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Thursday, June 30, 2005

I recently had the chance to play through the PS2 version of the BATMAN BEGINS video game. Now upfront, I usually don’t play these sorts of games - I’m a “sports game guy” for the most part - although I have bought and played most of the Batman games that have been available over the years. However, none of them have been all that good - particularly the ones that are based on the films. Nonetheless, I enjoyed playing this game tremendously.

The game loosely follows the storyline of the film, but captures the look and feel of BATMAN BEGINS to the utmost detail (the graphics are excellent!). Like in BATMAN BEGINS, you are a wet behind the ears Dark Knight taking on his first case in Gotham. The game starts with the gamer playing as The Batman, and then flashes back to Bruce Wayne training with the League of Shadows in Asia. This is where you are “trained” by Ducard, who is voiced by actor Liam Neeson. In this training mode, the gamer learns the moves that will allow him to play as The Batman during the game.


As previously stated, Liam Neeson reprises his role of Henri Ducard, as does Michael Caine (Alfred), Katie Holmes (Rachel Dawes), Morgan Freeman (Lucius Fox), Tom Wilkinson (Carmine Falcone), and Christian Bale as The Batman/Bruce Wayne. This aspect makes that game that much more enjoyable to play.

One of the best aspects of the game is the “reputation meter” for Batman. Whenever you take on a room full of bad guys or interrogate a scared goon, your reputation increases. But if you struggle in the fight sequences and let the bad guys land enough punches on you, your reputation will decrease.

If you have a “badass” rep, the bad guys become tentative and easily scared when you encounter. The bad guy’s fear level is depicted by a red bar on the game screen. When the baddies are really afraid of you, they don't fight as well and are too nervous to take on The Batman properly. But if you have a low rep, the bad guys get much more aggressive and are a bit harder to defeat. Plus, they might even make fun of your costume!

As Batman, you will have a variety of moves and fighting techniques at your disposal. You will be able to use batarangs, flash bombs, electronic decoders, grappling gun, and a device that allows you to call in swarms of bats to help out in your cause! And in one of coolest parts of the game, you are able to get behind the wheel of The Batmobile, aka “The Tumbler.” And Alfred - in the voice of Michael Caine - is there to help guide you through it all.

Special features include trailers and teasers from the film; interviews with the cast, crew, and people behind the game; alternative Batman costumes; and, more opportunities to drive The Batmobile.

My only gripes are that the game seems a bit short and I wish that they had incorporated the film’s actual score. But all in all, BATMAN BEGINS is the best Batman game ever produced and one of the best movie-to-game adaptations that I’ve come across.

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