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|Publisher(s)||Ubi Soft Entertainment|
|Distributor(s)||Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
|Release date(s)||PlayStation 2 & Game Boy Advance
Batman: Vengeance is a 2001 video game that was released on all major platforms of the sixth generation of console games. It was developed and published by Ubisoft in conjunction with Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and DC Comics. It is based on the television series The New Batman Adventures (the successor to Batman: The Animated Series).
Based on most of the game's character designs and appearances, Batman Vengeance would seem to take place after the conclusion of Batman: The Animated Series, but before the start of The New Batman Adventures. Plot points that support this include Mr. Freeze still posing as a threat (as his appearance in The New Batman Adventures episode "Cold Comfort" was the last time he was seen prior to Batman Beyond), as well as the fact that Batgirl is the Dark Knight's only active sidekick in the game.
Batman by this point is well established as the guardian of Gotham City, with the game sharing the voice cast, production design, and continuity of the DC animated universe. During the course of the game, Batman is monitored and assisted by Batgirl in the Batcave.
After saving the life of a woman named Mary Flynn from an apparent attempted murder at the hands of the Joker at Gotham Chemical, which resulted in the complex blowing up due to a ticking time bomb left next to a tied up Mary by the Joker, Batman investigates what possible interest his nemesis would have in the woman. He learns that Joker had abducted her son, Toby, and is holding him for a $5 million ransom and will kill both Mary and her son if she does not pay up soon, implying that Mary has high financial access. After Mary is abducted by Joker's gang for the second time, Batman traces her location with a tracker he gave to her to a partially demolished Gotham bridge where he comes face-to-face with Joker once more. As Joker seems to throw Mary's son off the remains of the bridge, Batman saves the boy before it's revealed to be a dummy, and Mary reveals herself to be the Joker's companion Harley Quinn; the abduction was merely a farce to lure Batman into a trap. Batman then engages the Joker and defeats him, but in the fray, he falls off the bridge to his apparent death. He lets a distraught Harley go and monitors her activities, knowing that the Joker is most likely not dead and Harley could be his only opportunity to learn more of the Clown Prince of Crime's true plans, making her a more valuable asset on the outside than she would be incarcerated.
As Batman continues to keep tabs over Harley, he is alerted to a crisis at a pharmaceutical company, Gotham Industrial, which is under attack by Mr. Freeze, who is angrily searching the complex for a scientist named Isaac Evers, whom he believes sent him a promotional video for a drug developed by Evers, known as Promethium, for treating conditions on the cryogenically frozen. Freeze had apparently used the drug on himself and his wife, Nora, but to no avail, infuriating Freeze with the implication that Evers had sent him the tape to taunt him. After finding Evers, Freeze abducts him and escapes the complex in a helicopter. Batman gives chase in the Batplane and eventually rescues Evers, who explains his work and what Freeze was after. Batman tells Evers to go into hiding, and later returns to Gotham Industrial to learn more about Evers, eventually learning that the scientist had his funding pulled due to Promethium being far too unstable as it contains several flammable particles. Evers was able to successfully continue in his research after receiving funding from the Joker, implying Joker had plans of his own for the drug. Freeze and his gang then attack the facility again to find Isaac, destroying most of Isaac's lab in the process, but are eventually stopped by Batman with Freeze encased in ice from his own freeze gun. Meanwhile, Batgirl traces the transmitter that was previously given to Harley Quinn by Batman when he believed her to be Mary Flynn and finds it on Gotham's Mayor, Hamilton Hill, who is seen making a deal with a mysterious large man in a trench coat. Batgirl tracks the man to a metro train, but is discovered and attacked as Batman races to assist. As Batman reaches Batgirl and her attacker, the man jumps off the train and tears away in a stolen car. Batman and Batgirl pursue their suspect in the Batmobile, and causes it to crash off a highway outside the city. Batman investigates the wreckage, and discovers the man got away, and finds only an apple in the car.
Back at the Batcave, Batgirl examines the apple found at the crash and discovers a live plant inside, coming to the conclusion that Ivy had implanted such a creature inside the Mayor and is blackmailing him for money and power. Batman's investigations lead him back to Gotham Chemical, where he confronts the trench-coated thug who is revealed to be a plant creature created by Poison Ivy. It is revealed that, earlier during the night, an unseen individual had left Poison Ivy a mysterious substance that was previously manufactured at Gotham Chemical prior to its destruction at Joker's hands. Upon further examination of the chemical, Ivy discovered unique particles that, when exposed to any type of plant life, transforms plants into vicious and truly sentient beings. Using this to her advantage, Ivy manipulatively plants several of her upgraded plant creatures inside powerful politicians and businessman through apples and other foods, blackmailing them for money, power, and even environmental donations. Knowing the origin of the chemical, Ivy has her plants rebuild Gotham Chemical in an effort to produce more of the chemical and creates an antidote to the condition the mayor and the others have to use as collateral to ensure that they follow through on their deals. Harley had placed the transmitter on Mayor Hill, when he was receiving some of the plant food that would temporarily keep the plant at bay, in an effort to alert Batman towards Ivy's activities and ultimately stop her from going too far in her schemes after she came to her for assistance with Gotham Chemical.
After Batman defeats Poison Ivy by electrocuting all of her plants, obtaining the cure, and saving Mayor Hill and the others, he heads to Funnibones Warehouse after witnessing Joker's men hijack a blimp from the Gotham Air Strip to collect from Harley for letting her walk the night the Joker was apparently killed. She informs him of activity needing his attention at the Gotham Gasworks, and, upon his arrival, he opens the gates to the sprinkler system and floods the complex's pipes in order to stop the Joker's men from unleashing some of the late clown's flammable toys. After disarming the last of Joker's men, Batman finds a tied up Isaac Evers, the apparent mastermind behind the Gasworks plot, who claims he only wanted to burn down Gotham Industrial in order to collect on the insurance money, as he couldn't collect on the damage left by Freeze without revealing his financial backers, particularly the Joker. With Joker having funded the research, Evers would be arrested for criminal facilitation and conspiracy if he revealed his affiliation with the notorious criminal and resorted to hiring the Joker's men and using his equipment to burn down his business and to throw the cops off his trail, but the gang eventually turned on him, tied him up, and embarked on their own agenda of sending the toys throughout the city. Batman takes Evers outside, but is forced to go undercover after being framed for throwing a Batarang at Commissioner Gordon, which led to a SWAT chase around Gotham City.
Now hunted by the police, Batman must discover who is behind the frame up and how everything that has occurred since Joker's disappearance factor in together. He ultimately heads back to Funnibones Warehouse disguised for more information, only to discover the knife that the Joker was holding the night he fell from the bridge; the Joker is not dead after all. Joker reveals that he was behind the entire crime wave that occurred after faking his death by subtly manipulating the other villains and using Isaac Evers' research, having worked with the scientist and funded all his experiments and operations through his ill conceived fortune, to produce large quantities of the highly flammable Promethium. Weeks earlier, Joker had arranged the fake kidnapping scheme to fake his own death in order to reside in the shadows and out of the police and Batman's scope while he manipulated the other villains; he sent Mr. Freeze the promotional tape on Promethium to provoke him into attacking Isaac's lair so his men could convince Evers to hire their services in an insurance scam with the use of Gotham Gasworks, provided Poison Ivy with the plant enhancement chemical and used her schemes to rebuild Gotham Chemical to mass-produce his own signature Joker toxin in a quiet fashion without Batman suspecting his true plans, and finally used Harley to relay false information to Batman to send him deeper into his plot at the Gasworks and ultimately frame him for attacking Commissioner Gordon. Using Evers as a scapegoat for the Gasworks scheme, Joker reveals that he used Batman to open up the pipes to the sprinkler system, which Joker then plans to use to pump in his Joker toxin, mixed with Evers' drug, all over the city through a feed tube connected to the previously stolen blimp, now filled with the deadly compound, and burn the city to the ground while its citizen choke to death on their own laughter. The motive of the entire scheme is that Gotham would be completely destroyed with the punchline being that Batman had been unknowingly aiding in the scheme due to Joker's manipulation. Joker then prepares to escape in the blimp and watch Gotham from above become engulf in flames and toxin, leaving groups of his men, armed with explosives and flamethrowers, to slow the hero down. Despite this, Batman manages to shut down the gas flow and defeat all of Joker's thugs in time to get on the Joker's blimp. Despite having stopped the flow of Promethium and Joker toxin into the sprinkler system, Joker plans to use the remaining compound stored in the blimp to destroy Gotham by setting the blimp on a collision course with City Hall to release it all into the air. After a brief fight with the Joker, Batman knocks the villain out, deteriorates the gas, and disables the auto-pilot. Deciding to play one last, twisted joke on Batman once he realizes his plans have failed, Joker jumps from the blimp to entice Batman to save him and have a final showdown with the hero while plummeting down to Gotham. Batman manages to both defeat and save the Joker and destroys the blimp, finally taking his archenemy back to Arkham Asylum.
Commissioner Gordon calls Batman to apologize for the earlier SWAT chase as they found Harley's fingerprints on the Batarang that hit him. As Mr. Freeze, Poison Ivy, Harley and the Joker sit in Arkham Asylum, Batman looks out over the city as the Bat-Signal ignites on him.
Vengeance took environmental and character designs from The New Batman Adventures, and starred most of the main voice cast from both it and its predecessor, Batman: The Animated Series. The cast includes Kevin Conroy as Batman, Mark Hamill as the Joker, Tara Strong as Batgirl, Diane Pershing as Poison Ivy, Michael Ansara as Mr. Freeze, Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. as Alfred Pennyworth, Arleen Sorkin as Harley Quinn, Bob Hastings as Commissioner Gordon, and the late Lloyd Bochner as Mayor Hill.
Batman Vengeance received average reviews from critics and fans alike. The game's praise mainly went towards the voice acting, story, and cinematic cutscenes. There was criticism for the first person mode, which limited the player's abilities. The PC version drew a lot of mixed or negative reviews due to complex and sometimes confusing controls.
In 2003, a sequel titled Batman: Rise of Sin Tzu was released to similar reviews.
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