Batman: Arkham Asylum

Wow. Simply wow.

If you haven’t played Batman: Arkham Asylum (BAA), and you are a Batman fan like me, then you are really, really missing out. Pick it up from Amazon if you don’t already have it.

For those of you that don’t know, BAA was Game of The Year in 2009. Yeah, in the words of Ron Burgundy, “[It’s] kind of a big deal.”

Spoiler Alert!
Do not continue reading unless you have already played the game entirely or you want to learn the game’s ending.

What’s so cool about this video game is the reprisal roles of Kevin Conroy, Batman, and Mark Hamill (a.k.a. Luke Skywalker), Joker, from Batman: The Animated Series. I grew up watching that cartoon, and to have those two familiar voices in the game was really nostalgic, something I particularly appreciated.

Here’s a list of sites providing additional details about the game:

The game starts out by Batman driving Joker to Arkham Asylum. Once in, Joker rigs up an escape from bondage only to take control of Arkham and take the Commissioner hostage. It’s Batman who will save Arkham from Joker’s Titan grip.

You control Batman in the third person. You get to use the Batarang, Batclaw, and other assorted gadgets. You get to beat up thugs left and right, including ground-and-pound to knock them unconscious. You get to hang from ledges and gargoyles to act like a ninja and maintain a stealth approach. You can snoop up behind thugs and take them out equally stealthy. You can glide and knock down opponents as well, though it is a bit noisy and attracts attention. But you also solve riddles and puzzles, scan crime scenes for evidence, and search for side stories along the way. One part ninja but one part detective—that is Batman, and that’s how the game plays.

You get to fight many villains, too, such as, but not limited to, Scarecrow, Bane, Poison Ivy, and Joker—albeit in Titan form. What is Titan? Think Bane but without storage tank and tubes for venom. Titan is an engineered strain of Bane’s venom that somehow modifies the individual at the cellular level, therefore being able to replicate, eliminating the need for a storage tank and injection tubes. It also makes the recipient stronger. Before fighting Joker in his Titan form, you do fight not one but two Titan thugs—twice. So, while you fight many of the infamous villains, there is an original element here that makes it quite interesting, new, and fresh.

I do like how there are riddle trophies placed around the island by the Riddler to find. It’s a unique challenge. But then there are also Arkhum documentary ciphers to find, and on top of that there are patient therapy session tapes to find as well. There are lots to find, lots to explore! I have yet to play it, but there is also challenge mode. So, there is more than just a narrative.

I played the game on normal, and the after-credit clip showed Scarecrow floating away on a Titan box. I wonder what will happen in Batman: Arkham City. Is there a different ending if I beat it on hardest, I wonder?