It's a Fight: Captain America vs. Batman: Arkham Asylum
You might remember a little book series from the 90s called Marvel vs. DC. It had some cool fights, like when Thor beat up Captain Marvel, but what people wanted the most was the fight between Captain America and Batman. In the story, Cap lost on a technicality, which was lame. You see, readers voted on who they wanted to see win, which made the entire fight a huge cop out by the company. I'm not saying that Cap would wipe the floor with Batman, but Cap would totally wipe the floor with Batman. I'll personally wipe the floor with anyone who thinks otherwise... I'm serious, I live at 123456 Wipe The Floor With You Street, Anywhere in the US!
All kidding aside, I promise not to let my bias affect the outcome of this comparison in terms of video games. Batman: Arkham Asylum hit the scene a few years ago to much fanfare. It was a great time for ol' Bruce Wayne, a brand new movie, a kick ass game, and… wait a minute, in the comics he was totally dead! On the other hand, Captain America had seen a complete resurgence in the comics thanks to the sweet writing of Mr. Ed Brubaker, he had a hit movie in the works, and he too was… totally dead. Now both are back in the fold, since pesky death means nothing in comics, and now both Cap and Batman have great games on the market. Let's compare both Batman: Arkham Asylum and Captain America: Super Soldier and their compelling similarities.
Captain America: Super Soldier
Based loosely on the film, Super Soldier is a sweet little title. It seems that Marvel has done a decent job with their movie tie-in games for the most part. What made Cap really good was the fact that the developers paid a lot of attention to what the competition was doing. Borrowing heavily from the game we're comparing made for a great game set in World War II. The controls leave little to be desired, and it allowed for a welcome departure from the standard button-mashing that has plagued beat 'em ups for years. The story took more into account the rich history of Captain America than the movie did and with that added a wrinkle to the action that kept you playing. There were several unlockable features that also added to the game's replay value. The biggest thing that Captain America: Super Soldier accomplished was a fearless desire to go with what worked, even if it meant borrowing from another game.
Batman: Arkham Asylum
Arkham Asylum is a slick game that plays in two playgrounds - the Batman: The Animated Series universe, and the classic Batman comic book universe. Most of the voice acting comes from the series, especially the Joker, Harly Quinn, and Batman himself. This turned an already good game into great in some respects. Cap took what Asylum was doing, but you can't beat the original. The combat in Arkham Asylum is first rate and truly groundbreaking. It was no wonder that Super Soldier used it. After Asylum, anything else would be subpar and almost unplayable. It's only fitting, considering that when they created Batman they broke the mold and developed a timeless character. The attention to detail in Batman: Arkham Asylum is jaw-dropping, as several classic villains make an appearance in the very original story. The graphics still hold up even on the eve of a sequel to one of the best action games of all time. That's not including a stealth factor that would make Solid Snake jealous. In terms of comparison, it's hard to go against the originator.
Captain America: Super Soldier
The graphics let me down when it came to Cap. Everything was drab and dreary, which I have to assume was done in order to make the game feel vintage WWII. Unfortunately, this made the game feel incomplete on a certain level. Also, the amount of enemy types seemed a little thin, but that's understandable to a certain degree. The fact that it's Captain America was what made me keep playing despite this. The "platforming" was strange in the sense that I couldn't fail; I only sacrificed points and risked missing out on an achievement. I sort of appreciated the fact that I wasn't falling off of things on my way to the next mission, but in the end the whole process should have been omitted.
Batman: Arkham Asylum
The thing that bugged me about the Batman: Arkham Asylum game was that it took place in an asylum, which meant that I spent an inordinate amount of time in the same locations, like Resident Evil before it. After a while, running through the same hallway began to wear on me. The character development and role play elements have always been misplaced in super hero games, considering that they are supposed to be skillful, established, iconic characters. Too many of the modes had an adverse effect on the beauty of the game, which was disappointing.
So it's round three, and Cap is in his corner, sucking down some water while Sharon Carter gives him words of encouragement. Batman eyes him from across the ring with this decade's Robin in his ear. The fact that Batman broke the mold with his game weighs heavily in Cap's mind. Cap hopes that the fact that his game takes you more places and in wide open day time areas will mean the difference. The bell rings and both combatants get back into the octagon.
In the end, Batman: Arkham Asylum is simply a better game. Super Soldier borrows all the right things from Batman, but it doesn't necessarily improve over any of those things. The good news for gamers is that Super Soldier isn't a cheap knock off of Arkham Asylum, and that both games bring a lot to the table. If you can, I would strongly suggest getting both games and enjoying them equally.
|Dante' R. Maddox
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