Sunday, 16 January 2011

Arkham City Allies?

With the highly anticipated arrival of the sequel to the highest rated super-hero game of all time, Batman: Arkham Asylum, hitting this year, the rumours of multiplayer and the announcement of Catwoman have triggered a flurry of rumours concerning Batman's allies; namely, who will appear in Arkham City?
Last year a picture (left) of Robin and Batgirl appeared, which stirred up the rumour pot even more, before it was revealed to be from some guy's deviantArt page. The picture shows the Tim Drake and Cassandra Cain versions of the characters, which throws up another question: If Robin and/or Batgirl were to appear, which versions of the characters would they be?

Oracle is listed as missing and Alfred has been confirmed as the voice in your ear to replace her. I am presuming that finding her will, at least, be a side quest, so I am concluding that Oracle is as good as confirmed as well.
Below I give a run down of the possibilities and give my opinion, as a life-long Batman fan, on their chances of appearing in the game.

Dick Grayson

Intoduced in 1940, just one year after Batman, Dick was the first to be called Robin. This young acrobat saw his parents plummet to their deaths after mobsters sabotaged the trapeze rigging. Bruce Wayne took him on as his ward (and later adopted him) and he soon became the Boy Wonder.
He has been portrayed on screen by Douglas Croft, Burt Ward and Chris O'Donnell. He has been featured in every animated Batman on television since Super Friends (in which he fought crime with the Justice League) and has fronted both the Teen Titans and now Young Justice shows. Dick Grayson is the Robin that most people know.
He hasn't, however, been Robin in the comics since the early '80s, when, at 18, he quit being Batman's partner, started working with the New Teen Titans full-time and changed his costumed identity to Nightwing.
As Nightwing he really hit new heights, he had his own city (Blüdhaven) to protect and was generally looked up to by everyone in the DCU. His popularity crossed over to the real world and saved him from death when an outcry from fans and comic creators forced DC editorial to change their minds about killing him off during the Infinite Crisis storyline.
In a post-Batman RIP DCU Dick has taken up the mantle of his 'late' mentor and become the Batman. Of course Bruce wasn't really dead, so now we have two Batmen. Bruce travels the world to fight crime on an international level, whilst Dick protects Gotham City.
Possible role in Arkham City: The perfect back-up for Batman, they fight together 'like a well oiled machine'. Nightwing is an all-rounder, but he excels at parkour-like acrobatics. Perhaps a free-running pursuit mission in the challenge rooms would be the best place for him?
Essential reading: Robin: Year One, Nightwing: A Knight in Blüdhaven, Batman: Life After Death
Chances of appearing: 2/10 (as Robin) 6/10 (as Nightwing)

Jason Todd

After Dick left to become Nightwing, Batman was stuck with a strawberry-blonde, circus-orphan carbon copy of his old ward as Robin. The fans weren't too thrilled about this and so the writers took advantage of the DC reality changing Crisis on Infinite Earths to change his character into a tough little kid who lived on the streets. The first time Batman meets him, he is trying to steal the tyres off the Batmobile. Jason proved to be a rebellious, angry Robin. He jumped the gun, disobeyed orders and even let a man fall to his death. He was famously killed off by the readers in a phone in vote, which allowed the Joker to have his way and beat him to death with a crowbar.
In 2005 Jason came back from the dead and became the Red Hood, and a thorn in batman's side ever since.
Possible role in Arkham City: 1 - as Robin to be killed by the Joker; 2 - as Robin, killed by the Joker in a Scarecrow induced hallucination. Red Hood? Nah, maybe in Arkham 3, but I can't see him fitting in here too many villians to squeeze Jason's psychotic anti-hero in here.
Essential reading: A Death in the Family, Under the Hood (Under the Red Hood DVD), Red Hood: Lost Days
Chances of appearing: 3/10 (as Robin) 1/10 (as Red Hood)

Tim Drake

The death of Jason and the disappearance of Robin confirmed to young Tim Drake what he had already deduced. Batman was Bruce Wayne. Tim’s detective skills and natural caution made him ideally suited to the role of Robin, for which Bruce put him through 6 months of training in the cave and then sent him to Europe where he studied martial arts with masters including Lady Shiva.
Unlike the previous Robin’s Tim’s parents were both alive when he met Bruce, but soon after he first put on the Robin costume his mother was killed. Then, not long after he turned 16, his father was also killed. Tim used this experience to become more serious about crime-fighting. After Bruce ‘died’, Tim was the only person who believed that he was still alive and began searching for clues as Red Robin. He later proved instrumental in bringing Bruce home.
Possible role in Arkham City: Tim Drake would be the perfect asset for a Batman who is being hunted. As recently shown in Batman RIP, his keen wit, detective skills and more reserved nature would help to keep him alive and to avoid capture as he digs out vital information for Batman.
Essential reading: A Lonely Place of Dying, Robin: Search for a Hero, Red Robin: The Hit List
Chances of appearing: 7/10 (as Robin) 1/10 (as Red Robin)

Damian Wayne

The possibly cloned 10 year old son of Bruce Wayne and Talia Al Ghul, Damian was trained from infancy by the League of Assassins to be a killer. When we were first introduced to him he was bratty and unpredictable. He severed the head of a costumed criminal, The Spook, in an attempt to join his father’s war on crime.
Since the ‘death’ of Bruce Wayne, Damian has been working as Robin to Dick Grayson’s Batman. He has become increas ingly loyal to Dick and begun to humanise somewhat.
Possible role in Arkham City: As a highly competent fighter, Damian would be suited to the Combat Challenges. His age and short publication history however, rule him out of the running. When Arkham City was written Damian would only have been Robin for a few months, so I can’t see him as a serious contender.
Essential reading: Batman & Son, Resurrection of Ra’s Al Ghul, Batman & Robin vol 1.
Chances of appearing: 1/10

Cassandra Cain

The daughter of two of the world’s best killers, David Cain and Lady Shiva. Cain raised her with out language, only movement. She was an expert in many martial arts at an extremely young age and often watched him perform his hits. Escaping this life after her first kill, she roamed the world until she found herself in Gotham where she was taken in by Oracle and given the new name, Batgirl. She has only recently learnt how to talk, a feat that effected her combat ability as it took away from her ability to 'read' body language and predict what a person will do next.
Possible role in Arkham City: Cassandra’s forte is combat, so if we see her in the main story I would imagine it will just be a cameo. Her style fits perfectly and she is certainly dark enough. Combat Challenges? You bet.
Essential reading: Batgirl: Silent Running, Death Wish, Destruction’s Daughter
Chances of appearing: 4/10

Stephanie Brown

When Stephanie began fighting crime as the Spoiler, she had a very specific target in mind, her father The Cluemaster. With the help of Batman and Robin (Tim Drake), she put the Riddler-wanna-be away. The problem was, she was hooked. On Tim. She started using the Spoiler get up as an excuse to see him and the two began dating. Steph was later 'killed' by Black Mask.Using her death as an escape Dr. Leslie Thompkins took Steph to Africa for a year before their returrn. After Batman RIP, Cassandra Cain handed the Batgirl costume over to Steph in the hope that she would use it to mature.
Possible role in Arkham City: Comic relief.
Essential reading: Robin: Flying Solo, Batman: War Games, Batgirl: Batgirl Rising
Chances of appearing: 1/10 (as Spoiler) 1/10 (as Batgirl)

Helena Bertinelli

A daughter of the mob, Huntress began her crime-fighting career by targeting the Mafia families. Her methods were questioned by Batman, as she didn't show the same respect for life that he held. Toting hand-held crossbows, she eventually gained respect from the Dark Knight by single-handedly preventing a massacre on Christmas Day by fighting off a small army of Joker's henchmen. Helena is a core member of the Birds of Prey, a small unit run by Oracle.
Possible role in Arkham City: Huntress started off as an independant vigilante and this is the role I could see her taking in Arkham City. Someone that the Batman has no control over, doing the same job, but without the same skills, resources or morals. A dangerous combination.
Essential reading: Huntress: Year One, No Man's Land vol.1-5, Birds of Prey ongoing
Chances of appearing: 2/10

Kate Kane

Introducted during the ground breaking '52', Batwoman marked a first in the DCU. The first gay superhero. Unfortunately, this is all she was for the first two years of her exisitence. Kate is a character of contradictions. Tough socialite. Army brat heiress.
A stellar run on Detective Comics revealed more about her and set up a new ongoing series starting this year.
Possible role in Arkham City: Batwoman is a strong willed and independant woman. As such can I see her working well with Batman in the game? No.
Essential reading: 52, Detective Comics: Elegy, Batwoman ongoing
Chances of appearing: 1/10

So, who do I think that we'll see?
Honestly, I don't think that we'll see any of Batman's traditional allies. It looks like Catwoman will play that role to some extent, but with the plot reveal from the trailer (Dr. Hugo Strange sending mercenaries to hunt the Batman), I think that Rocksteady needs us to feel like we are being hounded. Batman is alone. No help is coming. Everyone is out to get him. Having allies there to back the player up is going to take away from that feeling.
If they are in there however, be it main story or simply challenge rooms/mulitplayer, my top three picks are:
1- Robin (Tim Drake)
2- Nightwing (Dick Grayson)
3- Batgirl (Cassandra Cain)

Anyway, check the trailer out on the official page (link on the right) or at the bottom of this page and prepare to be excited.

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