Arkham City Part 15: Sniper, No Sniping!

By Shamus Posted Thursday May 4, 2017

Filed under: Batman 81 comments

Batman emerges from the GCPD building and heads for Joker’s Steel Mill to recover the cure for t-NOPE! It’s time for another distraction!


The news helicopter, just before it takes a missile.
The news helicopter, just before it takes a missile.

Vicki Vale is just outside the police building in a helicopter, shining her spotlight in Batman’s eyes like a dingbat. Joker has got his hands on some rocket launchers by this point, and so he has his men shoot her down. The tail is blown off of her helicopter and she goes spinning out of control, flying out of the player’s view.

Judging by where she lands, the pilot evidently flew this half-a-helicopter over several rooftops, gaining altitude in the process. He was then able to descend straight down and land on a patch of highway in a small canyon of crumbling buildings. And then it exploded, burned to a crisp, disintegrated the pilot, and left Vicki Vale with black smudges on her face and very slightly disheveled hair. The aircraft and all of her gear exploded, but she’s still holding her cell phone which means she can still somehow maintain her live feed.

Snipers have converged on her position. I have no idea how Joker’s goons got here. This part of the city is flooded, so the only way to get around is by either swimming in the freezing water or gliding overhead using your superhero cape, and I’m going to assume those options aren’t available to Joker Goons #151 through #155.

It’s silly, but this segment serves a purpose. Several actually.

First, we need to slow Batman down a bit. The player thinks that Joker has the cure and that Batman will die without it. Naturally the worry is that he won’t leave any for our hero. The next time we see Joker it will be Clayface-Joker, looking healthy. It might feel a little strange if we go directly from the Freeze Fight to our confrontation with Joker. The writer needs to create some space in the minds of the audience for the Joker to be “cured”.

It bugs me that we get a button prompt for this. I understand the game needs to make it clear to the player if they're about to take down both guys or just one, but I'd rather the game just did that by highlighting the guys in yellow or something. Outside of the tutorial, I dislike being told what button to press.
It bugs me that we get a button prompt for this. I understand the game needs to make it clear to the player if they're about to take down both guys or just one, but I'd rather the game just did that by highlighting the guys in yellow or something. Outside of the tutorial, I dislike being told what button to press.

More importantly, this is our sniper tutorial. Rescuing Vicki Vale from the snipers allows the player to deal with a small handful of snipers in a confined arena before they fly off to the steel mill and have to face them in a more open area where they are able to cover each other.

And finally, Vicki is here to give our hero an audience. It’s a common trope, although I’ve never seen it properly documented. When our hero defeats the bad guy, we want it to happen on a grand stage in front of the world, not in a side-room where it takes place without public notice. It’s why so many movie showdowns happen in the middle of the big city. The Ghostbusters defeat Gozer from on top of a building while a huge crowd is gathered below, looking up. Captain America foiled Hydra’s plans directly over Washington D.C., not in a military base in the middle of the desert. The Avengers have their big showdowns over cities, not remote wildernessException: When the good guys fight each other they generally DON’T have a civilian audience.. The Guardians of the Galaxy finished off Ronan the Accuser in front of the local populace, not in deep space.

When the dust settles we want the rest of the world to know that something happened, because the alternative is for the hero to drive home alone and unappreciated, and that doesn’t usually make for a happy endingThere are always exceptions of course. The point is that public finales are far more common than private ones.. If we can’t have a crowd of people, then the next-best thing is to have a news reporter there. It tells the audience “The world knows what’s going on here. This is a big deal. People care.”

Hey Vicky, didn't your pilot just die in a horrific crash? Maybe you ought to worry more about that and less about who I've been punching in the face.
Hey Vicky, didn't your pilot just die in a horrific crash? Maybe you ought to worry more about that and less about who I've been punching in the face.

This might also be a good point to talk about those 2,000 people who are going to die of Joker toxin, or Titan poisoning, or whatever it’s supposed to be. But apparently a citywide epidemic is not as important as who Batman might be punching in the face. So Vicki Vale flew her news helicopter over a prison (I’m pretty sure this is a crime) so she can play looky-loo.

We probably can’t blame Ms. Vale for not covering the hospital situation. I honestly think the writers lost track of this plot thread or cut it for time. That’s unfortunate, since it makes kind of a mess of the themes at the end.

The Lone Knight

Batman punches his way back into the steel mill. Alone. Like a loser.
Batman punches his way back into the steel mill. Alone. Like a loser.

Batman wants to keep following leads to figure out Protocol 10, but Oracle insists that he’s only got hours to live and he should focus on getting the cure back from Joker.

Batman has two very important goals and he can only pursue one of them. This is exactly the kind of situation where some sort of sidekick-type guy would come in handy. Which would be fine, except earlier in this story they revealed that such a character exists, and that Batman sent him away because he didn’t want his help. Why have a sidekick if you’re not going to use him? Now that you need him, why are you not calling him in? Why is nobody even thinking about him?

Why did the writer add this character to the story, then have them do nothing, then create a situation where their help was desperately needed, then completely ignore them? At the bare minimum, make up some emergency on the other side of the city that’s keeping Robin busy.

This is the kind of problem that can’t be waved away with the “it’s a comic book” or “it’s a videogame” excuse. There are a bunch of strange structural flaws like this in the story, and they all come to the surface in this penultimate chapter.

Getting back into the steel mill involves riding ice rafts through an obstacle course. It's a long story.
Getting back into the steel mill involves riding ice rafts through an obstacle course. It's a long story.

As Batman works his way into the Steel Mill, Oracle reveals that “Protocol 10” is the name of a contingency plan. She doesn’t know the details, but if things get out of hand inside the prison then Hugo Strange will be authorized to initiate the plan.

As we’ll learn in about ten minutes once Protocol 10 begins, Strange’s plan is thus: He creates this massive prison in the middle of the cityShit, the NIMBY opposition to Arkham City must have been epic., throws all the psychos in it, and then surreptitiously gives them all guns. Once the shooting starts, he tells City HallOr whoever runs the local government, the game doesn’t waste time explaining local politics., “Oh no! Somehow the prisoners got guns and now all of these nutjobs are armed and might escape into the city at any moment!” So they authorize Protocol 10, which is to send in a bunch of gunships to blast Arkham City into rubble and kill all the prisoners.

Oracle is presumably learning about this through her computer hacking. Also, it turns out Commissioner Gordon has already heard of Protocol 10. The authorization for Protocol 10 is given just as Batman is learning all of this, on his way to fight Joker for the cure. It’s a huge exposition dump that reveals the entire plan, while Batman is in the middle of working on a completely different problem.

The World’s Latest Detective

It's been over ten hours since this conversation where Hugo Strange told us about his plan, and Batman has accomplished exactly nothing regarding it since then.
It's been over ten hours since this conversation where Hugo Strange told us about his plan, and Batman has accomplished exactly nothing regarding it since then.

This is a pretty shitty night’s work for the “World’s Greatest Detective”. The nemesis of the day told him the plan at the start of the night. His close ally Gordon was actually somewhat familiar with the plan. The name of the plan was part of the public records that were drawn up when Arkham City was founded. Instead of talking to Gordon, or having Oracle look into those records, he went and asked Catwoman. And then Joker. Once he got himself poisoned, he spent the entire night dividing his attention between these two concerns and never making use of his supposedly capable sidekick. Instead he gave Robin a job that could be done by anyone and then promptly forgot about him.

It would help if Batman at least acknowledged this in dialog. “I lost focus because I didn’t take Hugo Strange seriously.” Or maybe, “I just assumed Joker had to be behind this.” Or perhaps, “I knew Catwoman wouldn’t know anything about Protocol 10 but I wanted to look at her tits and this seemed like a good excuse.” Something. Just acknowledge that he’s screwed up. It will patch over all of these problems and it will kind of feel like character development.

Even setting this aside, this reveal is unsatisfying because it feels unearned. Batman hasn’t been working on this problem. He hasn’t been following leads, finding clues, putting the puzzle together, thinking about the problem, or even typing random shit into the Bat Computer. Oracle hasn’t been giving any indication that she was doing those things. They’ve all been ignoring the problem for most of the running time so far, and now that we’re ten minutes from Protocol 10 we’re getting all the answers essentially handed to us. That would be bad enough in a normal superhero story, but in a story where the hero is supposedly a great detective it just falls flat.

I doubt most players will notice this on their first trip through the game. (I didn’t.) It’s not that this is wrong in the sense of being “impossible” or a “plot hole”. It’s that it whiffs on one of the central themes of the character. This problem doesn’t create a bad moment, but it does deny us a moment of satisfaction where all of Batman’s hard work pays off. If this had been handled better, we could have enjoyed one of those scenes like the ones in Arkham Asylum where Batman feels capable, clever, and heroic.



[1] Exception: When the good guys fight each other they generally DON’T have a civilian audience.

[2] There are always exceptions of course. The point is that public finales are far more common than private ones.

[3] Shit, the NIMBY opposition to Arkham City must have been epic.

[4] Or whoever runs the local government, the game doesn’t waste time explaining local politics.

From The Archives:

81 thoughts on “Arkham City Part 15: Sniper, No Sniping!

  1. xedo says:

    I forget exactly where, but one of the stealth/predator sessions opens with Strange monologuing to his minions about how Arkham City is going to such a success that he’ll be able to replicate it in all the other DC cities. This makes sense post-reveal as he wants to kill all the criminals, everywhere. (You’ll only hear some of this dialogue if you start taking minions out, as that interrupts the monologue).

    Of course, overseeing a prison where the inmates get military hardware and riot and then have to be slaughtered would probably get marked up as a colossal failure to people not aware of his secret plan. So he wants Arkham City to be such a titanic failure, that he gets invited to repeat it all over the country. It’s definitely a moment that sticks out when you know what Protocol 10 really is.

    1. Darren says:

      I think the argument is that society will appreciate having criminals like this wiped out en masse and will forgive the apparent failure once they see the results. It’s one of those things where the comic book universe’s blanket ban on the death penalty–which is necessary to allow things to continue in perpetuity–hits you in the face with how unrealistic it is, as people like Strange have to come up with convoluted ways to convince the general public to kill super-powered mass murderers.

      1. Ninety-Three says:

        Does the comic book universe actually have a ban on the death penalty? I mean in practice yes, no villain ever gets executed, but is that canonical or is it just one of those “Comic books don’t really make sense, please stop thinking about it so hard” aspects?

        1. guy says:

          I know that in Justice League Unlimited someone did get sentenced to death (but spared to join the Suicide Squad) so in at least some incarnations it’s not a blanket ban. Mind, most Batman villains are insane, hence being sent to an asylum, and thus exempt from the death penalty on those grounds.

          1. Zekiel says:

            Yeah the “they’re insane so they aren’t held in a normal prison and can’t be executed” is quite a nice excuse (in a don’t-think-about-it-too-much comic booky sort of way).

            Course, in Arkham City all the criminals (insane or not) are chucked in the same prison so that excuse doesn’t work.

        2. Viktor says:

          IIRC a couple comic books have mentioned a death penalty ban for one city or another, and there’s plenty of RL US jurisdictions that haven’t executed anyone since the 60’s even if it’s technically legal.

          That said, screw lawful executions. If it weren’t for the narrative rules of comic books, every one of the villains would have been shot 20 times in the back “resisting arrest” after their second major jailbreak. There’s very little stopping US cops from killing whoever they want, and they’re not exactly going to be merciful after seeing their buddies turned into copsicles or whatever this villain of the week does.

          1. Paul Spooner says:

            I’d be interested in a semi-realistic setting like this. Would certainly make things interesting if a bullet-resistant character showed up. Even if they don’t break any crimes, do national authorities require them to be on probation, restrict/report their movements, etc?
            The conclusion I came to when working on a super-hero RP setting was that super-powered characters would be treated basically like corporations, with licensing and taxation and accountability and transparency. A supervilain could get away with a lot, just like a modern corporation, as long as they keep the government well paid.

            1. Daemian Lucifer says:

              I think theyd be treated more like professional athletes and very valuable workers.Avatar and legend of korra had the right idea where they use benders for masonry,in power plants,for transportation,……

              1. djw says:

                Tangentially related Slate Star Codex Fiction but you do have to read quite a bit to get to the relevant part.

          2. INH5 says:

            That said, screw lawful executions. If it weren't for the narrative rules of comic books, every one of the villains would have been shot 20 times in the back “resisting arrest” after their second major jailbreak. There's very little stopping US cops from killing whoever they want, and they're not exactly going to be merciful after seeing their buddies turned into copsicles or whatever this villain of the week does.

            This. It’s made worse whenever there’s a Batman story that relies on the Gotham police being incredibly corrupt. While this does help justify the longevity of mob boss-esque villains, it makes the survival of other villains even more implausible, because widespread corruption should only make it easier for the cops to get away with murder, as it does in real life.

            1. ehlijen says:

              Besides the issue of running out of villains, that would change the tone of the setting from ‘crime running rampant’ to ‘dystopian dictatorship’.

              Batman was always about one man being able to change things for the better, but a police force that murders would mean there is no law for him to help uphold. There is a huge difference between some corrupt and misguided cops and a systemic system of power abuse.

              If the police murders batman villains, and worse if he keeps handing them villains to murder (because what else is he going to do? run a bat-prison?), then that taints batman and his efforts as well. And then he’s not a superhero, he’s a villain.

              1. Viktor says:

                So what you’re saying is that Gotham is unrealistic because it’s too pleasant and the cops are too reasonable? That’s really depressingly accurate now that I think about it.

                1. ehlijen says:

                  That is not what I intended to say, I wasn’t talking about realism at all. Batman has always been on side of the law and the police, even when they weren’t on his side. If the police murders, and batman keeps handing them victims, that puts batman on side of murderers. But what else can batman do?

                  Batman is a vigilante, but he is a ‘good guy’ because he always hands the perps over to the police. You take that away, and he becomes a ‘bad guy’ like the punisher. Batman helps the law, rather than taking the law into his own hands.

                  A police that murders would disrupt the core of the batman myth too much.

              2. Syal says:

                but a police force that murders would mean there is no law for him to help uphold.

                Disagree. The main thrust of a vigilante hero is that he enforces the laws the cops can’t or won’t. If you still have good people passing laws and good judges/lawyers trying to do right by them, an evil police force is just the kind of thing a vigilante hero is supposed to replace.

                If all the branches of government are corrupt (which they usually are in that kind of setting), then yeah, you’re into lawless dystopia.

                1. ehlijen says:

                  I disagree. Batmans’s friendship with Gordon and the fact that he always hands the perps over to the police show that he is on the side of the police, which would become really disturbing if the prisoners keep having accidents in jail. In most Batman stories, the police are primarily in over their head or restricted by red tape rather than corrupt.

                  It’s still a vigilante story, even without everyone needing to be a dystopia.

                  1. Daemian Lucifer says:

                    I disagree.In plenty of interpretations he does but heads with the police,mainly because they are 99% corrupt.

                  2. Syal says:

                    I think you can write a story where the police are corrupt without the jails and prisons being equally corrupt. Either the police need deniability and will only kill criminals while they’re still at large, or there’s some newfangled lockup that doesn’t need guards, or Gordon or Wayne’s friends run the place or something.

                2. See, as I see it the main thrust of superheroes is not about vigilantism. Ideally, it’s not about taking justice into their own hands, it’s about taking public safety into their own hands.

                  You see it a lot more with Superman, but it comes up with Batman too. If you think of them as punitive characters, they get really authoritarian really fast – they punish the guilty with savage, extrajudicial beatings. The thing is, that’s not generally what they’re framed as doing. Instead, they intervene to PREVENT harm. Superman beats up a giant monster to keep it from killing people in its rampage. Batman stops a mugging to keep the innocent from getting hurt. That even ties in with his origin in a much more heroic way – he’s not fighting crime as REVENGE for his dead parents, but to prevent anyone else from feeling the pain that he did.

                  With that in mind, Batman doesn’t need the justice system to be broken in order for him to be necessary, just not up to certain tasks. A common way of framing that has become painting the GCPD as willfully corrupt, but the more that persists, the greater the uncomfortable authoritarian tones accrete around the character.

              3. Actually, that would be a fascinating batman story for the comics.

                Some B list batman villain – not a throwaway schlub, but not an a-lister that would never stay dead – is killed by the cops after Batman takes them into custody. Batman is obligated to go after the killers, but the police – maybe even Gordon included – are resistant. It could be a good way to further justify Batman’s “no killing” rule, and pass some commentary on police violence.

                Is DC taking spec scripts? I’m not a Batman kinda guy, but I wanna take a crack at this.

          3. DeathbyDysentery says:

            Hell, forget dangerous, vengeful cops as well. I’m pretty sure the United States government would classify villains like The Joker as domestic terrorists or ‘enemy combatants’. Even further, I’d say that high-profile villains of that sort would occupy at least the same position in the American consciousness as Osama Bin Laden. The Police wouldn’t even be trying to arrest them; they’d just be killed with drone strikes or shot on sight!

      2. Zekiel says:

        Yeah I think this was the logic. “We don’t want to have the death penalty on our conscience but if all the prisoners get out of hand and have to be executed for safety then that’s pretty much ideal.” It’s actually a really bleak worldview that the writers’ are implicitly suggesting for the population of Gotham. Of course, that’s just Strange’s POV – he might be quite wrong.

        (Also of course any civilian who hasn’t moved out of Gotham after all these years has to be completely bonkers…)

        1. Nimas says:

          To be fair, this *was* set in the world of the Animated Series (I believe) which until the Arkham games, actually had a very low death toll.

          In the Comic based off the Animated Series, one of the ‘villains’ in blackgate, Mr Nice, apologises to a couple of guards that he’s tied up and asks if the bonds are too tight, to which they respond that ‘no thanks, they’re fine and they’re getting double time for this’ with a smile.

          1. Hector says:

            They were extremely cagey and don’t really confirm or deny any specific continuity. Some writers and voice actors certainly came over the B:TAS, but it’s not a continuation of that. Even the Animated Series wasn’t in 100% continuity with other, directly-related works.

  2. Darren says:

    But Batman was finding clues about Protocol 10. The player learns about the guns when they go down to deal with Ra’s and discover Joker’s goons are getting shipments of weapons from Strange. And Ra’s presence turns out to be foreshadowing: Protocol 10 is his kind of plan, and of course he turns out to be behind it. There’s also Deadshot’s quest which makes it clear that, despite Arkham City ostensibly being legal, Strange is eliminating people to keep something about Arkham City quiet (although it’s not clear why he would need to do this).

    There’s also a bunch of stuff in the Arkham City Stories, but any given player may or may not have access to that information and may or may not have read up on it even if they did; one of the flaws of locking exposition and backstory behind optional puzzles.

    Setting that aside, Batman sought out Joker to ask about Protocol 10 (Joker: “Never heard of it.”) so it’s not like the Joker was entirely separate from those goings-on.

    I agree with you that the game has a short attention span and is trying to juggle more than the writers could handle, but I do think there’s more of an attempt to incorporate these threads than you are giving the game credit for.

    1. Dev Null says:

      Truuue… but then he goes to ask Joker about it for no apparent reason beyond “Bad stuff is happening; must be Joker’s fault.” Which, in the Batman universe is not as big a stretch as it sounds, but I’m not sure it qualifies him as Sherlock Holmes.

    2. Paul Spooner says:

      Yes, there are clues, but Batman isn’t looking for them. Stumbling over a plot by accident while investigating apparently unrelated oddities is more Scooby-Doo’s thing.

      1. Sleeping Dragon says:

        Indeed, this would have worked better if Batman was noticing the clues and he was actually the one to put the pieces together, even if that happened (gameplay) minutes before Protocol 10 was launched (it is a busy night even by his standards).

  3. Durican says:

    This reminds me a lot of the final act of Arkham Origins. In that game Batman has been making a lot of bad decisions, and has refused to accept assistance from anyone. These mistakes lead to some really bad stuff happening to Batman personally, and he has a heartfelt moment realizing how much he’s screwed up. Say whatever you like about Origins, but that entire sequence is one of my favourite Batman moments, because he not only swallows his pride but he learns from his mistakes and comes back stronger. The story elements of the final level play out beautifully, showing Batman in the same conflicts he’d faced earlier in the game, but this time making better decisions and managing to rely on others.

    1. Shoeboxjeddy says:

      Even better, the Origins story is explicitly ABOUT Batman making these errors and learning from them. Whereas City doesn’t seem to know how badly Batman has fumbled things and expects the audience to be cool with it.

  4. Neil D says:

    That’s very true about Protocol 10. As the player, you don’t get the feeling that you’ve been actively working towards solving it; instead, you just keep pushing through unrelated tasks until the game decides it’s time to tell you more.

    The other thing you highlight that bothers me about many portrayals of Batman since the 90s, is that his allies are mainly used as a way of highlighting what an anti-social loner he is. Like he revealed his secret to them and invested all of that time and energy training them just so that he could then continually be a jackass to them and insist that he doesn’t want or need their help. The writers miss the point entirely that these relationships are supposed to contrast with his brooding badass nature, and show a) that these people are particularly special, and b) there is still some capacity for warmth and love inside him.

    1. Nimas says:

      Some of my favourite moments in comics are when Batman interacts with kids or when he just shows how gosh dang much they are a family to him.

      Also, this I must share.

  5. Bloodsquirrel says:

    Question: What were protocols 1-9?

    1. Durican says:


    2. Retsam says:

      It’s actually only the second protocol. Protocol 1 was the decision to number the protocols in binary.

      1. Paul Spooner says:

        The binary numbering decision was going to be protocol 0, but Hugo kept having to explain fence-post errors.

    3. Syal says:

      I don’t know about 1 through 8, but Protocol 9 was to reanimate the dead with alien technology.

  6. John says:

    The idea of Cut Content intrigues me. I’m going to add it to my list of Reasons That Video Game Stories Suck. It will go after The Story Was a Secondary Consideration but before The Story Was Conceived By Programmers and People Only Care About Multiplayer.

    1. Viktor says:

      Where does “Story was assembled after the fact from disparate scenes/sequences/setpieces” fall in that list?

      1. John says:

        Story Was a Secondary Consideration is at the very top of the list while The Story Was Conceived by Programmers and People Only Care About Multiplayer are near the very bottom, as is Cut Content. I originally envisioned The Story Was Assembled After the Fact as a sub-class of Story Was a Secondary Consideration, but if you think it deserves its own entry–and it might, as I suspect it happens quite a lot–we can put it up near Story Was a Secondary Consideration.

        1. Matt Downie says:

          These days only in very low-budget projects do programmers get to write the story. Programmers are mostly too expensive, and too busy doing programming. Stories are written by level designers, or by the people whose job it is to decide how many hit points of damage a bullet in the face should do, or occasionally by professional writers.

          1. John says:

            Look, it’s at the bottom of the list isn’t it? If you can think of a short, pithy phrase which suggests that the story was conceived but not necessarily executed by people whose professional experience is at best tangentially related to narrative then please do.

            1. Sijov says:

              Amateur writers? or Non-professional writers?

            2. Locke says:

              The Story Was Written By Whoever Was Already In The Office.

            3. Syal says:

              Snack Wrapper Storyline.

              Like, a guy eats a snack while doing whatever he’s doing, then looks at the wrapper and thinks, “I could throw this out, or I could write a plot for the game on there and not have to throw it out”.

          2. Tizzy says:

            These days only in very low-budget projects do programmers get to write the story.

            Yes indeed! Unfortunately, most of the time they are brought in after the game mechanics have been fine-tuned and the levels designed. See: the Tomb Raider reboot. See also: Dishonored (where if I’m not mistaken the original setting was supposed to be 19th century England–hence the looks–before someone decided that a fictional universe would be better.)

    2. ThricebornPhoenix says:

      Every type of media has cut content (from, you know, rewriting and editing). What matters is whether the rest of the content was adjusted accordingly. When it is, you probably won’t ever hear about it.

      I learned about a lot of dummied (cut) items, characters, etc. from Game Genie codes back in the day.

  7. Hal says:

    I suppose the developers thought about it this way: What’s more fun, to have Batman doing detective work, or to have him punching bad guys in the face?

    It would seem they settled on the latter, which is why Batman spends his time punching guys in the face and the detective work happens off screen, only to get dumped on him later on.

    I mean, I get it. It’s the same reason why, when they need a cure to some disease a villain has whipped up, Batman sticks a sample into a Magic Science Box and it spits out a cure. Nobody wants to watch Batman spend a few months at a lab bench running tests and performing quality control; even a montage wouldn’t help that, because you need a sense of urgency.

    Really, it’s just part of the same complaint you’ve made since the beginning of the game: Batman is not proactive in this story, he’s reactive. If all he can do is punch guys in the face, then reaction is all the license he’s going to have in the story.

    1. Scampi says:

      How would Batman doing detective work at least in narration or video sequences prevent the gameplay focus on action? Even if the detective work is not actively done by the player, it could at least take place at all.
      Have dialogue with his allies to explain how he came to conclusions. Have him monologue to himself how he found a new clue somewhere on a table you just passed.
      Instead he randomly asks people if they know about Protocol 10…and once they don’t know the specific name, he lets it rest. No further questions? No investigation? No additional questions?
      “Catwoman, do you know of Protocol 10?”
      “Crap. Whatever. See you later I guess.”
      Is this how police usually work?
      “Have you seen who shot your neighbor?”
      “That’s all we need. Case closed. No further questions.”
      This investigation would seem haphazard and underwhelming from a meter maid (no offense meant), and that’s the approach BATMAN chooses?

      1. Sleeping Dragon says:

        To me this is the main issue. If this was an original character I’d probably hand it to the writers that they threw in some clues that either let some players guess what was going on or only became obvious in retrospect, and that the charater didn’t figure it out… it’s been a rough night all things consdered. The problem is this is literally Batman we’re talking about. His abilties of observation, deduction and foresight (money for the gadgets also helps) are supposed to be enough to make him a real threat to the likes of Superman.

  8. Piflik says:

    Having a massive showdown in a heavily populated area does not only provide witnesses, it also raises the stakes. Having aliens invade the Mojave Desert (wishing for a nuclear winter) doesn’t have much oomph, compared to Manhattan, when the heroes can unleash all their arsenal without the risk of collateral damage. The screenwriter can also use the fate of innocent bystanders to elicit emotions from the audience.

  9. Jack V says:

    This would work a lot better in a comedy.

    Robin: Can I help??
    Batman: No, I urgently need you to… rescue a cat. on an island. on the far side of the city. Honest.
    Robin: Aye, aye!
    Joker: Mwahahahahahaha! I bet you wish you had a sidekick handy now.
    Batman: Crap.
    Batman: Robin…
    Robin: Just a sec. Cat.
    Batman: This is urgent.
    Robin: I never fail a mission!
    Robin: Right, but um…
    Batman: What?
    Robin a bit out of hand.
    Batman: How could it…
    Robin: I can’t come back, or the spaniel’s owner will–
    Batman: stop talking
    Robin: Oh wait, that’s new
    Batman: STOP DIGGING
    Robin: …of seventy-five sharks.
    Batman: Screw it.
    Batman: This is why I’m a loner.

    1. DivFord says:

      See, this is exactly why the utility belt includes shark-repellent bat spray.

  10. Scampi says:

    I doubt most players will notice this on their first trip through the game.

    Huh. I don’t think I realized it during my (most of them incomplete anyways…) playthroughs. Usually I got distracted a bit later from EVERYTHING by incredibly reproducibly encountering the Wonder Tower security protocol bug.
    Btw: Does anyone know a way to solve it? I believe the first time I solved it by downloading someone else’s savegame…but I couldn’t find any solution anymore lately. Has there been any standalone patch or something?

    Also: Batman’s shoes must have some amazing grip to firmly stand atop an ice raft while pulling himself towards some other place AND moving the ice raft instead of just sliding off.

    1. TMC_Sherpa says:

      Bat crampons. He is prepared for everything after all.

  11. Shoeboxjeddy says:

    This is part of why I’m sad Knight got a bad rap. Knight solves the sidekick “problem” in better fashion than any Batman game I’ve ever seen. Each sidekick has their own chance to shine, whether it’s through a side case, DLC adventure, challenge modes, or all of the above. And the new team up fights are a spectacle that’s actually fun to play. They do the most effective job of showing how the Bat Family fights as a team that I’ve ever seen, outside of the cartoons.

    1. Redingold says:

      They should’ve focused more of that game on the two-person stealth and fighting sections, and less on Batmobile tank combat.

      1. Bloodsquirrel says:

        Yeah, the team-up mechanic was cool, but the game had way too many problems for those handful of segments to make up for.

        Trying the whole Batman-sees-someone-die-but-it-was-actually-a-hallucination trick again was pretty bad, as was the game’s ending.

        1. Shoeboxjeddy says:

          Eh, no “End of Batman” storyline will make everyone happy. I think Knight is better than Dark Knight Rises in that regard. And while I think the tank content was severely bloated (maybe two to three EACH of APC chasing, mine defusing, and all out brawls would have been enough for side cases, not 10-12 apiece), I DO think the Batmobile has a lot to recommend it. I like Batman physically arresting each criminal and driving them back to the GPCD. It’s a hell of an improvement to “punch into unconsciousness… now that person is not a problem forever.” I like some of the “hit a Riddler switch and then tear ass through the city to collect the prize before it’s too late” challenges. I like the ridiculousness of some of the Riddler race courses, driving upside down through a series of smash gates is extremely exciting if you do it correctly. I like the Batmobile coming to Batman’s rescue several times throughout the game, from the first trap sprung on him by the Knight (which is left for the player to figure out what the cool guy move is), to the rescue once he’s saved that one character who wasn’t actually dead, to the showdown at the Police Station. And finally, I REALLY like the handwave explanation for the Bat Tank (that the Joker corruption encouraged Batman to add these weapons) becomes a horror sequence at the end of the game where the Joker lays waste to Gotham.

  12. Daemian Lucifer says:

    I have no idea how Joker's goons got here.

    They floated there using helium filled animal balloons.

    1. Scampi says:

      They float?
      I believe you’re thinking of another clown there.

      1. Zekiel says:

        Well, to be fair, everybody floats down here.

  13. Daemian Lucifer says:

    When our hero defeats the bad guy, we want it to happen on a grand stage in front of the world, not in a side-room where it takes place without public notice.

    It actually depends on what type of a story you are telling.For a standard “good vs evil”,yes a crowd cheering on the hero is a good route to take.But you can also tell a personal story,about betrayal and friendship,where it will end with only the two involved people alone in some bunker.Like in civil war.

    1. Christopher says:

      You missed the footnote where he said that.

      Exception: When the good guys fight each other they generally DON'T have a civilian audience.

      There’s no rule without exception, but I think this is generally the case.

      1. Daemian Lucifer says:

        It wasnt there when I was reading it.I tend to have one tab with the article open from when I first see it,and then reply in another tab.This way its easier for me to not lose my place,even if I come back to it hours later,but I also miss edits.

  14. Mousazz says:

    Just before the double takedown image:

    “The writer needs to create some space in the minds of the audience [word missing] Joker to be “cured”.”

    Create some space in the minds of the audience for Joker to be cured?
    Create some space in the minds of the audience of Joker being cured?

  15. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Thats a pretty shitty protocol,even if we ignore the huge underground old old city under this old city,And we all know that its the worst criminals that wouldve been amongst the survivors,ready to enact their revenge on the whole new city.

    1. Sleeping Dragon says:

      You do mean the place where the League of Assassins has its base? The same League of Assassins that hunts down and murders criminals? And whose leaders is fully aware of Protocol 10?

      To be fair, I’m sure some of the major villains would survive and get away, because you generally don’t kill the big names, but it’s still something to be aware of.

  16. MadTinkerer says:

    Well it’s not like DC stands for “Detective Comics”. If it did, the whole plot of this game would be extra embarrassing.


    1. Paul Spooner says:

      Good thing they have a Lazarus Pit to treat that sick burn.

    2. Droid says:

      That’s ridiculous! If that were the meaning of “DC”, why would they use “DC Comics” on their logo?

      It’s just a mystery, okay?

      1. silver Harloe says:

        I’ll just add it to the list of how people treat acronyms as single words instead of groups of words:

        ATM machine
        VIN number
        PIN number
        NATO treaty
        DC Comics

        1. Daemian Lucifer says:

          And of course:
          compact cd disk

          1. Parkenf says:

            You mean, pushes glasses up nose, disc.

        2. Droid says:

          The NATO treaty isn’t redundant, ihmo, a bit over-elaborate maybe, but a coffeemaker coffee is not the same object as a coffeemaker, and a treaty organization treaty is not the same as the treaty organization.

          1. silver Harloe says:

            That’s fair.

  17. Paul Spooner says:

    Since the title is a play on Dora and Swiper, it brought to mind how silly both settings are. In one, the victim of an unrepentant thief defeats him by mere vocal upbraiding. In the other, the victim of multiple unrepentant murderers defeats them by punching them. Both seem like a pretty blatant wish fulfillment, where token confrontation is able to overcome apparently concerted miscreants.

    1. Destrustor says:

      In a super deep, gravelly voice:
      “I’m the gosh darn EXPLORER”

    2. Mousazz says:

      Hugo Strange is about to execute Protocol Ten!

      Can you say “Protocol Ten”?


  18. Zardon says:

    Sorry for posting a post that is not related to the subject at hand. But I was curious if you notice that Good Robot was part of a Bundle of games at

  19. Duoae says:

    I think that maybe this was why I felt that origins had a better (or more cohesive) storyline than city.

    Of course, I also felt that story completely messed-up batman’s character terribly so I wouldn’t call it a win…

    On a side note: isn’t it a shame that the best superhero games [i]STILL [/i] don’t get the characters?!

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