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  The Dark Knight Returns
On 12/16/02 by Tommy 'Maelstrom' Casanova

The history of Batman in video games has been a long and colorful one. The first Batman games came in the early 90s and were based upon the Tim Burton films of the same name. These were extremely good games for their time and got extremely good reviews. All in all, splendid games for Batman fans and solid action games for anyone else. This all came crashing down in 1995, when the video game tie-in to Batman Forever was released.

This legacy of stinkers basically continued with a handful of crappy games. That is, until last year, when Batman: Vengeance was released for PS2. Vengeance was based on Batman: The Animated Series, which was shown on Fox/WB all throughout the 90s. While it didn�t get great reviews, it sure as hell didn�t get bad ones either. It was a 3D Arcade style �beat-em-up� type of game with a few puzzles and minigames thrown in there.

In January of next year, Batman will again make an appearance on Gamecube, PS2, and Xbox. Batman: Dark Tomorrow has been in the works at Kemco for the past several years now. Unlike most previous Batman games, this one will be based upon Batman�s comic book incarnation. This means that we will see a darker, more violent, and ultimately smarter Batman.

As gangs in Gotham City continue to fight for land, the city gets worse. Crime is everywhere and even Batman is having trouble containing it. Finally, Batman�s best friend and ally, Police Commissioner Gordon, is kidnapped. The Caped Crusader learns that Gordon is being held at quite possibly the worst place in the city - Arkham Asylum. To make things worse, the asylum has been barred shut from inside which could mean only one thing�the patients are in control. It�s up to Batman to save the day from here on out. Throughout the course of the game you will meet a more than generous portion of the Rogue�s Gallery including some well known ones like Killer Croc, Poison Ivy, Mr. Freeze, and of course, the Joker. The game will also feature many dramatic locations such as the Batcave, the Docks, Gotham Square, streets and alleys, and Arkham Asylum. There are no reports on who will be supplying voices for the game�s characters, but the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra under the conduction of Tot Taylor are conducting the music for the game. The game�s plot is based on a story written by Batman writer Scott Peterson and Final Fantasy�s Kenji Terada.

Dark Tomorrow will have a unique system of hand-to-hand combat that you will use throughout the game. But you won�t need to depend on just your fists. All of Batman�s trademark cool gadgets will be available to you. This includes Batarangs, Batcuffs, and Batgrapples. From pictures released, it also looks like you will be able to soar over Gotham in Batman�s very own hang-glider. But brute strength and gadgets aren�t the only thing Batman will need to progress through the adventure. Dark Tomorrow also features a stealth system similar to that of Metal Gear Solid 2. Batman will be able to sneak around corners, detect enemies with radar, and even be very quiet as he moves around.

The game�s visual style looks quite different from last year�s Batman: Vengeance. It is shaping up to be, well�gothic. Most of the environments that have been seen in pictures released so far look very dark, desolate, and gritty. It looks like Gotham City really is. Everywhere you look seems like the perfect place for some kind of crime to be committed. Batman himself looks very badass. The thing that you may find most impressive is the Dark Knight�s cape. It�s own A.I. allows it to flow beautifully with the Gotham wind.

So overall, Batman: Dark Tomorrow is shaping up to be a really promising game. Maybe Kemco will pull it off and we�ll have a good superhero game. It is due in Q1 of 2003 for Gamecube, Playstation2, and Xbox.

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