles.
Not every game has succeeded, and there have have been more than a few misfires over the decades. Batman: Dark Tomorrow is an infamous digital disaster that did more damage to the icon than Bane’s Venom-powered chiropractic arts, there’s at least one Batman Forever movie tie-in game that plays like a clumsy Mortal Kombat clone, and the official Batman & Robin game on PS1 makes the film it’s based on look like Citizen Bob Kane in comparison.
But when a Batman game nails the essence of becoming the Dark Knight, it’s something to celebrate. Here’s a look at the best games that embodies the Caped Crusader spirit, a collection of retro and modern titles that defined the world’s greatest detective as a video game superstar.