Friday, July 15, 2011

Arkham Asylum's Most Memorable Moment

The hellish hallucinations induced by Scarecrow’s toxins make for some of Arkham Asylum's most memorable moments.

At first, bewilderment – it’s raining inside Arkham Mansion. The decadent splendour of your surroundings melts away into the filthy back alleys of Gotham City. Disembodied voices beg for mercy. The unmistakable crack of two gunshots. A flash of blinding white light. You’re no longer Batman. You’re Bruce Wayne, 8 years old and sobbing over the rain sodden corpses of your murdered parents.

The scene dissolves into the emptiness of space. Fragments of Arkham Asylum float above a swirling vortex. A grotesquely colossal Scarecrow, with searchlights for eyes, scours the ruins with murderous intent. An eternity of insanity is the price you pay if caught. It’s a genuinely disturbing vision of madness. Each hallucination is an expertly crafted slice of psychological horror. The Scarecrow lives to exploit the fears and phobias of his adversaries and to this end he succeeds. Batman is forced to relive the brutal murder of his parents.

But the Scarecrow’s reach extends far beyond the walls of Arkham Asylum. He also pricks you, the player, with his toxin loaded syringes. The terrifying game of cat and mouse you're forced to endure after each hallucination taps into the atavistic fear we have of being hunted. Your flesh will tingle when that roving yellow searchlight skims just millimetres above your head.

And whatever you do, don’t unzip those body bags...

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