Batman: Dark Tomorrow
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|Batman: Dark Tomorrow|
|Series||Batman video games|
Batman: Dark Tomorrow is an action-adventure video game developed by HotGen and published by Kemco for the Nintendo GameCube and Microsoft Xbox consoles. It is based on the DC Comics' character Batman and his iteration from the DC Universe source material.
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. 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.
While Batman is trying to stop a gang war between Scarface and the Ventriloquist and Black Mask being waged on Gotham City's streets, Commissioner James Gordon has been kidnapped, and is being held hostage at an overrun Arkham Asylum. Racing through the city's sewers in order to enter the Asylum undetected, Batman has to fight through a gauntlet of enemies ranging from Poison Ivy to Mr. Freeze before finally encountering the man holding Gordon, the Joker.
Batman soon discovers that Gordon's kidnapping was in fact orchestrated by Ra's al Ghul as a distraction from his latest plan to take over the world. Batman travels to the villain's stronghold in the Himalayas in order to stop him. The game's ending features a branching storyline: in order to get the most complete ending, Batman must disarm a signal device before facing off against Ra's. However, the player is never given any indication that the device even exists, making the small objective easily missable. Failing to disarm the device will result in Ra's killing Batman and succeeding in taking over the world.
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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