Batman Begins (video game)
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North American cover art
|Developer(s)||Eurocom (GC, PS2 & Xbox)
Vicarious Visions (GBA)
Batman Begins is a 2005 video game. It was released June 14, 2005, a day before the 2005 American superhero film. It was developed by Eurocom and published by Electronic Arts in conjunction with Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and DC Comics. It was released on Game Boy Advance, GameCube, PlayStation 2 and Xbox. The film's original cast provided a voice-over reprisal in the game, with the exception of Gary Oldman, who portrays James Gordon, replaced by Gavin Hammon.
The game has a unique system involving intimidation. Whereas most superhero games require straightforward fighting, Batman Begins features the utilization of the environment to frighten opponents. Certain gadgets designed to frighten enemies during combat are provided, such as smoke grenades, flash bang grenades, and an 'HF Transponder', which summons bats to gather around and incapacitate enemies with fear. On top of this is traditional stealth gameplay reminiscent of the Splinter Cell series, such as sneaking. There are many ways to incapacitate enemies with stealth, using various combat and martial arts techniques.
The game follows the movie's plot very closely, with minor modifications. Throughout the game there are over 20 clips from the film that give context to the story. Though it follows the movie, the game goes deeper into each scene. For example, at the docks, the player learns specifically how Falcone was hoisted on a crane and how Batman infiltrated Arkham Asylum. It also presents a slightly alternate ending; Batman is forced to detonate the Batmobile in order to destroy the monorail tracks and stop Ra's Al Ghul from reaching Wayne Tower with the Microwave Emitter, whereas in the film, Sergeant Gordon uses the Batmobile's missiles to destroy the tracks. Two members of the film's crew make cameo appearances in the game; Wally Pfister, the film's director of photography, appears as a mob informant Batman interrogates, and Emma Thomas, producer of the film, appears as an Arkham psychologist. The only scene in the game that is not taken from the film is a second car chase with the Tumbler in which Batman attempts and fails to stop the theft of the microwave emitter that Ra's Al Ghul will use in his attack on Gotham.
- Bruce Wayne/Batman (voiced by Christian Bale): A multi-billionaire industrialist, playboy, and philanthropist. When he was younger, he witnessed the murder of his parents in front of him, which gave him the resolve to train his body and mind. This gave him the skill to become the Batman.
- Alfred Pennyworth (voiced by Michael Caine): Batman's tireless butler, assistant, confidante, and surrogate father figure. In the game, he is Batman's link to extraneous information and aids him whenever he can. This was Caine's first experience working on a video game, but he remarked that the voice work was "remarkably simple".
- Henri Ducard/Ra's al Ghul (voiced by Liam Neeson): The leader of the League of Shadows and the man who trained Bruce in the art of invisibility, Ra's returns to Gotham at the game's climax to purge the city that Bruce Wayne swore to protect.
- Rachel Dawes (voiced by Katie Holmes) : Bruce's childhood friend, Rachel helps reveal Jonathan Crane as a demented psychopath.
- Carmine Falcone (voiced by Tom Wilkinson): Gotham City's "untouchable" crime lord is the Batman's first target in his war on crime.
- Jonathan Crane/Scarecrow (voiced by Cillian Murphy): Moonlighting as a psychiatric specialist, Crane is in fact testing his unique fear toxin on the inmates of Arkham Asylum.
- Lucius Fox (voiced by Morgan Freeman): A Wayne Enterprises worker in the Applied Sciences division, Fox helps Bruce gather the equipment and weapons he will need to wage his war on crime.
- Ra's al Ghul (Impersonator) (voiced by Ken Watanabe): Ra's al Ghul's phantom decoy.
- Victor Zsasz (voiced by Tim Booth): A sadistic serial killer loose in Arkham Asylum, Batman must stop him before he carves another kill into his skin.
- Det. Arnold Flass (voiced by Mark Boone Junior): A corrupt Gotham cop, Flass is on the take and in the sights of the Dark Knight.
- Lt. James Gordon (voiced by Gavin Hammon): One of the few uncorrupted Gotham City police officers, he becomes an ally of Batman.
Reviews of the game found it generally average. GameRankings gave it a score of 62.14% for the Game Boy Advance version, 66.74% for the GameCube version, 65.63% for the PlayStation 2 version, and 67.20% for the Xbox version. Likewise, Metacritic gave it a score of 61 out of 100 for the GBA version, 66 out of 100 for the GameCube version, 64 out of 100 for the PS2 version, and 65 out of 100 for the Xbox version.
Many criticized the linear gameplay and the unrealistic artificial intelligence. Nintendo Power gave the GameCube version a 6.5 out of 10, and the Game Boy Advance version a 5.5 out of 10. GameSpot mentioned that it felt like a combination of several other popular games. Empire was very enthusiastic about the game, giving it four stars out of five and saying that the style "puts Metal Gear Solid to shame."  It received G4's award for 'Best Graphics on PS2 and Xbox'.
On July 17, 2008, actor Gary Oldman unoficially announced during an interview with G4's Kristin Adams that a video game sequel of the Batman Begins video game based on the second film of the franchise was in development. In his interview on GameTrailers, Oldman said he knew an awful lot of effort had gone into getting Batman's gliding abilities to feel suitably smooth and fluid for The Dark Knight game. Oldman, who reprised his role as Lt. Jim Gordon, did not name a developer in the interview but anonymous sources reported that The Dark Knight was a secret project of Pandemic Studios and EA. However, the project was finally cancelled and Pandemic Brisbane was shut down.
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