Great moments in PC gaming: Going back to the 1960s TV show in Lego Batman 3

Great moments in PC gaming are bite-sized celebrations of some of our favorite gaming memories.

Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham

(Image credit: WB Games)

Developer: Traveller’s Tales
Year: 2014

I grew up watching repeats of the Batman TV show, decades old by that point. With one of the catchiest theme tunes ever recorded and a tone so over-the-top it was out of the trenches and halfway across no man’s land, it was a kid’s ideal show. Going online for the first time in the ’90s I learned the Batman fandom hated it, railing against its camp sensibility in favor of Frank Miller’s grim Dark Knight. But several years later its wholesome do-goodness was embraced by fans so they had a stick to beat Miller’s later, overly cynical comics with—a valuable lesson in how fickle fandom is.

As you’d expect from a kid’s game that caters to the nostalgia of adults sitting in the player-two chair, Lego Batman 3 embraced the Batman of 1966 as well. Adam West cameoed in every level in need of rescue, and returned to narrate a post-game bonus level themed on the ’60s show. Where the main storyline felt more like a Justice League game that happened to have Batman in it, full of interplanetary Green Lantern shenanigans, the bonus level was pure Bat-goofs.

It begins in the Batcave, complete with atomic pile power source. The Batmobile, a snazzy Lego homage to the TV version, needs to be repaired so you can catch the Joker. Said Joker has Caesar Romero’s moustache visible under his face paint, and the Lego version of Batman in this level has eyebrows drawn on his cowl. It’s full of authentic touches, with TV-inspired versions of Batgirl, Catwoman, the Riddler, and the Penguin as well.

It recreates the TV show down to the BAM and ZONK effects when you play chin music on henchmen, and the only thing it’s missing is one of those bits where Batman and Robin walk up a wall that’s clearly flat on the ground. Otherwise it’s a delightful nod to the character’s history, though it’s as happy to poke fun as the show was itself. At the end of a chase sequence that might have emptied the budget of the series, the Joker crashes off the set and the viewpoint pulls back to reveal the cameras and crew before resuming the next scene. 

It ends with everyone dancing the Batusi, because of course it does.

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