This one has been a long time coming for me.
As you may have guessed, the Azn Badger is very much a fan of the Batman.
In my eyes, few characters in the realm of fiction better represent the embodiment of a persona crafted through sheer will than Batman.
He’s a man that chooses to be what he feels he must, and that simple element of his character has led to a seemingly neverending stream of great stories surrounding him.
It hasn’t however, led to all that many videogames that represented him all that well.
The Tim Burton Batman movie-tie on the NES, and the Batman Returns game on the Super NES stand as my favorite Batman games of yesteryear, however aside from borrowing the sounds and aesthetic of their respective movies, neither really made use of the character of Batman in their gameplay.
The NES game was a handsome and vaguely Ninja Gaiden-esque shooter/platformer that still receives acclaim to this day.
It also has quite possibly the most awesome, and totally fucked up endings to a Batman story ever in the history of everything:
The Batman Returns game was essentially a sidescrolling beat ‘em up with a few extra bells and whistles in the form of a mildly expanded repertoire of moves, (including being able to throw dudes into the background scenery!) but other than that; was little more than standard genre fare.
I love both of these games, and find them to be quite fun in their own right; (especially Batman Returns, which I own to this day) however I have to admit, neither game really feels like a Batman game should.
In the comics, Batman never jumped around giant factories with a laser gun strapped to this forearm.
In the comics, Batman never walked from left to right and beat the piss out of a clone army of clowns for hours at a time.
In the comics, the detective work to beating up of goons ratio is generally 2:1.
Let’s get one thing clear: Batman is really fuckin’ strong.
Batman has told villains on numerous occasions that he could “crush their head like an egg,” and for all intents and purposes, I don’t doubt that fact.
Batman is supposed to be a man trained to the peak of human ability, so I would think crushing a human skull with his bare hands would be well within his capability.
When you think about it from that perspective, it’s hard to envision all that many people that could take a patented Batman Sucker Punch (TM) and not go right to sleep.
Though in many ways it might be a product of the unique and condensed structure of American comic book storytelling, I’ve always thought that Batman’s penchant for separating bad guys from their senses within a panel or 2 to be well in line with the facets of his character.
Batman is not a character that engages in dramatic and overblown, 5 minute kung fu brawls with his opponents, he is a silent predator that, more often than not, lays people out rather than battling them directly.
Although far be it from me to say that I don’t appreciate the few instances in which ‘ole Bats gets dragged into an all out slug fest:
This is what initially drew me to Batman: Arkham Asylum.
Yeah, it’s been critically acclaimed up the ying yang.
While I obviously don’t discount any of the above, as I did in fact just buy the game today; what really got me hyped for this game ever since it came out, was that most of the reviews I was reading about placed a great deal of emphasis on the fact that in this game, you really feel like Batman.
Everything from the exploration of the detective mode, to the stealth and counter heavy combat system has been said to reflect the Batman sensibilities we all know and love to a T.
Every kid that loves Batman has wanted to be him at some point in their life.
We do it because goddamn it, he’s just a man.
Aside from the billionaire fortune, gadgets, and unlimited resources, at his core; Batman is just a man that woke up one day and committed himself to being Batman.
Even if it’s total bullshit, and has a 99% chance of never coming true, at some point in our lives, even if just for a moment; we trick ourselves into thinking that with enough time and dedication, we could be Batman if we really tried.
While I’ve long since grown beyond thinking that, it doesn’t stop me from thinking that playing a game like Arkham Asylum could make me relive those feelings in some capacity.
As of writing this, I haven’t actually started the game, but I was feeling nostalgic, so I figured a little Bat-Ruminating was in order.
Anyway, here’s hoping the game lives up to my insanely high standards!
*It should be noted that I am not a fan of Metroid, nor am I a fan of the Symphony of the Night style Castlevania games. This could lead to some issues in terms of my overall enjoyment of Arkham Asylum, however I am hopeful my experience will lean towards the contrary.