Batman: Dark Tomorrow
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|Batman: Dark Tomorrow|
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Batman: Dark Tomorrow is an action-adventure video game developed by HotGen and published by Kemco for the Nintendo GameCube and Microsoft Xbox consoles. The Xbox version is not compatible with the Xbox 360. It is based on the DC Comics character Batman and his iteration from the DC Universe source material. Many precedents of the comics are cited, especially as it pertains to Ra's al Ghul, and Batman's "undefined" relationship with al Ghul's daughter, Talia al Ghul.
Initially announced in 2001 as a GameCube exclusive, Batman: Dark Tomorrow was envisioned as being an open-ended, faithful, and realistic approach to the Batman franchise, in a similar vein to the Batman: Arkham series years later. However, as development progressed, the game was scaled back and slated for release on multiple consoles. The game was a critical failure upon release, being criticized for its poor controls and camera.
Batman: Dark Tomorrow is a linear, stealth-based action game in which players control Batman as he fights crime. Batman is equipped with several of his tools, such as Batarangs, smoke bombs, and grappling hooks. Levels each have certain objectives that players must achieve in order to proceed, while criminals and enemies will attempt to stop your progress. While enemies can be knocked unconscious, they cannot be killed (due to Batman's "no killing" code); this requires the player to handcuff the criminal in order to keep them from attacking. There are several parts in levels in which the game saves; if the player dies, it will reload to the last save. Members of Batman's supporting cast of allies also appear in the cinematics of the game, including Oracle, Robin, and Batgirl. Nightwing does not appear, but is mentioned in dialogue as possible backup leading into the game's climax.
The game features various endings depending on how the last few sections of the game are played. To get the "good" ending, Batman must disarm a signal device before facing Ra's. This is never revealed to the player however, and the most common ending consists of defeating Ra's who then sets off the bombs he has set up around the globe, ultimately resulting in his success. This initially caused confusion among gamers and critics as to why "beating" the game essentially had the death of 1/3 of the population.
Ra's al Ghul (Don Leslie), his daughter Talia (Cynthia Farrell), and his League of Assassins take control of a weaponized satellite that is targeting Gotham City. Trying to end a gang war between Scarface & the Ventriloquist and Black Mask, Batman (voiced by Julian Fletcher), discovers that Commissioner James Gordon has been kidnapped, and is being held at an overrun Arkham Asylum. Racing through Gotham City's sewers in order to enter the Asylum undetected, Batman has to fight through enemies ranging from Zsasz to the Ratcatcher before finally encountering the man holding Gordon: the Joker. Discovering that Gordon's kidnapping was in fact a distraction to keep the Dark Knight away from the world stage, Ra's al Ghul reveals that his new plan to take over the world is nearly complete.
Traveling to the Himalayas, Batman makes his way to the Demon's Head's stronghold in order to stop his latest plan for world domination. Talia turns off the monitors around the castle, helping Batman navigate through the castle. Ra's learns of his daughter's impending betrayal and takes her with him. Batman finds a terminal and overrides the homing signal, before he does battle with Ubu, Ra's most trusted servant. After a long struggle, Batman beats Ubu and enters the throne room, confronting Ra's and Talia. Ra's reveals his master plan: 24 bombs have been planted throughout the world; once activated, the explosions will cause the ice caps to enter the oceans, forming tsunamis and hurricanes throughout the coastlines. Every coastal city in the world would be flooded and one-third of the world's general population will die instantly. The world would be then reborn in Ra's image. Ra's asks Batman to marry Talia and become his heir. Talia tells to batman, by crossing her arms and pointing to her navel, that he must planting his seed in her, to beget a heir to the empire of her father. Batman declines, much to Talia's disappointment. Ra's and Batman do a final battle in a sword fight, with Batman emerging victorious. A defeated Ra's attempts to activate the bombs, but they are disabled due to Batman's tampering with the weapon. Ubu, having recovered, throws a sword and tries to kill Batman; Talia warns Batman and thus, Ubu unintentionally kills Ra's, having meant to kill Batman. Talia and Ubu take Ra's lifeless body to the Lazarus Pit just as the temple self-destructs, and Ra's returns to life. Batman escapes and returns to Gotham. Batman looks out over the city when the Bat-Signal ignites the sky once more, calling him back into action.
Several alternate endings are possible. (These endings were more common with gamers, as they would have never received an indication to disable a homing signal before the final fight with Ra's al Ghul, making this small, but major objective easily missable.) Ra's would mortally wound Batman in the sword fight, and as he lies dying in Talia's arms, Ra's floods the world. If Batman lost the fight but disabled the signal, it is only temporarily, and the world is flooded anyway. Alternatively, if Batman defeats Ra's, Ra's activates the bombs and the world floods as Batman watches in horror.
Dark Tomorrow was presented at E3 2001 as an exclusive to the Nintendo GameCube console. It was originally conceived as an open world oriented adaptation of the comic book iteration of Batman. Similar to Activision's Spider-Man 2, players would control Batman as he traveled around Gotham City, with the ability to patrol Gotham in the Batmobile, Batplane, and Batboat. Character A.I. and combat was very ambitious in order to allow an in-depth open world Batman experience. However, the game was later revealed to be in the works for both the Xbox and PlayStation 2 consoles, and was reworked into a more linear and stealth-based game.
Veteran DC Comics and former Batman: Gotham Adventures writer Scott Peterson (who also wrote the previous year's Superman: The Man of Steel video game) and Final Fantasy's Kenji Terada created the story for Dark Tomorrow, while the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra performed the game's orchestrated score. The game had a total development span of four years before ultimately being released on the GameCube and Xbox early 2003. The PlayStation 2 version was eventually cancelled.
Batman: Dark Tomorrow gained infamy for receiving negative reviews on both platforms according to video game review aggregator Metacritic. Primary criticism of the game was directed at its control scheme, repetitive missions, and its camera, which was described as frustrating. Game Informer gave the GameCube version 0.75 out of 10 for gameplay that is "incomprehensible and littered with bugs". IGN was severely disappointed with the same console version, saying that "The Dark Knight gets his wings clipped in his latest adventure."
Although the gameplay was widely criticized, Peterson and Terada's story, as well as the in-game cinematics, were praised. IGN noted, "Positive marks earned here for sticking to the DC-based Batman license and faithfully bringing it to life. The cut-scenes are arguably the best part of the game." The ending, however, was met with criticism as there is no in-game direction to the "good ending".
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