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Batman Begins
game: Batman Begins
posted by: George Holomshek
publisher: EA Games
developer: Eurocom
ESRB rating: T (Teen)
date posted: 12:00 AM Mon May 9th, 2005
last revision: 12:00 AM Mon May 9th, 2005

Click to read.Attempting the impossible is nothing new for mankind.  Everything from the secrets of time travel to the nerd's perfect technique to woo a supermodel has been schemed upon and attempted, more often than not resulting in failure and sometimes a restraining order.  Nevertheless, people just can't take a hint and they keep on trying.  One of the latest entrants in the battle to beat towering odds is Eurocom with their attempt to create a good Batman game; not just any game, but a videogame based on a movie.  And let's face it; the Dark Knight has had a rough career on the big screen, especially lately.  But with the latest feature film, Batman Begins, being put into more - shall we say - capable hands and showcasing the greatly desired darker? side of the story, the game should have a good base to stand on.  This, along with Eurocom's new vision for Batman games, may finally give fans something to cheer about.

Those of you who know the Splinter Cell series will find many things in this game very familiar, starting with the gameplay itself.  Instead of the usual run around and beat the living daylights out of people? style of play, Batman will spend the majority of his time sneaking around and waiting for that perfect moment to strike.  The stealth, however, isn't exactly the way it is in the Splinter Cell games.  Instead of directly using the dark, enemies have vision cones? so you can see exactly where they are looking.  This allows for far greater freedom of movement than Sam Fisher could ever hope for.  Other attributes Batsy shares with Ubisoft's ninja/spy are moves like climbing poles, shimmying ledges, as well as the ability to use an optic cable to see under doors.

But don't go jumping the gun thinking that this is Splinter Cell 4 only with Sam Fisher in a bat suit.  A very intriguing new mechanic Eurocom is trying is a new fear system."  Easily the most intriguing aspect of the game, the system allows you to target enemies and see their heart rate and also whether or not they are armed.  You are also able to see overall fear level of the area which affects all enemies.  Fear is actually one of your biggest weapons.  The more fear you are able to instill in your opponent the less effective they are in combat, and you can even make some so scared that they will run away and find a corner to hide in.  There are several things you can do to create fear, including fancy fighting moves and environmental tools.  Think of how the guards will feel when all the lights go out and then they hear a muffled scream.  Yea, that's about the gist of the system.  Another effect of making people so scared they crap themselves is that your reputation gradually increases over the course of the game. As you gain reputation it becomes easier to put baddies on edge and take care of them.  Recall that Batman is new to Gotham, and isn't initially taken seriously.  But, the higher your reputation gets, things go from, Look at the guy in the rubber suit,? to, Oh God.  We're so screwed."

Movie based video games tend to fail for one simple reason; the game tries to recreate the movie scene for scene.  Well, it finally looks as though some people have wised up.  Eurocom has recruited the writer of both Splinter Cell and Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow, JT Petty, to rewrite the Batman Begins story to better fit a game.  Thus, instead of recreating the movie, the game takes the main points of the movie and expands on them.  This rewriting also means that there are no filler supervillains to bloat the game.  That's right, no mysterious ties to Poison Ivy or the Joker, just the Scarecrow and his network of evil.  While they want this game to be its own adventure, they still want it to have very direct ties to the movie.  Eurocom accomplished this by getting their hands on the actors themselves to provide the voices of their in-game counterparts.

Though it's too early to tell if the fear system will actually live up to its potential, from the looks of things the game is definitely headed in the right direction.  The movie may have some scars to heal, but the game has an even steeper mountain to climb.  They have the talent and the resources, now all we have to do is wait and see if Eurocom and EA can pull this one off.  Batman fans, June 15th might just be the day you have been waiting for for a long time.

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