Looking Back at Batman: Arkham Asylum

Batman has always been popular, so it’s not much of a surprise that he has inspired a lot of games throughout the years. Of these games, Batman: Arkham Asylum is widely regarded as one of the best Batman games, and a genre defining game in its own right when it was released back in 2009.

The first of what eventually would become a groundbreaking series of games, Batman: Arkham Asylum is described by Uproxx as “the best licensed game ever made at its time of release,” and for good reason – it was, for lack of a better word, brilliant.

Batman: Arkham Asylum has a stand-alone story that is intense, yet concise and uncomplicated, which is what one would expect from a script penned by Emmy Award-winning Batman writer Paul Dini. It is dark, chilling, demented, and enthralling, and that combination makes the story absolutely amazing. In this classic, Batman delivers The Joker to the notorious Arkham Asylum, the psychiatric hospital where a host of supervillains are imprisoned. These same supervillains, though, have overrun the asylum and are waiting in ambush for the arrival of The Dark Knight. This plot sets the stage for an exciting, action-packed game that is as enjoyable as it is immersive.

The graphics of Batman: Arkham Asylum are topnotch—rich, detailed, and exceptionally well rendered overall, especially considering the time of its development. The gameplay is crisp and sophisticated, offering a unique combination of combat, stealth, and detective mechanics that Gamesrader believes seamlessly combined elements of quite a few classics, including GTA, Condemned, Splinter Cell, Ninja Gaiden, and Metroid. It also features several challenge maps, which players have to expertly navigate using Batman’s diverse skills and impressive arsenal of gadgets.

Quite a few Batman games had been made before Batman: Arkham Asylum, and just as many have been developed after this classic. This goes to show that Batman clearly is a favorite among game developers, who have used The Dark Knight as inspiration for all sorts of games. The fact that Batman remains popular in the gaming industry after all these years is a testament to his immense and seemingly never-waning popularity. It can even be argued that Batman’s success on the silver screen in the late 80s and early 90 helped usher in the superhero genre by proving that superheroes—Iron Man, Spider-Man, and Thor, to name three—could actually be big moneymakers.

The popularity of heroes like Batman is due to their roots in classic mythology and culture. The Movie Pilot details how Superman was inspired by figures of great strength like Hercules and Achilles, while Batman was born from his creator’s interest in Leonardo da Vinci and Sherlock Holmes. These superhero influences continue to be felt in popular culture. Digital games provider Foxy Casino hosts an array of mythological themed games, with two of them—Zeus 1000 and Hall of the Gods—featuring some of the mightiest, most powerful beings in Greek mythology. The attributes shown by these classical figures are now very relevant to modern audiences through the superhero genre, as their stories ultimately became the template of the superhero narrative that has become so popular today.

The gaming community can expect more superhero-inspired games in the coming years as several superhero films are slated for release in 2018 and 2019. If those games are as groundbreaking as Batman: Arkham Asylum, then gamers certainly wouldn’t mind playing a few more superhero-inspired games.

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