Intensive Treatment - Batman: Arkham Asylum
The game starts with a very cinematic opening scene, the Batmobile tearing through the streets of Gotham as you race towards Arkham Asylum to deliver your prisoner – The Joker! After you arrive the guards strap The Joker into this odd transport device, a sort of standing rack, and then you have to follow them as they push him along a corridor.
Before you start to wonder, yes, this part of the opening mission is very annoying – I agree. Forcing you to walk at a funeral march in order to see what amounts to a forced view of the credits is the gaming equivalent of being forced to review some executives “I Love Me Wall” when you visit their office – it is not just hubris, it is ego.
The people that made this game just could not stand the idea that you would walk away at the end of the game without reading their name and the wonderful job they did for you in making the game, so they forced you to view it in agonizing slow-motion. This would have been excusable if they had made it purely a cut scene (CS) but that is not how they implemented it. You have to walk slowly, with your hands on the control, and walk – and walk – and pause – and walk – while the names of people you will never remember flash on the side of the screen. By the end of this forced viewing it is understandable that you might be annoyed – I know I was.
There is no escape from this, so do not be tempted to quit thinking you will be able to restart and not have to sit through this – it does not work that way. You are going to have to bite the bullet and sit there pushing the joystick forward in order to get through this, so do not quit in disgust until AFTER the auto-save indicator flashes – that will be before the fighting starts, so if you get as far as the Joker's escape and start fighting the other inmates, you have passed the auto-save point.
Midway through the walk you will see a very large monster of a man – Killer Kroc – as he squeezes out of the elevator you need to use. He is wearing some heavy-duty chains and according to the dialogue has some sort of shock-collar around his neck that they can use to control him. He lets you know in no uncertain terms that he wants you dead, wants to do the killing, and does not think much of either the restraints or the collar. Foreshadowing?
Did you notice that even the elevator has a nice sized flatscreen in it? I wish my house was decked out with flatscreen displays on every wall... Makes you wonder why they did not just scroll the credits on those, doesn't it?
When the elevator opens you get a brief CS where you meet Commissioner James (Jim) Gordon, and turn The Joker over to the Asylum Staff. Unfortunately this is where you and The Joker part company, as the Asylum rep does not want you proceeding any further. As you are about to leave, The Joker escapes, and you smash out a window and drop down to the lower level of the tiers here – and the auto-save kicks in.
Now you participate in a two-round fight that should introduce you to the basic combat of the game. You are fighting one groups of three opponents and then a second group of four opponents on the lower level, and in between the Joker will offer you a critique – excellent! These are supposed to be the prisoners that were temporarily transferred to the Asylum from Blackgate Prison, so have no mercy on them, they are hardened scum!
Fighting is fairly simple at this point – you could just do a lot of button mashing and get through it fine, but you could also experiment with hitting the different targets in series, as that will give you your first taste of the combination system. The X2 and X3 you are seeing on the screen is not a point multiplier it is an indication that you are completing successful combination moves. You will probably not be pulling down any double-digit combo's but you should be able to manage a 5X Combo which will get you your first Achievement in the game: Freeflow Combo 5 (5 GP). Good on ya mate!
Now that the fight is over, lets try out some of the features of the game – starting with Detective Mode. Hit LB to turn it on, and you will notice that you get a sort of X-Ray view of the world – people appear as walking skeletons with a shroud of skin, and you can detect information about their physical condition – heart rate, emotional condition, and whether they are dead or not.
In addition to the above, in detective mode items and features in the area that are “of interest” to you will glow orange – for instance on the wall behind you is an orange glowing ventilation grate, so why don't you go over to it? You are prompted to hit A near the grate – do that, then hit A repeatedly to tear the grate off of the wall. Hold down RT and enter the duct, and a short way inside is your first collectible item, a Riddler Trophy!
When you collect this trophy you are awarded both the Joker's Bio file and Commissioner Gordon's, and 200 experience points (XP). Good on ya!
Now you continue up the ramp, where you should pause for a moment. You see the dancing teeth on the floor ahead of you where the corridor turns? You can target them using LT and throw your Batarang for the first time using RT for a few extra points, so do that now. For every five that you kill there is a bonus of 200 XP and there are Achievements connected to this kill-count as well.
Now is also a good time to look at the Bio's you have unlocked so far – which should include your own, The Joker, The Riddler, Warden Sharp, and Commissioner Gordon. These can be viewed by hitting the BACK button, and then LB or RB. Once in the Bio section, use the D-PAD to navigate and at least check out your own Bio before you get back to the game.