Tag Archives: Batman Arkham Asylum

#84: Spider-Man

Format: Playstation Genre: Action Adventure/Beat-em Up Released: 2000 Developer: Neversoft

‘Greetings True Believers! It’s me, the Sensational, Surprising, Staggering Stan Lee! During the 60s I (co)created loads of iconic Silver Age superheroes and villains – The Fantastic Four, X-Men, the Hulk, Thor, Daredevil, and many, many others. Then after the 60s I just made up loads of rubbish ones. Anyway, today my good pal Ian is here to talk about maybe my most fabulously famous creation, the Amazing Spider-Man! Over to you Ian’

Thanks Stan. Stewart Lee, in his excellent ‘How I Escaped My Certain Fate – The Life and Deaths of a Stand-Up Comedian’, mentions how much he loves Marvel comics and how Spider-Man’s code – ‘With great power comes great responsibility’ carries far more moral weight for him than the various commandments and declarations of the world’s major religions. Though I’m not massively into comics (I don’t really buy any titles regularly, just getting the occasional trade paperback) the Spider-Man love resonated with me. For me, Spider-Man is not only the best superhero created, but one of the greatest fictional characters of the 20th Century. Yes. Better than Batman.

Similar to Batman though, Spider-Man has not had the greatest vintage when it comes to video games. Back in the day both characters were often stuck in dull side scrolling beat-em ups, with only a token effort made use the unique abilities and powers of those characters. In fact Spider-Man the game and Batman: Arkham Asylum share a lot in common – they really reflect the spirits of their characters. Whereas Batman: Arkham Asylum was a game with a dark and twisted atmosphere, Spider-Man is joyous and fun, just like the title character normally is (between bouts of teenage angst of course). Both make full use of the universe the characters are in, using many of the supporting characters from their respective comics, films and animated TV shows. Both featured as many iconic villains as possible but used them all in a brilliant way. Both tapped into the ‘collecting’ urge of the average nerdy comic book fan by having various secret items to collect. And finally both are brilliant.

Not enough computing power to create the streets of New York? Don't worry, Dr Octopus has luckily released a yellow gas into the streets. Phew!

The game itself is great fun to play. I distinctly remember how exhilarating it was the first time you jump off a building, start to fall before shooting out a web and gracefully swinging over to the next building. Or the buzz you got as you realised what classic villain you were going to face now (I was stuck on flippin’ Mysterio for ages). Or indeed which classic hero was going to make a cameo appearance – everyone from Daredevil to the Punisher to Captain America pops by.

When I got Spider-Man I had lost interest in the character and comics in general (the ‘Clone Saga’ had just about finished me off I’m afraid) but the sheer joie de vivre of the game made me fall in love with Spidey again. The game feels like a comicbook, from Stan Lee’s typical verbose opening narration, to the bright colours of the levels, to Spider-Man’s sarky comments as he punches Rhino in the face. Not only that but the sheer number of various characters and comic book references crammed into the game reminded me why I had liked the comics in the first place. Plus I could look all knowledgable (and tragically geeky) in front of Lewis and our friend Paul as they played it and asked me who ‘such and such was’ or where the ‘Bag Head’ costume came from.

As usual Ol'Knuckle Head - J. Jonah Jameson has got himself into trouble and it's up to Spidey to save him. This time, from the Scorpion.

Sadly the game’s sequel, and the various Spider-Man (Spider-Men?) games that followed in its wake over the years failed to capitalise on the original’s innovations and they never matched the simple fun of that first game. It’s telling that the latest Spider-Man game – Shattered Dimensions – is still being compared to the 10 year-old Spider-Man. I still hope that a new game will come along and match the originals sense of fun and get the old spidey-sense tingling once again.

Oh, it also had a fantastic ending:

Ian

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Filed under 2000, Action Adventure, Fighting, Neversoft, Playstation

Podcast 7: Batman: Arkham Asylum (#67)

Format: Xbox 360 Genre: Fighting/Stealth/Adventure Released: 2009 Developer: Rocksteady Studios

SCENE: WAYNE MANSIONS. BILLIONAIRE BRUCE WAYNE, THE SECRET IDENTITY OF THE BATMAN, SITS IN HIS LIBRARY, BROODING. HIS FAITHFUL MANSERVANT, ALFRED, HANDS HIM A RED TELEPHONE…

COMMISSIONER GORDON: ‘Batman?’

BATMAN: ‘Yes Commissioner Gordon?’

C. GORDON: ‘It’s the Riddler, he’s sent us a message. It’s addressed to you…’

BATMAN: ‘Read it to me Commissioner, this might be important’

C. GORDON: ‘Riddle me this Batman – What can everyone listen to yet no one does? On what do people laugh constantly despite what they say not being amusing? What lasts 25 minutes but seems to last forever?

BATMAN: Oh no… Commissioner, inform the Mayor… THE RIDDLER INTENDS TO STEAL THE 7th 101 VIDEO GAMES MADE MY LIFE SLIGHTLY BETTER PODCAST!’

C. GORDON: *GASP*

BATMAN: Robin, TO THE BATMOBILE!

Yes, after mentioning Batman in practically every podcast they’ve done, Lew and Ian finally devote an entire episode to the Dark Knight, in particular Batman: Arkham Asylum.

 

'I know I shouldn't say this, but you're my favourite enemy'.

 

Though Lewis and Ian being Lewis and Ian they couldn’t help but ramble, so you also get with this podcast discussions about football games, superhero games in general, the new Spider-Man game, Ian’s idea for a Judge Dredd game and the usual homoerotic undertones.

 

Special Scanning Eyesight Mode

 

As the Riddler alludes to above, it’s a long one, nearly 25 minutes. Though Lewis and Ian make no apologies – it’s Batman. It needs to be talked about…


Click above to listen directly through this site or click below to listen/download in your media player of choice:

Podcast 7 Batman Arkham Asylum

Ian & Lewis

 

You'd think the henchmen would have learned to look up when looking for Batman.

 

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Filed under 2009, Adventure, Fighting, Podcast, Rocksteady Studios, Stealth, Xbox 360