Monday, 4 November 2013

Great Game Intro's - Arkham Asylum

Last night I was thinking about Batman Arkham Origins and suddenly got to thinking about the introduction to the game.  Swooping into the grounds of Blackgate prison was cool and everything but it certainly lacked that atmospheric injection that Arkham Asylum gave us on our first playthrough.

After watching the cinematic of Batman driving through the streets of Gotham with Joker in tow, we take the controls of Batman as he accompanies Joker and the Arkham guards to his cell in the Asylum.  This entire ten or so minute introduction is simply brilliant as we get to see a good chunk of the Asylum which you will sneaking around later.  You see it's dirty corridors and run down hallways, mixed with high tech security doors and camera's all the while listening to Joker foreshadowing his escape and instigating his plan.

There so many little one liners from Joker it's hard to pick a particular favourite as no doubt players will have a line they enjoy more than others.  But it's his observations as he is wheeled around that make the impending prison break so exciting as you just want to start busting heads as the Bat right there and then.

Along the way we also see the monstrous re-design of the popular villain Killer Croc who is now a hulking creature more than a man, barely controllable and requiring a high voltage shock collar the first time you see him you know he is going to be scary to face off against.  Little did you know at that time that you wouldn't be facing Croc in a fight but simply trying to survive against this monster in his own lair.  Again the voice work is great as Steve Blum gives Croc a real menacing tone and animalistic feel with his growling, guttural snarls with each word.

After another few rooms of yet more foreshadowing from the Joker we arrive at the patient transfer room where the trap is sprung and Joker takes over the Asylum, starting one of the best Batman games of all time.  Mark Hamil really helps to make this game memorable as the clown prince of crime, as he brings his brand of psychotic humour and menance to the proceedings.

It was just such a great way to introduce us to the largest and most detailed character of the game, the Asylum itself.  It's myriad of corridors, rooms, cells and treatment areas each told a story, some of it good, some of it bad but it really helped build the foundation of the Arkhamverse and it's dark foreboding world.  Batman has always been a somewhat grimy setting and this game really cemented that idea as you traversed the island.

It is a shame that we won't be seeing the Joker in the next Arkham game from Rocksteady, but at least we have Arkham Asylum and Arkham City to put a smile on our faces...whether we want one or not if the Joker had his way.


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