739 Love Is.

We’re nearly at the end of my fantastic tales of the Xbox.  At least until I find some other cheap games, or people point me toward other titles that sound like things I’d actually like.  Today I’m gonna speak about a little game called Batman: Arkham Asylum.

Arkham is like a love letter to everyone who ever watched the Batman cartoon from the 90s.  It’s also an example of how licensed properties don’t have to be steaming piles if you take the time to give a shit.

I had heard a lot about Arkham over the last however many years since it came out, but I’ve always hated the games Eidos has made.  So, I assumed that this was just people liking shit for no understandable reason, just like Tomb Raider.  Still, the fact that Batman is voiced by Kevin Conroy, and the Joker by Mark Hamill was enough to move my hand when I saw it in a clearance bin.

It deserved every word of praise I ever heard.   Pretty much from the second you turn the game on you ARE the Batman from the cartoon.  Virtually every surface allows you to grapple on to it and every enemy folds like paper when confronted with your bat punches.  Which is not to say you’re invincible, or the game is easy.  I struggled with certain parts of the game, but I always felt like it was ME letting Batman down and not the other way around.  I could almost hear him saying “You have my strength & abilities at your disposal and you still can’t take out 20 thugs at once?  TRAIN  HARDER!”

As expected the voice acting was spectacular…  at least when it was carried out by original animated cast members.  Everybody else was all over the map.  One voice in particular stands out as a poor casting choice though.  That choice is Tom Kane.  Now he is, by no means, a bad actor.  The problem is that his voice is too cartoony and strong for a lot of things.  Or rather one of the voices he uses is.  He’s the voice of the narrator in Star Wars: The Clone Wars, which works.  He’s also the voice of one of the starship commanders, with the same voice, which doesn’t work.  He sounds unnatural when he uses that voice and it sounds just as wrong when he uses it in Arkham.  He is by far the most glaring mistake made in the game.  I suppose one could argue that as a subjective error too…

Anyway, pretty much everything else in the game is done well.  The weakest thing is probably the fighting mechanic, but even then it’s still pretty easy to get the hang of.  For the most part taking out thugs silently is the best way to go, so when you’re forced to take out a horde of villains with your fists it can be a little jarring.  In game there’s only a few points where you absolutely HAVE to do this.  Luckily the designers put in a challenge mode where you can just practice beating the shit out of people.  You can practice all the other stuff too, but you’ll have way more reason to learn that in game.

The Riddler leaves a bunch of stuff scattered around the island for you to find, which I thought would be a chore to deal with, but it turned out to be one of my favorite parts of the game.  He taunts you from time to time over your headset, so it sort of feels like he’s your wingman in a twisted way.  Basically he forces you to take notice of all the little touches that relate the game to the larger Batman mythos.  Stuff like the cells of famous villains you don’t face this time, for example.   Some of them are pretty obscure, at least to most people.  I could hardly believe they had a character profile for Maxie Zeus.

For me, the best, and hardest to make happen, takedown was the inverted one.  Basically you hang a bad guy from a gargoyle, like Batman is wont to do.  It can only happen in a few places, but it’s a lot of fun.  You can string up a chump, then swing away and wait for other chumps to come look.  When they get there you can wing a batarang at the rope and drop the dude on them.

At one point you start experiencing the effects of Johnathan Crane’s fear toxin, and go on a crazy trip into Batman’s psyche.  Which is an excuse to play some goofy platforming levels, but the lead in to them is pretty awesome.

Anyway, i got interrupted while writing this and have completely lost my train of though.  If I come up with anything else I just have to relate I’ll ad it in later.


Just recently found this comic within the last month and have liked it alot, as for gaming suggestions, For an RPG fan ( The Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion ) and/or (Fallout 3)/(Fallout New Vegas). Oblivion and Fallout 3 are older games so the price should not be to high, New Vegas is more recent so it will still be up there.These are just some of the suggestions that i can think of at the moment, and all will eat up a lot of time. would have more suggestions but I do not know the kind of games you would be in to.

they really are made for each other aren’t they just a match made in heaven to destroy the rest of the world……. or at least do a few maimings.

hey man love the comics!! For game suggestions I would say Dragon Age: Origins and/or Mass Effect 1&2 all are great time sinks. Also I was wondering what your live username might be… I’m sure you being the admin of the site can see my email, and if you ever want I would be honored to play some 360 vidya games with you.

I don’t believe he has a Gold membership, which is why he had massive complaints about some of the Achievements requiring friends over Xbox Live.

If I remember correctly my live name is betweenfailures. I don’t know if those are case sensitive. I don’t know if you can interact with anybody online if you don’t have Gold status though.

this list is about as accurate as you’re going to get, at least for games on the cheap. So definitely look into these. However, I highly recommend Gears of War and Gears of War 2, as well as Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2, because they all have ridiculous campaigns that can take a huge chunk of your life away.


Oh, yeah. I knew there must be a third rule:

(1) A Friend will help you move.
(2) A True Friend will help you move a body.
(3) A True Love means regularly cleaning up after each others’ indiscretions.


I smell a shirt coming!

As far as games go, I think “castlevania:harmony of despair” is a very overlooked title.

It’s a cross of the old school castlevania games(which already had some metroid in them) and diablo.

Alot of co-op fun(up to 6 players) or just as fun on your own.

The arcade has Alot of fun titles just waiting to be picked up. Also, there is a sale on boarderlands so you can pick it up over life for $19.99.

I tried that one, but it loses something for me without a narrative structure to keep things together. I think I prefer Castlevania one a 1 to 1 basis.

Also, I will be happy to send you a few 2 day gold member ship codes. Just let me know.


Heh, panels two and three clinch it. Thomas is Han Solo, Carol is Leia Organa. They will get married and have many Jedi babies.

Hey just started reading about a week ago. Great stuff; somehow you make the dialogue so extraordinarily natural, but at the same time it is advanced enough to be classy. I don’t know if that makes sense, but regardless. Its awesome.

Thanks for giving it a try. I think the main reason the dialogue sounds natural, yet different, is that it basically mimics the way I really talk. XD

Got a bunch of new games recently (the old rebate check cash dump maneuver), and the sister’s husband got a PS3, with a few games for me (in lieu of paying me to babysit… all in all a rather fair exchange). So what do I do with my time babysitting? Hook up the old PS2 and play some older PSX games. Okay, I did spend SOME time finally playing MGS4 (ratio of actual gameplay to utscene is a little off, but that’s Kojima for you. Also, I get it, War is bad, M’kay?) and a little bit with Bulletstorm (still insane, still fun for all the wrong reasons, still hating anything to do with piloting a giant godzilla-esque robot).

Seriously, though why is it that all the new games that come out just seem less absorbing than the older games? And it’s not pure nostalgia, I like some of the newer graphic updated versions more than the originals in most cases.

And oddly enough the ONE new game to keep my attention has been Pokemon Black. Pokemon! I mean, this game hasn’t really changed since 1993, and yet the new one has a more grown up story (not grown up, mind. It does involve Pokemon, limiting its adulthood status to ‘unable to purchase tobacco’ ), they got rid of the obnoxious “I’m not really a trainer, I’m a poke-talent show specialist, even though I have to get badges to progress” side-crap; and removed the need a badge to use an ability annoyance. Oh, and the machines no longer break after use. Really, gameplay here is the same, classic, menu-driven, four ability standard from the original, but aside from gripes about ability limits this is a good thing (Final Fantasy, I’m looking at you… Especially 8, 12 and 13).

So recomendations for X-Box games… well, wait for Bulletstorm to hit the discount bins (it’s flawed, but funny and perversely fun). If you can find Alan Wake for uner $10.00 bucks pick it up (plot’s the same as over half of Stephen King’s novels, gameplay is interesting if uninspired [re: spend time getting the story done in what should have been a long cutscene then wade through enemies until you get to the end], and the kinds of enemies are tragically few. However, it’s a decent play, the light as weapon thing is interesting, and had we not waited years for this sucker to come out it probably would have seemed oh, so much better (or if they’d have released the open world/sandbox version they originally worked on before changing it to the more linear, T.V. episode, controlled version we got? Hard to say. So much I could go into on this game, but I still give it a tentative recommendation.)

Recommendations for other systems: Meh. Pokemon. Yeah, I’m surprised I’m recommending this. I’m even more surprised to not be ashamed of myself for it. Yeah I’ve played and O.C.D.’ed completion of every one before this, but that’s a medical condition, dammit! Really….

Considering the game was written by show writer Paul Dini, creator of Harley Quinn, it isn’t surprising that Batman Arkham Asylum channels the 90’s series. That is basically one of the main reasons I bought the game and why I am already putting money down at Gamestop for the next one.

My opinion on the Arkham series is that they are indeed a steaming pile…

I was given a free copy of the first one because when it was being developed, one of the guys on the dev team lived directly above me… and he somehow really wanted me to play it. I tried it for about five minutes then put it down permanently with a resounding NOPE and went back to Way of the Samurai 3.

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