The Night

I Am The Night…

I Am Fear In The Shadows…

I watch them from the shadowed roof and quickly mark their number. Eight men who think they’re the toughest guys ever to walk the streets in my city. Eight men who prey on the weak. They aren’t the only ones who do that of course, but my prey consists of predators like these as well as significantly larger game. I plan my move carefully, scouting the room for strategic advantages and disadvantages. While none of these men are armed there is a gun cabinet in the room and I know that at least one of them will try to reach it given any provocation. I set up a few little surprises around the room, anticipating the future but hoping I wont have to use them. I watch the thugs for a moment longer then I am gone. I take two of them before they even suspect I’m there, dropping down from gargoyles, grabbing them and pulling them up towards the roof, leaving them tied by their ankles. As their compatriots follow their cries for help I take aim from across the room and cut the ropes holding them aloft, dropping them to the floor in front of their stunned comrades. Two down, but now they know I’m here.

As much as I’d love to tell you that all this is a regular Saturday night for me, it’s actually the best way to describe why Batman: Arkham Asylum is the single best superhero franchise videogame in history.
A large part of Batman’s methodology is to use fear as a weapon and the game is built with this in mind. As you stealthily take down criminals the others will start to find their friends unconscious or strung up, and they’ll go from calm through nervous to terrified. You can toy with them all you want, building their fear in more ways than this short story has described. It really is sadistically good fun, especially when a noise in the room makes them spin around and unleash a hail of gunfire at an inanimate object.
Batman isn’t a slouch when in the thick of battle either, with a comprehensive system mapping a huge variety of attack moves to the X button and allowing you to attack in whichever direction you push the stick, pressing the Y button in time counters incoming attacks and pressing B stuns opponents with a sweep of Batman’s cape. The system provides for some fast and varied combat, and trying to chain it all together into a single combo (while you don’t have to do this, there’s a certain arrogance to being Batman that makes you really want to) that takes down everyone without you taking a hit or missing an attack really adds depth to the system.
These are just two of the many systems and effects that Batman: Arkham Asylum uses to make you feel like the Dark Knight himself and, combined with an obvious respect for the source material, these things make up one of the best games I’ve ever played, and now I can’t wait for the sequel.

Their patrol paths cross in the centre of the room at one point and that is when I descend upon them, gliding down from the ceiling on my cape and kicking one of them to the ground I ensure they must make it past me before they can get to the guns. I use their shock to take down two more with solid punches then leap upon the first and finish him off by slamming his head into the floor. A slight movement behind me alerts me to the presence of the fourth and I backflip off my victim, hitting the henchman sneaking up on me square in the chest with my feet. As I stand I grab the leg of the second henchman, blocking his kick and hurl him to the ground then rush towards the third, sweeping his leg, putting him into an ankle lock and instantaneously breaking his leg. Thirty seconds after I started my glide, I stand victorious over four unconscious men who haven’t managed to land a single blow on me. As I start to turn towards the last two I hear the alarm of the gun cabinet and know they’ve got weapons. A flick of my wrist and my grapple pulls me up into the roof again.

I watch them carefully as they search for me, the sensors in my cowl tell me their hearts are racing – they’re terrified and, just as they use fear to manipulate others, I know exactly how to use their fear against them. I watch both of them then press a button and a weak wall explodes right next to one of them, knocking him out and making the last one almost drop his gun. As he rushes to investigate I silently drop to the floor and jump into a vent running under the floor. He returns to his search for me but he’s obviously one step beyond terrified. He continually takes cover behind objects then pops out firing wildly. Some dark part of me considers playing with him a little longer and I smile, but there’s too much at stake here. He approaches the area where I’m hidden, backing towards me and, at the last moment turns to face my direction. He’s over six foot tall with a large amount of muscle barely disguised by the mass of prison tattoos. He’s a mean guy and even cops cross the street when they see him coming towards them. He’s got an automatic machine gun aimed directly at me as I leap out of the vent and stand mere inches from his face – a face that he covers in fear, dropping the weapon to the floor, where it will be joined by his unconscious body seconds later.

…I’m Batman!

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60 thoughts on “The Night

  1. *silently rappels down from the ceiling, leaves a note for Poison Rosie, then disappears into the shadows*Note – It was easy to write. I just played the game then described exactly what happened. Yeah, it's that good a game.

  2. One that you actually need to use cause Bats can't take all that many shotgun blasts – three on easy, two on normal and one'll take him down on hard. By designing it that way and making it so that you have to distract and scare the enemy forces that usually outnumber you it really puts you inside the head of Batman himself, succeeding where so many games have failed. You start planning your scare tactics with almost military precision, scouting the room and setting up failsafes. I use my grapple to pull someone off a balcony and knock them out. The others come running to see what happened not knowing that I've baited a trap as there's a load of proximity sensing explosive gel on the floor between them and their comrade. :devil:

  3. SimCity, but I only have 4 for the Mac, which means starting again, and I had a beautiful city going in 2000… can't work up an appetite for starting again. And Rayman 2 rocked.

  4. Never a fan of those sort of games, and I'm the founding member of Religion Against Platforming Evil. Yeah, I'm an atheist, but I chose the first word because the thought of a priest having that acronym on their resume under Hobbies and Interests cracks me up.

  5. ๐Ÿ˜† That reminds me of a post that Kimmie did about the analyst/therapist :pConsoles are limited, but P.C.s get clogged so quickly, and the selection of Mac games lives much to be desired. I had a Wii, it was fun.

  6. We had one for a while. I got it for Kim as a birthday present and managed to surprise her with it, in the most impressive bit of stealth you've ever seen. Unfortunately the games were few and far between and we played Resident Evil: Umbrella Chronicles more than anything else. Now there's a couple more games we're interested in but we sold it a while ago when it had spent months just gathering dust and there's not enough to justify getting another one.

  7. I got my ex all of the Res Evil games, including the Gamecube ones. Super Paper Mario was nice, too. But consoles basically suck, unless you want to shoot something.

  8. That's a common and inaccurate preconception like saying that PCs are only good for strategy games. It's also an old preconception. The current version is that consoles are just good for music games. Last generation I wouldn't buy an Xbox because I thought it was only good for racing games and first person shooters. When we finally got around to getting one we found some of the deeper RPG experiences awaiting us.The current games we own on Xbox 360 are Prince of Persia (the only platformer series I can stand), Fallout 3, Star Ocean 4, Fable II, Overlord II, Batman: Arkham Asylum, Mass Effect, Civilization Revolution, Lost Odyssey, Viva Pinata: Trouble In Paradise, Brutal Legend, and Dragon Age: Origins. Most are RPGs, and none of them could be called shooters although Mass Effect and Fallout do contain shooting based combat. The games I own that do include shooting as a main mechanic are usually designed so there's plenty of other things you can do in them like Grand Theft Auto IV and Saints Row II (we mostly play Insurance Fraud on that). We do own two pure shooter games though – both Left 4 Dead games (Kim and I play versus in our own sadistic horrors and really get the giggles when we screw each other over or make each other jump in them). Things we're looking forward to this year are Mass Effect 2, Fable III Deus Ex 3 (Kim was on a secret online panel to choose a name for this one so we know it's coming and has a biblical story), Alpha Protocol, and Final Fantasy XIII (all RPGs) as well as Alan Wake and Dead Rising 2 (horror games with minimal shooting) I Am Alive (a survival game set in a city destroyed by an earthquake, where people scavenge for food and water) and Red Dead Revolution (Rockstar's second cowboy simulator). There's more out there than you realise.

  9. I've had nearly every gaming system available from my birth – from Commodore 64 to Wii. Xbox 360's had the best selection of games I've ever seen, and this bugs me because I hate Microsoft ๐Ÿ˜† I loved my Dreamcast ๐Ÿ˜€

  10. I had a C64 as well, it rocked!Yeah, bloody Microsoft. They cost me untold hours of my life making shoddy crap work.

  11. They need more enemies in 3. Deathclaws aren't scary for long and the expansions don't add much more than glorified muties and a green giant radscorpion to the full game.

  12. It does sound cool. Much more fun than fighting boring ghouls or super mutants in Fallout 3 which is what i'm doing to get to more interesting areas.

  13. I've not met a deathclaw yet – spending too much time in DC getting to the National Archives. The Shishkebab is quite good fun, though. Talon Company are just annoying :s

  14. Talons really piss me off, it's their faces more than anything. I love that flaming sword ๐Ÿ˜€ . Deathclaws are really scary the first coupla times, especially if you're a low level. After a while, you're stifling yawns and downing them in one hit. Behemoths still terrify me, though.

  15. It's a huge game and really manages to keep the old atmosphere, but you have to put a lot into it to get your rewards. I've got a game on the go where I'm trying to live off the land, ignoring fresh water and doctors.

  16. I'm not that far in, I think. Only just reached Underworld, and i'm lugging around Brotherhood Power Armor without being able to use it yet. No behemoths so far :awww:. Carrying just about fifty different weapons, though :ko:

  17. You'll get one once you're a ways into the story. I shall say no more ๐Ÿ˜€ . You're carrying all that stuff? *tuts* get thee a safehouse :p

  18. I didn't find Underworld til my third play. ๐Ÿ˜ฎ Missed it entirely. You're probably safe to sell the Power Armour if you're that early in the game, or as Kim says store it in a safehouse.

  19. A safehouse is on my to-do list, but first I want the Declaration Of Independence. I didn't realise it would take this long to get from Rivet City to the centre of DC, though. And the Reilly's Rangers quest is now tempting me too…But maybe I'll head back to Megaton first :sherlock:Most unstable game I've ever played, though – even worse than Vampire : The Masquerade – Bloodlines and Frontier : First Encounter :awww:

  20. Not on PC it isn't. Oblivion was pretty buggy, but never crashed as often or in such alarming ways as Fallout 3 has. And that's after 7 patches – I can't imagine how bad the initial release was.

  21. Goodness me, that's buggy. Get thee a 360 ๐Ÿ˜ก :p . You know there's a room in Megaton's pub you can buy, right? You can put your stuff in there. Oh, there's one in Rivet City too.

  22. I've got a Wii and a ninja PC – I need no XBox or PS3 :p.I didn't know you could buy rooms, I just know there's a house free in Megaton that's clearly intended for the player to get at some point.

  23. I could tell ya how to get one somewhere else. It also takes about two minutes, but you'll have to do the exact opposite of what Kim says. :devil:

  24. I'm too much of a goody two-shoes to play these things through evilly :p I could just about manage it with the two KOTOR games, but something this size I can't keep the evil going all the way through. I felt bad enough telling the android that he wasn't human :p

  25. Just do what you'd do in those situations. There's usually enough room to do that, although the good option isn't always the one that's nice. :devil: Had any strange meat yet? :chef:

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