I just rewatched Burton’s Batman via Netlix Instant yesterday and was sad to note how poorly it’s held up over the years. The opening credits are arguably the worst of any film ever made (besides the great theme, of course), the fights are all horrible (Batman dispatches most enemies with his trademark FRONT KICK), and the Joker is not particularly funny or frightening. Perhaps it’s because of all the scenery in Nicholson’s mouth. It’s still fun, to be sure, but that movie owned my life as a kid. Fortunate for me and everyone else then that a great Batman property is on the way, and to prove it Eidos and Warner Bros have just released a demo for Batman: Arkham Asylum on the Xbox 360, PS3 and PC.

The hefty demo weighs in at about 1.6 gigs but doesn’t offer a whole lot of gameplay, but the stuff that’s here is good. The combat is simple- a button for attacks and a button for counters. That’s all you really need and it’s fluid and fast. The stealth parts are just as quick, which is great, because there’s nothing you’d fear more than having to tiptoe a gameas friggin’ Batman.

The story of course is fairly simple- Joker’s being put back in Arkham Asylum for the umpteenth time but he manages to trap Batman inside and release all the prisoners- a good chunk of which will be straight from the comics. You’ll fight through them all with the help of a few guards and cops on your way to the pasty-faced one.


Batman’s got an awesome Detective vision mode that he can throw himself into with a click of a button to see a Total Recall-style X-ray vision of the world and enemies around him- skeletons and all. This is the way to find things that Bats can interact with, as well as how many enemies are around him, and how nervous they are. The more scared you make them, the more easily they’ll go down.
 
There doesn’t seem to be really anything in the way of interactive environments but they’ve done a tremendous job bringing life to this disgusting place. You’ll love the look of every hall, ever cell- they’re all suitably grimy and disturbing. 

It’s just a tiny taste of the full game but does a great job of whetting your apetite for more…. can’t wait to be able to explore more of the Asylum. Doesn’t look like it’s going to be a life-changer but it does look like we finally got the impossible, folks- a good, solid Batman game!

Fun things to try! Did you…

- Find all the hidden vents?

- Hang upside down from a gargoyle and wait for an enemy to walk underneath?

- Throw a batarang at every one of the Joker’s chattery teeth?

- Take out every enemy but one in the last room without being seen and watch him start to freak out and shoot at shadows?

- Check out the sick Killer Croc model in the Trophy area?

If you want more, take a look at  these character vignettes I’ve uploaded that show off the various new designs-

Joker

Harley Quinn

Poison Ivy

Bane