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Genre: Action
Min OS X: 10.6

Batman: Arkham Asylum
November 6, 2011 | Jon Carr

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Arkham Asylum

Mac OS X: 10.6.8 | CPU: 2 GHz Intel | RAM: 2 GB | HD Space: 10 GB | Graphics: The following graphics cards are not supported: ATI X1xxx series, NVIDIA 9400, NVIDIA 7xxx series and Intel GMA series. The following cards require you to have 4GB of System RAM: NVIDIA 320M, Intel HD 3000

Rocksteady Studios made something special in Batman Arkham Asylum back in 2009. It was widely hailed not only as a spectacular third person action game, but showed that game developers could make a very good title out of superhero fiction, and in particular the iconic Dark Knight. The Mac version comes courtesy of the great folks at Feral Interactive, and while it's two years after the original PC release, Arkham Asylum doesn't show signs of age.

The games focused narrative has Batman bringing in The Joker (brilliantly voiced by Mark Hamill) to Arkham Asylum, Gotham City's maximum security island prison for all the loonies and super-villains. After a brief introductory sequence of taking The Joker through the prison, he escapes and enacts his fiendish and psychotic plan to take over Arkham and Gotham city, while taking on Batman in the process.

Batman must stop The Joker, but standing in his way are hordes of thugs, assorted villains and the overrun prison itself. Fortunately moving around is a joy, with sharp controls and deft movement. Batman feels powerful but precise whether navigating Arkham on foot, with gadgets, or in combat, punching prisoners silly. (Batman never kills anyone, just knocks them out.)

Combat is just one of the great aspects of the game. A simple but effective array of moves and a combo system keeps combat flowing and fun. Batman's martial prowess is impressive, and the longer you chain together attacks, the more experience you will get. It takes a little to get the hang of, but soon you will be properly timing your blows and watching Batman zip about the screen; punching, kicking, diving and countering never gets old. You can also use some gadgets to stun or knock down enemies such as your Batarangs, Batclaw or your trusty cape. Various types of inmates prove to be different challenges, such as those armed with knives or stun batons, requiring alternate tactics to fight. Some will be armed with guns as well, requiring particular attention unless you want to be quickly filled with lead.

Fighting isn't all about brute force however. Stealth plays an equally large role in Batman's adventure, and he's just as good at sneaking around silently removing unsuspecting guards or trussing them up from a gargoyle high above as he is beating them into submission. Various ledges and gargoyles allow you to safely survey the inmates from high above and plan your attack, or maybe swoop down with a flying kick. A kind of X-ray vision always allows Batman to see enemies through walls, whether they are armed and what their state of alertness is. It's entertaining to remove a few guards then see the remaining ones run around and chatter in panic, knowing the fearsome Bat is around. Stealth is fun, but slightly marred by the fact that guards seem to barely have any hearing. You can grapple onto a ledge with a loud clunk and zipping noise directly behind a guard and he'll just keep plodding along his patrol path without so much as blinking. Still, it's a minor quibble in an otherwise solid system.


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