The Adventures of Batman & Robin on the Super NES was designed to impress and satisfy fans of Batman: The Animated Series. In terms of graphics, sound, and story, the game is pretty faithful to the show. Unfortunately, the game is also a gauntlet of annoying and unsatisfying gameplay experiences - The Misadventures of a Duped Batman Fan.
Each stage in The Adventures of Batman & Robin presents a different reason to dislike the game. The first level sends goons that you mindlessly knock out with one or two hits (depending on what move you use). You then get a little practice with your grappling hook, which is a menace. Even with hours of play, I still do not feel in control of the grappling hook.
After a tedious mid-boss fight, you have to fight the Joker on a rollercoaster ride. The only exhilarating moment of this exhausting process is when you feel like you're getting thrown off the rollercoaster as you transition out of a Mode 7 section of the fight. Nothing else is fun. Even punching the Joker sucks. The melee combat in every boss fight is choppy; it's as if the game never wants you to feel powerful. You can always use your bat bombs and other special weapons, but they're unimpressive and limited.
Idiotically, the second stage doesn't allow you to punch or kick. Your main attack becomes throwing a batarang - quite odd since you can throw the batarang in other stages by selecting it as your main item. There are a lot of female enemies in the second stage, so my first theory was that 1990s Nintendo didn't want to be seen as promoting violence towards women. This theory, however, crumbled as I punched the daylights out of Catwoman two stages later. The real reason you are forced to use batarangs in the second stage is that, well, the game is an asshole. The situation wouldn't be as bad if the batarang didn't amount to a single, slow boomerang attack.
The third stage throws our hero into a museum to save a bunch of tied-up staff members. This time Robin tags along. You can't play as Robin, but he'll damn sure remind you what floor you're on. As you search the most boring museum in existence, you must watch out for little mines on the ground and knock out the dumb goons you tussled with in the first stage. You also have to use a keycard to open lots of doors to enter rooms that often have nothing of interest. You eventually fight the Penguin on the roof. The game expects you to dodge machine gun fire from a helicopter as you fight the Penguin, even when the helicopter shoots constantly as it flies from one extreme end of the screen to the other and back again.
You chase Catwoman throughout the fourth stage, stopping here and there to fight her. The coolest part is when you're fighting her in midair as you both fall from a building. Your final battle with the Catwoman is practically the same as the first. The only difference is that you have to perform far more cheap jump kicks (after all, you have to rid Catwoman of her very long -- and invisible -- life bar). It's positively yawn-inducing.
The game becomes a top-down driver with the fifth stage. Steering is an immediate issue: When you tap right or left, the car doesn't simply move right or left. The car starts turning right or left, so you have to tap left after you tap right and vice versa to keep the car going straight.
With this tiresome mechanic, you are expected to dodge cars in the state's first segment, one of the worst gaming experiences of my life. Since you have a measly time limit of 65 seconds to complete the first segment, the game expects you to go full speed through the cars and slam on your brakes or use the hand-brake (shoulder buttons) to take 90 degree turns. Obviously, you run the risk of not staying on the road when you try to make a 90 degree turn, but rather than drive over the grass-colored sidewalk when you screw up, the Batmobile stops as if it's running into a wall! You can even get stuck on the corner of a turn by an invisible wall. That's right, you can be clearly facing the road, but if you're right on the corner of a turn, an invisible wall will keep you from moving (and there's no reverse). You must become a master at this nonsense if you want to beat the strict time limit, as even a couple of minor mistakes can prevent you from advancing. If you do advance, you get to use the Batmobile's machine gun to blow up cars and, finally, Two-Face. Not exactly in line with Batman's respect of human life, but hey, it's more satisfying than most of the game.
I reached my breaking point while playing the sixth stage. This level has you dispatching more generic bad guys, only this time Scarecrow gas causes regular citizens to hold you for the enemies. It's an extremely easy stage until you get to the part where you have to use your grappling hook again and again and again on the underside of an aircraft. Supposedly, the grappling hook will eventually allow you to enter the aircraft. But after dying numerous times due to the sorry grappling hook controls, I decided to stop torturing myself.
Yes, the game pretty much nails the look and sound of the classic cartoon (the music is great). Yes, the game's stages and challenges reflect what we associate with Batman's great line-up of villains. Yes, the game switches up the gameplay frequently to keep repetition at bay. None of these good things can cover up the fact that The Adventures of Batman & Robin is painful and stupid.