Arkham Asylum EP4: It’s Raining Mooks!

By Shamus
on Jun 17, 2015
Filed under:
Spoiler Warning


Link (YouTube)

I make fun of Josh in the episode because his playstyle feels all wrong. Although like he says, it DOES get the job done. And assuming you’re new to the series, this probably gives you a really good idea of what your first play-through is going to look like.

I don’t have much to say about this part of the game that I didn’t say in the episode, so let me go on a digression regarding the sequel:

I’ve been playing Arkham City on NewGame+. It sounded like a fun idea at first, but it turns out it’s actually just really annoying. Like most NG+ modes, it lets you play through the entire story again, but you keep all of your upgrades from your initial play-through and newer, tougher foes are thrown in the mix. That’s really nice, since the first third of the game is normally pretty light on combat.

My problem is that you don’t get the flashing indicator showing when someone is about to attack. At first this is fine: You just judge the fight by reading the body language of your foes. But late in the game fights are moving fast, there’s particle effects and smoke, the camera is spinning all over the place, and crowds are dense. Also, once in a while a mook runs up to you and then mysteriously pauses for three seconds before taking a swing at you. You’ll see him coming, hit the counter button, and break your flow. It feels like a battle against the camera and dice rolls more than mastering the controls. I admire the intent, but I don’t think it quite works.

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From the Archives:

  1. Joe Informatico says:

    The mook dialogue in this game is just the icing on an already delicious cake.

    • Benjamin Hilton says:

      My favorite Mook convo’s are the ones where they talk about the fact that they are mooks, and how crazy their boss(s) are.

    • Benjamin Hilton says:

      I also really like the recording in the hallway of the super-charismatic voiced guy talking about all the great things that Arkham does. It is a pitch perfect example of the kind of positive adds large companies put out for themselves and was a really nice touch.

  2. Chauzuvoy says:

    I do like that the game shows you through detective vision that the mooks you take down are just unconscious. It doesn’t make the violence any less horrible looking, but it does confirm that by the rules of this universe Batman isn’t killing anyone. Which makes it feel more true to the character than just the mo-capped limb-breaking would.

    • Benjamin Hilton says:

      However like the crew points out with the exploding concrete, some of the stuff they “survive” is suspect.

      Later in the game there is a point where you fight a bunch of mooks near the bottom of open elevator shafts. After that, while climbing up you need to detach one of the elevators and ride the counterweight up. During the fight I had actually knocked out one of the mooks in the bottom of the shaft so when the little cut-scene shows the elevator crashing down it literally shows this unconscious guy getting hit by it.

      Oh yeah, Batman never kills.

    • Warrax the Chaos Warrior says:

      Linking this, just because I’m suprised no one else has yet.

      Batman vs. Penguin

  3. Was hoping the end credits title for Mumbles would be “TOTALLY loves Batman’s NEW GUN!

  4. Viktor says:

    Joker having a lot of mooks doesn’t bug me. In this game, they’re all Blackgate prisoners, so it’s completely plausible that he just promised everyone transferred to Arkham “Work with me for one night and I’ll break you out of prison” and most of them thought that was a good deal.

    In other Batman media, it’s still not that ridiculous. Joker makes money running guns and drugs, and there’s a sizeable portion of this country that have basically no career options and no way to improve their lives. Those people already take terrible, high-risk jobs with little opportunity for long-term gain because that’s the only way to make a living. Comic books just change “will you work with toxic chemicals for semi-decent pay with inadequate protection” to “will you work for decent pay for a serial killer who might test toxic chemicals on you”. It’s no more extreme than most of comic books that there’s people poor and desperate enough to take that deal.

    • Corpital says:

      I’m not that concerned by the horde of mooks here, but after Arkham City I really had to wonder how this society can function. There are a lot of villains and many of them seem to practically have their own mook army and there are still regular criminals around.

    • Matt Downie says:

      I’ve also seen the idea that if you survive a stint working for the Joker, your reputation is made and no-one ever messes with you again.

  5. Thomas says:

    The Joker’s plan is to wear Batman down until he’s close to breaking and throwing mooks at him constantly throughout the night is part of that (as well as being fun for him =D)

  6. Thomas says:

    Oh one of the interesting design choices in Arkham I wanted to mention, is that Batman walks by default and you have to hold a button to run.

    In most games that would feel archaic and incredibly irritating. It only works because the developers know the player will love the tone and feeling of being Batman and the power that radiates, so the players will actually enjoy walking in sweeping strides. It also eliminates some of the disconnect of “The super powerful Witcher keeps running into walls” because by default the player is in a more controlled walk.

    I’d be interested if some people found it more negative than positive and wished that running was the default (or worked like other games where you push the analogue stick a little to walk and a lot to run)

    • Muspel says:

      It also works because the areas are very, very compact, and you rarely have to travel long distances on the ground.

    • Benjamin Hilton says:

      I totally agree with this. Arkham City did something similar where every time you loaded up a game it would start you out standing on the corner of a tall building. I always felt so awesome just standing there looking out over the city.

  7. Ledel says:

    So, I’m going to try my best to keep a running tally of this, but here is my count so far for Reginald CuftBatman

    K.O.ed: 52

    Maimed: 6

    Killed: 6 (those 5 hit with concrete and the one guy flung 20ft headfirst into the wall by the explosive gel all in this episode)

    The self-imposed rules I’m working with are that Batman using feet/fists and some of the gadgets, like the batarang, will never produce a kill, they might maim, but short of something obvious like knocking someone off the 3rd story of a building, they won’t kill. The more the game calls attention to a finishing blow on a person, the more damage it causes, and is more likely to maim. Batman doing something that should clearly kill someone (and Josh not checking the body like he did for the guy in the gas room [that was a “maim”]) is a kill.

    • Viktor says:

      Would you mind listing reasons for the maimed as well as the killed? As-is, I’m not sure if you’re counting 20:10 as non-fatal or if you just missed it.

      Anyways, thanks, I’m looking forwards to these tallys as Josh goes through the game.

      • Ledel says:

        The 6 I have listed as maimed are a little more spread out than those I’ve listed as Killed. I remember one of them was the last guy at the top of the elevator shaft in an earlier episode where Josh elbows a man’s skull straight down into his spine and it zooms in and goes super-slow motion for it. Another was in the first episode in the first fight Josh roundhouse kicks a man’s head into the wall. I’d have to go back and re-watch the episodes again to point out every single one, but the documentation I have for goes by episode totals. Currently it reads:

        K.O.: 7 + 5 + 18 + 22

        Maimed: 1 + 1 + 2 + 2

        Killed: 0 + 0 + 0 + 6

        As for the guy at 20:10, if you watch he only falls one story and onto his feet. I’m only considering that a K.O. Him going limp at the bottom is honestly one of the best ways to absorb that impact, and it’s not that far of a distance.

        Also, I will try to list as many “kills” as I can as to who they are, but forgive me if I don’t always list them. This episode was kind of special in that Josh was popping his Bat-cherry on killing, and he did it in style.

    • Benjamin Hilton says:

      Oh this will be fun.

  8. MrGuy says:

    So, at 15:35. Is that Shamus talking about “what do they eat” again?

    • Chris says:

      Judging by the state of the walls, the mooks have been surviving on a steady diet of Frosted Lead-Paint-Flakes.

      So far the game is so much in tune with the animated cartoon that it is just fun to watch, Shamus’ suffering aside. But I have to ask, why is DC so much better animated than it is live-action? The animated Green Lantern, and the animated Wonder Woman movies were fantastic, the live action Green Lantern sucked and goodness knows when we’ll see Wonder Woman actually get her own movie. (I’ve heard it argued that cartoons don’t have to deal with the costs an effects budget would bring to bear, but I think it has more to do with the fact that DC won’t let their live action stuff be campy..)

      • Bropocalypse says:

        Yeah, I think that’s it. DC is afraid of campy except when it comes to cartoons because they’re “just cartoons.” They give the cartoon creators more free-reign because they probably believe cartoons are inconsequential and non-damaging. But a movie is a flagship. You mimic Marvel’s success, and that will totally work. Just copy the most apparent things about them(there’s less color than in a comic) and there you have it. Instant money, right?

        I couldn’t guess why Marvel cartoons are kind of crappy, though.

        • drlemaster says:

          I have heard it remarked that in Marvel, the heroes are the interesting characters, while in DC the villains are interesting ones. So when DC makes a movie, they are faced with the problem of “how we make bat/super/lanternman an interesting character without upsetting longtime fans?” And they have yet to figure that out.

          As for the Marvel animation, I assume they are just licensing it out to whomever, and not worrying about the results. Like they did with movies in the 70s and 80s.

      • Matt Downie says:

        I’m not a big fan of Man of Steel and I didn’t bother with Green Lantern, but The Dark Knight was pretty good…

        • newdarkcloud says:

          I’d say that’s because dark and brooding works for Batman. After all, that’s part of image.

          But neither Superman nor the various Green Lanterns are often seen as brooding. They may have their moments, but they are both generally well-adjusted individuals.

          • Thomas says:

            Also The Dark Knight is much _less_ dark and brooding than Man of Steel :p In TDK there are actual daylight shots without a grey filter applied over everything and in the end people prove to be basically good.

            I don’t think Green Lantern was dark and brooding though? I’ve never heard anyone whose actually watched it complain about that. They just complain it was a really rubbish film

  9. Dreadjaws says:

    I like New Game+ in Arkham City. I only consider it problematic in Origins, since the combat in that game is so annoying. But I don’t think the NG+ is badly implemented in City, you just have to adjust your playstyle a bit. You can’t play the same way and expect to have the same results in what’s clearly a higher difficulty.

    For instance, you have to take the habit of rolling over mooks. Instead of saving that move exclusively for the baton foes, do it once in a while on regular enemies. You don’t lose your combo for doing it once, and it helps a lot in avoiding attacks.

    The problem is not that the game doesn’t work this way, is that you depend too much on the counter indicator. So, of course, this is going to mess a lot with your muscle memory. It takes practice. You should try doing some combat challenges with the indicator turned off (you can do this in the custom challenges) before returning to the main story.

    • MaxieJZeus says:

      “You have to take the habit of rolling over mooks.”

      This. Redirect is your friend. When playing AA I quickly got in the habit of making every other move a redirect, to the point where I almost forgot how to counter. Redirect, punch, redirect, punch, redirect, punch, redirect, punch until everyone’s on the ground. Kind of like “Gymkata,” except cool looking.

      The same habit/technique transfers to AC (both regular and NG+). It also transfers to AO, which is why I was so mystified when everyone started grumbling about the combat. I was never there when a mook threw a punch, and hadn’t been there since AA.

      • Dreadjaws says:

        The problems I had with Origins was that the controls felt unresponsive, so Batman would only do what I indicated about 50% of the time. Then came the shock gloves, that turned the combat stupidly easy.

  10. Batman is a lot like The Doctor when it comes to using lethal force. There has to be a few degrees of separation between each protagonist and inflicting murder upon others (hopefully the bad guys).

    Batman using a gun in his hand = NO!
    Batman mounting a gun on a vehicle where he presses a button to fire it: A-OKAY!

    The Doctor using a gun to kill someone = WRONG!
    The Doctor pressing a button that makes something explode, possibly destroying a whole planet = LOVE IT! NOT OUT OF CHARACTER!

    Come to think of it, the Doctor did have a mechanical device with a gun mounted on it. So K-9 is the Doctor’s smaller, unridable (with one exception involving being shrunk) Batmobile, if we assume that Batman’s car now comes with guns as standard equipment. Also, being a comic book character, Batman can probably use the gun in a “Lone Ranger” mode, where he shoots things over that fall on bad guys, disables vehicles, cuts ropes, etc.

    • Bropocalypse says:

      Murder is only wrong if you do it yourself.

      • Gruhunchously says:

        It always irritated me how the Tenth Doctor would spend half an episode ranting about the evils of guns and browbeating anyone who so much as picked one up in self defense- and then go on to devise some alternate scheme that would kill the baddies just as assuredly as a gun would. Shooting aliens invaders is bad, but drowning, electrocuting, or blowing them up is alright, apparently. Heck, even zapping them with a jury-rigged data projection device is okay, cause hey, it’s technically not a gun.

        And then he goes on to condemn his human clone for committing genocide against the Daleks, even thought the Daleks were moments away from destroying all reality and he himself didn’t seem be offering up any solution whatsoever. Grrr.

        • Daemian Lucifer says:

          Not to mention that he himself has genocide daleks numerous times before and after that.

          But the whole “no guns” thing is an invention of the new doctor.Though you can say its war ptsd.

        • Matt Downie says:

          Most Dr Who villains are immune to guns, so maybe he’s just giving people good practical advice under the guise of principled pacifism.

        • silver Harloe says:

          The Doctor very very explicitly does NOT have a “no kill” policy – he just hates guns. I think because to him they represent military forces, and he hates those, too. But he’s totally okay with killing when he has to. And, unlike Batman, The Doctor really feels no need to save bad guys.
          “Good men don’t need rules. Today is not the day to find out why I have so many.”

  11. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Joker does kill batman when he gets reality altering powers that allow him to bring bats back to life.

    • Cybron says:

      Which makes sense thematically. If the Joker kills Batman normally, he won’t be able to have fun with him anymore. Reality altering powers? It’s not a problem!

  12. Wulfgar says:

    I’m surprised that you didn’t said anything about explosive gel shape.

  13. MichaelGC says:

    Maybe I just suck, but I turn Detective Vision off whenever I’m not using it as it seems the best way to stop faceplanting into walls and suchlike. (Josh did a more stylish version of the temporarily-invisible-wall plant last week when he grabbed a railing instead of glidekicking a Joker mook.)

    And also … well, ‘cos it’s Batman, and he’d turn it off. (Not that that’s indicative of a general firm commitment to roleplaying: I’m pretty sure there’s no in-lore explanation of why “my” Geralt of Rivia doesn’t drink Cat potions upon entering a cave, but instead goes into the options menu and fiddles with the gamma setting…)

    PS Impressed by Shamus’ encyclopaedic knowledge of witcher potions! *sniff* They grow up so fast…

  14. Artur CalDazar says:

    I am getting a New Vegas vibe from this season. Its really good.

  15. TheAngryMongoose says:

    I like how the game crashes during the first Scarecrow scene.

  16. The Nick says:

    The comment ‘how does Joker have a huge army of mooks?’ has been brought up.

    Since Bats isn’t killing any of them (or killed six of them, whatever… he hasn’t killed “most” of them), a majority of them probably wake up, get chewed out by The Joker for a little bit, then sent off somewhere else with a “fool-proof plan” on how to get Batman next time.

    “Ok, if he walks into a room with a doctor tied up and I speak on the intercom before you jump down on him, ruining the ambush, you’ll -definitely- succeed this time.”

    By the end of the game, there’ll be some unfortunate guy who is even more beat-up looking than Batman who suffers from a dozen simultaneous concussions.

    • Thomas says:

      I think this might actually be canon at some point in the story.

      Although the whole game takes place over something like 13 hours of real time, so if Batman knocks someone out they dont have a whole lot of time to recover

  17. Joe Leigh says:

    “This is my British accent. I’m probably played by an American voice actor.” Yep, Penguin is played by the ever-present Nolan North, believe it or not.

  18. Tony Kebell says:

    I’ve poked at the Shamu on twitter, but I’m doing it here too.

    You guys ALWAYS wish there was some sort of Mook inc. Game or thing where you see the mook getting training or schooling and then dispatched to go mook it out somewhere. Why haven’t you taken a crack at it?

    I bet you could come up with a pretty cool little Tycoon style game where youve got to train different types of mook in X amount of time because big boss Y wants z amount of mooks.

    Any all the jokes you and Ruts have made about mook school could go into the flavour text of what I believe would be a really charming little indy game.

  19. Jonathan Scinto says:

    I was never able to play this game. As I played, I started to hate Batman and wish I was the Punisher. Actually I wanted Batman to become Mordin.

    Why do the guards and doctors think Batman is the most awesome guy ever? They’re getting killed because Batman is a useless wimp who hasn’t been able to get over a traumatic experience that happened decades ago.

    I really want a Batman game where someone points out: “Thanks Batman, the Joker’s lose again and he’s killing us.”

  20. silver Harloe says:

    I might be thinking of something else, but I could’ve sworn in this game there were a couple mook dialogue scenes that kinda explained them. One where the guy said Joker threatened his family. Another where Joker threatened to explode a collar on the guys neck?

  21. Slothfulcobra says:

    There’s sort of this Randian thing that superhero comics get into where the super heroes/villains will overpower any of the “normal” people with their mere presence. The mooks follow Joker because they are inherently lesser than him, just as all the civilians will jump to help Batman and do whatever he says.

    Of course, the real reason for this is that writers are lazy and don’t want the treat side characters like human beings. There’s only a few works I’ve seen that avoid it.

  22. Macfeast says:

    Continuing the discussion about detective vision, Arkham Origins had two predator challenges that both required you to complete a predator encounter without using detective vision. Certainly not a lasting solution to the “detective vision is too good to ever turn off”-problem, but a nice change of pace.

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