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Batman: Arkham Asylum is a 2009 action-adventure video game based on the DC Comics superhero, Batman. It was developed by Rocksteady Studios and published by Eidos Interactive in conjunction with Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 video game consoles, and Microsoft Windows. It was released worldwide for consoles, beginning in North America on August 25, 2009, with a Microsoft Windows version following on September 15.
Written by veteran Batman writer Paul Dini, Arkham Asylum is based on the long-running comic book mythos. In the game's main storyline, Batman's archenemy, the Joker, instigates an elaborate plot to seize control of Arkham Asylum and trap Batman inside with many of his incarcerated foes. With Joker threatening to detonate hidden bombs around fictional Gotham City, Batman is forced to fight his way through the asylum's inmates and put an end to the Joker's plans. Most of the game's leading characters are voiced by actors who have appeared in other media based on the DC Animated Universe; Kevin Conroy, Mark Hamill, and Arleen Sorkin reprised their roles as Batman, the Joker, and his sidekick Harley Quinn respectively. The game is presented from the third-person perspective with a primary focus on Batman's combat and stealth abilities, detective skills, and gadgets that can be used in combat and exploration.
The game received critical acclaim—particularly for its narrative—and won several awards, including Best Action Adventure game, Best Game, and Game of the Year from different media outlets. It held the Guinness World Record for "Most Critically Acclaimed Superhero Game Ever". A Game of the Year edition was released on March 26, 2010, and an OS X version was released in November 2011. Arkham Asylum's success launched a series of Batman: Arkham sequels, beginning in November 2011 with Batman: Arkham City.
Arkham Asylum is set in the fictional Arkham Asylum, a facility on Arkham Island off the coast of Gotham City that houses criminally insane supervillains. The game features a large ensemble of characters from the history of Batman comics. Three voice actors, who worked on the DC Animated Universe series of film and television, reprised their roles for the game. Kevin Conroy voices Batman—a superhero trained to the peak of human physical perfection and an expert in martial arts, Mark Hamill voices Batman's psychopathic nemesis the Joker, and the Joker's sidekick Harley Quinn is voiced by Arleen Sorkin.Batman is aided by his allies Oracle (Kimberly Brooks)—who remotely provides him with intelligence, and police commissioner James Gordon (Tom Kane).
In the asylum, Batman is faced with several supervillains; he must defend himself from an enraged Bane (Fred Tatasciore), subdue indiscriminate serial killer Victor Zsasz (Danny Jacobs), confront the monstrous Killer Croc (Steven Blum), defeat the plant-controlling Poison Ivy (Tasia Valenza),and battle his way through hallucinogen-induced nightmares created by the Scarecrow (Dino Andrade). The Riddler (Wally Wingert) does not physically appear in the game, but communicates with Batman and challenges him to solve riddles placed around the island. Other characters appearing in the game include the asylum's warden Quincy Sharp (also voiced by Kane), Batman's parents Thomas and Martha Wayne (voiced by Conroy and Valenza respectively), and asylum guard Aaron Cash (Duane R Shepard, Sr). The shape-shifting Clayface appears in cameo, taking on the guise of other characters as he tries to trick the player into releasing him. The Mad Hatter was almost included in the game, but the developers removed him. The body of Ra's al Ghul is in the asylum's morgue and the Ventriloquist's dummy Scarface appears several times in the story. Several other characters—including the Penguin, Jack Ryder, Mr. Freeze, Two-Face, Catwoman, and the asylum's founder Amadeus Arkham—are referenced in the game, but do not appear in it.