Have you ever danced with the devil in the pale 8-bit moonlight?
Yeah, we know, movie games suck. Ghostbusters? Home Alone? Hudson Hawk? Seriously, Hudson Hawk...you know, for the kids. Some of the worst that video games have to offer can be found in movie tie-ins. It's a punchline these days, so much so that you don't really see many movie games anymore, but these things ran rampant in all their unfinished, hardly working glory for years. Not all movie games are bad however. They always seem to take you by surprise. Batman by Sunsoft is certainly regarded as being a good game, but I'd go as far as to call it a masterpiece and one of the best games the NES had to offer.
Say what you will about Tim Burton's mega-hit blockbuster that this game is based on, it doesn't matter (for the record, the word I use for it is "formative"). You remember that part where Batman fights Firefly? Or the part where he gets attacked by a giant super computer that fires lasers? Yeah, me neither. Aside from a few quick cutscenes and the last level taking place in a cathedral, ending with a fight with the Joker, this game has nothing to do with the movie. The game really is all the better for the deviations it makes, most notably with the soundtrack. A chiptune rendition of the Danny Elfman score could have been cool, but what we got in it's place is truly stellar.
The thing that Batman is probably most remembered for is how brutally difficult it is. By the time you hit level 3 you'll be wishing that there were a few new curse words because you'll have worn out all your old favorites by that point. Yes, the game is HARD, but this is also where the game forces you to recognize what makes it so great. First, the jumping mechanics. You have full control over the Caped Crusader's jumps in this game, more so that what is initially apparent. It's clear that this was an intentional part of the design because you'll be called upon to put it into play time and time again until you perfect it. Side scrolling platformers were a dime a dozen on the NES, and as established by a certain plumber in a red cap, jumping is the core mechanic of these games. Sunsoft made damned sure their game did it better than anyone else's and they utilized it to the fullest capacity in the level design.
For as solid as the jump mechanics were for Batman, what the game comes down to is patterns. This game is patterns from start to finish. Every enemy, every wall jump, every boss fight has a pattern and rhythm to it. Learning those patterns and rhythms is necessary to progress, as is the case many great games from the NES era. Knowing a few tricks here and there will certainly help, of which Batman has plenty to discover, but learning these patterns has been one of the most satisfying experiences I've had with any game of any era. It was one of the first games I revisited when I got into retro gaming and while it was frustrating, it was a nice contrast to modern game design, which often rewards time spent rather than skill (Dark Souls not withstanding). That's not to say Batman doesn't reward time spent, the difference is that you'll walk away feeling like you learned something about how to be good at if if you were paying attention.