Arkham Asylum EP15: Batman’s Punchline

By Shamus Posted Friday Jul 24, 2015

Filed under: Spoiler Warning 176 comments

Link (YouTube)

The game spends the first 85% of it’s running time building up a collection of brawling and stealth mechanics. And then you get to the end and they throw you into three completely new encounters, which are as different from the rest of the game as they are from each other. We slog through Croc’s lair. Then we fight Ivy by way of Super Mario Sunshine. Then we fight monster Joker.

Superhero games are tough to get right, and the losers vastly outnumber the successes. This goes double for existing heroes. When talking about bad superhero games everyone jumps right to Superman 64, and so we kind of lose track of just how many other awful licensed games there are.

But here we have a game that managed to nail it. The tone is right. The art is right. The gameplay fits the character. (As opposed to the Gameboy / SNES days of just making everything a super-unforgiving platformer built around projectile avoidance.) They had multiple gameplay types blended together, and managed to keep it all contained at a single location without things ever feeling stale.

And then we get to the end and it all comes apart. I understand if they felt they needed to put a boss fight at the end because of videogame expectations. But three? Next to each other? And what about turning Joker into a huge brute? Didn’t that strike anyone as dangerously off?

In the comments, reader Ledel has been keeping a running tally of the apparent knockouts, maims, and kills (ignoring that the game claims people are “unconscious” regardless of what happens to their body) that Batman commits during the course of the game. You’ll have to go back and read the comments to get the details – Ledel regularly explains the thinking between what constitutes a “maim” or a “kill” here – but the idea is to count up how much damage Batman is doing if we assume these mooks are about as durable as a typical human being outside of comic books. The final counts for the whole series:

K.O.ed: 321

Maimed: 42

Killed: 26

Thanks Ledel!

I really enjoyed this season. It was nice to be able to say something nice about a game after the outrage and ranting of last time. Thanks for watching.


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176 thoughts on “Arkham Asylum EP15: Batman’s Punchline

  1. Phantos says:

    All of my IRL friends I’ve talked to who’ve played this game all quit at certain points. Not surprisingly, it was the boss sections. One of them just could never figure out how to do Croc’s segment.

    I think that alone might be why I don’t hate Monster Joker as much as I really should. Just for that “I’m the only one I know who got to this part” smugness. That and I’ve never seen a Monster Joker before. Asylum does a lot of video game sins when it comes to the boss fights, but at least it showed me something new design-wise.

    In fact, that might be the selling appeal of this game, beyond that it’s a licensed property that isn’t complete balderdash. Most Batman adaptations go for the look of the most recent film, or of the most recent animated series. If I’m not mistaken, the look of Batman and the Rogues Gallery here were designed specifically for this game.

    1. Jabrwock says:

      From what I hear, this game was a more mature take on the look from Batman:TAS.

      1. Merlin says:

        “Mature” is not the word I would use, but it was definitely a major influence.

        1. They used all the same voice actors and writers, so… yeah.

          They just opted for a photorealistic look. I’d be curious to see what a 3D version done in the Timm/Dini animated style would have looked like.

  2. Daemian Lucifer says:

    think about more than rhythm

    Ahh,so theres your problem Josh.You dont think about rhythm,it has to come to your muscles subconsciously.

    But that comment you said about space and planning ahead,you definitely should play through city.Becuase dealing with big mobs is exactly that.You need to skirt them(and you have quite enough room to do so),and take them out one by one,strategically.I mean you could just jump in the thick of it and try to fight them all at once,but when they try to attack you more than one at a time(which is often),you can counter.

  3. Grudgeal says:

    I’m just going to get this out of the way right now. I meant to say it in the last Ivy episode, but…

    Ok, Harley is one thing. Her in-universe role is partially the Joker’s girlfriend, and besides her uniform she never *acts* like eye-candy as much as the not-so-clever mid-boss. She generally acts like a perky minion and that’s her role. So the fanservice is limited to a single scene, and even then it’s, in my opinion, fairly reasonable.

    But when it comes to Ivy, I feel… Uncomfortable. Male exposees to titan grow into the incredible hulk and go “roooaaaaar!”, Ivy gets what’s essentially an orgasm (complete with Joker going “I thinks she likes it!” as he, well, *injects* her with it without consent being displayed or implied) and spends the wind-up to the boss fight speaking in more double entendres than Mad Moxxi and with none of the latter’s self-awareness, essentially being overly sexy for sexy’s sake.

    I mean, imagine if the Joker acted like ivy when he injected himself, tearing off his shirt and showing an adonic muscular, sweaty chest (with tasteful nipples) and standing there in a half-torn pair of trousers, flexing his new-found musculature while making pelvic thrusts against batman and going “mmmMMMMMMmmmm!” while the music swells to a- sorry, I got distracted a bit.

    Anyway, maybe I’m just reading too much into this. But I really don’t think I am.

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      Yeah,but ivy is all about sex,titan or no titan.She is basically a plant succubus.Thats why I dont mind that part at all.If it were harley,or selina in her place,then it would feel off for me as well.

      1. Wide And Nerdy says:

        Actually Selina is kind of that way too, just a few notches down from Ivy. Or maybe she’s just like that around Batman.

        1. Ledel says:

          She’s just like that for Batman. You see in city that she is very cold towards twoface and is only nice to ivy in order to get the info she wants.

          She’s a thief who gets a thrill from touching something forbidden, and being intimate with Batman is get biggest thrill. At least that’s my takeaway.

          1. Wide And Nerdy says:

            If this character were created a few years ago and was one creator’s vision, I might quibble with you. But that take on their attraction is a compelling one and would sit well in a collection next to other compelling interpretations of these characters.

          2. Cinebeast says:

            Except that she’s still hyper-sexualized. Heels, leather and excessive cleavage, plus she fights by snogging random thugs and knocking them out while they’re distracted.

            1. In the movies, she’s still in those (very stupid) heels. At least on recent comic covers, they’ve given her combat-boot-like footwear.

              Everything else is still pretty much the same, I think.

              1. SlothfulCobra says:

                She doesn’t need her legs to work, she just uses plants to go everywhere.

                1. Wait, weren’t we talking about Catwoman?

                  1. SlothfulCobra says:

                    I got confused from how the comment thread started.

            2. Ledel says:

              That can be said about almost all of the women you see in city. Ivy is the only one without heels and leather, but she has the cleavage and bikini bottom. I will say her counter-kiss move is a step to far, but I can’t say that I remember any lingering male gaze moments with her. She doesn’t moan sensually when she moves around or gets hit, she doesn’t linger too long straddling a guy she knocks out.

              There is a difference between being sexual and being sexualized. Calling her character in city “hyper-sexualized” feels like an overstatement. They might have dipped their feet in there, but they didn’t dive headfirst into it.

    2. Quent says:

      I find that Harley Quinn works as an extension of the Joker and a good representation on the kind of person who would constantly work “with” him. On the other hand, Ivy seems to be… well, on top of the double-entendres, there's the “plants are greater than humans” thing that feels… eye-rollish. I could see her working as a comedic/sympathetic side character in something more Pratchettish, but the character would come out very differently in that context.

      I suppose it's that I feel like there isn't anything interesting under the aesthetic; that she is a collection of attributes, and one out-there belief, without a character underneath to pull it together in an interesting way.

      I should probably note that my experience with Batman is Nolan and Arkham. She may have been done well elsewhere, but I find that hard to imagine without changing her texture as a character.

      Oh, but I did like the way the bramble comes out of the ground in her boss fight. So there's that I guess.

      1. Falterfire says:

        Now that you say it out loud, I’m inclined to agree. Poison Ivy tends to be a pretty boring, predictable character who is basically the female equivalent to a Killer Croc type villain: Big, menacing, and with no real underpinning sane philosophy or motivation guiding her actions.

        Although she does have some uncomfortable undertones that Croc doesn’t since played wrong she can allow for easy “Environmentalism Is Wrong” ‘morals’ either on purpose or by accident.

        1. It’s not so much “environmentalism is wrong” with Ivy, it’s “environmentalism means wiping out large amounts of people.”

          I do notice she shows up to do large-scale stuff in other hero-books, not so much in Batman.

          1. SlothfulCobra says:

            I don’t think Ivy in the games even ever approaches the concept of environmentalism, at least in the games. She’s just plant-themed, so she goes nuts at anyone doing anything with plants. Nothing that she does is at all related to ecological worries.

      2. Grudgeal says:

        Good point. BTAS gave it a try by giving Ivy some interactions with Harley and a late episode that gives her another motivation (she wants to have a family, but she can’t for various reasons, which also ties in a bit with her treatment of Harley as some kind of partner/sisterly figure). But for the most part, yes, plants and sex.

        Still doesn’t make her scenes any less asinine, but at least the writers can honestly say that they didn’t have anything interesting to work with in regards to her character.

        Then again, this is the team that created the modern-day Mr. Freeze from what used to be a mad scientist gimmick villain, and (at least in his first appearance) made Killer Croc into a fairly cunning drifter/outcast-type gangster.

    3. Dreadjaws says:

      Well, to be fair, that’s who Ivy is. She’s an evil seductress, unlike other female comic book characters that end up being overly sexy because the artists are horny, this is actually her personality.

      I’m actually more bothered by Harley’s sexualization. It doesn’t make sense for her character, but, again, artists be horny.

      1. Wide And Nerdy says:

        I like MatPat from Game Theory’s suggestion that Poison Ivy has a bad case of histrionic personality disorder. Seems like a good fit.

        I totally agree about Harley. I normally don’t mind this stuff but especially in her case its disturbing. The only time they did anything like that with her in the cartoon, it made sense because she was trying to cheer up her long time boyfriend. It was restrained and funny too. Joker was shown being too interested in dealing with Batman to care what she was doing.

    4. Mikey says:

      Okay, the strict adherence to Beauty is Never Tarnished is a good point, but it’s funny that your example for “imagine if the male characters were portrayed like that” is the Joker, given that he actually does flirt with Bats (Well, more “at” than “with,” Batsy being Batsy and all) in Arkham City. Actual dialog sample: “There’s a teeny little bit of me in you, too, Bats! *Batman notices that he was given a blood transfusion while knocked out* Oh, come on! Don’t tell me it’s not what you’ve always wanted!” To say nothing of some the voicemails he leaves…

      1. Grudgeal says:

        Arkham City proudly followed a number of comics on that point. The Dark Knight Returns had Joker calling Batman ‘darling’ on a number of occasions and claiming he loved him. I just took that — and the double standards of the Titan transformation — to its logical conclusions.

        Also, probably would have made for funnier boss fights if Titan turned all the Joker’s mooks and the Joker himself into Calvin Klein models.

    5. MaxieJZeus says:

      I remember the first time I played AA. I said a very bad word when Batman passed Ivy in The Green Mile. They’re going to write it so Ivy gets out, I thought to myself, because they’re gonna want a female antagonist, and Ivy is all hot and sexy and they won’t be able to resist that either, and I’m gonna have to fight a giant plant, aren’t I, even though it’s going to be pointless. Then I said that very bad word again.

      And what happened next was even worse than I feared.

      So in my case, I’m not sure I object to the sexualization of Ivy so much, as it is that by sexualizing her they give themselves a really bad reason to bring her in, usually to no good effect.

  4. So is it assumed that Arkham’s staff is going to dig Poison Ivy out of that chasm where she fell to her not-death? Will they use her undead mooks to help transport her not-corpse to a new cell?

    1. Grudgeal says:

      Oh, don’t worry. Thanks to her Titan infusion she’ll be able to summon forth new giant plants to save her any time.

      Unless, you know, Batman somehow managing to inject that one vine spreads the antidote all across Gotham’s topiary and eventually her… Somehow.

    2. Dreadjaws says:

      If we go by Arkham City, they never manage to get their hands on her. She escapes.

      1. Everyone at Arkham escapes eventually, so that’s no huge surprise. I’m just betting some interns from Gotham U.’s psych department were put on retrieval duty and gorge-filling detail.

    3. Ivellius says:

      She’s shown on a stretcher in the closing cinematic, so they…apparently did already.

  5. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Batman III-2:Now with batplane

  6. John Law says:

    I have to say, Mumbles may have retroactively sold me on the Batmobile races at the end there. Nice job. Also, is the Riddlermobile really a thing? He mentioned it in Arkham Knight, but I thought it was a joke.

    To be fair, you can justify just about anything in superhero comics because most of it is inherently silly. Of course the Riddler can set up several massive race tracks under the City – why wouldn’t he?

    1. Corpital says:

      It doesn’t sound more ridiculous than turning half the city into a walled-in murder slum or the massive army of tanks nobody ever heard about before, so why not?

      1. Thomas says:

        I think its like the Joker-monster thing though, it’s not about it being silly to the world, it’s about it being silly to the character. I’m nowhere near as much as a Riddler fan as Mumbles, but it feels so weird to have the riddler obsessing over something so physical and skill based.

        EDIT: Actually maybe its _because_ we all know less about the Riddler than Mumbles? Like most people are working off the most accessible broadest pop-culture touchstones of the character and the racing track doesn’t match up at all with that. Whereas if you really know what the Riddler is about you understand how it fits him.

        That’s still the games fault though. Because you can’t expect everyone to get Riddler the way someone like Mumbles would, if they going to do something more wacky they have to explain to the player why it works, and its pretty clear from the reception of the game that they don’t. Mumbles is the first person I’ve heard able to explain what was going on.

        EDIT EDIT: Or maybe people do just resent the Batmobile

        1. Christopher says:

          I’ve been watching more of Batman TAS lately(partly because of this series), and in Riddler’s first appearance he kidnaps a guy, puts him in the middle of a labyrinth full of robotic monsters and quizes that open doors/activates traps, depending on the answer. There might be tons of stories where Riddler just asks questions for all I know, but he’s not exactly a sphinx.

          1. Syal says:

            Also watching TAS recently, for the same reason, and in the cartoon he’s an insane puzzle game developer, so building these things would be in character.

            …and I just realized he’s an evil Roberta Williams.

            (Also one time Batman beat him by saying “you can’t do that” and the Riddler believing it, which was hilarious.)

            1. Cinebeast says:

              Oh my gosh, yes! He uses the worst of adventure game logic to befuddle and destroy.

              “Good, Batman, but now you need to find a cat for that moustache, and you still haven’t used the cheese as a power source for the energy converter, and don’t forget about the . . .”

        2. Wide And Nerdy says:

          I’d be more accepting if the Batmobile wasn’t so infuriating to control, especially on Keyboard and mouse. Even changing the keybindings to make the powerslide easier to reach (I game left handed) its hard to operate.

          Actually, the more I’ve thought about it, the more those racing challenges come off as some of the best in the series in terms of difficulty. Batman has to calculate thrust and steer and try to work out which pieces he can control on the first go. Its certainly way better than the “Switch to Catwoman to see the info you need” puzzles. All the more jarring because Riddler goes on and on about how ingenious his puzzles are.

          I’ll tell you what I’ve never seen him do in the comics: Put 200 batmunching trophies all over Gotham.

          1. Wide And Nerdy says:

            That came off disjointed. I complain about how hard it is then praise its difficulty.

            What I meant was, its hard in the sense of the Batmobile being hard to control for the player. But from a narrative perspective, this is a good mental challenge for Batman because of all the calculations and split second thinking he’d have to do to get through this puzzle.

            Its a greater mental challenge for Batman than the other puzzles which have to be easy enough for the player to solve.

            Its actually a good translation of the brawling mechanics as in both case, the challenge for the player is a simplified version of what Batman is doing on screen.

            1. Christopher says:

              Would probably be more enjoyable if you could just cheat at it. In the example I mentioned, Batman reprograms one of the robots and just flies too the center of the labyrinth on it once time starts to run out. I’m led to believe this is how he always deals with Riddler.

              1. Wide And Nerdy says:

                Actually he doesn’t normally need to. He can just solve the riddles.

    2. Daemian Lucifer says:

      Because he wasnt presented as someone with enough money to pull it off in the previous three games.Just because a setting has silly elements doesnt mean it doesnt require any narrative consistency.Furthermore,this setting has been running for decades now,changing who knows how many writers,so you dont have to merge all of those together.You can have internal canons that are separate from all the rest of the iterations.Meaning that the games can be viewed as separate from the comics and what was justified in some random comic issue doesnt affect them at all.

      1. Grimwear says:

        I agree wholeheartedly. Going off of Shamus considering that Arkham games being their own thing the Riddler creating races is not something I would have seen him doing. I mean in Asylum once you’ve collected all the trophies doesn’t Oracle let Batman know that the police tracked down Riddler in some building he was hiding in and arrested him? Doesn’t really scream high profile bagillion money nemesis. That is not to say however that certain iterations of Riddler in the comics wouldnt have done racetracks but for the Arkham series? Very odd.

        I mean take a look at Master Chief (Shamus’ least favorite character of all time). If for some reason in the third game they suddenly had Master Chief pull out an old coin and flip it or stare at it people who only played the games would look and say, “why does he have a freaking coin, where did it come from, and why the heck does it matter?” Now as someone who read the books, I know that the coin holds some meaning for the Master Chief and makes perfect sense but I would understand everyone who dealt only with game Master Chief saying it’s dumb and pointless. There needs to be a separation between mediums. Having played Asylum and City can be important for Knight, but having read every comic? That’s a tall order for a game to make sense.

        Quick sidebar that’s off topic but related to Halo: The story of The Fall of Reach is really good and interesting and could have made a fantastic game and for the Reach game to have completely retconned the previous cannon and to have done it for the sake of a dumber and less satisfying story made me a sad panda.

  7. SlothfulCobra says:

    What if that barrier Ivy has is airtight, and she needs to open it to breathe?

    1. MaxieJZeus says:

      That was my desperate hypothesis, but then Josh pointed out that the bubble doesn’t open when she’s causing vines to grow. So, probably not. :(

    2. Wide And Nerdy says:

      I wonder if she even needs to breathe. Or if she can inhale oxygen, exhale carbon dioxide, and then absorb the carbon dioxide and expel oxygen being essentially her own ecosystem. Works well enough for comic book logic. I’m sure there would still be build up of elements that make the air eventually unbreathable for Ivy but could result in her having the ability to live on a small pocket of air far longer than a human.

      1. krellen says:

        So, plants actually do respire like humans, taking in oxygen and emitting CO2 – it’s just their growth process does the reverse and does it in amounts that more than offset their respiration.

        If Ivy wasn’t actively growing like a plant, she might not be a source of oxygen.

        1. Ivan says:

          This is correct. Plants take in CO2 as part of the process of creating food (using the suns energy), Oxygen is a byproduct of this reaction. Respiration is the opposite of this reaction and produces CO2 as food is consumed to release the stored energy.

          So yeah plants produce and consume both CO2 and O2, as means of storing and releasing energy. Most of the time they are producing more food (and O2) than they need but don’t have a place to store the O2 and release it as waste.

        2. Wide And Nerdy says:

          But unlike a your typical plant, she’s mobile. Maybe the she can repurpose what plants are using for growth to give her energy or nutrition? Or is this something that has to happen during growth to happen at all?

          1. Grudgeal says:

            Not as such. To make a long story short:

            Plants use photosynthesis during the day to turn CO2 into C6H12O6, or glucose (sugar). All energy production in all life on earth is based on some kind of another of ADP + sugar = ATP, which cells burn to create energy. The most efficient way to do this involves putting O2 in the left side of that equation and CO2 on the right side (only single-celled organisms like bacteria ever do it without air).

            Plant cells grow in the same way as animal cells do, they just have the ability to (very inefficiently) turn energy from sunlight into energy the cells can actually use. During the day, plants do way more photosynthesis than they do respiration, so they cause a net gain in O2 levels. At night, when there is no sunlight, plants burn sugar for ATP like all other cells do, and this process needs O2.

            So, yes, unless she’s actually a mean green mother from outer space, who literally uses a completely different set of biochemical rules from everything else, Ivy needs to breathe.

      2. SlothfulCobra says:

        She needs extra air for her lungs so that she can mock Batman.

    3. Syal says:

      You can pass it off as a muscle reflex from firing those orbs. It always opens after the first shot; maybe that barrier’s attached to the firing pods and you can’t open one without the other.

  8. Falterfire says:

    Mumbles: At the end, you have allowed your obsession with Riddler to blind you. Clearly Oracle is the best hacker, and so automatically the best hacker in Gotham as long as she’s in Gotham.

  9. Grudgeal says:

    Speaking of Joker’s voice, you know what could have been fun for the final boss? Getting Kevin Michael Richardson to revise his role from The Batman for Titan Joker. I know his version was generally… Not very well received (I thought it was a very odd choice to begin with, but he acquitted himself fairly well), but if any version of the Joker *would* sound like it would come from a nine-foot tall ogre, it would be his.

  10. Am I the only one who’s really annoyed at Commissioner Gordon’s rope-physics? If you’re bound around the middle, you don’t stay vertical when you’re attached to the rope at the back. You’d at least lean forward, especially if you’d just dropped from the ceiling.

    Unless Joker put lead shoes on him, he shouldn’t look like that.

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      Its even worse,he is hanging by his hands.The man must have some crazy arm muscles to remain upright like that for so long.Even the best ring gymnasts wouldnt be able to achieve that.

  11. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Ok,because Campster woosed out,Im going to say it:
    The riddler racing tracks make zero sense and are totally out of character for this series.And the “true fan” argument means zero when it comes to any character with so many takes on it because of this:
    Batman hangs a man to death in cold blood.

    So you can safely compartmentalize any part of the cannon and detach it from almost all other iterations,and have just that internal canon matter.In this series canon,riddler mooches off others,making his stuff with what others provided.Making a set of huge racetracks is beyond his means.

    1. Jokerman says:

      hahaha “He’s probably better off this way.”

      1. Alexander The 1st says:

        “He’s sleeping.”

        1. Ledel says:

          “Thanks Oracle!”

    2. SL128 says:

      Agreed. Nothing in the Arkham games suggests that this Riddler would have the means or desire to build racetracks out of nowhere. His puzzle rooms are repurposed buildings, whereas the tracks are MORE BATMOBILE.

      A way it could have worked, though, would be to have him restructure parts of the city, which would have been cool.

    3. Macfeast says:

      At the end of the day, this series is an adaptation of the Batman mythos, and like every other adaptation, it needs to be able to stand on its own legs; It needs to make sense by itself, in isolation, not by inclusion of the comics. Instead of “is the Riddler the kind of character that would do this?”, it should probably be “is Arkham-Riddler the kind of character that would do this?”.

      I say this as someone who giggle with glee when I in the Lord of the Rings Online find a reference to something Tolkien only mentioned once in passing in the appendices, and wince at even the slightest suggestion of Peter Jackson’s films diverging from the books. Mythology gags, expanded universe-references, and adherence to the source material, these things are great, but they shouldn’t be a stand-in for characterization and storytelling.

  12. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Sooo….why didnt we see batman injecting joker with the antidote?And more importantly,why didnt he inject himself as soon as he got needled?

    Titan joker is pretty stupid.A much better ending would be if he shot gordon instead,and you had to antidote him while he was trying to murder you.And then get the joker somehow(or maybe gordon would punch him into a wall or something).

    1. Dreadjaws says:

      “Sooo….why didnt we see batman injecting joker with the antidote?”

      Because Batman’s best weapon is his intelligence, and he would have seen it compromised if he had left the Titan act on him. The Titan makes people dumb. Note how even though Joker can still talk more or less fine he still acts like an idiot in the boss fight.

      1. Thomas says:

        What if he splits the antidote between the two of them?

        Really, if this whole night has been about wearing Batman down, he should have got injected with the Titan serum at the start of the endgame and then the endgame and endgame boss fight is all about the Joker trying to push Batman hard enough that he’ll go over the edge and stop resisting the serum.

  13. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Waaaait….Ive just realized something.For that end fight,we have commissioner gordon in the role of damsel in distress.Complete with being bound to a chair just off the way in order to watch the hero and villain duke it out.Thats pretty funny.

  14. Regarding Campster’s note that Joker should be totally messed up when he returns to “normal,” that was kind of a plot point/murder method in the first book in the urban fantasy series, “Rivers of London” by Ben Aaronovitch (which I enjoyed).

    The villain possesses his victims, turning them into a living version of Mr. Punch, with the extended chin and everything. When he departs, rather than the usual trope of the victim going back to normal, their head is basically a ruin, and they can’t survive without a lot of immediate medical intervention. Even with that, they’re never going to look normal again (via modern medicine, anyway).

    1. Dreadjaws says:

      To be fair, a major plot point in Arkham City is that the Joker is absolutely not going back to normal and ends up quite a mess.

      1. Alex says:

        Yeah, but fantasy tuberculosis isn’t what is being talked about here. The damage caused by turning into a twelve foot tall monster and then returning to normal isn’t going to be limited to lung disease.

    2. MaxieJZeus says:

      This got me thinking:

      [Sigh. Other people are using spoiler tags to talk about a years-old release, and I’ll play along, but it’s not really possible to make this post without spoiling a major plot point in “Arkham City.” If you haven’t played it and don’t want anything spoiled, just stop reading now, okay?]

      It’s a major plot point in Arkham City that Clayface has been doubling for the Joker. What if AA had been written so that it wasn’t Joker who shows up at the party in Arkham Asylum? Rather, it was Clayface playing the part of Joker-wearing-the-TV, and overseeing the fight at the end, and taking the Titan formula, and fighting Batman and preening for the camera? Joker, seeing the writing on the wall, had already managed to flee the island with a small supply of Titan, and had left a red herring behind. Then there’d be much less of a problem with explaining away the Joker deformations and return to normal.

      Of course, this would have forced a radically different storyline onto Arkham City (and only in AC would players learn of the switcheroo that had taken place at the end of AA), but anything that led to different storyline in AC would have pleased me.

  15. MaxieJZeus says:

    “Poison Ivy isn’t my goal here, it feels like a waste of time.” Amen, I feel the same way, and with comment you got me to see why.

    It’s really nice the way AA’s story is tightly focused on a clear goal: re-capturing the Joker. All the previous mission quests, like finding the Titan formula, were incremental steps toward that larger goal. Even the “rescue Gordon” and “rescue the doctors” quests contributed to it, because they gave you clues as to what Joker was doing, and so were still nudging you closer to finding and re-capturing him.

    But nothing in the Poison Ivy quest contributes to that, and the minute she sends you off to find the spores for a cure, the game’s storyline just stalls. Yeah, it’s important to make a cure, but that’s something that could be done””that SHOULD be done””after you’ve stopped the Joker. Ivy’s mutation into a titan-boss is the game’s way of motivating the shift in strategy: now you MUST side-track to make the cure because fighting Ivy is a real priority. Everything about Ivy is a frustration, because everything connected to her has knocked away from that clear-cut goal.

    I’ve said before that I HATED “Arkham City” because the entire story is built like a snarl of Ivy-like side-quests, but I can really understand someone hating Ivy’s presence in AA while still liking AC. AA’s story has been aimed so solidly at a single goal that Ivy’s interruption becomes a super-stark frustration.

    1. SlothfulCobra says:

      Yeah, there’s no central villain with one plan in Arkham city. It’s a four-way tie for final villain between Hugo Strange, Ra’s al Ghul, Joker, and Clayface. Five-way if you count the Catwoman bit afterwards where she fights Two Face.

      1. Mikey says:

        I thought it was just two-way? Like, Clayface was working for Joker and Strange was being manipulated by Ra’s from the start? That was my understanding after my first full playthrough, anyway…

        1. MaxieJZeus says:

          That was my impression too, though in the case of Strange it felt much more contrived. Strange seemed to be more of a junior partner than an employee, and could easily have been the top boss without it feeling weird. TBH, I think the only reason he was put under a puppetmaster was so said puppetmaster’s presence in Gotham could be given a post-hoc justification.

          One thing I dislike about all the Arkham games is the way they haul in extra, subsidiary villains. It stops being a Batman game and starts to feel like one of those awful 1970s TV variety shows. If you’re of a certain age, you know the ones I mean: “It’s the Sonny and Cher Summertime Ice Cream Spectacular Hour! With special guests Carol Channing! Hal Linden! Angie Dickinson! Bert Convey! Troy McClure!” And when Ras al-Ghul shows up as a blood donor in “Arkham City,” it’s like that horrible moment when Bob Hope walks on stage wearing a black leather jacket and a Fonzie wig. I don’t think I’m alone in feeling this way.

          1. SlothfulCobra says:

            Dredging up obscure villains wouldn’t be so bad if they actually put some effort into fleshing them out and making them interesting. Mr. Freeze would still be some two-bit burglar with an ice laser if it weren’t for the cartoon being willing to reinvent him a little.

            1. MaxieJZeus says:

              That’s very true, though I think “fleshing out” could be a dangerous red herring. If the writer gives a supervillain an interesting backstory, he might become too intent on banging that backstory into us, so as to be sure we don’t miss it. That, in turn, could unbalance things.

              I’m also not sure “fleshing out” is necessary; I think it would be enough just to give these guys vivid, attractive personalities. Darth Vader actually has very little screen time in the 1977 “Star Wars”, but he dominates it because every word, every gesture, every deed is brutally engaging. In that movie he arrives as a great character, tho’ the story itself does nothing to “flesh him out.” It’s the great work of “Empire” (and to a lesser extent “Jedi”) that they are able to add more to him without ruining what “Star Wars” set up.

              Speaking only for myself (as usual), I’d say “Origins” manages to pull off this kind of good characterization with Penguin, and it almost tees up another nice character with his hapless lieutenant “Looselips”. Against these, of course, must be weighed Firefly, Copperhead, Deathstroke, and Deadshot: supporting players that the game writers should grieve over at length on cold winter evenings.

    2. Grudgeal says:

      Yep. Arkham Asylum falls a little bit off the focus with Ivy, but City is pretty much nothing *but* falling off. Again. And again. And again.

      Geez, I know Batman has a 20+ strong rogues’ gallery. What’s wrong with restricting yourself to 2-3 and making sure those ones get a fair shake?

      1. MaxieJZeus says:

        “What's wrong with restricting yourself to 2-3 and making sure those ones get a fair shake?”

        Boss fights are the reason for bringing in extra rogues, right?

        AA has boss fights with some Titans, but the only villains we really see and interact with (IIRC) are the ones that show up in a boss fight: Croc, Ivy, and Joker himself. (Scarecrow’s segments are a different sort of entity, but serve the same purpose: big set piece arena with special challenges to break up the succession of regular ordeals.) Oddly, I think Harley comes off best as a “boss” because she only ringmasters a close succession of regular fights-with-a-twist.

        AC also uses its supporting villains as bosses, and wrenches the story into ungodly shapes both to justify their presence and to motivate the fights: Penguin has Solomon Grundy in his basement? Ras al-Ghul is in Gotham? Freeze acts like a jerk toward Batman? Ychh. They can’t even fit Bane or Poison Ivy or Two Face in comfortably, so they fob these guys off inside side missions or Catwoman’s short story.

        AO? Anything said against AO in this context gets my hearty endorsement. The best that can be said is that the game comes close to lampshading it with its “assassins” storyline.

        I can’t speak to AK. Not played it, don’t have the hardware, not going to be getting the hardware any time soon.

        How funny is it that the supporting villains are not only ill-served by these stories, but they are also stuck into truly awful boss battles? Or maybe it’s not funny. Maybe the two problems are linked. I suspect there’s an essay topic in there.

  16. Peter H. Coffin says:

    Mumbles doesn’t need to apologize for schooling the world when she’s got a platform the size of this one to address a bunch of stuff. That’s WHY this series has a bunch of people on it. And the rant was epic! *starry-eyes*

    1. Wide And Nerdy says:

      Though she never answered the question of whether Ivy hates vegetarians. Also, wouldn’t it just be hilarious if Ivy was anti-GMO?

      1. Peter H. Coffin says:

        I’m pretty sure Mumbles said Ivy sometimes eats plants and sometimes photosynthesizes (presumably depending on who’s writing her this time).

        1. Wide And Nerdy says:

          Yeah but maybe she resents other people eating plants. Thats what I’m getting at.

  17. John says:

    Alas, poor Batman. The brawling and the sneaking and the ambushes all look like fun, but the art direction bothers me. Batman isn’t too bad and the Joker is supposed to be creepy and off putting, but why did they depict Gordon, the guards, and most of the mooks that way? I mean, they’re big, walking stacks of meat with these disproportionately small heads. It’s weird! I can handle oddly proportioned figures in comics or cartoons or in games that look like either of those things, but the textures in this game are toward the realistic end of the spectrum. (The Titans did not bother me. They look and act like monsters, so there’s no dissonance involved in their depiction.) The fact that the game is at times super-gamey compounds the problem.

  18. What? No word on the next season of Spoiler Warning? I hope we’re not waiting for Fallout 4 to come out, since we’d really need at least one DLC to be released for it, too.

    Maybe Josh can destroy Wasteland 2 or Pillars of Eternity? Or you could spoil the heck out of Life is Strange. There’s more Walking Dead from Telltale, along with Game of Thrones and Borderlands.

    1. Adam Phant says:

      A season of Life is Strange would be cool. What’s nice is that each episode is only 3″“4 hours long, so that’s 3″“4* weeks per episode. Given the ~8 week wait between episodes, they could start the season tomorrow and not get to episode 5 until December.

      * I noticed that there’s been only two episodes per week for the last three weeks. So maybe it’d be 4″“6 weeks per episode.

    2. Henson says:

      E.Y.E.: Divine Cybermancy. I dare you.

      1. Ed says:

        Would love to see something gameplay heavy and out of the box. Metal Gear Rising, or even weirder, like Contra 3 or something.

        1. Syal says:


      2. The Specktre says:

        E.Y.E.: Divine Cybermancy. I dare you.


        EDIT: I can see it playing out now: in a world where the Spoiler Warning Council comes together and unanimously concludes that they are serious in this undertaking. The group designates Rutskarn as the Keeper of the Plot and he futilely tries to map out the obfuscating events of the game. Without his vigilance, the series quickly devolves into Shamus crying (literally crying), “But what do they EAT?”, Campster raging about ludonarrative kinaesthetics (and something about “all the killing”), and Mumbles joking about BUTTSKARN. As Josh’s character is running around on broken legs outside of his control, shooting at imaginary threats with a great, big “You’ve been hacked” sign obscuring his vision (with half naked machine gun women and mutant reindeer wearing Christmas hats spectating), Rutskarn tenders his resignation, tossing his busted plot spreadsheets into the trash.

    3. Jeff R says:

      I’m sort of guessing it’ll be Walking Dead Season 2. (There’s also Fables as a Telltale option.)

      (And I’d also rather they wait a good while after release to do Fallout 4. The PS4 remakes of Uncharted 1-3 comes out in October, doing one of them would make a good season around then.)

      But really, speaking of recently released PS4 versions, obviously the next season of Spoiler Warning ought to be Hatoful Boyfriend.

    4. MichaelGC says:

      We’re not done with this season yet! Josh still has to complete all the challenge maps. So, next season they’ll be covering Fallout 5.

    5. SL128 says:

      Zeno Clash would be another great one, considering how critically underlooked it is in its thematic elements.

      I’ve been rewatching the Dishonored season as well, and its DLCs would also be really fun to watch.

    6. Florian the Mediocre says:

      I could see a Beyond Good and Evil season working out.

      I mean, it’s old, but it still comes up in discussions now and then, it’s short and sweet, plus it has gameplay and story. And it’s pretty good at not overstaying its welcome.

    7. xedo says:

      Weirdly, I actually really want to see their take on the Sherlock Holmes: Crimes and Punishments game. It’s not the normal mainstream content they do, but it would make an interesting counterpoint to more widely played adventure games like Telltale. I think it manages to actually give a lot of actually meaningful personal choices.

      1. Is that the one with creepy teleporting Watson?

        1. xedo says:

          To the best of my knowledge, that was sadly only in their earlier games. At the least, they made an april fool’s day video for Crimes and Punishments celebrating the joke though.

  19. silver Harloe says:

    I think Joker’s real motivation for injecting himself was explained right at the end of the cut-scene, just before the fight begins… he was still trying to get Bats to give in and let the Titan take over “it’s the only way you’ll beat me.” Instead, Batman injected himself with the antidote (because his resistance could only go on so long).

    1. Dreadjaws says:

      Indeed. Joker’s entire motivation is that he wants Batman to cross a line. Of course, Batman never does.

    2. SlothfulCobra says:

      Everything else in the Joker’s plan was foiled up to that point, so he used the only thing he had left on the only non-batman person left in the room.

      …Aside from Commissioner Gordon, who he could’ve just shot again now that Batman was too busy defying chemistry to take another bullet.

      1. silver Harloe says:

        I think you’re making the same mistake Shamus et alia were making: taking the Joker’s word at face value.

        He *says* all his plans were broken by Batman, he *says* he has nothing left to do but shoot himself up… but what he *says* is just window dressing and lies. His plan all along was to get Batman shot up with Titan, so Batman would go nuts and kill someone. And he knew that the only thing that could get Batman to accept Titan was to think it was only way to beat himself, the Joker. He just miscalculated a little bit – instead Batman gave himself the antidote and beat Joker without super strength.

        All you have to do is ignore Joker’s words and read his actions.

        I think Shamus was too busy screaming at the Joker’s supposed suicide attempt to see what followed and read his real motivations. Well, that’s my theory, anyway. I have plenty of room to be wrong.

        1. Daemian Lucifer says:

          But gordon is right there.Juicing gordon and then having him duke it out with batman would be much better.Especially because batman has only one more dose of antidote left,so he would have to choose whether to needle gordon and then try to resist it himself long enough to make more,or to needle himself and try to subdue gordon another way for long enough to make more.

  20. bloodsquirrel says:

    It never occurred to me how packed Croc, Ivy, and Joker were.

    They were probably counting on the collecting to break it up. Watching this season, the pacing of the game overall looks really weird when you aren’t doing the collecting.

    1. Peter H. Coffin says:

      Yup, especially on subsequent plays, between Ivy and Joker is the time to finish up ALL the exploring, Riddlerings, Heart of Arkham (or whatever it’s called), etc. And there’s a LOT of that. Josh got something like a quarter of the Riddler trophies, for example.

  21. Ed says:

    Loved the Mumbles rant. Showing up the whole world with Riddler Knowledge. So, you guys complain about the Titan Joker. Which is completely justified. What irks me is that you then complain about how the Joker is “back to normal” (well, poisoned, but not huge) in Arkham City. I’m glad we didn’t waste any time getting from a shit point A just to get to a better point B. This happens a lot in comics, actually. One writer will introduce a plot point that is terrible, and it just gets ignored the next time that villain shows up. No one wanted the Titan Joker, so why waste time having him get cured in the next one?

  22. Ledel says:

    Final body count. Drumroll, please…

    K.O.ed: 321

    Maimed: 42

    Killed: 26

    For the maims:
    Ep 13: None, actually. Cuftbatman was either a gentle KO or violent death in this episode.
    Ep 14: 1:55 Punched right into metal pipe, 10:08-11:15 dropped on head (5), 14:03 kicked into brick wall, Titaned into electric wall (2)
    Ep 15: Electric wall bash Joker fight (1)

    Kills: (I guess Batman was just fed up with being on the island at this point. He got deadly here)
    Ep 13: 12:53 and 13:10 face down in river (2), 22:30 pulled to their deaths (3)
    Ep 14: 1:35 and 1:45 Left in front of water pump (2), 9:40 wall explosion, 12:00-12:35 death falls (2)
    Ep 15: Dropped like a falling leaf (5) Ivy fight

    1. Ledel says:

      The titan fights gave me a bit of a tough time in that: a) its soooo many mooks to try to keep track of through the fight and b) I didn’t know how to count hits by the titans when Batman was riding them.

      Seeing how hits by the titan added to your combo total I decided to add them in, lucky for the bad guys the titans give such love taps when Batman is in control. Otherwise it was a lot of rewinding and trying to find/count bodies in the middle of all the chaos.

      This was a lot of fun for me, and I hope you guys enjoyed this as well.

    2. SlothfulCobra says:

      According to Arkham City, everyone who took titan is dead now too, even though this game says they were fine and recovered. I think you can credit Batman with those deaths since he never gave them the cure that he spent so much time working on.

      1. Ivan says:

        He did only have enough for one dose though. You can’t really blame him when it’s impossible to save everyone and by saving that one dose for the right time he can put an end to the entire thing.

        1. SlothfulCobra says:

          Two doses, counting Ivy.

          In other words, as many/few doses as the plot demands.

  23. Adam Phant says:

    So let’s talk about the Metroid formula. The way it works is you start with basically nothing and are forced through the game in a linear fashion until you get stuff. The early game is all about establishing atmosphere, landmarks, and boundaries.

    Then you get stuff and the world starts to open up. It’s an illusion, of course. You can’t go everywhere, and even if you backtrack to use your stuff all you get for your trouble is a collectible. A Riddler trophy in this game, but ammo or health upgrades in others. But there’s still only one path forward””and you can tell where the path resumes (in this game) because that’s when characters start talking. That is to say, you get new story developments only from progressing, not from backtracking. (The exception is the Spirit of Arkham stuff, but that’s more backstory and worldbuilding. Backstory for backtracking!)

    In the late game, the formula is about tying up loose ends. What has Scarecrow been up to? Where’s Croc? What has Ivy been up to after Harley let her go? So you take all the toys you’ve accumulated over the game and you start tying up the loose ends.

    By the way, the cast rags on it being Croc, Ivy, Joker, without much in the way between them, but you go from the last Scarecrow sequence straight to Croc’s lair. Between Croc and Ivy there’s the whole pump sequence with the elevators fight. And that’s really the last non-combat thing you have to do. And they give you a predator encounter with vents, explodey walls, bomb-free gargoyles, and a weird layout that lets the mooks see you on the gargoyles. It’s one last hurrah before the end game. Sure, it could have been spaced out better, but c’mon””part of the Metroid formula is letting the player set their own pace.

    Between Ivy and Joker, there’s literally nothing in the way. The game makes it very clear where you have to go as soon as you’re done with Ivy. There are some mooks if you want to punch them, but you don’t have to. Besides that, the island is mostly vacant. No more packs of mooks to fight, just a few stray lunatics and maybe snipers. So you’re shown where you’re supposed to go to end the game, but you have the freedom to explore the island in peace. Get the last Riddler trophies, solve some puzzles, find the interview tapes, the Arkham tablets, etc. Then you go fight Joker and finish the game.

    That’s how the Metroid formula works.

    1. Ed says:

      The metroid formula is such a weird thing. Comparisons to Metroid Prime are probably best, given the nature of 3d games. And while Arkham Asylum clearly takes some inspiration from the formula, I always felt that progression in Metroid Prime takes place as you slowly become more accustomed to each area. Things in the earlier areas do not actually change that much, you just are significantly stronger and can now reach whole areas you could not previously. Compare that to Arkham Asylum, where the pace of the game’s story and the island changing the farther in you get create a different feeling. Through one playthrough of Arkham Asylum years ago, I never felt like I was learning my way around the island, compared to Metroid Prime, where you slowly increase your understanding of the world piece by piece. This isn’t a better/worse argument, merely different. I do agree that Metroid games do often hit something of a boss rush near the end, once all the abilities have been unlocked. That comes in part from the significantly more powerful you are at the end of the game, so you can breeze through areas much faster.

      1. Adam Phant says:

        Metroid Prime actually suffers a similar problem as Arkham Asylum. Where AA starts to become a slog around Croc, MP starts to become a slog around the Phazon Mines. And they’re much the same: a bunch of miniboss fights (Phazon Elites instead of Titans) without much variation. There’s some puzzle stuff, but it isn’t enough to make the next bout of combat a refreshing change of pace.

        Comparatively, MP actually hits a bit of a narrative standstill. By the time you get to the mines, you (probably) already know what you have to do: find the artifacts to unlock the temple and destroy the source of corruption. And the mines doesn’t advance that story at all, instead focusing on the Space Pirates and what they’re doing with phazon. (Which, if you’ve been scanning all the pirate lore in Phendrana, you already know: they’re experimenting with super soldiers and bio-weapons.) So it doesn’t really progress the story at all. Really, the only thing it does is answers the question: where are they getting all this phazon from? (And Samus doesn’t really shut down the operation, unless killing respawning mooks counts as shutting the operation down.)

        1. Ed says:

          Whoa sweet, in depth Metroid Prime talk! First off, great points. Interesting regarding Metroid Prime and narrative. Given how minimalist the story of Metroid Prime one is, I personally never felt that lore and story details was what was pushing me forward, but rather the new environments as I went. While they do certainly over-do it with the Phazon Elites, working my way down into the Phazon Mines is something I always loved, as labs and mining equipment give way to giant mushrooms and phazon spores deeper within the mine. Add in the darkness of the whole area and it sort of even gives off a horror vibe. What does suck, and in my opinion does grind the games momentum to a screeching halt is the Chozo artifact hunt (or the sky temple keys or the energy cell hunt). As I am now double the age I was when I first played metroid prime, now perhaps I would like the investigation aspects of it. But when the game first came out I hated it, at that point Samus was incredibly powerful and most creatures in the game were nothing compared to me. And now instead of the climatic finale, I gotta run around the whole world for hours? Lame.

          1. Adam Phant says:

            While I can respect the desire to see new environments, there’s not much in the way of unique stuff in the mines. We get a pirate lab in Phendrana, complete with blackout. Giant mushrooms and spores we see again in the Impact Crater. The mining equipment is the only thing making the area interesting, I think, but there’s not enough of it to fill out the whole area. Overall, it could easily have been half the size and been just as interesting. Keep the big stuff like the room with the giant window/vista, the mining laser, etc. Cull the stuff like Phazon Pirate #3, Metroid outbreak #5, beginner’s morph ball “puzzle” #63, etc.

            And yeah, the artifact hunt was a slog. On my most recent playthrough, I tried really hard to grab all of them as I went so I wouldn’t have to backtrack. I still spent 2 hours or so looking for the stragglers. Oddly, I don’t remember being bothered by this for 2/3. Maybe if you don’t grab everything when you can and just chug through the game, the artifact/key/cell hunt works better because you’re already looking for goodies?

            1. Ed says:

              Have to agree to disagree on phazon mines then. Regarding the artifact hunt, they did tone it down in Echoes/Corruption (9 vs 12 in echoes, I think 9 but you only need five in corruption). Corruption also gives you a few of them, if I remember. Would love to see Shamus or the spoiler warning gang take on Metroid Prime. That fancy Wii U thing has Metroid Prime trilogy for download, I believe.

              1. Adam Phant says:

                A season of Metroid would be neat, to be sure. But I think the game is too old, and new releases don’t come often enough, so it’d be largely irrelevant. If there was a new Metroid game coming out soon, then they’d probably have some incentive to cover it, much like how they covered Arkham Asylum because Arkham Knight was coming out.

              2. Lachlan the Mad says:

                According to my rough memory, the key hunt (for Chozo Artifacts/Dark Temple keys/Energy Cells) got better every time. I don’t have anything to say about the Prime 1 hunt that wasn’t said above, so here’s my thoughts on the others:

                In P2, the Dark Temple Keys are very dependent on the final suit upgrade, the Light Suit; this is a marked improvement over P1, where only 1 of the 12 artefacts strictly requires the Phazon Suit. It also helps a lot that the Light Suit is a serious power trip, letting you blast through the Dark World with impunity. That said, it was still a severe interruption to the plot, and I found the battles with Ingsmashers to be much more annoying than the Elite Pirates (I could be wrong, but I think that Ingsmashers respawned while Elite Pirates didn’t, and some of the Ingsmasher battles were in very narrow spaces).

                In P3, the Energy Cell hunt didn’t feel intrusive at all, for several reasons. Firstly, it was slightly earlier in the game; I think the game ran with key hunt -> last area boss -> endgame instead of last area boss -> key hunt -> endgame. Secondly, the energy cells were spread through the game, and you could collect them as part of your usual plot activities. Thirdly, the Energy Cells had a puzzle component, where they weren’t all mandatory and you could unlock side paths if you put in the work. Fourthly, P3 was much easier to get 100% items in because the Observatory highlighted items for you. Lastly, you were given a plot notification for the cell hunt because the game had a lot more voice work (“Hey Samus, we found that mysteriously missing ship — go investigate, and be sure to pack some backup power.”).

                1. Ed says:

                  Great comment, and you are completely correct. I am actually retroactively disappointed that prime 1,2 did not have an observatory equivalent to them. The observatory takes away the nature of either having to consult a guide or just scour the entire game world for upgrades, but doing the puzzle to actually get each upgrade is still on you. Regarding the light suit in Echoes, I wonder if it is actually good that the light suit is required for the Dark temple keys. It certainly segregates the key hunt from the game from everything else. Whether that is good or bad is debatable. I do find it weird that the Light Suit is so powerful that it actually makes Samus more powerful in the dark world given the healing beacons around.

                  1. Lachlan the Mad says:

                    Regarding the Light Suit: I enjoyed it because it felt like a huge power trip. The Annihilator Beam was also super useful in that respect because it meant that you could completely dominate a lot of Dark World enemies if there was a light beacon nearby. For me, hunting for the Dark Temple Keys was very much a “SCREW YOU ING BASTARDS, I AM STEALING YOUR SHIT THIS TIME!” Obviously your mileage may vary.

                    Also, regarding the Observatory; part of what balanced the Observatory, at least for me, was the fact that it was a bugger to get to. It was halfway between two starship landing pads and it took at least 15 minutes to get there after you grabbed the upgrades you needed to unlock the last two planetary maps, and then just as long to get back again. Again, your mileage may vary.

    2. Ledel says:

      One of the main differences being that by the end of Metriod games you feel powerful, and going back to the earlier zones turns into a cakewalk/power fantasy. You can just blast through everything.

      Here, even with all of his upgrades, Batman doesn’t feel all that much more powerful. You don’t get some special item that makes the knife guys trivial, your punches don’t do more damage. The most powerful stuff you get is combo takedowns. Yet even with those fighting 4-5 mooks feels about the same at the beginning of the game as it does at the end of the game.

      1. That kind of demonstrates the problem with superhero games based on actual comic book characters. The game wants a way to make you more powerful without making it a stupid level-progression that contradicts what you see in the comics.

        F’rinstance, if this was Superman, I think fans would hate having a Superman who doesn’t get heat vision until level 5, can’t fly until level 7, takes damage from bullets until upgrading at level 10, etc.

        Batman being basically a gadget-ninja makes this a little less silly, since his moves are learned, not inherent, and if he’s cut off from the main Batcave, one could argue that his gadgetry is limited in the asylum. It’s still a stretch, but better than some possible superhero setups.

        1. Ed says:

          Thinking about it now, I would say the Infamous games do a good job of increasing your power as you go through the game, and those are superhero games. Having batman start of weak, however, isn’t going to cut it. Any “named” superhero pretty much needs to start at their full power/skills, otherwise the player is going to be confused why they are bothering. No one wants to play a spider-man game where you can’t web swing shortly after starting. The only way I could see that working is if you played as a “newer” branded super-hero. For example, a Ms. Marvel game where you slowly gain an understanding of how your powers even work.

        2. Falterfire says:

          I’m still surprised we don’t have an open-world Iron Man game. Start the players in the huge clunky Mk. 1 and have them upgrade it throughout the game. You’d have to do a bit of futzing to correlate XP and the ideas for building new tech, but not more than is already used for a lot of level up systems.

          Iron Man is a character I think fits perfectly into either an open world RPG or Metroid-vania type game, but as far as I know we haven’t gotten an Iron Man game (not counting stuff like Marvel Heroes and LEGO Marvel), or if we did it was just a terrible movie tie-in.

          1. Adam Phant says:

            Instead of arbitrary XP from killing mooks, or whatever, armor progression could be based on experience. Like, what did Tony learn from using it? After the escape with the Mk. I, he could have several ideas for refinement. For example: slimming it down, using repulsors instead of rockets, reinforcing joints, targetting assistance, and an expanded arsenal. Now to make things interesting: choose three. That’s the Mk. II that you designed.

            And then you can test some stuff in the lab, like flight stability. Or go out on a joy ride and discover the freezing problem. Or go bust some punks and get some combat data. Exposing the suit to different things gives Tony new ideas to pursue for the next iteration.

            By the end of the game, your Mk. V has evolved based on what you wanted, rather than Tony just building a better suit with new stuff because the plot demands it. Your Mk. V could be completely different from mine. How cool would that be?

            1. Syal says:

              Seems to me like Iron Man would work well with an X-COM style leveling system; your company makes money every month and you pour the money into research and development. Major upgrades come from finding new metals and power sources to work with.

        3. Nidokoenig says:

          One way around this would be to have extra abilities and power-ups be optional, giving the hero their standard ability suite from the start. Acquiring or producing gadgets takes time, so if you can find the secret route or can walljump instead of taking time to cross the map to find your spare grappling hook to scale a wall, you’re quicker and thus save more people or thwart the enemy’s progress more thoroughly. This favours more technological superheroes like Batman, Iron Man and Spider-Man, and obviously it favours shorter, more intricately designed areas and games that are supposed to be replayed. Though that runs the risk of players beating it just once and thinking it’s a shit, short game that tries to extend its life by making you do the same shit over again constantly, but that’s an almost inherent risk to Metroidvanias.

        4. Daemian Lucifer says:

          I proposed once that supermans power should progress in reverse in a video game.You get all your powers for the beginning,then lex(or someone else)infects you with something,and with every main story mission you lose one of your powers,until you become practically just a man near the end,when you finally get the antidote to get all your powers back.

          1. Peter H. Coffin says:

            EXACTLY. I mentioned this in a more general context a few episodes ago: increase difficulty by making the hero LESS powerful. Superman infected is a good one; I was trying to think of a way to zot Supes. For Batman, he runs out of stuff. The explosive gel is only good for maybe 10-15 squirts per can and you’ve got no counter for it. Just the first can to tell you how many squirts there are, and you need most of the rest to efficiently solve problems further on. You can run out of batarangs, but can pick up rocks. They’ll still blind titans, but with rocks, you have to aim EVERY time. Grapples break. or start not catching all the time, so not as many mooks get pulled by them. Armor starts out strong and seems impervious, gets holed and weaker over time to the point where mook punches actually HURT and getting good at avoiding them is important. You can bandage some damage away, but never all of it. Sometimes the Batmobile is available to get you from point A to point B, sometimes it isn’t and it’s a choice of fighting and burning through MORE gear or trying to stealth your way to B at the risk of arriving late and having some villain attract MORE mooks.

      2. Adam Phant says:

        I’d contest that Batman doesn’t feel more powerful. At the start of the game your best combo is probably going to be only 5x hits. By the end of the game, your combo is going to be in the 30″“40 range. Batman himself might not be dealing more damage, but you’re supposed to be better at fighting. That’s how the power progression in Arkham Asylum works.

        In Metroid, Samus is just shooting stuff until it dies. Mechanically, it’s no different to Batman. The only difference is that Samus’ weapons are dealing more damage, requiring less shots. Until you encounter the enemies with higher health that require the same amount of shots as the last tier did. The only real difference is that Batman can’t go back to the processing facility at the start of the game and one-shot a mook. Samus really doesn’t feel more powerful unless you purposefully go to an earlier area to kill the 10 HP creatures with your 150 DMG beam.

        1. Ed says:

          While you aren’t wrong, every time in a metroid game you get a new beam upgrade, you do visually get a more impressive shot, so even if functionally you are about equivalent with the next batch of foes, I do think the empowerment factor is still there. Even if only superficially some of the time.

        2. Merlin says:

          Mobility is a big differentiator for Samus. Again using Super as reference, the Varia Suit, Gravity Suit, High Jump Boots, and Space Jump all affect your ability to conquer the environment (even not including specialized doors, shutters, and destructible blocks) which represents a big part of the power fantasy. You’re an explorer as much as a warrior, and you go from trapped in a hostile environment to a complete master of it. And even within combat, all of the jumping options (including the Screw Attack) give you new ways to deal with foes rather than just having more damage from the Plasma or Charge beam.

          (Also on the explorer front, it helps that respawning enemies are often part of the natural habitat. It makes it much more natural to blitz by them rather than stopping to fight.)

          1. Adam Phant says:

            Mobility really isn’t power though. I don’t get the space jump and think, “I’m so much more powerful now.” My thought is, “I’m free!” I bet I’m not alone on this.

            Which, yeah, Batman is sorely lacking in Arkham Asylum. And City, I guess, since the biggest change in mobility happens when Bruce gets his cape and grapnel gun. Then you can fly! And I guess later you can do some tightrope walking but that’s only useful in the one-time visit “dungeon” areas. (Like Penguin’s lair.)

            1. Christopher says:

              Metroid Zero Mission was the only one I felt powerful in, really. For people who don’t know, at the end of that game(which is a remake of the first one) your ship is shot down while you’re making your escape. You then have to infiltrate an enemy ship without the power suit, even weaker than when the game began, and stealth past enemies. At the end of that area, you get your suit back with additional upgrades and storm all the way back through it, killing everything in your way with one hit and cool music blazing. That’s the best time I’ve ever had after a game took away my abilities.

              It IS something that would be a good fit for Bruce Wayne, I guess, but in Arkham City it’s pretty much like playing James Bond when you play without the batsuit at the beginning.

        3. Ledel says:

          That’s more a mastery of mechanics and not an empowerment of the character. If you go back and play the game you can manage those big combos from the start. A Batman feeling more powerful would, for example, would have you deal with a few battles with knife guys on standard strategies. Then you could build/unlock a disarming batarang upgrade that knocks the knife out of their hands. This forces you to do a workaround for the armed guards until you reach a certain point. That’s what I mean by feeling more powerful.

      3. Neil D says:

        While he doesn’t really get much more powerful over the course of the game, I thought that was one of the things that turned out really well when viewed over the entire trilogy. In Arkham City, they introduced new enemy types but also new methods for dealing with them (blade dodge takedown, aerial takedowns, etc.). By Arkham Knight, he has gotten so good at what he does, and built up such a reputation in criminal’s minds, that he is able to take down up to five armed men before they can gather themselves to fight back, as long as he catches them by surprise.

        It may have just been a side-effect of them trying to find new things to do in each game, but to me it really sold the idea that he was getting better and more effective as time went on.

      4. Daemian Lucifer says:

        Thats one of the improvements in city.Every gadget you get does improve your power in brawls,because you can quick fire it.Also you do get special moves as you move along.

        Though this becomes quite stupid in origins,where you get the shock gloves,and can breeze through everything after that.

        1. Ledel says:

          Yeah the quick fire on the gadgets did make the big brawls feel a lot more varied and getting new toys to play with actually made it feel like you were stronger. I got in the habit of abusing the freeze grenades against the guys you couldn’t counter normally.

    3. Merlin says:

      So let's talk about the Metroid formula. The way it works is you start with basically nothing and are forced through the game in a linear fashion until you get stuff. The early game is all about establishing atmosphere, landmarks, and boundaries.

      Then you get stuff and the world starts to open up. It's an illusion, of course. You can't go everywhere, and even if you backtrack to use your stuff all you get for your trouble is a collectible. A Riddler trophy in this game, but ammo or health upgrades in others. But there's still only one path forward””and you can tell where the path resumes (in this game) because that's when characters start talking.

      I don’t think that’s entirely fair to Metroid. There’s generally one most obvious path forward, but rarely only one “legit” one. Take a look at the wiki (link) – many of those sequence breaks are “use the standard wall-jump maneuver here”) and a lot of the optional items have actual value. Using Super Metroid as an example, the difference between 100 missles and 255 missiles is not tremendous, but reserve tanks are handy, the Spring Ball makes getting around a little easier, the X-Ray scope makes finding other powerups easier, and so on. Zero Mission included some modifications to the original game specifically to enable sequence breaking by skilled & knowledgeable players.

      1. Adam Phant says:

        Zero Mission included some modifications to the original game specifically to enable sequence breaking by skilled & knowledgeable players.

        The keywords are: ‘skilled’ and ‘knowledgeable’.

        I know all about sequence breaking. However, I’m also approaching it from the perspective of a first-time player, someone who is neither skilled nor knowledgeable. Unless they’re lucky and develop all the skills needed to break the sequence on their first playthrough before they need that skill, they are not going to be doing any sequence breaking until a later playthrough.

        Also, it doesn’t matter if ZM has side passages for sequence breaking. Even if Nintendo removed all the “go here!” markers the Chozo statues give, the game is still very much designed to guide the player along a linear route. Virtually every player is going to take that route at least once.

        1. Merlin says:

          Possibly, but even though there’s one “default” path (with a couple minor variations) the game doesn’t always push you very strongly in its direction. For Super in particular, normal play often feels like you’re uncovering secrets, and as a result, uncovering secrets can sometimes feel like normal play. I know that I personally did some weird, weird things on my first time through. (Though this was aided significantly by my turbo controller happening to work beautifully for bomb jumping.)

  24. SlothfulCobra says:

    Titan is very confusing in this game. If you pay attention to all the exposition the game offers about it, the game tells you that Doctor Young developed it (since Joker isn’t a chemist) as some kind of cure for psychosis, so I guess turning into a giant monster is supposed to be some kind of side effect?

    Except she derived Titan from Bane’s crazy steroid juice, so it’s not like turning into a giant monster is an unexpected side effect. In fact, Joker knew that Titan would do that from the start. It’s a good thing that Dr. Young is dead, because otherwise she’d have a lot of explaining to do.

    1. SharpeRifle says:

      Its probable that small amounts of the Titan formula would have different effects from larger amounts. Chances are she was probably using diluted or much smaller dosages for her main experiments. So the Bane monster problem is probably known to her but she was looking at the beneficial effects from her smaller or cut dosages. Or its possible she was using a slow release method like nicotine patches do.

      Remember Kids…Dosage Matters!

      Course she might have been planning on selling it to mercenary groups or governments or something too….it is a Batman story.

      EDIT: Heh yaknow I just thought of this and its a horrible thought…buuuuut….what if she was was planning on selling it to a pharma corp to treat erectile dysfunction. I mean it IS essentially a testosterone replacer. 8-P

      Imagine the product warning on THAT!

      1. Falterfire says:

        “YOU’LL BECOME A MONSTER IN BED. (warning: side effects include becoming an actual monster)”

  25. Matt K says:

    The worst part of the Joker fight for me was my first time I skipped part of the initial cut scene and the fight loaded up with no AI. I hate to admit I spend a few mins trying to figure out how to beat the fight before I realized I needed to restart the level.

    ETA: So exactly what happened in the video.

    Also the Titan fight here was rough for me. Fighting the Titans themselves was okay but also dealing with all the Mooks and then the combos taking me into the Titans was rough.

  26. Hermocrates says:

    Hello! This is my first post here, and also my first start-to-finish Spoiler Warning season as-it-aired since I started watching almost four months ago (in which time I’ve marathoned almost every season). So I’d rather have entered into this community with something a bit lighter, but I just had to respond to mumbles laying the smackdown on Campster.

    First off, I want to stress that I’m not disagreeing with anything mumbles said about the Riddler races in her rant. She’s clearly the master of Batman lore, especially when it comes to the Riddler himself.

    But in Campster’s defence, consider this: a lot of people playing the Arkham games probably aren’t masters of Batman lore. Personally, I watched the Animated Series off and on as a kid, watched the corny 90s movies, and then was subjected to Nolan’s trilogy, but really that’s about it. To someone like me, the Riddler having a race track does seem weird. So maybe, while it is actually in his character, the games did a poor job of actually setting up his character in the first place: actually showing that the Riddler isn’t just all about Da Puzzles, but that puzzles are merely just a part, albeit significant one, of his e-peen contest with Batman. Sure, maybe the Batmobile overstaying its welcome was to blame for backlash against the racetrack, but maybe it was the in-game writing’s fault too.

    While I love when a game has a bunch of hidden gems and easter eggs for long-time fans to get and enjoy, there’s also something to be said about a game series being able to stand up largely on its own without having to resort to outside sources for explanation of consistency (or a multitude of Codex entries or a certain post-apocalyptic Bible, for that matter).

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:


      And as a newcomer,you get one wish that will be fulfilled,as long as it is “I want Josh to play arkham city for the next spoiler warning”.

    2. James Porter says:

      So welcome aboard!
      I was gonna try and just ignore it, but you said a lot of what I felt about that “smackdown.” Overall I have more an issue with the tone the conversation took(shouting at each other doesn’t make for good analysis) but I do believe that good points ended up being raised.

      I think my big issue with Mumbles defense is that it kinda makes an excuse for its existence, rather than arguing it deserved to be there. Much of Chris’s criticism is on how the more openworld sandbox-y aspects of the later game give up on tightly crafted narrative and tone. The level design in Asylum lets players feel like they are in an open world, but the designers can still control the experience and build pacing.

      While I have never played any of the Batman games, I really dislike little distractions sandbox games usually have. I am all for freedom to let the player do what they want, but I just have trouble jumping off the main story to deal with what I see as distraction. I never cared about 100%-ing any games, or achievements. I just want to play through a fun game. So while Mumbles can argue that its something the Riddler would do, it just doesn’t seem like something that adds to the experience.

      I think Mumbles may have hit a nail on the head when she said “you just have a problem with the tank.” This does seem to be the real issue here, so instead of arguing if the Riddler would actually do something like that, I think it would be more useful to have a conversation about what that section does to the rest of the game.

      In the end, I just want an environment for fair and understanding discussion. I know Mumbles apologized in the video, but I really don’t like when this stuff becomes a heated argument like that(not to mention its no fun seeing people you enjoy getting angry at each other). Hope I don’t come off as too judgmental.

      1. Ivan says:

        I will admit I do enjoy listening to a good rant now and then, even something I know nothing about but I agree that did get a little bit intense.

  27. BitFever says:

    They could have fixed the ending or at the very least improved it by having joker replaced by killer croc. Joker would inject batman so he can ether go hulk mode to beat the croc and stop joker or he would stay human and lose. Batman of course would figure out some way the joker hadn’t thought of to beat croc and joker and save the day but without the plot exploding in on itself.

    this fix would also remove the earlier crappy bossfight against croc in the sewers.

  28. MaxieJZeus says:

    Okay, this is my last chance to post something that should have gone on a much earlier video:

    The Spoiler Warning crew and commenters have been having fun teasing Batman’s ethics. He refuses to kill, but every time he turns around someone else is dead.

    But the joke actually implies a serious point, because there is no joke unless you think Batman probably SHOULD feel bad about those deaths he hasn’t prevented. After all, if you’re going to be a stick-in-the-mud about NOT KILLING, shouldn’t you feel pretty bad when these people you’re protecting or not killing turn up dead later?

    So I’ve gotten curious about people’s moral intuitions. Here’s a quiz. The first 12 questions are more than a little tongue-in-cheek, but if you’ve taken a college-level philosophy class in ethics you’ll recognize the kind of puzzles they are meant to raise.

    I’m really not interested in answers to the first 12 questions, though; I just want people to ponder them””to reflect on some of these puzzles””before getting to the “essay questions” at the end, which are the real point of this post.

    How Bad Should Batman Feel(TM)?
    Directions: On a scale of 1 to 10 (1=”Really, there’s a problem here?”; 10=”This is as bad as my parents’ murder!”) indicate how bad Batman should feel about what has just happened.

    1. Batman tells an Arkham guard to stay where he is because there are no safer places on the island to retreat to. He returns later to find the guard dead. How Bad Should Batman Feel(TM)?

    2. Batman tells two Arkham guards to retreat to the mansion, which Batman believes is completely safe and is the only safe place on the island. Later, he finds that everyone in the mansion, including one of those two guards, has been tortured to death; but the guard who stayed in the watchtower survives the night. How Bad Should Batman Feel(TM)?

    3. While chasing after the Joker, Batman stumbles across an armed guard. Instead of ordering the guard to go to the mansion””the only safe spot, he believes, on the island””he leaves the guard in place. Later, on returning, he finds the guard, with a smoking shotgun in his hands, standing over a dead mook; forensic analysis contradicts the guard’s claim of self-defense. How Bad Should Batman Feel(TM)?

    4. Batman knocks out a rampaging mook but leaves him in order to chase after the Joker. The mook has an undiagnosed heart condition and dies without regaining consciousness. How Bad Should Batman Feel(TM)?

    5. Batman catches the Joker and ties him up. While standing guard over him, he notices some policemen closing in on a mook. He doesn’t intervene, because he assumes the cops can handle the mook, but the mook turns out to be armed and kills them all. How Bad Should Batman Feel(TM)?

    6. Batman catches the Joker and ties him up. While standing guard over him, he notices an inmate in the distance being assaulted by a small gang of mooks. He runs off to save the inmate (successfully), but the Joker escapes in his absence, and dozens more people wind up dead. How Bad Should Batman Feel(TM)?

    7. Batman catches the Joker and ties him up. While standing guard over him, he notices Scarecrow running off in the distance. He leaves Joker in the care of an armed guard and runs off to catch Scarecrow. On returning after catching Scarecrow, he finds that the guard has killed the Joker in cold blood. How Bad Should Batman Feel(TM)?

    8. While Batman is running around Arkham, two people are accidentally killed in a botched hold-up in Gotham City proper. How Bad Should Batman Feel(TM)?

    9. While Batman is running around Arkham, Ras al-Ghul murders Africa. How Bad Should Batman Feel(TM)?

    10. While Batman is obliviously perched on a gargoyle in Gotham City, in a nearby apartment the infamous fascist informer Gaston Brisseau is assassinated in his bed by anarcho-communist radicals who shoot him multiple times through the ear. How Bad Should Batman Feel(TM)?

    11. While Batman is busy fighting crime, one of Bruce Wayne’s social acquaintances””a filmmaker of intellectual pretensions””breaks up with his long-time leading actress/girlfriend, starts dating her 17-year-old step-daughter, and during the ensuing social-media shaming storm commits suicide. How Bad Should Batman Feel(TM)?

    12. Over the years, Batman has single-handedly stopped every supervillain plot, usually after the supervillain has killed only two or three people, and has then dropped the supervillain into prison or Arkham. There’s been a cycle to it: Villain escapes, kills two or three people, Batman stops the plot before it go off, sends the villain to prison; GOTO 10. Over the years, each supervillain has killed about twenty or thirty people in this way.

    After hearing rumors that Ras al-Ghul is plotting to murder Africa, Batman secretly leaves Gotham City. It turns out to be a wild-goose chase””Ras is actually sunbathing on the Cote d’Azur””but during his week-long absence, every Gotham supervillain, from the Joker down to the Condiment King, escapes and launches a supervillainous plot.

    And every one of these plots goes spectacularly awry because they have been designed and executed by lunatics who have only a tenuous grasp on reality; in the course of the night, each supervillain only manages to kill five or six people before getting fatally shot, hung, run over, drowned, eaten by their own robots, etc.

    When he gets back to Gotham, How Bad Should Batman Feel(TM)? And for what?

    Essay Question #1: While running around Arkham, Batman learns that the Joker is in the mansion, and hazards that he has a fifty-fifty chance of ending the Arkham crisis if he runs there without delay. On the other hand, if he lets himself become distracted, Joker is very likely to get away and kill more innocent people before Batman can catch up to him again.

    But as he sprints across the island he notices an armed guard in a watchtower, and pauses briefly to talk to him. The man has a broken leg and is incapable of moving or being moved. Batman soon guesses that the man is too terrified to act rationally and is apt to panic and shoot any enemies that come into view. Batman also knows that a group of thugs are heading in this direction, intent on murdering anyone they come across, and will soon come into the line of fire from the watchtower.

    What should Batman do?

    Essay Question #2: Should Batman judge himself (and be judged) strictly on the outcomes of his actions, or should those judgments reflect his physical, cognitive, epistemic and psychological limits? Should Batman stories cheat around such limits, so that his omni-competence prevents any tragic consequences that would reflect badly on him, even at the cost of destroying the credibility of the story? Or should Batman stories show that the best-intentioned heroes have moral and physical limitations that can plausibly lead to tragic outcomes, and explore those outcomes?

    1. Syal says:

      Bah, people and their ten-point scales to describe four options. This is why everything is 7 out of 10, you know.

      Also I’m dubbing this questionnaire the Test Your Meddle quiz.

      1. 8. Totally Batman’s fault, he made the wrong call and the guard might have made a better one.

      2. 2. The watchtower guy obviously got caught and sold out the others; if he’d listened to Batman they all would have survived.

      3. 1. Mooks brought it on themselves, Batman can’t be everywhere, that guy’s gonna go around shooting people no matter what Batman tells him.

      4. 2. Undiagnosed means you can’t plan around it. It would be like not using rope because someone might be allergic to them.

      5. 8. Since when does Batman not intervene in even the most trivial of situations? He must be drunk or something.

      6. 5. Heart of the question, right there. Joker gets away, but who’s to say what those mooks would do on their own?
      …make that 6. He should have brought better restraints.

      7. 1. About bloody time.

      8. 3. Still stopping crime, can’t be everywhere.

      9. 1. Africa isn’t part of Gotham, silly!

      10. 8. The guy’s infamous and Batman isn’t expecting something like this? That’s on him.

      11. 1. Just be happy the guy didn’t become another supervillain like every other jackass would.

      12. 10. That’s twice as many bodies as would have been there otherwise, and Africa isn’t even part of Gotham!

      E1. Take away the guy’s gun, load him up with tear gas, smoke grenades and stun weapons, then go kick Joker’s ass. Or if the mooks can’t see the guard as long as he doesn’t open fire at them, just sedate him.

      E2. Definitely with regard to his limits, probably a little past his limits because he’s that kind of guy. But while you can have a time or two where things don’t work out, most of the time they should all be right in the end; if you want to deeply explore the limitations of one man, you shouldn’t be telling a story about a martial arts grandmaster billionaire who’s also Sherlock Holmes. Use the guy from Unbreakable or something.

    2. ehlijen says:

      I’m not really sure your test acknowledges that a) Batman is supposed to be a power and wish fulfilment fantasy (in most incarnations, anyway) and b) by having this fatal fate befall almost everyone you meet the game creates a strong tone of futility.

      In essence, what many people want to be a story about individual heroism succeeding in the face of a cruel world becomes a story of the futility of ethics and morals. The bad guys keep killing, the bad guys keep escaping and nothing Batman does will change the outcome.

      As Shamus said in his articles about story bend, the rogue’s gallery repeatedly escaping and causing mayhem is a necessary requirement of the genre and rarely a deliberate part of the story’s theme.

      The joke isn’t about Batman taking so much personal failure in stride without visible reactions, the joke is about the writers shooting themselves in their thematic foot. The thing about contrived situations in stories is that it all started with the writer choosing to make that situation happen. All these people died because the writers either wanted them to (deliberately making the player efforts feel futile) or couldn’t think of any way to save them (lazily making the player efforts feel futile).

      The hero not always succeeding is fine (Spiderman and Gwen), but the hero almost always failing is bad unless you’re deliberately going for that (in which case it’s not really a hero story).

    3. Nidokoenig says:

      It should be noted that many depictions of Batman show him to be batshit to a greater or lesser degree. While there may be a rational ethical calculus where he should kill some fools, he knows that if he flips his shit then he’ll become a terrifying supervillain, so having hard ethical rules to stop him making judgement calls in high-stress situations makes some sense. He’s also on record as saying killing would be easy enough that he might not be able to stop. After all, he’s probably made a Batling gun already.

      1. It doesn’t help that he’s had so many writers that probably shouldn’t have been let near the character. Off the top of my head, there’s Kevin Smith who had Batman say he’d peed himself early in his career. Then there’s Neal Adams who not only wrote the amazingly awful Batman: Odyssey, he included mention of his pet “theory” (and I use the term quite wrongly) that plate tectonics are a lie and that the Earth is really expanding from the inside out.

        It’s not that the DCU should be rebooted every few years, it’s that much how presidents cancel old executive orders and implement new ones when they enter office, DC’s editors ought to just label certain stories as canon, non-canon, or “other” when having new writers come on board.

        1. mwchase says:

          I still can’t shake the nagging suspicion that part of the point of Odyssey was to score nebulous fan argument points against people complaining about the ballistics at the end of Dr. Horrible.

          You know, as a side-objective to putting “Batman doesn’t kill” under an electron microscope and giving him an out that I hope nobody else has used or will use.

    4. Fizban says:

      Numbered questions: only defining 1 and 10 on the scale doesn’t do enough since people’s idea of the middle will still differ. Most of my responses were either that batman would view it as an accident or be confused and investigate a possible conspiracy after those “coincidences,” with him tending to take more blame on himself since he’s not supposed to mess up.

      Essay question 1: knock out the guard with a quick bat-punch or bat-sedative, batclaw up to a safe looking roof on the way to Joker and deposit the guard there. You say “incapable of being moved” but a broken leg shouldn’t do that on it’s own. If he really can’t be moved then toss a quick bat-gas-grenade at the gang of mooks on the way. In either case if he had enough time to talk to the guard he has enough time to bat-move him, and I don’t see why he wouldn’t have knockout grenades.

      Essay question 2: there are already plenty of takes on batman, he should be judged as appropriate for the story. There’s no right or wrong, just personal preference here. Depending on how long a batman runs they could focus on one angle or depict a journey that covers all of them. I personally prefer more defined effects that the writer’s won’t cheat around, but moreso and specificially I hate it when a character goes from omni-competence(/powerful) to screwing up for no reason. If a long series was trying for all possible angles they’d need to have a very strong transition explaining why he moved from one to the other (if it’s even feasible), and commit to omnipotence when it’s in effect.

  29. Chauzuvoy says:

    Hang on. So Batman goes to fight Ivy specifically to inject her with the antidote in order to stop the titan-ivy from destroying Gotham. Then a bossfight happens, she falls off-screen, and batman runs off to fight the joker, WITHOUT USING THE ANTIDOTE! That you just went through all that crap with Ivy and Croc and Scarecrow to create. And then Joker tries to shoot Gordon with the titan dart. So you jump in the path of it. And then Joker shoots himself. And rather than let Gordon take the hit and antidoting him, or resisting it yourself (which you were doing well) and antidoting Joker, you shoot yourself with the only antidote. And then miraculously everybody comes down off the titan anyways, so all the antidote crap (and therefore the Croc, Scarecrow, and Ivy stuff) was pointless.

    I never really noticed just how badly this game falls apart at the end.

  30. Neil D says:

    Well, thanks for playing this one gang, I thoroughly enjoyed it.

    Mumbles didn’t entirely win me over with her Riddler-rant. I do acknowledge that I detested the Batmobile more than the racetracks themselves, but I still think they were decidedly un-Riddlerlike. Maybe if there was more of a thinking aspect to them it would work better, but just ‘press this one button to toggle things up/down’ wasn’t enough to do it. That one room where you had to figure out how to get the Batmobile up to supply power was closer to what I would expect.

    Hell, the game even had Catwoman and Joker comment on how Riddler seems to have no idea what even constitutes a Riddle, which was kind of weird. Although at least the Batman/Catwoman co-op rooms had a bit of puzzle solving going on so I thought they were okay despite Catwoman’s comment. Not so much the kidnapping Catwoman part though. If there’s ever another sequel, Eddie’s going to find some sharp claws in a place where he’d really rather not have them.

    Back to Asylum, one thing that occurred to me while watching this, a minor change that might have made the Ivy battle a little less odd-feeling might have been to change Batman’s walking animation. It was just jarring to have him casually strolling back and forth in front of the giant plant-monster between frantic bouts of leaping. Even if they just used his crouch animation it would have at least felt like he was coiled and ready for action. Wouldn’t have fixed it entirely by a long stretch, but I think it would have helped.

    I think one of the reasons villains like Two-Face and Penguin got passed over is that once you let them out of their cells there still isn’t much for them to do apart from sending more mooks at you. Croc, Bane, Ivy, Scarecrow (with access to his stuff) are all able to present a direct threat; the others need a somewhat larger stage to work from.

    Finally, I’ll say that the main reason I’m sorry that Arkham Knight will probably never wind up on the playlist, is that there is so much more room for Josh’s innate talent to find glitches and have weird things happen. There were many more moments than in previous games where I just burst out laughing at some stupid thing like Batman getting run over by a mook car out of nowhere, or something hilarious like that clip of the Batmobile falling on him. A ripe field there.

    Anyway, thanks again and I’m looking forward to whatever the next season has in store.

    1. Christopher says:

      A bit of music would have livened stuff up. Might just be the audio mix, but I barely noticed anything during either boss fight this episode.

  31. Wide And Nerdy says:

    It just occurred to me that right now in New 52, Batman and Batgirl are father and daughter. I don’t think that’s ever happened before.

    EDIT: Closest its come is Huntress being Batgirl briefly. But this version of Huntress wasn’t Batman’s daughter like the original and I don’t believe the original Huntress ever became Batgirl.

  32. I think Ivy more like mentally controls her minions than kills and reanimates them. More than a necromancer I’d say a mindflayer. Ivy the squid plant, wanting to kiss awake Cthulhu.

    1. MaxieJZeus says:

      Yeah, if you go back into the Greenhouse after the game is finished–while collecting stuff, probably–you’ll find those two guards you beat up, and they mumble something about having had a really weird dream.

  33. Christopher says:

    I wanna say I’m real happy with this spoiler warning. Everyone brought their A-game, it was a good fit. Josh might not like it, but he made it fun to watch.

  34. The Specktre says:

    Fighting Poison Ivy was one of the most miserable experiences in games for me. I’m amazed Josh made it look easy. I eventually beat her with the exact same sliver of health too.

  35. Tuskin says:

    AFAIK, the Cutscenes in Knight are not prerendered so you can see your alternate costumes in them.

  36. Isaac says:

    Mumbles out here putting ppl on notice

  37. Mintskittle says:

    I think a better justification for the titan Joker would have been that when he was trying to break Batman’s consetration or whatever with the feather, Batman hits him, and while stumbling about, Joker accidentally shoots himself with the serum. After hulking out, he says something to the effect of “I hadn’t planned on this happening, but lets roll with it,” and continue from there.

  38. Metal C0Mmander says:

    At least it couldn’t be worst than the Big Riddle.

  39. McNutcase says:

    OK, now I’ve seen it done by someone who’s actually good at it, I can better appreciate what they were going for with the Ivy fight. I still have zero intention of replaying it, but it’s slightly less hideously annoying.

    Incidentally, Ivy isn’t quite invulnerable while the shell is closed. You do maybe a couple pixels’ worth even when it’s closed, which is how I finally beat her: spamming quick batarangs and hoping.

    Riddler doing stuff that’s out of character for him… I felt like at least some of his puzzles for trophies in City didn’t feel like his style (note: my Batman knowledge is from maybe a couple episodes of the 60s TV show, Batman Begins, and Arkham Asylum and Arkham City). The “stand here to activate the buttons, then figure out how to activate them given that the pressure pad also blocks them from batarangs” ones, sure. The ones that require tricksy flying of the remote control batarangs, sure. The magnet puzzles, oh yeah. Even the ones that required certain batsuit upgrades and gliding. But the ones that were basically “remove this minefield to crawl through a little maze” kind of rubbed me the wrong way. They were too easy to simply brute force, but the stupendously long recharge on the mine-remover tool meant that I was literally sitting there reading a book. The last game I did that in was Mass Effect 2, while scanning and probing, because that I could literally play blindfolded.

    I will say this. Spoiler Warning convinced me to give Arkham Asylum a try (thanks to a generous friend with a serious Humble Bundle problem), and that convinced me to put Arkham City on my Steam wishlist. Which caused Shamus to give me a copy when he felt like being generous. And I’ve really enjoyed both games. City more than Asylum in a lot of ways, although there were a few downgrades (like the ability to start audio logs and then go do something else; City insisted I sit in the menu, so the only audio logs I bothered with were the voicemails from Joker).

    So, yeah. So far, only one game I got because of Spoiler Warning turned out to be something I hated, and that was because of something that wasn’t apparent in Spoiler Warning. That’s a better than 90% hit rate. You folks are clearly doing things right.

    1. lethal_guitar says:

      “but the stupendously long recharge on the mine-remover tool meant that I was literally sitting there reading a book”

      I think you’re supposed to figure out which of the mines you have to disable to get through without needing to recharge the disruptor – at least that’s how I did it. I had to draw the maze out on paper in order to get it right, though..

      1. McNutcase says:

        If that’s the case, the maze was too hard to see. Could have used some of Riddler’s neon green paint to mark the partitions. It’s not like he doesn’t have way too much of that stuff.

  40. Sean Payne says:

    You tell ’em Mumbles, nice to have someone versed properly in Batman telling these comic canon-phobic gamers a thing or two!

  41. Variety says:

    I always viewed the Batmobile races as challenges; Riddler is challenging you to complete an obstacle course that requires multitasking and quick reactions. Compare the races to the Batmobile rooms where you’re using it to solve riddles (lowering yourself down a pit, using it to blow up/pull down walls, etc.

    I think Arkham Knight had the best balance of Riddler and his trophies, though they could have gotten rid of the one that are just sitting on desks and floors in random buildings. The Catwoman story gave me a reason to go after Riddler, and only having 243 riddles (compared to the 400-something of Arkham City, what the hell) gave me something to do for an hour or two every day before I try NG+.

  42. Kdansky says:

    I don’t enjoy Mumbles going on fangirl-rants. Just because you’re invested so heavily into Batman does not mean all Batman stories and characters are sensible. Would Riddler build a race-track? Maybe. Would he build dozens? No.

  43. djshire says:

    epeens? What about hemi-peens?

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