Publisher: Eidos Interactive
Welcome to the madhouse! The Joker has taken control of Arkham Asylum, havoc has been unleashed, and Batman is the only one who can stop him…
In the shadows of the asylum lurk not only the criminally insane, but the haunting legacy of the institution’s creator.
The Dark Knight has been on the gaming scene since the eighties, yet it would take two decades for this legendary superhero to secure a successful video game franchise in a long run of success through various media.
Enter Rocksteady Studios and Eidos Interactive; together this collaboration would bring the legendary Caped Crusader, his city, his allies, and his rogues gallery to the next level of superheroes in video games.
Assault on Arkham
In what was supposed to be an ordinary night (well in Batman’s case) in Gotham, Batman recaptures the Joker and returns him to Arkham Asylum, bringing an end to his crime spree, or so he thought.
It turns out the Joker planned on his capture in another twisted plot, to take control over Arkham Asylum and wreak havoc within the institution where Batman and Police Commissioner Gordon are trapped inside.
To restore order, Batman must subdue the escaped convicts; from varying factions, to mutated nemesis, to hyperactive sidekicks, and uncover the Joker’s twisted reasons for his takeover.
The Batman may be well known as the World’s Greatest Detective, but as a crime fighter, the Dark Knight also prides himself on learning all the world’s martial arts. His arsenal includes, but is not limited to boxing, karate, taekwondo, Muay Thai, Judo, and BJJ.
One of Batman’s greatest weapons is to project fear onto the superstitious and cowardly, and the ancient Japanese art of Ninjitsu plays a key role in forming Batman’s persona as the creature of the night. A favoured Ninjitsu method he adopts is to blend himself in the darkness and lurk above his targets before swooping down upon them with ease to subdue them.
Gadgets and Combos
With his trusty utility belt, Batman has all the necessary tools he needs for any given situation.
His famous batarang can be used to attack and knock out enemies from a great distance while the grapple gun is one of the Caped Crusader’s most favoured tools for ascending to gain higher ground, or to fly towards gargoyles for a surprise attack.
Batman also utilises an explosive gel gun to break through weakened structures, and a Cryptographic Sequencer to bypass security consoles.
When faced with multiple thugs, the player is able to boost their score after finishing a combat situation by performing a variety of attacks.
By attacking the nearest target, counter attacking, throwing batarangs, shooting a grappling hook, or stunning the opponent with Batman’s cape, these moves count towards a combat variation bonus. Batman can also use Special Combos by subduing foes to the ground, or throwing them around (in any desired direction).
Arkham and Graphics
As Batman explores, and fights his way through the institution, he’s investigating the maximum secured infrastructure of a political stronghold, and the dreary sight of Arkham Island.
All the hidden messages he finds will decipher the harrowing tales of Dr. Amadeus Arkham, and the cynical acts that continue to the present.
Developer Rocksteady Studios brings to life the gothic aesthetic of Gotham’s architecture and the larger than life characters from the comics, providing a dreary-yet-magnetic aura influenced by the city and its asylum’s chaotic legacy.
When locked in an institution full of the most notorious, psychotic criminals in the DC universe, Batman must prepare himself to combat every individual at their own level.
Batman vs Bane
As one of the few nemeses that can match Batman on a physical level, Bane utilises a highly addictive steroid called Venom to enhance his strength and endurance. Bane can either throw giant debris from a great distance, or charge towards him.
Batman’s best bet is to disturb Bane’s vision with a batarang and dodge his charge. With Bane stunned after clashing against the wall, it’s his chance to disconnect the tubes that are the source of his strength.
Batman vs Scarecrow
Earlier into the game, Batman becomes exposed to the fear toxin, created by Scarecrow, the twisted master of fear, and ends up in Bruce’s nightmare. Faced with the gigantic Scarecrow, Batman must keep out of sight by hiding behind the ruins, before reaching the searchlight and blasting the bat symbol into the creep’s face.
Batman vs Poison Ivy
On Arkham Island, Batman must confront Poison Ivy, a former botanist turned ecoterrorist with the power to control plant life as she wishes. Ivy attacks with a ginormous plant titan while under the protection of its sphere.
Throwing batarangs are the best weapons for long-range attacks, especially when her protective guard opens to deal some serious damage. At close range Batman can spray and detonate his explosive gel to ravage the guard that protects Ivy.
Batman vs Killer Croc
When Batman confronts Killer Croc in the sewers, the Caped Crusader must defeat the metahuman on his own turf. With Killer Croc lurking in the water, Batman must move without causing soundwaves for Croc to track his location. When Croc eventually decides to appear, he aims a batarang at his head in order to deter him.
Batman vs The Joker (Clown Prince of Crime)
In the final stage of the game, the Dark Knight comes face-to-face with the man responsible for the chaos brought to Arkham, The Joker, and aims to bring him down for good.
Easier said than done, as the Clown Prince of Crime injects himself with Titan, turning him into an unholy force of destruction, Titan Joker. The only chance Batman has is to drag him to the ground at the point of distraction, and strike at him when he’s unable to defend himself.
This classic first entry into the Arkham video game series provides a solid introduction to a new generation of gamers and comic book fans whilst also paying tribute to the long lasting legacy of the Batman mythos.
The combat is flawless with the right amount of power and control, yet with enough vulnerability to keep the player and Batman on high alert at all times. The graphics stand out as a faithful aesthetic to the grotesque and corrupt nature of Gotham.
Conroy (Bruce Wayne/Batman), Hamill (Joker) and Sorkin (Harley Quinn) effortlessly settle back into their roles; it’s as if they never left!
This is certainly a superhero game not to be missed. So take up the cape and cowl and get ready to own the night in the Game of the Year (2009).
- Entered into the Guinness Book of World Records as the most critically-acclaimed superhero video game of all time.
- The game is heavily inspired by the graphic novel (from writer Grant Morrison) of the same name.
- The voice actors from Batman: The Animated Series return to reprise their roles; Kevin Conroy as Bruce Wayne/ Batman, Mark Hamill as The Joker, and Arleen Sorkin as Harley Quinn.
- In the patient interview tapes for Harley Quinn, much of the dialogue is taken directly from the Paul Dini/Bruce Timm comic ‘Mad Love’, and its adapted animated episode of the same name on The New Batman Adventures (1999).