Batman: Arkham Asylum

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Description official descriptions

Once again, Batman has captured and returned the Joker to Arkham Asylum. Unfortunately, the inmates have taken over and the Joker is now running the show. Play as the Caped Crusader, navigating in a 3rd person style through the grounds and collective wings of Arkham Asylum; a super-prison and rehabilitation center for Gotham's most hardened criminals.

Using a combination of stealth, detective work, and exciting combat elements, proceed toward your ultimate goal of apprehending the maniacal Joker. On the way, you'll encounter some of Batman's deadliest foes. Fortunately, you're not entirely alone, as Batman will receive assistance from the surviving guards, and information from the computer genius Oracle.

Make use of the grappling hook, Batarangs, explosive gel, zipline, electronically-assisted vision, and more. During your search, you will gain experience points from defeating opponents, finding hidden items, or accomplishing special tasks. Once you "level up" you can purchase/upgrade an ability or feature of Batman's arsenal. The game features a controllable camera viewpoint and an optional first-person view for viewing things up close.

Strewn about the grounds of the Asylum are 240 "riddles" for you to solve, courtesy of the Riddler, and a variety of achievements/trophies to unlock, depending on your gaming platform.


  • 蝙蝠俠:小丑大逃亡 - Chinese spelling (traditional)

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Credits (Windows version)

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Average score: 92% (based on 97 ratings)


Average score: 4.2 out of 5 (based on 163 ratings with 7 reviews)

You're Batman!

The Good
Batman is and will forever remain my favorite superhero and one of my all time favorite fictional characters. The reasons for that are simple: a regular guy (doesn't matter that he's a millionaire or that he has a butler or a gigantic manor, he is still just as human as us), taking a stand against crime and injustice. Never succumbing to the corrupting seduction of vengeance, money or power, and of course having a badass suit, various cool gadgets and the Batmobile! After reading ravishing reviews for Batman Arkham Asylum, I bought the game shortly after getting my PS3. And after having played this game for like the fifth time since I bought it, Arkham Asylum certainly deserves all the praise it has received over the years.

As the title says, Batman Arkham Asylum takes place in Arkham Asylum, a mental institution located on an island in the middle of Gotham City wherein all of Gotham's criminals reside when Batman has caught them. It begins with the Bat taking the Joker to the asylum after the latter attempted an assault on the city hall. But rather than peacefully going to his cell, the Joker escapes custody and, with help from the inside, quickly takes control over the entire island. He releases everyone from their cells, leaving Batman stranded on the island and surrounded by hundreds of Joker's men as well as several other supervillains such as Bane, Poison Ivy and Killer Croc. But that's not enough, as Batman will soon discover that the Joker has much more sinister plans than just a simple prison riot!

I'll say right of the bat (no pun intended) that this game has pretty much everything you could wish for in a Batman game. It combines hand to hand combat with stealth and occasional crime solving and it succeeds in spades in all of these departments! The controls are very easy and intuitive to use, one button to strike, one to counter, one to dodge and one to stun. Batman fluently swings from one bad guy to the next and he has a very nice set of combat moves to beat the living crap out of every foe he encounters. Knock an enemy down and jump on top of their bodies to pound them unconscious, throw them around or just grapple them and break their legs or arms.

Stealth is also very prevalent in the game as in some situations you will face a group of heavily armed criminals which you need to take down one by one. I would daresay that the stealth is even more fun than the combat sections as you can really make the enemies shiver in fear as they realize they're getting picked off one by one. Sit down on top of a vantage point and grab an unsuspecting foe from upside down, leaving him hanging and screaming for help. You can also takedown foes using the floor grates, your batclaw or just by sneaking up from behind and chocking them. As the encounter goes on, the enemies become increasingly nervous, calling you out while their guns are shaking in their hands from uncontrollable stress! It is really fun and badass, not in small part thanks to the detective vision mode, which is a kind of x-ray vision that allows you to see enemies through walls and see all kinds of information regarding their numbers, how many of them are armed and their respective stress levels.

Detective vision also helps in finding interactive objects and solving puzzles. If you, for example, encounter a force field, you can use detective vision to see the electricity cables and follow them to the power source. As you play through the game, you'll obtain experience points which allow you to buy new moves and upgrades to your arsenal. The gadgets at your disposal include Batman's signature batarangs and batclaw as well as explosive gel, a hacking device and more. But don't think things will get easier when you get upgrades, as enemies will become better armed and prepared as the story goes on, getting more numerous and get armed with knives, stun rods and lead pipes. The stealth will also get tougher since the vantage points will be booby trapped and the enemies will be wearing electric collars which will alert other foes in the area if someone gets whacked by the Bat!

Collectibles are also present in this game, as the Riddler has hidden about a hundred trophies all around the asylum for you to find as well as several riddles which refer to objects or locations you need to scan. For instance, you may stumble upon Mr. Freeze's frozen cell or the Penguin's signature umbrella and therefore unlocking their respective profiles. It's a really fun lecturing in case your knowledge of the Batman universe is limited to Batman, Robin and the Joker. You can also find audio tapes that contain interviews the Arkham personnel conducted with the supervillains you encounter in the game. These recordings are very intriguing and pretty disturbing at times, giving you a glimpse at the insanity these villains possess. Overall, the game's collectibles aren't hard to find, but for many of them you'll have to wait until you have obtained a certain gadget or upgrade.

In case you still want more gameplay than the main campaign has to offer, then you can try your hand at the challenge maps. They are equally divided between fighting and sneaking and for every map there's a regular and an extreme version present. For each map you can earn up to three medals depending on your overall score (fights) or how many objectives you completed (stealth). Obtaining these medals isn't too hard, but getting to the top of the leaderboards will be a whole different ballgame. I do have to say that even without these challenge maps, the game has plenty of replay value because the story is so tight and the gameplay so compelling that you cannot help but play through it another time after a year or so.

Not only is the gameplay great but the game's presentation and atmosphere are even more awesome. The game's style is based on the more darker themed Batman world as seen in the Christopher Nolan Batman trilogy and in the legendary Animated Series. As you make your way through the asylum, the Joker will frequently taunt you, tempting you to give in to your rage and let yourself slide into madness. Although you have radio communication with Oracle, you cannot help but feel completely isolated in the asylum with the Joker playing you like a rat in a trap. But the true showstealer in this game is the Scarecrow, as from time to time Batman will be exposed to the Scarecrow's fear gas, forcing him to face his greatest fears. I won't spoil the surprises for you if you didn't play the game, but I can tell you these sequences are easily the most compelling moments in the game and since the Scarecrow will be a main villain in the upcoming Batman Arkham Knight, I cannot wait to see what he will have next in store for the Caped Crusader and the rest of Gotham.

Voice acting, music and sound effects add a ton to the game's already excellent atmosphere. The game's main characters are voiced by veteran voice actors such as Kevin Conroy for Batman and Mark Hamill for the Joker. The game's musical score, composed by Nick Anundel, has a very similar style to the soundtracks made by Danny Elfman so expect dark, brooding but epic orchestra music. Sound effects are excellent too, the sound of the Bat's fists hitting criminal flesh is great and breaking someone's limp is particularly satisfying to hear.

The Bad
The final boss battle with the Joker is very lackluster. It's actually just you fighting off a ton of bad guys with the Joker occasionally joining the party. It would have been a lot better if it was more of an indirect battle in which Batman has to save several hostages or use his detective skills to stop the Joker from detonating a nuclear device or something like that. It would have suited Joker's character a whole lot better.

The Bottom Line
Overall, this game can be considered the first true Batman game rather than just a run of the mill beat'em up or platform game with Batman in it. Virtually every single aspect of the Dark Knight is present and the game's story, atmosphere and varied gameplay will keep you hooked to this game for a long time. So go on, answer the Batsign, jump in your Batmobile and enter the madhouse!

PlayStation 3 · by Stijn Daneels (79) · 2015

Atmospheric and Innovative Stealth-Action

The Good
For all the impact he's had on comics and all other kinds of media, Batman's portrayal and success as character has always been confusing. He's innately dissonant in nature: here we have an emotionally scarred, near sociopathic man haunted by events of his childhood, who fights crime in a grim dystopian city where it's always night and the glass is always half full (...of BLOOD!). One who dresses up in a rubber animal suit and is directly responsible for many of the tropes of the campy, childish silver and golden ages of comics. This disconnect is most jarring in the comparison of the infamous Adam West Batman of the 60's TV show and classic comics, and the gritty, harsh, GODDAMNED BATMAN of the modern age and the Dark Knight film series: the same character seen in a different light can become completely unrecognizable. If anything, Batman's characterization has been dreadfully inconsistent, which is not too big a deal, especially considering his roots in comics. However one thing is certain, which Arkham Asylum makes perfectly clear: Batman is a Badass.

Much as the animated series of the 90's has been praised for, the Batman of Arkham Asylum perfectly balances the new and the older sillier Batmans from across the decades. Dark and edgy but also completely unashamed of its quirky comic roots. Not just for Batman as a character but for the franchise as a whole: while it is most reminiscent of the aforementioned animated TV series (mostly due to its returning voice actors and script penned by writer Paul Dini), this is no specific Batman, but ALL of them. And the sum is most definitely greater than all of its parts, because this is arguably the best adaptation of Batman the franchise has ever seen. A celebration of what makes Batman great: The Essential Batman.

Arkham Asylum, uncommon for a licensed game, is completely unique in its execution. Whereas most licensed games can usually be summarized as something along the lines of "RPG", "shooter" or most common historically, "platformer", Batman is its own animal. It's sort of a cross between a gadget-based action-adventure like Zelda, with a battle system somewhat like a 3D beat 'em up, and a completely unique take on stealth like nothing that has come before.

As expected, gameplay relies heavily on utility belt gadgets, such as batarangs, bat explosive goo, and at least three variations on the bat grappling hook. Speaking of which, echoing Bionic Commando, the jump button is gone and replaced by a grappling hook, and arguably for the better. It's automatically aimed and fired at the press of a button, and will have you zipping around rooms, from ledge to ledge or gargoyle to gargoyle with ease. The whole thing feels extremely streamlined, but manages not to come across as being too casual-friendly: the easier to manage controls make it less aggravating and allows the player to deal with the tense and difficult stealth combat situations, rather than having to wrestle with the controls. Other toys are used in predictable but welcome ways, such as the explosive gel which serves as the remote-controlled answer to Link's bombs, or the upgraded bat-grapple which is used to pull down obstacles and reel in enemies.

In terms of exploration, it is fairly solid and comparable to something like Metroid Fusion in its structure and linearity - a semi-linear exploratory adventure game with frequent options side-paths and optional backtracking, and a linear main road with frequent twists and turns. It does a decent job disguising its relatively straightforward path by making it sometimes difficult to find exactly what is the right way out of the particular puzzle room you're in, and littering the various secret trapdoors and air ducts with hidden character logs and collectible trophies courtesy of Batman's nemesis, The Riddler, who is portrayed as a bloodthirsty and insane genius with an inferiority complex. One of the most satisfying aspects to the exploration is solving his riddles, which are given as hints leading you to various decorative objects lying around the Asylum, sometimes hidden in plain sight, sometimes devilishly hard to find. These unlock character bios for plenty of people in the bat's rogues' gallery, some of them very obscure.

Melee combat is adequate. You have a fairly standard punch and kick combo, as well as some throws and takedowns which seem to be used automatically when the combo meter is racked up. Every standard attack is initiated with the press of a single button. More interestingly, you have the ability to interrupt and counter any incoming melee attack with the press of another button and proper timing. Opportunities for these maneuvers are shown by a symbol appearing over enemies' heads, depending on difficulty. You also have a finishing attack, usually smashing enemies' faces into the floor with your enormous fist. This is all liberally sprinkled with a healthy dose of slow motion. It's mostly unnoticeable while you are playing, but when watching someone else play the amount of slow motion is fairly jarring. It runs extremely smoothly with very few cheap deaths - you are given a directional dodge roll which mercifully seems to make you invincible to attacks that only graze your hitbox, and the counter system allows you to make it through most altercations unharmed, with skill. Things get a little tense when enemies with unblockable knives, assault rifles, or worse, stun guns show up, but you soon learn how to prioritize and take out mooks in the proper order depending on what they're carrying. There are few differences between enemies besides what weapon they're carrying, but it manages to mix things up enough to keep things interesting.

The boss battles are a mixed bag. The introspective drug-induced hallucinations provided by the Scarecrow are surreal and atmospheric with excellent sound and art direction. But the way you actually fight him isn't particularly amazing. Similarly, the boss fight with Poison Ivy is quite visually impressive but consists mainly of 'shoot the boss in its weakpoint and don't get hit'. Worst of all is Killer Croc's battle, which should have been tense and unnerving, but is effectively tedious due to its ease and predictability. Additionally, there are an alarming number of re-skinned minibosses which are fought by simply throwing a batarang and side-dodging.

The main attraction and what will most likely win the player over is the stealth combat. Typical of stealth games, you can crawl through ducts, lurk directly over mooks' heads without them looking up, and peek around corners. What makes this completely different from Hitman or Metal Gear Solid where you enter and dispatch enemies completely undetected, is that your enemies will inevitably know you are there, watching them from the shadows. And you want them to. As you take them down one by one, you can watch and hear them become noticeably more agitated, looking over their shoulder often, shooting at random noises, and nervously shouting at you when they have no idea where you're coming from. This is all supplemented by the hilariously malicious taunts of the Joker, who is quite possibly the worst person anyone could ever work for. And hunting them down feels really good. There are no enemies in Arkham Asylum: only your prey.

One of the most helpful items to supplement your stealth in Arkham Asylum is the Detective Mode, a sort of X-ray vision and all-purpose scanner for the various forensic activities the game has you participate in. More effectively, this amounts to institutionalized wall-hacks, allowing you to see enemy skeletons from anywhere in the room, as well as whether they are carrying a weapon. X-ray vision in stealth is nothing completely new (Perfect Dark may have been the first example), but this game does it so well that when gadgets of the sort become standard equipment in the stealth action hero's toolbox, they will have most likely done so following Batman's example. Knowing where baddies are at all times is extremely helpful, and going back to sneaking around otherwise will be quite difficult. Besides that, it highlights in orange items of interest such as the many convenient human-sizes air vents for you to sneak around in, as well as breakable walls and collectibles. This presents a minor problem, as with no disadvantage to leaving it on constantly, players will inevitably run around with the screen completely blue-tinted and outlined, obscuring the beautiful graphics.

On that point Arkham Asylum doesn't disappoint. While it suffers slightly from the same graphical problems as most 7th-gen games, with textures and normal lighting giving characters and certain objects the appearance of naugahide or resin anime figures, it looks impressive in motion, and even seems to have passed that textural uncanny valley for some character models, especially Batman's, in game. The textures for Bruce's enormous, manly chin are so high-res you can easily see his hair follicles in glorious HD. And the game takes pleasure in you doing so: during the events in the game, Batman grows an astounding amount of stubble to accompany his battle-torn bat-suit, over the course of only a few hours. Other characters weren't as lucky. Harley Quinn, in her horrifying and sexy new outfit, has hair which appears to be made of PVC. Something similar happens with Poison Ivy, where the vines covering her almost naked body are cut from the same polygons as her skin and cloth, with normal lighting compensating for the compromised geometry. One annoying flaw is the foliage: in 2009 I never thought I would see plants rendered with the 'clusters of leaves turning so they always face the camera' effect, but it still appears even in an otherwise graphically superior game. Those flaws aside, the game looks simply excellent.

The characters are presented with plenty of charisma, especially Batman himself who oozes manliness (er, in a family-friendly way of course). Voice actors from the well-received animated series reprise their roles for major characters, and the new guys they got to do voice work do a very good job as well. There are no voiceovers that fall below the line of adequate. The music is dark and heroic, and fits the tone of the game perfectly. The writing isn't particularly amazing for its dialog, but the storyline itself is fairly engaging. As expected it has Batman facing the Joker in Arkham Asylum, where all hell has broken loose. While following the Joker's trail Batman uncovers a conspiracy involving Arkham staff to produce a toxin with effects like super-steroids. You apprehend various Batman villains one by one and save the day.

The Bad
Overall, Arkham Asylum is nearly flawless. The framerate drops occasionally at obvious loading spots, and it sports the same styrofoam physics engine games have been using since early last gen which often does humorous things with ragdolls. But for a game with such seemingly open stealth combat and pseudo-platforming, there are surprisingly few bugs. In a single playthrough I encountered only two such errors, and neither were game-breaking, one only requiring me to load from the checkpoint which was passed a few seconds earlier.

The game is a bit shorter than perfectly ideal. It feels like it would have been the perfect length if you took on just one more villain before the (somewhat anti-climactic) final showdown, perhaps Mr. Freeze. Nevertheless it should be seen as to the game's credit that it's over before it wears out its welcome.

Another thing that will bother anyone used to games such as Fallout 3, where nearly every single device can be picked up, read, hacked or otherwise interacted with is that very few of the objects seen lying around really do anything. Almost nothing even has physics with which you can knock it around or play with it, as pointless as that may sound. Everything that is even remotely important is highlighted orange when looked at through your detective mode scanner. One can only imagine how much more immersive and entertaining the game would have been if you could interact with the various books and terminals scattered about the asylum.

The PC version isn't inferior at all to its console counterparts, but it does not take full advantage of the platform. There are no options to change the controls in-game - you have to do it from the launch menu. Other luxuries PC gamers might be used to such as quicksaving are also absent. Make no mistake, this is a PC port of a console game. There is some rather nasty DRM present even in the Steam release, which may bother some. None of this is a big enough inconvenience to make the PC version worth skipping.

The Bottom Line
Minor nitpicking aside, as a complete package Arkham Asylum does not disappoint on any front, something highly admirable for a licensed game. While it is undoubtedly the best comic-based game ever, one need not be a fan of Batman to find something to love here - it is an excellent game in its own right, and anyone with an interest in action, stealth, or cinematic games should check it out.

Windows · by GeoffPS (24) · 2009

I'm Batman

The Good
I got sucked into the game, I almost forgot what time is it. The gameplay is really awesome, the combat mode is really addictive, makes you want to fight a lot of enemy and not getting hit the same time. The graphics too is astonishing, the story is good. All the thumbs I have is all up, yeah!

The Bad
The only down of the game is that I didn't get to fight the other enemies like Mr. Freeze, Catwoman, The Penguin, and other major villains. Also didn't get to ride the Batmobile and the Batjet. Other than that, no more.

The Bottom Line
A-must-play game, the experience is awesome especially when fighting enemies, the flow of animation during combat mode is seamless. Just be careful not to be addicted. =)

Windows · by Valroman Francisco (30) · 2009

[ View all 7 player reviews ]


1001 Video Games

Batman: Arkham Asylum appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.


The idea of a secondary Batcave in Arkham Asylum first appeared during the No Man's Land saga.

Batman: The Animated Series

Batman, Joker and Harley Quinn are voiced by Kevin Conroy, Mark Hamill and Arline Sorkin respectively, who reprise their roles from the critically acclaimed Batman: The Animated Series.

The story is written by Paul Dini who, as well as having contributed to the comics, was a writer on the series.

PlayStation Home

Inserting the game into your PlayStation 3 console will unlock a PlayStation Home exclusive personal space called the Batcave Outpost Apartment. The space includes a replica of Bruce Wayne's underground lair, including famous items such as the Batsuit, Batmobile, and Batwing.


If Batman is killed by Bane, one of the death cut scenes shows Bane breaking his back. He also taunts Batman during battle, yelling "I will break you" and making a kneeing motion. This is a reference to the Knightfall storyline, where Bane actually broke Batman's spine.

References to Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth

The game references Grant Morrison's Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth several times: * Amadeus Arkham, the asylum's founder, is mentioned and has a bio. * The insect motif that appears on the "Spirit of Arkham" artifacts is inspired by the book. * In the garden, there is the statue of Saint Michell (an angel with a spear). * There is also a reference to the gory demise of Amadeus' wife and child. * And finally, the basic premise of the book is the same (the Joker takes over Arkham and its inmates, including several Bat-villains, run amok).


  • 4Players
    • 2009 – #6 Best Game of the Year (Readers' Vote)
    • 2009 – #3 Best Trailer Cut of the Year
  • AceGamez
    • 2009 - Game of the Year
    • 2009 - Xbox 360 Game of the Year
    • 2009 - Best Music & Sound
    • 2009 - Best Gameplay
  • Cheat Code Central
    • 2009 - Best Licensed Game
  • Game Developers Choice Awards
    • 2010 - Best Game Design
  • GamePro
    • 2009 - Best Licensed Game
  • GameShark
    • 2009 - Xbox 360 Game of the Year
    • 2009 - Best Line
    • 2009 - Best Boss
    • 2009 - Worst Boss
  • Gamespot
    • 2009 - Best Atmosphere (Editors' Choice)
    • 2009 - Best Atmosphere (Readers' Choice)
    • 2009 - Best Use of a Creative License (Editors' Choice)
    • 2009 - Best Use of a Creative License (Readers' Choice)
    • 2009 - Best Sound Design (Readers' Choice)
    • 2009 - Best UK-Developed Game (Readers' Choice)
  • GameSpy
    • 2009 - The Atmospheric Intensity Award
    • 2009 - The Bag of Tricks Award
    • 2011 – #1 Top Superhero PC Game (together with Batman: Arkham City)
  • GameTrailers
    • 2009 - Best Action/Adventure Game
    • 2009 - Biggest Surprise
  • IGN
    • Best PC Action Game (Editors' Choice)
    • Best PC Action Game (Readers' Choice)
    • Best Xbox 360 Story (Editors' Choice)
    • PC Award for Excellence in Sound (Readers' Choice)
  • Machinima
    • 2009 - Best Animation
    • 2009 - Best Art Direction
    • 2009 - Most Compelling Character (for the main antagonist The Joker)

Information also contributed by Big John WV and Caelestis.

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Doppelgamer.

Macintosh added by Sciere. Windows added by Sicarius.

Additional contributors: Mark Ennis, Paulus18950, Cantillon, Patrick Bregger, Starbuck the Third, FatherJack, Kennyannydenny.

Game added September 22nd, 2009. Last modified July 17th, 2023.