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Batman: Arkham Asylum

Batman: Arkham Asylum

Batman: Arkham Asylum

"Batman: Arkham Asylum is a 2009 action-adventure video game based on the DC Comics superhero, Batman. It was developed by Rocksteady Studios and published by Eidos Interactive in conjunction with Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 video game consoles, and Microsoft Windows. It was released worldwide for consoles, beginning in North America on August 25, 2009, with a Microsoft Windows version following on September 15.

Written by veteran Batman writer Paul Dini, Arkham Asylum is based on the long-running comic book mythos. In the game's main storyline, Batman's archenemy, the Joker, instigates an elaborate plot to seize control of Arkham Asylum and trap Batman inside with many of his incarcerated foes. With Joker threatening to detonate hidden bombs around fictional Gotham City, Batman is forced to fight his way through the asylum's inmates and put an end to the Joker's plans. Most of the game's leading characters are voiced by actors who have appeared in other media based on the DC Animated Universe; Kevin Conroy, Mark Hamill, and Arleen Sorkin reprised their roles as Batman, the Joker, and his sidekick Harley Quinn respectively. The game is presented from the third-person perspective with a primary focus on Batman's combat and stealth abilities, detective skills, and gadgets that can be used in combat and exploration.

The game received critical acclaim—particularly for its narrative—and won several awards, including Best Action Adventure game, Best Game, and Game of the Year from different media outlets. It held the Guinness World Record for "Most Critically Acclaimed Superhero Game Ever". A Game of the Year edition was released on March 26, 2010, and an OS X version was released in November 2011. Arkham Asylum's success launched a series of Batman: Arkham sequels, beginning in November 2011 with Batman: Arkham City."

Batman: Arkham Asylum Plot

"After the Joker assaults Gotham City Hall, he is caught by Batman and escorted to Arkham Asylum, which temporarily holds many members of the Joker's gang, displaced by a fire at Blackgate Prison. Believing the Joker allowed himself to be captured, Batman accompanies him into the asylum. The Joker's plan is revealed as Harley Quinn takes control of the building's security and the Joker escapes his captors, aided by a corrupt guard who kidnaps commissioner Gordon. The Joker threatens to detonate bombs hidden around Gotham City if anyone tries to enter Arkham, forcing Batman to work alone. While pursuing Quinn to rescue Gordon, Batman is exposed to the Scarecrow's fear toxin and hallucinates, seeing the corpses of his parents talking, and Gordon's death. Batman fights off Scarecrow and the toxin's influence, and eventually navigates his way to a secret Batcave installation he had hidden on the island, where Batman restocks his gadgets.

Batman finds Quinn, knocks her unconscious, and rescues Gordon. The Joker then directs Batman to the captured Bane, who has been experimented on by asylum doctor Penelope Young. Batman frees and subsequently fights Bane, and learns that the Joker has returned to the asylum to gain access to Young, who has been developing Titan—a more powerful version of the Venom drug that gives Bane strength—intending to use it to help patients survive more strenuous therapies. Young learns she has been working for the Joker and refuses to hand over the Titan. The Joker plans to use the Titan to create an army of superhuman henchmen. While searching for Young, Batman is again attacked by Scarecrow and the fear toxin, and hallucinates his parents' deaths. After he recovers, Batman destroys Young's Titan formula and rescues Young from Victor Zsasz. An explosion kills Young and the Joker obtains the completed batches of Titan.

Quinn releases Poison Ivy from her cell and later fights Batman, but is defeated and imprisoned. Quinn inadvertently reveals that Joker has a Titan production facility in the Arkham botanical gardens. Batman travels there and learns that Titan is created by genetically modified plants. He tries to enlist Ivy's help to create an antidote, but she tells Batman that an antidote can only be made from spores found exclusively in Killer Croc's cell in a sewer. En route to Croc, Batman is again attacked by Scarecrow and overcomes several doses of the fear toxin. Meanwhile, Joker injects Ivy with Titan, enhancing her powers. Ivy begins ravaging Arkham Island with giant mutant plants and vines. Pursued by Batman into the sewers, Scarecrow is attacked by Croc. Batman recovers the necessary spores and subdues Croc before returning to the Batcave; he can synthesize one dose of the antidote before Ivy's plants breach and destroy the cave.

Batman returns to the botanical gardens and defeats Ivy, putting an end to her destruction. The Joker announces that the preparations for his party are finally complete and Batman travels to the asylum's visitor center where the Joker's applauding henchmen welcome him. The Joker says he has recaptured Gordon and tries to shoot him with a Titan-filled dart; Batman leaps to Gordon's defense and is shot instead. Batman attempts to resist the change, and the Joker becomes upset and takes an overdose of Titan, mutating into a massive monster. In a makeshift arena on the building's roof, the Joker challenges Batman to a fight as Titan-induced monsters in front of news helicopters. Batman refuses to transform, uses the antidote on himself, and defeats the Titan-affected Joker and his henchmen, knocking his nemesis unconscious with an explosive gel-enhanced punch. In the aftermath, those affected by Titan begin to revert to normal, including the Joker—who is restrained and taken into custody as police officers retake the asylum. As Batman leaves, he overhears a call about a crime led by Two-Face in progress. In a post-credits scene, a crate of Titan formula is shown floating in the ocean around the asylum when a hand surfaces and grabs it."

Batman: Arkham Asylum Gameplay

"Batman: Arkham Asylum is an action-adventure game viewed from the third-person perspective. The playable character is visible on the screen and the camera can be freely rotated around him. The player controls Batman as he traverses Arkham Asylum, a secure facility for the criminally insane located off the coast of Gotham City. The opening areas of the game are linear, serving as a tutorial for the moves and approaches available to the player. Once the player emerges onto the island he can freely explore the game world, although some areas remain inaccessible until certain milestones in the main story. Batman can run, jump, climb, crouch, glide from heights using his cape, and use his grapple gun to climb low structures or escape to higher ledges.

The player can use "Detective vision"—a visual mode which provides contextual information, tinting the game world blue and highlighting interactive objects like destructible walls and removable grates, the number of enemies in an area and their status—such as their awareness of Batman's presence—and shows civilians and corpses. The mode is also used to follow footprints, investigate odors, and solve puzzles.

Batman has access to several gadgets which he can use to explore or fight. The batarang is a throwing weapon that can temporarily stun enemies or trigger remote devices. A remotely controlled version can be steered once thrown,and the sonic batarang can be used to attract the attention of specific enemies wearing monitoring collars, or detonated to knock a nearby enemy unconscious. Explosive gel can be used on weak walls and floors, and can be remotely detonated—sending rubble crashing onto an enemy. The line launcher can be used to traverse horizontal spans. The Batclaw—a grappling device—can be used to interact with remote objects such as vent covers or to grab enemies. The Cryptographic Sequencer is used to override security panels, open new paths, or disable various asylum functions. Some areas are inaccessible until Batman acquires the gadgets necessary to overcoming the obstacle. The player is encouraged to explore the game world away from the main game to find and solve riddles left by the Riddler—who hacks into Batman's communication system to challenge him with riddles. Objects can be collected, and some of the Riddler's puzzles require the player to find areas related to the answer to a riddle and scan it with detective vision. The game world has 240 collectable items, such as Riddler trophies, chattering Joker teeth, interview tapes with some of Arkham's inmates, and cryptic messages left in the asylum by its founder Amadeus Arkham that discuss the facility's bleak history. The player is rewarded for solving riddles and finding collectibles with experience points and additional game content, including challenge maps that test the player's skill at the game's combat system, character biographies, and in-game statues of Arkham Asylum's characters.

Players can traverse enemy-controlled areas using stealth or direct combat. The game's "Freeflow" combat uses three main buttons: attack, stun, and counter. The system lets Batman move quickly between enemies, chaining attacks together until all enemies are unconscious. Combining the three main abilities can keep Batman attacking while moving between enemies and avoiding being attacked himself. The more combo attacks that are chained together, the faster and more agile Batman becomes, and special attacks—such as a throw, grapple, and an instant takedown which can immediately defeat an enemy—become available. Combat is rewarded with experience points, which are used to unlock gadgets, combat moves, and health upgrades. Higher combos, a wider variety of moves, and avoiding damage delivers more points. Enemy attacks are preempted with a warning icon, which indicate the attack can be countered. Some enemies require different approaches to overcome; knife-wielding thugs must be stunned before they can be attacked, and others must be struck from behind. Some enemies are armed with guns which significantly damage Batman. Enemies react to Batman's elimination of their allies, which raises their fear level and alters their behavior; for example, they will adopt new patrol routes, requiring the player to adapt to the changing situation. During combat, Batman's health is diminished by attacks, but is fully restored once the battle ends.

The player can use predatory tactics through stealth—including silent takedowns, dropping from overhead perches and snatching enemies away, or using the explosive gel to knock foes off their feet—to tilt the odds in their favor. Some areas feature sections that require the player to use these tactics to avoid alerting the Joker's henchmen and thus failing to meet an objective. Many areas feature stone gargoyles placed high above, helping Batman remain concealed. Batman can use his grapnel gun to reach the gargoyles, giving him a high vantage point over the area and the enemies. From the gargoyles, Batman can glide down to attack enemies or hang upside down from the gargoyles to grapple a nearby enemy and leave him tethered there. The player can use floor grates to attack from below, hide around corners, use batarangs to stun enemies from afar, and use the grapnel gun to pull enemies over ledges.

Arkham Asylum features a series of challenge maps separate from the game's story mode that are unlocked while playing, and others are available as optional downloadable content (DLC). The maps focus on the completion of specific goals, such as eliminating successive waves of enemies in combat, and subduing patrolling enemies while using stealth. The methods and variety of abilities used to achieve these goals earn an overall performance score that is ranked online against other players. On the PlayStation 3, the Joker is a playable character in the combat and stealth challenge maps via optional DLC; he must confront the asylum guards and police commissioner James Gordon. The Joker has his own combat abilities and weapons, such as a handgun, exploding chattering teeth, and x-ray glasses which allow him to see opponents through walls.

On compatible systems, the Microsoft Windows version uses nVidia's PhysX software engine to produce realistic, dynamic interactions with the game world. With PhysX enabled, some areas contain smoke or fog which reacts to Batman moving through it, while with PhysX disabled the fog will not appear at all. Other effects include dynamic interaction with paper and leaves, surfaces which can be scratched and chipped, and dynamic, destructible cloth elements such as banners and cobwebs. The Game of the Year version features the ability to play the game in 3D on any 2D television using anaglyph 3D glasses.


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