It’s my opinion that the absolute best time to have been an animation fan in America was the early 1990s. Not only was anime starting to really take off, but Western animators were at the top of their game. We got Animaniacs, Eek! the Cat, Talespin, Tiny Toon Adventures, Chip & Dale’s Rescue Rangers, and a little show called Batman: The Animated Series, which represents, even 17 years later, the best version of Batman and his supporting cast ever.
Now, to be honest, even when I was nursing a 15-title-a-week addiction at the local comics shop, I wasn’t really into the core Bat-books, so I can’t back my opinion up with any kind of authority. I did buy some of the side titles – Robin, Catwoman, Nightwing – but the core books were always a bit meh to me, too prone to crossovers and seemingly unable to start and finish a story in the same title.
I did buy quite a few back-issues from the 1960s, mind you, though I was mostly going for camp. If an issue had Bat-mite, Ace the Bat-hound, or Batwoman in it, I bought it.
…and I think we can all agree that these are probably not examples of “good” Batman comics. 🙂
But now that I’ve established that I am not really speaking from any kind of position of authority when I say that Batman: TAS was the Best Batman Ever, I am going to take another leap and say that Batman: Arkham Asylum was the Best Batman Videogame Ever, eclipsing the Genesis-era movie tie-in game which I previously believed represented the pinnacle of Batman-themed gaming.
I suspect I’m preaching to the choir here, though – if you’ve got any interest whatsoever in the character and keep up with the video game market, you’ve probably already played this, or at least played through the demo, and if you’ve done so and not been absolutely stunned by it I’m going to argue that you have No Soul.
If, however, you have not sampled this game yet, and you have any degree of interest in the doings of costumed nutjobs – and I’m throwing Bruce into this category without reservation, mind you – you should check it out. It’s a very darkly-themed game, much more so than versions of the characters I’m familiar with, but I enjoyed it throughout.
…OK, so the very last boss fight was three kinds of lame, but that represents only a tiny tiny portion of the game and I think you should probably just try to forget it happened after you beat it.
As an aside, this was the first “Games for Windows: Live” title I’ve played – it was pretty neat to see Achievement messages pop up that showed up right along the achievements from Xbox 360 games. Microsoft, much as I love to bash them, gets some points from me there.