Plot summary: Batman races to rescue Robin and Jim Gordon from an alliance of Gotham’s most notorious criminals, powered by the finest graphics video game consoles could manage in 1995.
Each Saturday and Sunday Matt Waters recaps an episode of the legendary Batman: The Animated Series, building an overall ranking along the way. Plus best performances, the ever-popular Villain Watch and more!
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Release Date: July 1995
Directed: Bruce Timm
Written: Paul Dini
Given the enormous popularity of the show, a tie-in video game was obvious. Produced by Konami, The Adventures of Batman & Robin was originally released on the SNES in 1994, and got decent reviews, with the audio/visual component praised.
What we’re more interested in here is the version released for Sega-CD in 1995, as it featured a number of short cut-scenes between levels, directed by Bruce Timm, written by Paul Dini, and animated by one of the studios that worked on the show. It also featured a number of voice actors from the show. Because of all this, fans dubbed an edited together version of these videos ‘The Lost Episode’.
As video game censorship rules are different to those of TV, the fight scenes are a touch more violent, if that’s the kind of thing that excites you.
Batman stands ominously in the Batcave before receiving an alert that something is going down at a bank, speeding off in the Batmobile to investigate.
After dealing with some henchwomen, Batman is attacked by a crossbow-happy Poison Ivy. She tosses out a small plant that quickly grows into an enormous bipedal tree monster, allowing her to casually stroll away while Bats chops it down to size. With an axe and everything.
Running Ivy off the road, she teases a larger challenge ahead. Harvey Bullock arrives to confirm Robin & Jim Gordon have been kidnapped and then leads Ivy away in handcuffs.
Deducing from Ivy’s cryptic message that The Riddler is involved, Bruce confronts Nygma in a toy store. Distracting our hero with a metal decoy, Nygma is able to force a VR headset onto him, taking us back to a version of his cyberspace from ‘What is Reality?’
Defeating Riddler’s game, Bats breaks free and knocks him out. Rescuing Jim Gordon, he learns Joker is holding Robin at an abandoned amusement park. Duh.
First dispatching Harley Quinn, Batman navigates a gauntlet of exploding bumper cars, rescues Robin and makes short work of Joker in a fistfight.
Deducing Rupert Thorne arranged the evening’s events, Batman & Robin take to the skies and assault his battleship. Yep. A battleship. Only when they confront Rupes it turns out it’s Clayface in disguise!
The Dynamic Duo catch a beating but are able to force Clayface topside where he uses a gun for some reason. Batman responds in kind, blowing a hole in him with one of the ship’s canons!
Clayface escapes in a helicopter so our heroes give chase in the Batwing and manage to shoot him down, with Gotham bay causing him to melt like in ‘Mudslide’, only we actually see it this time and he doesn’t look like he’s having a great time!
Lending their talents: Kevin Conroy, Loren Lester, Bob Hastings, Robert Costanzo, Mark Hamill, Arleen Sorkin, John Glover, Ron Perlman, Diane Pershing and John Vernon.
Though not in any of the cut-scenes, Adrienne Barbeau appeared in the game as Catwoman.
Nobody appears long enough to stand out, but everybody’s work is about on par with the series. Let’s go with Mark Hamill for old time’s sake.
Look. It’s not really an episode, and it barely makes sense without the interstitial gameplay elements, but it’s kind of cool they made an attempt given the technical limitations of the era. Speaking of which, it obviously looks and sounds clunkier than even the worst episodes of the show, but the dialogue is surprisingly well recorded.
Batman murdering Ivy’s plant creature is shockingly violent, and while they mostly use silhouette to portray it, there’s buckets of green ‘blood’ flying everywhere.
Clayface using a gun seems out of character given he’s a walking weapon, and for many, Batman using even a ship’s canon is breaking his cardinal rule.
There’s SOMETHING here, and if they truly felt like it, they might have been able to turn it into an actual episode. Not a very good one, but still!
Again, an incomplete picture as we’re purely talking about the ‘episode’ content, but the big names all seem pretty fun, in particular Poison Ivy and Riddler.
Apparently The Penguin was planned for inclusion but got due to deadlines. A shame.
Eager for more long-form coverage of Batman? Why not check out my podcast with Mike Thomas, The Tape Crusaders, which reviewed every Batman movie and delved a tiny bit into the animated series.
My other recap column, Marvel Mondays, just finished coverage of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. To fill the time before Loki begins, I’ll be going back to WandaVision, with two episodes per week. Injustice corrected!