Sunday, June 28, 2009

Wonder Woman - The Hiketeia Review

Hey Batfans, welcome to the second edition of Jason Todd's Graphic Novel reviews. This week our favorite Gothamite makes a guest appearance in "Wonder Woman - The Hiketeia" Written by Greg Rucka, with artwork by J.G. Jones and starring Two-Thirds of the DC Trinity; this book has the recipe for success.

Wonder Woman - The Hiketeia's plot is simple...What happens when the Amazonian Princess Wonder Woman agrees to Hiketeia, which is the tradition that she must play host to a young woman by the name of Danielle "Danny" Wells to protect her with her life. Little does she know Danielle is being hunted by a certain Caped Crusader for committing unspeakable crimes. So what's Diana to do ... does she allow Batman to pursue her protected companion or does she aid a criminal and fight one of her strongest allies?

As always, I'm not going to ruin the book for would-be readers. The plot idea is very interesting and led me to believe that we'd see a fight of epic proportions between Batman and Wonder Woman. Sadly, I was mistaken. Over 80 pages and the fight between the two heroes lasted maybe three at the most ... The artwork was very good but the story was seriously lacking. What started out strong, quickly fell with each page, even to the point of being screwed out of a fight between two of the biggest names in comic history.

Sure Batman is nowhere near as strong as Wonder Woman, but that's never been an obstacle before. The ending seemed rushed as well and I felt letdown by Greg Rucka. Honestly, I feel that this may be one of the worst stories I've ever read ... the artwork is a plus, and the plot had potential but ultimately was a letdown. I wish I could start a Hiketeia and have someone protect me from reading things this bad in the future. Overall, I give Wonder Woman - The Hiketeia a 3/10.

-Jason Todd

Batman Returns Review

Batman Returns Review 

Batman Returns is the second entry in the Burton film series. It features Michael Keaton as Batman, Danny DeVito as the Penguin, and Michelle Pfeiffer  as Catwoman. 

Story: Batman Returns starts off with the Penguin's birth. It shows us what the doctor, nurse, and his very own parents felt when they first saw him: terror. Penguin wasn't a normal child, he had flippers instead of fingers, and his nose was bigger than most baby's arms. His parents had no idea what to do with him, so they threw him into the river. He spent thirty-three years in a sewer, plotting his descent from the underground of Gotham, to the city of his birth. 

But Batman Returns features more than one villain. There's the Penguin, Catwoman, and Max Shreck. Catwoman is introduced later in the movie, when an unfortunate accident transformers her from a lonely, quiet secretary, to the beautiful, dangerous Selina Kyle we all know and love. 

At first, Penguin's intentions seem genuine. But Bruce later discovers that he's not what he appears to be. When Oswald (Penguin) makes his debut to the rest of Gotham, he saves the mayor's son from a kidnapper, assumingly hired by the Penguin himself. He tells the press and the citizens of Gotham that all he wants is to learn more about his history. I won't spoil the movie, so that's all I'll say. 

All in all, Batman Returns' story is even better than Batman '89's. 

Cast: Most of the actors from Batman '89 reprise their roles in this film. Michael Keaton plays the Dark Knight, Michael Gough plays Alfred Pennyworth, and Pat Hingle as Commissioner Gordon. But that's not all. Danny DeVito takes on the role of Penguin/Oswald Cobblepot, Michelle Pfeiffer plays Catwoman/Selina Kyle, and Christopher Walken as Max Shreck. 

Much like the story, the casting for this movie is top notch! Keaton continues to play the perfect Batman. Gough plays an excellent Alfred Pennyworth. Heck, we can even understand what Pat Hingle says this time around! 

Danny's take on Penguin is truly stunning. I've never been a big fan of the Penguin, but Mr. DeVito has changed my mind. In Batman Returns, Penguin is a fat, ugly, disgusting white man. But boy does Danny pull it off. Not one complaint from me. 

Michelle Pfeiffer is also wonderful. Catwoman wasn't always my favourite female comic book character, but Michelle's performance made me re-think that. Her nervous, lonely secretary act is well done, but it gets even better. Her Catwoman is terrific. The voice, the movement, everything! Her "bad" Selina Kyle is also a lot better than her nervous one. 

Christopher Walken is a funny man, and it shows even in this film. My personal favourite Max Shreck moment is during the end. Even when he's about to die, he tells Selina that she's fired! What a guy.

Style: It's a Burton film, so you know there's going to be some unusual stuff going on here, but I like it. The Batsuit in this film is even better than the first one. The city stays the same for the most part, except for the weather. The weather is a big reason why I like this film. I'm a big Christmas guy, and seeing my favourite holiday mixed with my favourite super-hero was a wonderful thing. 

All of the changes Burton made for this movie were the right ones, and I applaud him for that. 

Gadgets: Gadgets didn't really play a huge role in Batman Returns, but the ones we saw sure were cool! In the beginning of the film, we get to see a remote controlled Batarang, capable of taking out multiple goons with one throw. We later get to see the usual grapnel gun, and even Batwings, used for gliding across Gotham! 

The Gadgets weren't in short supply, it's just that Batman himself had very little screen time (a choice made by Keaton, actually). In each Batman scene, there was at least one cool gadget. And that's more than enough for me.

Overall: Batman Returns improves upon all of the first film's mistakes. It is my favourite Batman film ever made, and that title is well deserved. I recommend Batman Returns to everyone with an appreciation for terrific acting, beautiful scenery, and an excellent story.

Batman Returns' metric score is a 9.8/10


Friday, June 26, 2009

Batman (1989) Review

Batman '89 Review

Batman '89 is the second entry in the Batman film series. It is directed by Tim Burton, and features Michael Keaton as the Caped Crusader, and Jack Nicholson as the Clown Prince of Crime.

Story: When Bruce Wayne was just a young man, his parents were killed right in front of him. When he grew up, he vowed revenge on the criminals of Gotham City. He planned to rid the city of all crime and evil. To do this, he must become something that they will fear: Batman.

Batman '89 shows us how Jack Napier became the Joker. He was fooled into believing he was doing something important for his boss, but instead finds himself in a trap. Batman eventually arrives to save the day, but he creates a monster in the process. Batman dropped Jack into a vat of chemicals, transforming Jack's hair and skin.

In the end, Joker's goal is to turn everyone into, "works of art." But as usual, Batman foils his plan. Overall, the story is very well done. Even though it's not completely true to the comics, it makes sense, and isn't too hard to understand. The dialogue is excellent for many reasons, one being that it really lets us relate to the characters and their emotions. Bruce Wayne is a lonely man crying out for mommy and daddy, Joker is a psychotic freak with no sympathy for human life, and everyone else fits in just as well.

Cast: The casting for this film is terrific. Michael Keaton is considered the best live-action Batman by many. However, some people strongly disagree with this. Sure he may not be in top physical shape, but that doesn't stop him from delivering one of the greatest performance of his career.

Jack Nicholson was a good Joker, for the time. But I felt he acted more like Jack Nicholson on sugar as apposed to the Joker. For every ten minutes of breath-taking Joker, there was thirty minutes of boring Nicholson. The permanent smile didn't help much, either. Even though that wasn't his fault, I feel it took away from some of the serious moments in the movie. It just looked silly.

The supporting cast is great for the most part, with Michael Gough playing Alfred Pennyworth, Bruce's trustworthy butler. Kim Basinger as Vicky Vale, Bruce's love interest. And Pat Hingle as Commissioner Gordon. My only problem with the supporting cast was Pat. He didn't look or act like James Gordon.

Style: B89's style is absolutely stunning. From the Batsuit, to the city's skyscrapers. Everything was built to perfection. Burton really created the Gotham City fans desired in a live action film. I only wish there was more outdoor action, but Batman Returns shows us some of that.

Gadgets: Something a Batman move has to perfect are the gadgets. Sure, Batman is a master in every martial arts and he's as smart as Einstein's billionaire-playboy-brother (if he had one), but there's no denying that his gadgets help him get out of most situations.

Batman '89 featured most of Batman's well know gadgets, such as: Batarangs, Grapnel Gun, Smoke Pellets, etc. He even had a neat two-way grapnel gun used to help Vicky escape from the Joker and his thugs. Not to mention the cool Batmobile (if you count that as a gadget).

Overall: Batman was a very enjoyable film, I would even say it's one of the best there is. Everything felt authentic, and there wasn't any Batnipples on the costumes. It did have a few minor issues, but nothing that made the film unwatchable.

The metric score for this film is 9.3/10

- EliteF50

Villainous Fridays Begin!

Hello ladies and gents, dudes and dudetts, Bobs and Marys! Well thanks to our own Amputechture I threw an idea and he said yes! Every week I will be featuring a villain and telling you a little bit about him/her. This week I am featuring the Clown Prince of Crime. That's right the one and only... Joker!

Joker is no doubt the Caped Crusader's deadliest foe. Batman and Joker go together like PB & J, Bananana and Split, Mr and Clean. Joker has always been everyone's favorite villain or at least near the top, I haven't met one person that hates Joker, and if you do...Killer Croc will find you...Killer Croc always does.

Joker has a wide aresnal of gadgets as Batman does but resembling a comical feel to it. Joker uses laughing gas the most. Some people don't consider this a gadget, but I do. He puts it in his sleeve and then when you swing, lights out. But that's not what else he uses it for, I remember he put Joker gas (or laughing gas) in cherry bombs and flung them around. I remember the cane most of all, he used to carry around a cane that shoots laughing gas out of the top, then he would swing at you, easy finish. He also has many other things through the years such as the Joybuzzer, the *BANG!* gun, his acid squirting flower, always had the knives in his shoe top, and many other variations that never made it into the comics via Mortal Kombat vs. DCU, or the upcoming Batman Arkham Asylum.

Joker has no pattern of attack or crimes, he just wants to have fun! That's all he does is kill people, steal, and make idle threats just for fun. My favorite interpretation of this was in the Batman The Animated Series, Joker tried to trademark fish because he filled Gotham Bay with laughing gas and the fish had a big Joker smile on their face.

Joker was introduced in Batman #1 (1940) as Batman's first nemisis. This title has held and will always hold no doubt. These two will be enemies forever.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

"History of Batman in Video Games" (Part 2)

Batman: The Caped Crusader (1988)
ZX Spectrum, Commodore 64, Commodore Amiga, PC

We present to you the second part of our ongoing series, "The History of Batman in Video Games." Batman seemed to see a measure of success with his previous foray. How does Batman: The Caped Crusader fare? Persist dear reader ... First of all though, I will mention that my playthrough was for the Commodore 64 version. From my understanding, all the versions are fairly similar, save for some graphical differences.

The objective in Batman: The Caped Crusader is another simple one. You have to thwart the evil plans of The Penguin and the Joker. This is notable in that there were two adventures, each with it's own disc. The environments varied as did some items and what you used them for, but the main gameplay remained the same.

In both scenarios, you begin in the Batcave and need to discover the items needed to complete your mission. Some tasks are not necessary to do, save for getting 100% completion. As an example; in The Penguin mission, you begin in the cave and see that the Batcomputer is broken. You can search the rest of the cave to find various items such as: tools, a disk and a lightbulb? You can then return to the machine and use the tools in your inventory to fix the computer. You can then insert the disk! Does it help your mission? No, but completionists will want to try and conquer these tasks.

You can receive various hints when you walk by areas of importance. The clue will pop up in the corner of the screen like a story box from a comic. This leads me to the most appealing feature of this game; the comic book styling. You see, when you walk into a different room another layer or panel appears on top of the previous one. The effect is great and makes you feel as if you are in a comic book. Yet, it can be difficult to enjoy this when the controls are so horribly implemented.

A joystick is used for this endeavor but doesn't work very well. You can move left and right and point the joystick in any direction to attack where you are pointing. This is a moot point though since attacking is rather useless. The worst part though is that in order to pick up items you need to point the joystick down and press the button. This leads to many problems, as if you are not in the necessary spot to pick up said items; you will simply bring up the inventory screen. Yes they are both accomplished the same way!

The Joker playthrough ...

The sound is not as unfortunate as a catchy tune accompanies your adventures, but it comes with a downside. You never get to hear the song in full as it resets every time you pick up an item. Bummer. This is a great 8-bit melody that you should check out if possible! The sounds effects are very pronounced with jingles playing every time you pick an item and equip it; or to notify you that something can't be used just yet. Not pretty but it gets the job done.

The enemies are uninspired and at times nonsensical. The Penguin adventure offers up suited thugs, flying airplanes and bats that drop guano on you. Seriously? The Joker has the usual clown motif going for it. These things will frustrate you as you will never be able to hit everything on the screen, even with your Batarang equipped. Frustrating. Again though, it is better to just try and run if possible.

Overall, this game turned out to be a disappointment. Even if you do enjoy the mechanics presented, each adventure lasts at most ten minutes. Why you ask? Well, that is the time limit! In fact; unless you memorize which items you need and master the dreadful controls, you won't get very far. While there are some bright spots in this adventure, such as the graphical style and soundtrack; nothing else really stands out. Play this one only if you are a Batmaniac friends!

*Special Thanks to Why So Serious? from the Batman: Arkham Asylum Forums!*


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Exclusive: Interview with Nate Peck; Writer of Batman Retribution

We here at Batmania Reviews have your first, exclusive look and interview with Renegade Comics' own Nate Peck; who is the writer for the highly anticipated comic, Batman: Retribution! Find out what he's been up to, how this ambitious project came to life, and what we can expect from the series ...

Cover Art

Okay, first off Nate ... When and how did you create this idea for writing your own Batman comic?

Nate Peck: Hmm, first off great question to start with. (Smiles) I've been reading comics since I was old enough to even read. My dad was constantly underway because he was a submariner in the Navy. So when he would come back from leave, he would run me up to the comic shop and we would buy comics and read them.

I've wanted to write a comic for a long time but never had the talent to do the other things associated with them like writing, coloring, etc. The how part of this question was that I decided to create a fan fiction Batman story to match Batman: Arkham Asylum to drum up buzz. My good friend Kurtis (Thebatman226) then confronted me, asking If I wanted to do something together with him. After seeing his talent, it was an obvious yes. I hope I answered that as you wanted.

AM: Definitely. That is an interesting story! So it was the game that really pushed you over the edge and into your desire to write a comic?

NP: Oh, definitely. In my opinion, none of the Batman video games were ever that great. And after watching trailer after trailer and gamplay after gameplay, I was completely convinced that this game was going to end that streak. So in a way it was like motivation. If Rocksteady can end the streak of bad Batman games, then my friends and I can create a story worth telling.

AM: (Laughs) Very true. So what was it about the writing aspect of comics that attracted you to writing one yourself?

NP: Well, I've always been a good writer in my opinion and others'. I've had countless teachers and my parents tell me how skilled I am. I've done journalism, screenwriting, novel and now comic book writing. Personally, comics can show themes and elements a lot better than say a movie or television show. You have more free roam, not a lot of boundaries. So that appeals to me a lot better.

AM: I see. As this is a Batman tale, are there any specific storylines you are following in your own comic. For example, does your story involve a post Battle for the Cowl scenario?

NP: Yeah, this is a Batman tale but we are going with a different storyline. I like the Battle For The Cowl story line and all but personally a writer has a lot more resources when you go without a follow up story. Writing on top of Battle For The Cowl would have been a great benefitiary or pissed off a lot of people if we did it wrong. This way people can understand that we are building off other peoples momentum, we are just simply creating a story with our favorite Batman characters are running our vision on it.

AM: That's a good point. Seeing as how their will be plenty of those stories hitting shops. So how did you meet the rest of your creative team?

NP: Well, most of the Renegade crew I met on yours truly, Batman: Arkham Asylum/Eidos forum. I was first approached by Kurtis (TheBatman226) and I told him my story and he immediately agreed on it. The rest I approached, first being CJ (The Comedian), he liked my idea as well. After that I approached Chris (Timeless Unknown) and he too liked the story. And I'm forgetting my buddy Michael who isn't a poster on BAA but he is a loyal friend that's been writing with me for a few years now. Last but not least Killer Croc decided to join us in hype for our story, he simply couldn't handle it anymore.

AM: (Laughs) It is very exciting to say the least. What difficulties arose when creating this particular project?

NP: Well, life is life and there are constantly difficulties and a project like this really shows you that. My artist is 14 hours ahead of me, making meetings a chore to assemble. Not to mention you have to be realistic on a release date which is one of the biggest challenges we face now. I thought a July 1st release of Issue 1 was realistic, now it seems impossible.

Thats when I have to remember that we aren't professionals. Our biggest problem as of right now is figuring out our colorist problem. They are harder to find then you think and on top of that it's a business that wants money and we are a team that doesn't have that. So we are scanning the net and our options which as of now is looking like a black and white comic, which oddly enough I think suits us.

AM: I think that may really work out well. A while ago on the forums, you had hinted the villain in your story. What can you tell us about that? Any secrets you can share ...

NP: Of course I can share. The villain is Shin Satsu which in Japanese simply means, "To die killing." He is a villain that doesn't believe in a no-win scenario like Batman. He is ruthless like Batman's rival The Joker, but where The Joker fails, Shin tops and thats fighting. Shin is a psuedo Ninja with a hidden past and many black belts. The best part of him is the machete he wields and his mask. His mask is something we based off Alan Moore's Watchmen, which is simply a Rorschach Dot mask, it doesn't move like Rorschach's. However, it is ink blotted like his and constantly stays the same shape of a smile face. The blots are created by the blood of his victims. Truly in my opinion he might be the hardest villain for Batman to face because of his knowledge in Martial Arts, his intelligence and ruthlessness. No question readers will be instore for one of hell of a match when Batman meets him.

AM: So essentially we are seeing a version of The Dark Knight that doesn't mind killing? Sounds epic! So it seems you were influenced by several comics. Are there any that you would consider your favorite?

NP: Umm, I like to always keep a comic book near me at all times just in case I stumble up on something or need a good panel shot. That comic is simply Frank Miller's Collection of Batman stories, which are The Dark Knight Returns and Year One. My favorite comic, hmm, well I've read a lot but the one that probably sticks out the most in my opinion is Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns. His Batman was probably the first edgy and dark Batman ever. He was realistic with his military belt and he actually looked sorta chubby. His take on Batman was truly inspiring to me, I really do believe it should be taught in school, a simple masterpiece.

AM: An excellent choice. It's great to see you have been inspired by one of the best. When are we going to be hit by the first issue?

NP: The original date was July 1st but due to some inconsistancies we were forced to move it back. In my mind, I'd love to see it out by the later part of the first week of July or just the second week of July.

AM: Well I am glad it is sooner than later. (Laughs)

NP: So am I...

AM: Okay, are there any big surprises you can tell us about?

NP: Hmm, a few actually. We will be putting Batman to the test emotionally and physically. Be prepared to see our hero lose a few battles as well. You are going to be shown a few villains that connect with the story and Batman's battle with Shin. You will also get to see a few of Bruce's beloved family members, but not in great terms. The last thing I can tell you is that we are going to have the last issue be a deluxe issue in every way possible. The average issue I've written is around 13 pages (average for a web comic) the last is going to be around 40 pages. So be prepared to get blown away.

AM: Awesome, it looks like we will see a more vulnerable Batman. I like it! Are there any other villains that will be making an appearance?

NP: I'll only release one villain at this time, the rest are under wraps but Scarecrow will play a minor, and I mean minor, role in the story line. It's a new touch to the character but I think people will respect it.

AM: Sounds good. I am sure we will have a lot of surprises! Now, is the series one giant arc or are there several others?

NP: It's one giant arc that I've constructed to fully run it's course around 15 comics. I originally planned 30 comics but too be honest it had way too many holes and the amount of characters felt overdone and forced. I trimmed it back by half and came out with something way more enjoyable.

AM: Sounds complex. One more question for you Nate: What is the future of Renegade Comics? Is there anything else up your sleeve?

NP: The plan is to continue writing the stories we love; Batman, and to go on to new things as well. After Retribution is over I'm going to start planning out a different take on Batman that is going to be like BTAS meets comics with a twist. It's going to be exciting and at the same time fresh. I have some other ideas up my sleeve but nothing that I've been able to incorporate into a full fledge comic. I'm sure once Retribution has run it's course we will be back to work on another series

AM: All I know is that I can't wait. Thanks for your time Nate!

NP: It was my pleasure!

Stay tuned to Batmania Reviews for more exclusives on Batman: Retribution!


The Riddler Strikes ...*Update*

* All contest winners have been found. Please stay tuned for more fun contests from Batmania Reviews!*

As you have noticed The Riddler has been wreaking havoc on the Batman Arkham Asylum Forums. It has gotten out of control; even spawning copycats! Well the mayhem has spread to our lowly site as well. The Riddler has been tampering with our articles and we need your help to find out what he's up to!

You will not go unrewarded though. As seen below these are the goods we are offering as thanks for your assistance:
Battle for the Cowl #1 (2nd Print Variant)
Batman #687 (Variant)
Batman: Streets of Gotham
Gotham City Sirens

The Prizes will be given to three people in different ways:

1st Prize: Choice of (1) Variant and (1) other non-variant comic and entry into our "Graphic Giveaway!"

2nd Prize: Remaining Variant and Comic, plus entry into the "Graphic Giveaway!"

3rd Prize: Entry into the "Graphic Giveaway!"

The first three people to figure this out and PM Amputechture with the answer on the Batman: AA forums will be declared the winners! Please, help us put and end to Riddler's twisted game!


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Batmania Reviews: Exclusive Interview with Keir Edmonds

Jason Todd: First and foremost I wanna' welcome everyone to Batmania Reviews, we plan on getting alot of interviews and things that every Bat-Fan wants to hear, so without further ado, Id like to introduce our first ever Interviewee. He's the Eidos Community Manager, and someone who has ALOT of patience in dealing with the forums, You know him, Ya love him, Ya bug him for Demos, Keir

JT: So, Keir thanks for doing this Interview with us, how does it feel to be our first guest at Batmania Reviews, and how did you like your star studded introduction?

Keir: Great introduction and thanks very much! It's a privilege to be the first here I must say. I like what you've done with the place :D

JT: So Jumping right in Keir, I know I've wondered as well as some other people, how did you get your job at Edios as Community Manager and what are some of the biggest perks and disadvantages of your job?

Keir: Well, I've been at Eidos for over eight years now, man and boy. I was lucky when I got my job here, a friend saw the vacancy - we both applied - I got it, he didn't :D

I started out testing games which was amazing (I remember dancing around the house in my underwear when I first heard I got the job) but it was also a mixed blessing. I had the pleasure of working on some really cool titles like Timesplitters 2 and Anachronox (which I still love to this day) to some real dogs like Popstar Maker and Who Wants to be a Millionaire German Junior Edition *shudders*

After a little while in test I moved to customer service before landing a job in community management, which I love because it combines my love of the internets with gaming, while also enabling me to indulge my interest in how online communities behave. There are many perks of the job, we get to sit and play games in work. The downsides are the long hours and sometimes dealing with difficult PR situations and mobs of angry fans - but I love my job so it's always OK. The best bit about working here is the people, sounds cheesy but it's true. It's a young company and a very cool environment to work in. I've made many, many friends here.

JT: So Keir...I gotta ask, you've been community manager for, I believe like eight years, and you seem like a very relaxed guy, but has there ever been a time when you just wanna get up and walk away from the computer after dealing with a member?

Keir: Generally speaking it doesn't get to me. I can always see the bigger picture and I always work out what someone's motivation is. If someone is genuinely upset because they're a fan then I try and help them and I understand their frustration - if they're just being a troll then it generally means their wife bullies them or something which causes their behaviour, so if that's the case it makes me laugh ;)

JT: Considering this is BatMania Reviews, We'd be crazy not to ask if you're a comic book fan Keir, If so, what drew you to comics in the first place, and who are some of your favorite heroes and villains?

Keir: I'll level with you - although I fancy myself as a bit of an artist and I really love Wildstorm's stuff, I'm not what you'd call a comic nerd. You guys on the forum and people like Paul Crocker put me to shame.

JT: One would assume that working at a place like Eidos, that you'd be a big gamer, So Keir what consoles do you own, and what are some of your favorite games to play in your spare time?

Keir: I am of course a gamer and have been since the old days of the Atari 2600 (then Master System, Megadrive, SNES, PS1, PS2) and now I've got a 360. I've also got a DS which I like to play on my travels. I've been playing (well beating my friends at) Pro Evo, Fifa and Virtua Tennis. I've also been playing some Battlestations: Pacific and Fallout 3 lately.

JT: Out of every game that Edios has produced, which is your very favorite and why?

Keir: That's a toughie... there have been many great games that I've been lucky enough to work on over the last few years but there are two games which stand out. The first game is old and has reserved a special place in my heart, Anachronox. It's an old RPG from Ion Storm released (late and over budget) in 2001.

It has the best story line and humour ever. I still quote lines from that game. The characters were awesome. The dev team had such imagination and created a really fantastic world.

It got a lukewarm reception but it really is an epic. It still has a cult following to this day, and I occasionally bump into fellow die hard fans.

The second game is probably the best title Eidos has published. And that game is Batman: Arkham Asylum :cool:

JT: Alright Keir, I know I said I wouldn't ask you anything about Arkham that could potentially get you in trouble with the higher ups, but I've gotta ask SOMETHING to keep the guys at the forum's tongues from watering, lol, so how many more give-a-way contests are coming down the pike?

Keir: Well, let's see... we're lining up some cool competitions in tandem with Dolby, so we have some awesome prizes for the official site and forums. Aside from that I'm hoping to get a few prints of concept art signed by Wildstorm. Now that's a competition prize. I've also got some more posters signed by the Rocksteady team which I'll give out, and maybe some other stuff along the way too :)

JT: Alright Keir, thanks again for your time and being our first ever guest here at BatMania Reviews! Is there anything you'd like to say before we get out of here?

Keir: Nothing more to add other than to say it's great to see how enthusiastic people are for Batman: Arkham Asylum. Thanks for all your support - I can guarantee you that once you've had a chance to get your hands on the game you'll see that it really is the game you've been waiting for all these years.

I'd also like to say hi and thanks to all the dudes from the official forum. Spread the word folks and let's get this party started!

JT: Alright Keir, thanks so much for your time man, and before we get out of here, I gotta ask you to drop a Huzzah! for us...after all it IS your catchphrase.




JT: Lol, awesome, Thanks alot Keir, and thanks for reading guys, we're gonna try to get more interviews in the near future so keep coming back to Batmania Reviews!

- Jason Todd

Monday, June 22, 2009

Arkham Asylum: Living Hell Review

Hey there Batmania readers, welcome to our very first Graphic Novel review. Every Monday or Tuesday, Im going to review a Graphic Novel and give you guys my thoughts, good or bad, and a recommendation and ultimately a review on a scale between one and ten. So without further ado, Lets get started with Arkham Asylum: Living Hell.

Arkham Asylum: Living Hell, written by Dan Slott and featuring artwork from Ryan Soot, is a story about a man known as Warren "The Great White Shark" White, a man infamous for being one of the worst men in the world (as pointed out by numerous people including the murderous Clown Prince of Crime, The Joker.) Warren is on the path to the big house after facing massive counts of fraud, when he decides to plead insanity. Sounds like someone should've warned Warren that in Gotham City it's better to be a criminal than insane. He's shipped straight off to Arkham's Asylum, home of the Criminally Insane.

There's alot more to this story, but the basic question is, do the insane go to Arkham or does Arkham breed the insane? One of the best things about this book is the fact that it shows MASSIVE character development, and this is one of the best displays of character development I've read in a while. So many characters joined the Batman Mythos here, including Warren White, Jane Doe, Doodlebug and so many more make their first appearances here. But they're also joined by longtime favorites, Commissioner Gordon, Batgirl, Jason Blood, and Batman, abeit for only a few pages. One would think the lack of Batman hurt the story but actually, It made the story stronger for not utilizing The Caped Crusader much.

Not everything about Arkham Asylum: Living Hell was great though. One of the letdowns was the ending...a strong start but it tripped just short of the finish line. The story was... over-complicated to say the least. I understood it but I wouldn't recommend it to someone without prior knowledge of Etrigan. But all in all, the Character Development, the fact the story was for the most part well written, and the art of course have made this story stand out as one of the best Arkham based stories since Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth. Thats Why I give Arkham Asylum: Living Hell a solid 8/10 score.

- Jason Todd

Sunday, June 21, 2009

The Final Clue ...

Here is the final clue that The Riddler left! Think like The Great Detective to nab those prizes and help us stop him once again! There may be a hint in one of the last riddles, so use all your wits. The first three people to PM me at the Arkham Asylum Forums will win!


Saturday, June 20, 2009

Out with the old in with the new.

Hello again KillerCroc reviews for a not so review. I was asked to compare the first apperance Batman to modern day Batman. I was assigned to this because I am probably the only dinosaur that has been reading Batman for a long time. Over 35 years, 35 years gone to waste JK. Okay, so the Batman I read was very how should I say very...kid friendly. He used to have a Bat-thing for everything, like Adam West. He did have catchphrases and said a lot more, eh, dorky things, like involving justice. Well, it was cool back then but if you listen to it now you have to laugh. All that justice stuff on the Brave and the Bold, yup, he used to talk like that in every issue. The modern day Batman is much more grittier and more of an adult-teen hero. True they make kid friendly versions, but the modern day one is just very adult. It's just an evolutionary stage that Batman went through.

There isn't much to compare. The modern day Batman is just an upgrade from the oldies Batman. I remember Batarangs used to just smack people in the head now they do that and more. He used to name everything with a Bat pronoun before it but now it's really simple. He just calls it what it is. Except the usual like Batarangs and Batmoblie. The oldies Batman is usually the butt of a joke nowadays, but he was cool, at least once upon a time he was.

The reason why I think Batman is better (eh, I suppose so) nowadays is because his villains evolved. Batman has always been about the villains. Now their schemes have evolved making the modern day Batman who he is. If they hadn't he would stil be saying "I'm married to justice" and actually care about Robin like he did back then, very creepy nowadays how it was back then. The oldies Batman and the modern Batman are just two peas in the same pod, just had different styles and has a bit of a difference. Some people say Batman evolved over the ages to make the two different from modern to oldies, but the credit has to go to the villains.

-KillerCroc (sorry for the lack of puns)

Thursday, June 18, 2009

(Review by KC) Batman and Robin Numero Uno! (#1)

Hello everyday Batman blogger. I suggest leaving if you want a good comic JK! Today I am reviewing Batman and Robin: Reborn #1, by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely. Everybody knows what happened with Bruce and his "death". Every Batman fan has been wondering what's happened to Gotham if you haven't heard or read the Battle for the Cowl series. Well here's a short recap for you. Batman "died" and Gotham has become a living oven. There are criminals just running aroud stealing everything in broad daylight and the GCPD (Gotham City Police Department) is having problems with this, as there can only be so much of them in one place. Batman was Gotham's god in a sense, Gotham has become chaos. But shortly after Nightwing (Dick Grayson) came to his senses and knew somebody needed to be Batman. So he took over being the Caped Crusader with the smart-mouthed son of Bruce Wayne, Damian Wayne, as Robin. Now let's get back to that review...

Batman and Robin: Reborn is most surely nothing to sneeze at, if you do, you might want to see a doctor. When I was reading this it was true that I get the same feeling as I do with every other first issue as an introductory with no action. This truely was a introduction, but it introduced the characters astonishingly, the best I have seen in a long time kiddies. As well as some new villains to match our duo with an utmost creepyness against the dark and ghetto feel that the new duo have. We got introduced to a walking Toad, a man with a head on fire, and a guy wearing a pig's face as a mask (Leatherface?) Lots and lots of villains.

The introduction starts with some thugs and a guy that looks like a Toad, ironically called Toad, driving a getaway car. Of course the duo swoop in and stop the man or thing, get the info, and look into the bigger details as Batman and Robin do. This criminal has no records except that he is part of a European circus, Toad has mentioned the word Pyg a lot, mentioning the name of his employer as the clueless henchmen do. Now the story has the creepy characters, more or less Pyg himself, with distubing scenes showing his ways of getting what he wants.

No doubt I am eager to get my hands on the second issue. I don't want to reveal too much except we have another nutjob who wants an "Ideal world" as most do. But this villain is...just...creepy. Really hard to describe. The art, story, and structure of the comic was amazing for the first issue. Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely are the dynamic duo in my opinion, but you have to go with the guys with tights and cars. I would have perfered more action myself but this issue still delivers.

-Killer Croc

"History of Batman in Video Games" (Part 1)

Batman (1986)
Amstrad CPC, Amstrad PCW, ZX Spectrum, MSX

As the launch of Batman: Arkham Asylum sneaks up on us like The Dark Knight himself, we can't help but to look back on Batman's history in video games. We've had some laughs and some fun well as attempts that seem more like one of Joker's sick pranks, but it all starts with this classic simply entitled: Batman.

The very first Batman game is actually not as horrible as you would think. I have played it myself, and can say that despite the archaic mechanics of the game, it is a solid entry in the Batman game world. The premise is simple; you must traverse the Batcave in search of seven parts that make up the Batcraft in order to save Robin.

Sounds simple right? Wrong. The game takes place in 3D isometric view which can make avoiding creatures difficult. Wait...creatures!? In the Batcave!? Yes. You can't attack or really evade them though. You have to time your walking so that you bypass their path of travel. There are various creatures from what I've seen. Walking Mutants, Spike Discs, and Skull-looking Bulldogs (Skulldogs?) Each with different behavior.

Before you can venture on, you need to locate all of your gadgets. The boots grant you the jumping ability while the Pack allows you carry one object or item at a time. The jetpack let's you glide over a distance after jumping off higher areas. I honestly don't know what the last item is or does despite collecting it in my playthrough.

The icons on the left side of the HUD are your various power-ups. The number beneath the Bat are your lives. I never did collect the spring power-up, but the shield means invulnerability for our caped crusader while the bolt represents a boost in walking speed. You receive these by collecting Batman Figures scattered throughout the cave. Careful though, as they only last a certain amount of "steps." All of this can actually be fun since you will be doing a lot of platforming and puzzle-solving, but will become frustrating to impatient players very quickly.

As mentioned before, the game is locked into a 3D isometric view which can make the trek very difficult seeing as how there are several creatures and dangerous objects waiting to collect one of your precious Batlives. You quickly get a feel for this portion though. It's the jumping that is killer...You will die by attempting a jump more than anything. In order to successfully "hop" to another platform you must creep onto the edge until you are nearly one pixel off of it and THEN proceed to jump. You can master this as well, but it doesn't always seem consistent.

The puzzles are an excellent addition to the gameplay but from what I saw, not varied. They mostly include finding out a way to stack different items to create a platform, which will help you get to those out-of-reach areas. One example was a room I encountered that had an elevating platform in the bottom corner. It was the only way up but there were obstacles surrounding it that could kill my poor chubby Batman. There were two conveyor belts leading to the platform but they were too high to reach. The only tools available were two circular objects and a teapot. You read that correctly...teapot.

After several minutes of experimentation, I found that I had to stack them in a specific way. I pushed one block near the conveyor belt, and then jumped on the teapot and "collected" it (You can only hold one item at a time and it must be in the same room you collected it.) Afterwards I set the teapot on top of the previous object...but I had to offset it a bit. Stepping near the edge of the first object and dropping it so that one wasn't directly on top of another. Thus I created a makeshift staircase...I repeated the process with the final portion. As soon as you drop an item you instantly appear on top of it allowing access to where you need to go. In this case, the conveyor belt which led to the elevating platform (Phew.)

There are plenty of these rooms to explore in the Batcave (150 in total.) I only visited 30 but still never found one portion of the Batcraft! It is definitely a challenge worthy of the great detective himself. This experience is still impressive due to it's presentation. Upon start up, you see an impressive Batman sprite. After the title screen, (where Bat's is tapping his toe Sonic style with impatience...) you catch a glimpse of the Batcraft pieces and the 60's theme blasts through your speakers in glorious 8-bit style. Classic. Besides that though, within the game you only get the musical pitter-patter of Batman's steps, beeps of enemies hitting walls, as well as victory or defeat chimes for collecting items; or for the failure that brings you death. Whether this is memorable in a nostalgic way or infuriating manner, is up to personal preference.

In conclusion, the first Batman video game turned out to be a fun while flawed experience. Things will annoy you (ie: Picking up an item just to forget "taking" it out of your bag and collecting it for your inventory. Not to mention the awful jumping.) Also, while being based on the '60's show, the game reflects art from the '80's comics. It is also odd that the Batcave would feature giant eyeballs, creatures, and objects that resemble elephant feet. Aside from this, there is plenty of fun to be discovered for those seeking a challenge that combines platforming, and puzzle solving as well as level memorization. I dare say this is one of the better games that was made and is definitely a worthy title of our caped crusader. I never did save Robin...but I am compelled to keep trying...

- James Gordon