Top 10 Arkham Asylum and Arkham City Villains
What makes these games so brilliant? They make you feel like Batman. This is as close to being Batman that us gamers will get. In order to complete the experience we get a terrific line-up of villains to go the knuckle with. Whilst some of the confrontations – such as Killer Croc – were lacking others will remain etched in our minds as some of the best moments in modern gaming. In order…
10. Bane (Arkham Asylum)
Slipping down the list because the fight ends up being repeated a few times through-out the game, but it’s certainly a moment for every Batman fan familiar with the villain to mutter ‘oh, shit’ when they see who they’re up against. Bane is a juggernaut, and is famous for taking Batman out of the fight almost permanently. Trapped in a basement with the enraged and Venom-powered mass of muscle and madness is intimidating enough, but when you work out the pattern it’s not to bad – except The Joker’s goons keep dropping in on the action just to keep you on your toes.
9. Solomon Grundy & The Penguin (Arkham City)
‘Arkham City’ is successful in doing the near impossible – it made The Penguin someone to be scared off. After walking through his twisted museum of victims – complete with an empty display waiting for you – the deformed visage with a bottle lodged in his face is enough to send shivers down your spine. Dropping you into a pit with a the unkillable giant Solomon Grundy is the bulk of the battle, while Penguin taunts you from above. Eventually after some quick maneuvers the twerp will join you in the ring with Freeze’s weapons and by this point you’re itching to give him a beat down.
8. Two-Face (Arkham City)
Although he got heavily plugged in the promotions, Harvey doesn’t play a major part in this second Batman outing. Appearing early in the game it’s a case of dodging his shots while pummeling his goons. Hardly thrilling by Batman standards. It’s much, much later in the game while taking control of Catwoman that he becomes a real threat. Packing a grenade launcher and surrounded by thugs packing machine guns and shotguns, letting yourself be seen is almost instantaneous death. Picking off the guards won’t help as more will take their place. Keeping to the shadows and prowling around the room you need to get in close enough land a few blows before disappearing again. The games most challenging stealth sequence.
7. Mad Hatter (Arkham City)
One of the many side-quests that could’ve been part of the main campaign and serves to realistically populate Arkham City with the full gallery of criminals. After being hoodwinked Batman comes into consciousness at a demented tea party hosted by the man himself, you wind up with a twisted rabbit mask (inspired by Donnie Darko?) and trapped falling down the rabbit hole. A constant stream of badguys stream towards Batman as the camera spirals around, going on and on until you begin to wonder if there’s an end to it all. A trippy and challenging diversion.
6. The Joker (Arkham City)
Not the Titan fueled monster you clash with on the roof of the Asylum, but the normal, skinny clown in his own steel mill turned Fun House. As expected he doesn’t put up much of a fight and will be chewing dirt before long. That’s when he brings in the cronies – a colourful bunch of steroid fuelled psychopaths, heavily armed carnies and a massive, hammer wielding one-armed Russian all ready for a rumble. Meanwhile the Clown Prince of Crime keeps coming back for more, landing every jab you leave yourself open to. Classic Batman vs The Joker.
5. Clayface (Arkham City)
WHA?! Christ, even the clues dropped throughout the game didn’t clue me in to this bugger! The final battle of the game sees Joker revealed to be an imposter, changing back into his giant (very well animated) form. A varied battle, switching from agility and timing to wading in fists first it’s an imaginative and surprisingly fun battle to wrap the story up.
4. Poison Ivy (Arkham Asylum)
Very much a traditional boss battle in terms of gaming. Ivy, having had her powers boosted by the Titan formula, is protected by her plants and is content to launch projectiles, shoot spikes out of the ground and sending and endless supply of gaurds after you. The player needs to be quick on their feet to survive the barrage of attacks from different angles until Ivy eventually reveals herself to taunt Batman, leaving herself open for a couple of Batarangs.
3. Ra’s al Ghul (Arkham City)
This, along with Bane, constitutes one of those ‘oh, fuck’ moments for fans of the Bat as they’ll know that this is going to be a tough battle. You start out easy enough with Ra’s testing you with some basic gliding and combat challenges before the bastard turns into a sand giant with an army of sand minions while launching giant blades and throwing stars. Think fast. It’s a shame that the final confrontation was a let down.
2. Mr. Freeze (Arkham City)
The dynamic between Freeze and Batman is one of the most interesting in the game, forced into a tenuous alliance to produce a cure for the poison that The Joker has infected Batman with. Eventually they are forced into combat and with Mr. Freeze protected be his armour a direct assault is pointless. This sets up a unique battle with the player forced to stay out of sight in the lab finding new ways to catch the madman off guard. As he protects himself after each attack, making using the same approach twice useless, you’re challenged with constantly looking for new ways to get at him.
1. The Scarecrow (Arkham Asylum)
It’s rare that a development company keeps something under wraps in this age of heavy promotion. One advertisement for ‘Asylum’ was dedicated to showcasing the major villains faced – except one. Keeping Dr. Crane under wraps was a stroke of genius, leaving the player to stumble into his warped world on their own. Beginning small, finding a body of a close friend and seeing bugs climbing the walls, and descending into a crumbling, floating world of skeletons and glimpses into Bruce Waynes tortured past it stands out as one of the most imaginative moments of modern gaming.