The moment Chris O'Donnell uttered the immortally crap line "Holy rusted metal, Batman", the Dark Knight franchise came to a clattering halt. The last film has been voted one of the worst films ever made, and the drip-feed of Batman garbage we've had to endure on Xbox ever since should have seen the developers banged up in Arkham. But all that's about to change.
Batman Begins will return the Dark Avenger to his dark roots and is going to be far more than just a simple conversion for the masses. Set over 14 areas of Gotham City, the game sees Bruce Wayne adopt a vast range of methods for trapping and dealing with the city's crims. For the first time we'll actually be able to soar across rooftops, and use the grappling hook gun to ascend the sides of buildings and lurk in the shadows. It'll make Sam Fisher look as athletic as Marjorie Dawes. Once Batman has reached his lofty perch, he'll be able to slowly descend on the grappling wire until he's directly behind his prey. With a swoop, the enemy will be off his feet and screaming into the shadows above while you go about wringing his neck or whispering things like "I'm your worst nightmare" in his ear. While it's going to be great fun dealing out justice, it's also going to be important to instil an element of fear in the bad guys. If we nail someone, they'll try and crawl away, while Batman will be skulking towards the crim and intimidating them.
"Batman will travel the world seeking the means to fight injustice and turn fear against those who prey on the fearful," Jason Hall, senior vice president of Warner Bros Interactive Entertainment tells us. "Batman is about being rich with style, drama and action. These elements will help define this game and plunge players into the heart of the experience." As well as 'kapowing' and 'gazzocking' enemies, we're going to have to think and plan our moves. "This time it's his intellect as well as strength and weaponry that will fight the sinister forces," Hall says, but you can bet there's still a lot of action too. Bat may now have brains, but he's lost none of his slightly psychotic brawling ability.
As well as his fists, we'll be able to make full use of Batman's utility belt. Gone are the camp Adam West sleepy-dust capsules; in their place are adrenal boosters that will enable Batman to avoid attacks and dodge bullets. We'll also be able to Batcuff villains then pummel the life out of them, and use the invaluable Batarang. The faithful Batmobile will be making an appearance too.
News about the appearance of the Scarecrow and Ra's Al-Ghul have yet to be confirmed, but with Eurocom so eager to make the game a faithful reproduction of Chris Nolan's film, we fully expect to see them up to no good in Gotham. With a rusty, gloomy city just waiting to be saved by Sam Fisher with wings, enjoy this feast of screens and start the countdown: Batman returns!