Arkham City Screens Dissected

A couple of days ago, mouthwatering screenshots of Arkham City surfaced. Today I take a look at some of the screens and point out the really interesting bits, what they might mean for the upcoming game and some random trivia.

A couple of days ago, mouthwatering screenshots of Arkham City surfaced. The game is the sequel to the impressive Arkham Asylum and is highly anticipated by gamers and comic fans alike.

Today I take a look at some of the screens and point out the really interesting bits, what they might mean for the upcoming game and some random trivia.

You can have a look at all the screens in their HD beauty at Kotaku.

The Dark Knight

Batman's balancing act on the wire is a direct reference to the cover of The Dark Knight Returns paperback. Frank Miller's masterpiece is widely considered to be one of the most influential and most popular Batman comic books ever. Judging from this tiny detail, we can expect much appreciation for the source material again. Fan service FTW!

Homicidal Artist

In comics and movies, one constant theme surrounding the joker figure is vandalism, another one is chaos. The Joker, in many of his incarnations, considers destruction, chaos and violence to be a form of creativity and artistic expression. It is nice to see, that the developers articulate that in their second Batman game again. Also note, how the green circle turns the Arkham logo into the anarchy symbol. Nice.

Coulrophobia, Anyone?

In Arkham Asylum the Joker's goons only had little time and resources to dress and style in reference to their leader. So a clownish face paint here and there was all we got to see. In the city, there is obviously quite some time past since the Joker gained control over the area. Clothing, face paints and even elaborate masks hint a brewing culture of Jokerism, making the environment appear more deranged and hostile. It's cool to see how much effort the developers put into making the goons look less alike.

Déjà Vu

There are obviously new moves available in the sequel, but I still have a strange sense of déjà vu. When playing Arkham Asylum I was strongly reminded of the 1993 Batman Returns game, in which you were brawling hordes of street clowns also. Now when I see the head smash move and urban environment in the new screens, the resemblance gets downright creepy.

Fashion Victim

Hm, not as far off as the Harley design from Arkham asylum, but still not even close. Harley Quinn (yeah, her name is a bad pun version of harlequin) was created by Paul Dini (who was lead writer on Arkham Asylum also), for the 90s animated series. She is a psychiatrist, who fell in love with the Joker. Nothing about the original character has anything to do with underaged goth chicks. At least they got rid of the ridiculous nurse costume. I'm also happy to see that they used the red-black color pattern and the diamond shaped icons on her costume.

Burned Child

Two-Face's halfs are a clever combination of two popular representations of the character. The undamaged half, with the dark hair, white suit and black shirt is akin the the 90s tv-show version, created by Bruce Timm. Harvey Dent's damaged side is obviously taken from The Dark Knight movie. In comics, previous movies and tv-shows, Harvey Dent got scarred via acid burns. Here and in the Christopher Nolan film, he got scarred by fire. Note how his head is burned in the same way in both incarnations. His ear is gone, his cheek is opened except of on string of muscle, his eye has no lids and his suit is burned. Both versions are very similar in appearance.

My Fair Lady

The Catwoman, on the other hand, is spot on. Her look is a direct copy of her current look in the Dc comics, from the suit down to the red goggles. Originally designed by Jim Lee for the Batman:Hush books, cover artist Adam Hughes defined her to be a look-a-like of Audrey Hepburn. Thankfully it turned out quite sexy, not the typical balloon breasts, common in video games. Check the horrendous Mortal Kombat Vs. DC Universe Catwoman for comparison.

Overall the screens hint at another impressive AAA Batman ride. As a big fan of Arkham Asylum and comic nerd myself, I can't wait for 2011 to play this beast. See ya.

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