SunSoft’s Batman (Nobuyuki Hara, Naoki Kodaka)November 1, 2010
Usually movie, film, and comic book tie-ins to games are awful, the kind of shovel-ware that finds its way to the ‘we must pay you to take this from us’ bin. However, there are a few games out there that succeeded, and one of these is Batman (1990) by Sunsoft for the NES, which loosely followed the 1989 film. In addition to gameplay, SunSoft was also known for their proficiency with graphics and musical composition, particularly the work of Naoki Kodaka (Blaster Master, Journey to Silius).
Batman demonstrates the capacity of late-generation NES sound chips through the use of sequenced drums and mastery over audio storage space (the loop is 54 seconds long and contains a unique opening). What matters more than technology, however, is composition, and the example here “Track 4”, which contains a feel similar to Journey to Silius, or perhaps a Castlevania track (particularly with the opening). This is pretty tense stage music, defined by edgy string chips and mellow square waves that surf their way through the narrow corridors. The core is a bit repetitive, but the track has enough dynamic movement to keep it interesting through the first loop while retaining its memorability. It not only makes Batman feel as cool as he is, but is some great game music to boot.