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Video Game / Batman: Arkham Asylum

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"Plans, plans, plans... they always have their plans. But the problem with their plans is that when you take an insane person to the asylum... you're just taking him home. The very place he knows best."

Batman: Arkham Asylum is a video game developed by Rocksteady Studios and published by Eidos Interactive in conjunction with Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, released in 2009. Based on the Batman franchise, it is the first game in the Batman: Arkham Series.

Gotham City is just beginning to emerge from another chaotic month. First, the Blackgate Penitentiary is destroyed in a suspicious fire, forcing the Gotham police to move its inmates to Arkham Asylum; then the Joker goes on another crime spree, culminating in a failed attempt to kill the city's mayor. The game opens with Batman ending the Joker's rampage and bringing him back to Arkham, where Warden Quincy Sharp hopes the clown will finally be rehabilitated. What they don't realize is that this time, Joker wants to be at Arkham: after escaping from the guards, he and Harley Quinn break into the asylum's security, free the inmates, and seize control of Arkham Island. Realizing that his nemesis is up to something far more malevolent than a mere breakout as always, Batman fights his way through the waves of convicts and tries to find out what the Joker really wants with the Asylum.

The game is loosely inspired by Grant Morrison's Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth, and Dan Slott's Arkham Asylum: Living Hell. It is filled with an appreciation for the franchise's mythology and utilizes many of Batman's greatest foes to their fullest. Despite the premise, the game is not kid-oriented; being inspired by stories that delve in Psychological Horror, and having vicious action sequences with some ugly takedowns when you're brutalizing your enemies.

It features some of the talents behind Batman: The Animated Series, including a storyline by series writer Paul Dini and voice actors Kevin Conroy, Arleen Sorkin, and Mark Hamill reprising their respective roles as Batman, Harley Quinn, and The Joker.

The actual gameplay is divided into several modes: Freeflow mode (straight combat), Predator mode (striking from the shadows) and Detective mode (surveying the scene and looking for objects of interest), with some platforming elements tying the whole lot together. Each is well designed and suitably immerses you into the world and abilities of the Dark Knight.

A sequel, Batman: Arkham City, was released in 2011. A prequel game titled Batman: Arkham Origins and a portable spinoff/sequel to said prequel titled Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate were released on October 25, 2013. WB Games Montreal developed the main game, instead of Rocksteady, and Armaturenote  developed the portable game. Blackgate would also get a Updated Re-release for the 7th generation home consoles and PC via Steam. A fourth game, Batman: Arkham Knight, this time developed once more by Rocksteady, was later released on June 2015. Finally, in 2016, Warner Bros. announced that remastered versions of both Asylum and City would be released for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One as part of a collection called Return to Arkham later that year. The game was ported to the Nintendo Switch alongside City and Knight as part of the Arkham Trilogy collection, which was released on December 1, 2023.

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  • 100% Completion: The more Riddler trophies and riddles you get, the more Gallery material or bonus challenges open up. Get them all, and you catch the Riddler! Take that, you smartass! Plus, the extra XP never hurts.
  • Abandoned Hospital: The Medical Building. Broken tiles, flickering lightbulbs, doctors held hostage, eerie silences, gurneys and whole rooms sitting empty—as if life just up and vanished out of the whole building. You actually hear one of the Mooks saying how creepy it is, and how hospitals are supposed to be clean. Oh, then there's who you find in the basement. Then the morgue. Then the Scarecrow gets really clever. The perfectly ordinary announcements that come over the PA system just make everything else seem that much more hellish. Nothing wrong here, nothing at all...
  • Absurdly-Spacious Sewer: Killer Croc's Lair.
  • Abusive Parents:
    • You find a tape containing an interview with the Riddler, where he comments on how his dad called him a "moron" over and over again. To prove him wrong, Edward entered a contest at school, where if he solves a nearly impossible logic problem, he gets $20. He won, but his dad demanded him to confess that he cheated. He denied it only to get hit. He actually did cheat.
    • If you unlock Humpty Dumpty's profile, it will say that when he was a child, his parents died as part of his decades-long streak of horrifying, almost supernaturally bad luck, leaving him to be raised by his abusive grandmother. What Humpty Dumpty did to his grandmother after years and years of abuse wasn't pretty at all. Worst thing is, he didn't even intend to hurt her - just "dissasemble" and "reassemble" her to fix whatever was wrong with her.
  • Action Commands: When enemies are about to strike, an icon appears over the head indicating that you can press a button to Counter-Attack — whether or not you're already in the middle of a combo. These icons are disabled in Hard mode.
    • You also get to use Action Commands to make automatic takedowns, both of the stealthy and non-stealthy variety.
  • Adaptation Distillation: This adaptation is actually a potluck of the best aspects of practically all his previous media incarnations: the grittiness of the Christopher Nolan movies, the gothic architecture and film noir-ish mood of the Tim Burton films, the canon of the comics, the voices and writing talent of the animated series... It's difficult to imagine an incarnation of the Dark Knight that could so easily appeal to all of Batman's fans from any medium.
    • Batman is primarily based on his comic version, but he has the voice of the animated version and his suit actually looks like body armor with a glider cape.
    • The Joker — again, primarily based on his comic version, but he wears a suit that looks custom-made and the red of his lips extends a good deal past the corners of his mouth and onto his cheeks much like in The Dark Knight, he has a face that looks a lot like Jack Nicholson, he transforms into a muscle-bound hulk similar to Kevin Michael Richardson's Joker, they used Mark Hamill's voice and we can count Hamill's voice as a Caesar Romero reference. There's a lot of similarity there, especially in the laugh, thus completing the full spectrum of Batman Jokers.
    • The Clayface in this game bears Basil Karlo's name (blink-and-you-miss-it when Bats takes Harley's "party list") and now-in-continuity powers: otherwise he's an amalgamated Batman: The Animated Series Clayface (Matt Hagen) and Preston Payne.
    • What we see of the Riddler looks rather like the '60s TV version, while his voicework sounds a lot like and is delivered like a slightly lower-key version of the Jim Carrey version mixed with John Glover.
  • Adaptation-Induced Plot Hole: Inverted! There are small hints that imply the game was originally going to have rainfall, as it's raining in the intro, whenever Batman is inside the medical facility, and guards and prisoners are wearing raincoats, despite the clear weather everywhere else. The remaster adds rainfall in free roam.
  • After-Combat Recovery: Achieved in a somewhat roundabout way. Gaining experience points restores your health, and beating people up gives you XP. Ergo, damage taken in combat may be healed from the XP you got from fighting. Depending on how much damage you took and how much XP you got, you may or may not be restored to full health. Bosses reliably give you enough XP to heal fully, however.
    • The reason this works for this trope is that the XP doesn't tally (and thereby the healing doesn't begin) until you finish the entire encounter, whether it's a gang of ten mooks trying to beat you down or a room full of gun-toting mooks in a stealth segment.
  • Air-Vent Passageway: Vital gameplay mechanic, and arguably the only reason Batman wins. Although, as Joker mentions to a henchman in your first trip into the sewer, he can't take every detail into account for something as big as an island takeover.
  • Alas, Poor Yorick: The Joker's profile on the status screen shows him holding up a bloody skull in reference to Hamlet.
  • Alien Geometries: In the first Scarecrow nightmare, you enter the morgue from a hallway. At the creepy voices' behest, you leave through the same door... and on the other side is the same exact morgue. With a few additions.
  • All There in the Manual: The Road to Arkham comic that comes with the game reveals a few specific details about the events beforehand. One example (if you missed it in the game itself) is that Dr. Sarah Cassidy survived having Zsasz pay her a house call, as she was rescued by Batman at the last second.
  • All Your Base Are Belong to Us: Poison Ivy's mutated plants make their way into the Batcave late in the game.
  • And Now for Someone Completely Different: Used as part of the Mind Screw of Scarecrow's illusions. You'll play as the Joker, a young Bruce Wayne, and the Scarecrow himself.
  • And the Adventure Continues: The game ends with Batman returning to Gotham City to foil a bank robbery by Two-Face.
  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • In Killer Croc's lair, the game autosaves after each Anti-Venom spore Batman collects, as well as right before the final stretch of the chase sequence at the end.
    • Riddler Collectibles are neatly classified by type and area in the in-game menu, so you know what to be on the lookout for and where. This is especially helpful for finding Joker's Teeth, as they don't show up on Riddler's map and they aren't highlighted by Detective Vision, so you don't have to inspect the entirety of the island looking for them.
  • Apocalyptic Log: Every one of the patient interview series turns into one.
    • Averted with Dr. Sarah Cassidy. Although Zsasz escapes and goes after her, and though he makes it to her apartment, where he knocks on the door and she answers, she still survives. Thank you, Batman, and your propensity for big damn hero moments.
    • Also inverted with Scarecrow's interviews. The fourth ends with him having apparently won, and leaving you wondering how it could possibly get worse than this. The answer: it doesn't. The fifth has Batman ruining his plans. Effectively, an apocalyptic log for the villain.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism:
    • One of the doctors admits before being saved by Batman she believed he didn't exist. This is especially odd, as the doctor in question is Sarah Cassidy, who was saved by Batman from Victor Zsasz not long before the game's story begins.
    • According to Dr. Gretchen Whistler, it's perfectly acceptable that Killer Croc is an eleven-foot tall, reptilian man-beast, but the idea that he'd actually eat people is absurd.
    • For some reason, Dr. Penelope Young refuses to believe that Ratcatcher can actually command rats despite all evidence to the contrary according to the Collector's Edition Case Files. This is despite the fact that she is expected to treat people like Poison Ivy and Clayface.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Two by Joker in his standard comedy fare over the intercom, the third read off from a letter he wrote to Dr. Young by Oracle.
    Joker: (about the Batmobile) Every thug, villain, murderer, and kindergarten teacher that isn't carrying out party orders should head there now and smash it to pieces!
    Joker: So tell me, Bats. What are you scared of? Failing to save this cesspool of a city? Not finding the commissioner in time? Me, in a thong? (maniacal laughter)
    Oracle: Let's see, random threats to her family, a couple bad jokes, a picture of a dead baby, and a threat. He says, "I'm coming for you! I want what I paid for!" And then another joke about wheelchairs, lovely... and a drawing of some kind of donkey.
  • Artistic License – Biology: During their Titan-drug transformations, the spines of Joker's mooks pop out of their backs, and the spinous processes of their vertebrae extend into bony spikes. As there's no actual muscle on the revealed vertebrae, just bare bone, the mooks really shouldn't have been able to stand upright in that condition.
  • Artistic License – Physics:
    • Batman's parachute/glider cape that somehow saves him from a fall of any height by activating . . . right before he hits the ground.
    • A lot of the "attack" animation results are pretty over the top, even for a 210-pound man of pure muscle.
    • In the final scene, where Batman puts explosive gel on his knuckles and punches Joker - at the very least, his arm should be broken. Though the final cut-scene implies it did.
  • Asshole Victim:
    • Warden Quincy Sharp. Given that he's a cowardly bureaucrat with a callous disposition who cares more about his mayoral campaign than, you know, actually trying to help any of the inmates, you can't help but smile a bit at the hilariously crude abuse Harley puts him through. Becomes this trope in full effect once you learn he's a self-righteous and delusional serial killer and all-around pathetic and petty abuser towards the inmates of the Asylum. And as we learn in Arkham City, having been responsible for allowing Hugo Strange to conduct his mind-control experiments on the more regular Arkham patients, turning them into the Lunatics even before he was himself blackmailed and mind-controlled by Strange.
    • Frank Boles, the guard who helped Joker escape, is killed by Joker so Batman can't track the whiskey on his breath to Gordon's location. When Batman tells one of the guards about it, said guard does not miss his colleague in the slightest.
  • As the Good Book Says...: One of the Arkham Chronicles mentions Poison Ivy being brought in by someone. The Spirit of Amadeus Arkham quotes Exodus 22:18 in this one:
    "I watched in silence as he brought in the woman. Her skin now a venomous green, the wanton creature no longer looked like a human being, much less a woman. The Bible says, 'Suffer not a witch to live,' yet he has once again delivered this female atrocity to our care. Once I have dealt with the monster, I think it will be time to see if green wood does, in fact, burn."
  • The Atoner: Dr. Young, for having helped Joker create his monster army. This sadly leads to Redemption Equals Death.
  • Attention Whore: It's worth mentioning you defeat Titan Joker by waiting for the helicopters and cameras to show up, which distracts him enough to turn his back on you.
  • Autosave: When entering or exiting a building.
  • Ax-Crazy: This being Arkham Asylum, there's a lot of them about.
    • Zsasz. There's a reason he doesn't show up in the animated shows. When holding Dr. Young hostage he literally can't stop himself from killing her even though he knows Batman will come after him for it.
    • Killer Croc, however, is a freaking animal. The only reason he doesn't kill everyone in sight when being transferred through Arkham is that he's on tranquilizers.
  • Back Stab: Called 'silent takedowns' here.
  • Badass Boast: "I'm fine. I eat punks like these for breakfast."
  • Badass Normal: Batman, as usual.
  • Bad "Bad Acting": Harley sounds rather strange in the first and second Interview Tapes you find until it's revealed that she's trying to sound more professional as opposed to her more bubbly normal persona.
  • Bad Boss: Joker clearly doesn't care what happens to his minions. At certain points Batman can eavesdrop on him threatening his mook's families for failure, not getting tasks done fast enough, and speaking out of turn. He often goes over the Asylum's loudspeakers to denigrate, threaten and just scare them.
    "If another doctor tries to run and gets out of the building, then you won't! I'll just flood the rooms with happy gas and leave ya to die. Hell, I might do that anyway. Sounds fun."
    "Hey Bats, go easy on 'em. For me? Oh hell, what do I care? DO YOUR WORST!"
    "Batman, I know you can hear me. I want you to hurt these guys. They mean nothing to me!"
    • He's not great to Harley either for that matter. Before the final battle he mentions how slapping her around is his "hobby". He even leaves her locked up in her asylum cell even though she's certain he'll let her out eventually.
  • Bag of Spilling: Retroactively since Arkham Origins. Justified Trope since Batman was caught by Joker unawares and unprepared, with only his grapple-hook and an infinite supply of batarangs. He has to gather or assemble the rest of his gadgets as the game progresses.
  • Bait-and-Switch: Towards the end of the story, Joker pulls out a feather and acts as though he’s going to stab Batman with it. He just tickles him instead.
  • Beast in the Maze: In order to obtain the spores needed to make an antidote for Joker's Titan formula, Batman has to traverse the sewers underneath Arkham Island, while being pursued by Killer Croc.
  • Bedlam House: Arkham Asylum. It edges close to being a Hellhole Prison (in addition to being an actual prison for Blackgate transfers). The penitentiary cells are so incredibly claustrophobic and cramped you can only walk a few steps in each, and same area has electrified floors and Latin quotes in the walls outright stating (paraphrasing) "We are here to punish the insane, not cure them". The tie-in website tries so hard to make it sound like an aversion it's hilarious.
  • Benevolent Architecture: Arkham features hundreds of grapple-worthy gargoyles inside the buildings. Handwaved by revealing that Bruce Wayne donated the things. During the stealth portions of the games, some of the Mooks will comment on this. The Joker later figures this out and orders his mooks to booby trap the gargoyles in one of the room. This doesn't work, and he quickly drops the idea.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Being Batman, you get to do this several times during the game.
  • Big Guy Rodeo: Batman can hop onto Titan goons' shoulders and force them to flail wildly, slamming their tree-trunk thick limbs into anyone unfortunate to be nearby, or he can force them to charge into groups before slamming headfirst into a wall. Knock down enough goons and you get the "Freakshow Rodeo" achievement.
  • Big "NO!": Batman does this when taking a dart for Gordon.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Batman stops Joker and prevents Gotham from destruction from TITAN. But Arkham Asylum is heavily damaged, and a massive number of its security staff has been killed. And don't forget about Quincy Sharp's plans about Arkham City...
  • Black Comedy:
    • In general, both the Joker and his goons make a lot of twisted statements that are both horrifying and hilarious at same time. In fact, Joker often test his henchmen's loyalty through morbid means, such pestering one henchman to kill his sister... even though he has no sister to begin with. How does that henchman resolved Joker's demand? He got into his car and ran over the first woman he saw. And Joker seemed happy with that result.
    • The Riddler's take on the ancient riddle of the Sphinx. Child-diddle-riddle.
    Dr. Young: How can you joke about something like that?
    Riddler: Easily, doctor... it's not my baby.
  • Blah, Blah, Blah: Joker says this while taunting Batman after he escapes.
  • Blofeld Ploy: Played with in a scene where Batman is confronting the Joker and two mooks; the Joker points a gun at Batman, then shoots the two mooks instead, because the gun is actually loaded with the performance-enhancing Titan formula.
  • Bloodless Carnage: Despite the bone-crunching violence as Batman smacks them down, and a lot of guns, and a lot of dead people, and a lot of Detective Mode labels saying 'Deceased', and a lot of gunshots... there's very little blood. This is the only reason it made a TEEN rating.
  • Body Horror: Titan induced transformations are a real freakshow. They cause a person to grow in size, with bone spikes protruding out of their flesh, notably with spikes on their spines. Titan Joker is even worse with larger back spikes, large claws, protruding ribs, and areas of his skin torn open, showing muscle tissue. The only one who does avert this trope when exposed to Titan is Bane, likely due to his body being used to Venom - which Titan is based on.
  • Bond One-Liner:
    • Joker says one after choking a security guard to death with his handcuffs and knocking one of the medics out upon being freed from his handcuffs:
      Joker: The choke's on you!
    • Additionally, most major villains have a few variants to deliver in the Mission Failed screen, with Joker providing most of them.
  • Bond Villain Stupidity: Joker gets multiple opportunities to cleanly kill a helpless Batman throughout the game, but declines to do so until Batman truly becomes a thorn in his side later in the game. At one point, Joker even goes so far as to demonstrate that he could kill Batman easily by blowing the brakes on the elevator in which he trapped him. He decides it wouldn't be fun.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Officers Eddie Burlow and William North fall victim to this via Poison Ivy and her mind-controlling plant spores.
  • Break Them by Talking: Arkham's more famous inmates are masters of this:
    • Scarecrow delivers a particularly effective one:
      Scarecrow: You married your wife because you were scared of dying alone. You had children because you're scared you won't leave behind anything important. You go to doctors because you're scared of dying... need I go on?
    • It... doesn't work.
    • The Joker subjects Batman to one every time he enters the Visitor's Room before the finale.
    • Batman gives a great one to Scarecrow in his last interview tape:
      Batman: You failed, Crane. Again. I've been working with Dr. Kellerman, creating an antidote to the toxins in your cologne. He fooled you, Crane. How does that make you feel? Threatened, humiliated? ... Scared?
  • Brick Joke: When the Riddler first contacts you, a pop up appears stating that the call is being traced. Once you complete all the Riddler challenges, Batman reveals that he forwarded the location to the police, and they're right outside Riddler's door.
  • Broken Bridge: You will not be able to walk straight to anywhere. There will always be a locked door or something blocking your path, forcing you to take the long way around.
  • Broke Your Arm Punching Out Cthulhu: Batman sprays explosive gel on his glove before decking Titan Joker across the face. Because Batman is a badass and will never let the Joker win, never, the "punching out" part sticks. He seems to be favoring his arm right afterwards.
  • Bullfight Boss: Bane and the Titan-augmented goons. Unusually for this trope, they are smart enough to stop before hitting a wall, unless you hit them in the face with a well-timed Batarang. But they aren't smart enough to avoid hitting each other, making it possible to beat the second-to-last-fight without actively fighting.
  • Butt-Monkey: Due to his Bad Boss tendencies, Joker ends up leaving two henchmen stranded above a cloud of Smilex and detonates some explosives before the henchman placing them gets clear. All three incidents name the henchman as Razor. Either this guy really has bad luck, or Razor is a very common street name in Gotham and Joker is actively working to make it less common.
    • His luck doesn't improve in the sequel. In Arkham City, you can learn that he quit Joker's gang, probably due to the events listed, and joined up with the Penguin. Who dropped him in a pool of boiling water and razor blades.
  • Canon Foreigner: Guard Frank Boles, Warden Quincy Sharp and Doctor Young.
  • Cape Swish: Running, gliding, even combat stuns. He's BATMAN, Goddammit!
  • Captain Obvious: Dr. Young commenting that she thought the Joker was insane. Seeing as how he's a patient in an asylum, yeah Doc, he just might be.
  • Car Fu: How Batman beats Bane.
  • Cardboard Prison: And the guards are the first to admit it. There's even road signs to this effect on the way in. "Hitchhikers may be escaped patients".
    • In this game, admittedly, the escape is justified fairly well. Joker had to beat 3 layers of security in order to take over the prison. He got Riddler to hack the IT systems well in advance, had Harley Quinn infiltrate the operations center before he allowed his capture, and finally used a corrupt security guard to send a false alert on the intercom and murder several colleagues. Even that wouldn't have been enough to take over the island if Joker hadn't also arranged for an electrical fire in Blackgate penitentiary that forced hundreds of his imprisoned goons to be transferred to Arkham.
  • Central Theme:
    • Remaining true to yourself and not falling into madness. To elaborate: Batman enters the asylum, the place Joker calls home, and at many points in the story both the clown and Scarecrow try to turn him insane, or worse, to make him break his principle just to prove a point. Not only are all the antagonists in the game insane people, but the side quest of Amadeus Arkham (Quincy Sharp) provides a counterargument on how a simple man cannot handle the circumstances and fall into madness, even quoting religious beliefs like how killing could be justified for a good cause. Arkham Asylum presents Batman as an Ideal Hero for sticking to his principles to the end.
    • Good vs Evil. The core conflict is between morally righteous people and wicked individuals. The villains in this game are among the most twisted from Batman's Rogues Gallerynote , and some patient interviews like Scarecrow #3 have the doctor think Scarecrow is not insane, just evil, which likewise applies to all of them in Arkham Asylum.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • One of the very first things you notice is Frank Boles's hip flask. It is nearly impossible to play without seeing it. Sure enough, it turns out to be a means to track him.
    • Joker's comment to Boles about keeping his mouth shut or else it'll get him into trouble. You track Boles by the bourbon, which he drank from the flask, in his breath.
    • Every grate, weak floor, and force field you come across but can't open until you have the right gadget.
    • In The Stinger, one of the villains you previously dealt with but did not detain - Scarecrow, Bane or Killer Croc - reaches up to grab the Titan formula.
  • Closed Circle: Joker threatens to blow up parts of Gotham if anyone else is seen going near Arkham, leaving Batman all alone (though at least one bomb is a fake). Subverted when Batman calls in his personal jet, showing that he could leave the island any time he feels like it, but isn't about to leave Joker and Co. running the Asylum. The threat is sufficient to keep any other superheroes out of the picture, because it doesn't matter how powerful they are if Joker sees them and detonates the bombs.
  • Clothing Damage:
    • Occurs to Batman as you progress through the game. Rather similar to the gradual clothing damage in Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time.
    • A particularly neat effect is the stubble Batsy grows over the night. Quite a lot, in fact. What a man!
    • Clothing Damage occurs in the combat challenges as you take damage. However, the trope is averted if you use the armored batsuit.
    • The damage during the combat challenges oddly becomes paradoxical, where if you clear the stage with your recovered health, your suit magically regenerates as well. Also, the costume doesn't become damaged until the end of the round, where a very visible model skip occurs.
  • Collapsing Lair: The rooms where you fight Bane and Poison Ivy. In Bane's case this is justified as he damaged the supports during his fight with you. Ivy is at least a handwave because the giant plant she used came up through the floor.
  • Collection Sidequest: Used with an actually quite good explanation: It's the Riddler trying to show up Batman's smarts. You don't have to collect them, but hearing him succumb to his inferiority complex while completing them is well worth it. Furthermore, Batman activates a tracer on Riddler's call immediately after he makes contact, and the more time Riddler spends taunting Batman and freaking out over his progress, the closer the trace comes to detecting Riddler's exact location.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Batman's fighting style in a nutshell. You're even encouraged in the combat challenges to throw thugs into force fields, into their friends, and bottomless pits. He does wrestling-style submission moves for the express purpose of breaking bones.
  • Combos: Chaining multiple attacks (without pausing or getting hurt) together increases Batman's combo counter. Once it turns yellow, Batman can start dealing critical hits, make an automatic takedown, or pick up and throw somebody. This is a fantastic way to reduce enemy numbers and/or get rid of an armed enemy who doesn't respond well to punches.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: Both frustrating and frightening is the point after Joker releases all the lunatics in the penitentiary. There are multiple occasions throughout the game of these lunatics popping up out of absolutely nowhere without showing up on Batman's detective vision even when they might be right next to lunatics that Batman can see.
  • Conservation of Ninjutsu: Since the combat system encourages Batman to switch targets constantly to maintain his combo streak, the fights can actually get easier when up against more than just a few opponents.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • There's a bit of commentary from the villains, Bane for instance who references how he once 'broke' Batman, which did happen in the comics in his first appearance. And in one of Bane's Non-Standard Game Overs, he does indeed break Batman's back again.
    • Joker also mentions the idea of killing "another one of his sidekicks" implying that the story A Death In The Family (in which then-Robin Jason Todd was killed by the Joker) happened in some form, which Arkham Knight eventually confirmed. Although it didn't end with Jason's death.
    • The events of The Killing Joke have happened in this continuity, due to Barbara being Oracle. Also, on one trip to the Visitor's Centre, Joker comes on the screen and says "So there were these two guys in a lunatic asylum... oh wait, you've heard that one before, haven't you?"
  • The Corruption: Titan formula. Mooks get transformed into dumb monsters, Batman resists the effect while Joker and Ivy go One-Winged Angel.
  • Counter-Attack: A major part of the hand-to-hand combat system is this.
  • Coup de Grâce Cutscene: Used in the final boss fight with the Joker.
  • Crazy-Prepared: This is Batman we're talking about. You know, the guy that has his own page for this trope?
    • A Batcave. Under Arkham. Wow.
      Oracle: How did you keep this a secret?
      Batman: ... It's me, remember?
    • Joker too considering the level of planning he used to take over the Asylum.
    • The cutscene after the fight with Bane. Bats crawls out of the rubble and plays with his gauntlet, then chats a bit with Gordon. Then Bane comes crashing through the rubble, threatens to break the Bat... and gets creamed by the Batmobile. Crazy-Prepared.
    • There's also Killer Croc's lair, in which we get to see the preparation: Right when entering, Batman both puts a sonic batarang on a pipe (to help find his way back, which is understandable) and sprays a large bat shape with his explosive gel on a piece of unstable floor - which he refuses to detonate if commanded to. Fastforward a few minutes and when he's chased out of the lair by the Croc...
    • The Riddler must be this as well. He left his trophies everywhere, including places that you need special gear and Batman-like athleticism to reach. And he knew exactly where your journey would take you across the island.
  • Critical Existence Failure: Batman will fight without a flinch even with the tiniest of slivers of health left.
  • Critical Psychoanalysis Failure: A significant occupational hazard for any doctor who interviews Arkham's crazies. Victims include Dr. Harleen Quinzel, aka Harley Quinn, and Dr Stephen Kellerman, who interviews Poison Ivy and the Scarecrow and ends up a victim of mind control/fear toxin respectively.
  • The Croc Is Ticking: Killer Croc alludes to the crocodile in Peter Pan by making ticking noises. He probably got the idea from Cash, who replaced his hand with a metal hook after Croc bit it off.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Dr. Kellerman. Granted, he may have not only once but twice fallen victim to being kidnapped by supervillains, in no small part due to being a little bit too gullible. However, sometime before the present day events of the game when Scarecrow tried to secretly gas the whole asylum after having seemingly incapacitated him, it turns out that Kellerman was able to resist Crane (a feat no character other than Batman and Poison Ivy has achieved in the Arkhamverse), at least long enough to notify Batman who puts an end to Crane's attempts to "treat" his therapists, even taking time to indirectly compliment Kellerman by taunting Scarecrow over being unable to actually break the man.
  • Cuckoo Nest: Scarecrow does this to Batman and the player in the third hallucination. First there's a repetition of the intro scene, except it's Batman strapped to the gurney in place of Joker, with Joker and Scarecrow taking on the role of doctors and discussing Bruce Wayne's unfortunate split personality disorder. The subsequent surreal platforming section also includes such imagery, including several insane Batmen rocking back and forth, and Scarface appearing on video screens as an asylum director announcing his successes in curing Bruce Wayne.
  • Cute Kitten: No game in the Arkham series would be complete without a few mentions of kittens. Awww!
    • In the Joker's first interview tape, he sees one of the ink blot tests and says that the first one is of a kitten that he had had when he was little, followed by the second one... of a dead elephant.
    • In Oracle's phone call to Batman, she says that the police have found one of the "bombs"... which was full of marzipannote  and kittens. Awww!
  • Cutscene Boss: Harley Quinn.
  • Cutscene Power to the Max: Before the final fight, Batman casually One-Hit KOs various mooks with Offhand Backhands while having his Casual Danger Dialogue with the Joker. Credible since this is Batman we're talking about, but when you control him it takes a little more effort.
    • Word of God says that Batman could take down every single goon he faces this easily, but when he's surrounded by mooks and has to react quickly, he has to concentrate on not killing them with his attacks, so he instead takes his time with lesser attacks to ensure a 100% survival rate. When there's only one guy left, he can focus all of his attention on the unlucky SOB and instantly finish him off.
    • There's also Batman's KO punch against Joker, which he accomplishes by spraying explosive gel all over his fist - something the player doesn't get to do during regular gameplay. Though as Batman says that final punch nearly broke his arm and probably did break a couple of fingers, it's excusable he wouldn't want to try a move like that again.
  • Cutting Back to Reality: At various points, Batman ends up getting a dose of Scarecrow's fear gas and descending into hallucinations, eventually resulting in a symbolic journey to resist the fear, avoid going insane, and finally fight off the influence of the toxins. The first two have very little crossover with the real world until you finally manage to reach the Batsignal and snap back to reality; however, during the third encounter, the game will abruptly switch back to reality to reveal that Scarecrow has gotten impatient with Batman's resistance to the gas, and is giving him a significantly more powerful dose via his syringe glove.
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory!: Going back Asylum after playing the later games in the series gets some getting used to. The timing to keep up combos is less forgiving, and controls for takedowns and quick use of gadgets are different. One mechanic that was dropped after this game is that if you press the button to counter when there is no imminent attack, it immediately breaks the combo and Batman will spend a moment vulnerable as he is glancing around.
  • Darker and Edgier: The game's tone is essentially a PG-13-rated version of Batman: The Animated Series, mixed with influence from Grant Morrison's A Serious House on Serious Earth, the miniseries Arkham Asylum: Living Hell, and some Christopher Nolan films. The Riddler, for example, has never been as bloodthirsty (see below) as he is in this game. In fact, the only reason this game wasn't rated M is because there's no blood or gore. Except for if you care to take a look at Dr. Young's body after she's killed by an explosion, but which is easy to miss.
  • Deadly Gas: Joker's green laughing gas, and red toxins from Ivy's plants flood several areas.
  • Defiant to the End: If you notify a mook to your presences when Harley is holding Gordon. Before she kills him, he simply says "Do your worst".
  • Dem Bones: Skeletons appear as Mooks in Scarecrow's hallucinations.
  • Demoted to Extra: Borderline example: Zsasz is little more than a "tutorial boss," you only face him twice, and he goes down in one hit both times. That said, there is evidence of his handiwork in other places, such as various corpses of guards he's posed in lifelike situations.
  • Determinator: Batman is not going to let the army of mooks, released supercriminals, or multiple large doses of fear toxins get in the way.
    Batman: Barbara, listen to me. Joker will not win. I won't let him.
  • Deus ex Machina: The Batmobile and Batwing each make a grand surprise entrance to spring Batman out of a jam.
  • Developer's Foresight: If you abuse Sequence Breaking to whatever limited degree is available, certain scenes will change accordingly.
    • Most notably if you turn off the power in the Gardens before confronting the Joker, you won't see the scene where he drops a guard in an electric pool. He even grumbles "always a step ahead, Bats". The guard's still dead unfortunately.
    • If you skip the fight in the Library by zipping to the top floor, The Joker will comment on you "reading the last page first." He'll be so disappointed that he'll just dismiss the mooks, which prevents you from lethally injuring them when you drop a chandelier on the glass floor to access the lower level of the Library. What prevents you from lethally dropping the chandelier on unconscious mooks you just beat up is unclear.
    • Minor examples include The Riddler commenting on you solving his challenges before you get the equipment that would normally allow you to access them.
    • When you sneak up on the henchman from the Bad Boss examples (the one who Joker punishes by sending somebody to visit his wife and break her legs), if you listen to the whole conversation before taking him down, then Joker will cheerfully ask over the radio who got him: Batman or - since he's in a sewer - Croc. If you take him down before the conversation's over:
      Joker: Hellooo? Are you listening to me? I'll teach you to hang up on me, you sniveling little worm!
    • Harley captures two guards and puts them in death traps, challenging you to save them before it's too late from behind a window. If you throw a batarang at the window and it bounces off, she'll taunt you by telling you that you might break it and get to her eventually, but by then it will be too late for the guards. In the same scene, she will wonder about the Explosive Gel if you use it on the wall next to the window before rescuing the guards, say that Sharp will be mad once he finds out all the holes Batman is blowing into Arkham's walls, and complain that she can't see what's on the other side if Batman goes to read the tablet inside.
    • If you throw a remote-controlled batarang and then turn it around and steer it into Batman, he'll catch it. There's even an achievement for doing this.
  • "Die Hard" on an X: Arkham Asylum's been taken over by the Joker and various other villains and only Batman can stop them with stealth and maneuvering around the islands.
  • Disposable Vagrant: One of the "Spirit of Arkham" entries mention that the police believe Killer Croc is responsible for the disappearance of hundreds of the city's homeless.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: If Batman visits the patient center after beating the bosses prior to beating Poison Ivy, he'll talk to Joker about his sessions and his current state of mind in a manner similar to a Psychologist/Psychiatrist with Batman being the patient.
  • Door to Before: Several places in the game, the tunnel at the end of a section ends up on ledge overlooking somewhere Batman was earlier, providing a shortcut back. (The ledge is always too high up to get to from the other direction.)
  • Double Entendre: A mook says that Dr. Penelope Young can "operate on me anytime!"
  • Down the Drain: The sewers under Arkham, especially Killer Croc's lair.
  • Downloadable Content:
    • The PS3 and Switch versions has bonus missions of the player, as The Joker, going through Arkham and actually taking it over.
    • There's also the Dem Bones map if you preorder from Gamestop. The Collector's edition has a map for Crime Alley.
    • There are two new challenge packs, themes for Batman and Joker, and the "play as Joker" trailer available online.
  • Dramatic Spine Injury: Dying against Bane will have his Game Over screen show him lifting Batman's lifeless form above his head and breaking his spine over his knee, just like he did in Knightfall.
    Bane: The Bat is broken!
  • The Dreaded: Part of what makes the stealth sections fun is watching the complete change in the enemies. They start out confident, but as you pick them off one by one, they become TERRIFIED.
    Inmate: Aaaaahhhh! [fires wildly] ...Damn boiler scared the crap outta me!
    • There are even medals in Challenge Mode that require you to scare henchmen. One requires you to pop out in front of a terrified henchman so he panics before you take him out. Another requires you to hang a henchman upside-down from a gargoyle & startle whoever comes to check on him by cutting him down with a batarang.
  • Dutch Angle: When Scarecrow's fear toxin starts to set in, the camera starts tilting ever so slightly as you move, until it's at a significant angle.
  • Dynamic Loading: The larger outdoor areas are divided by simpler corridors, doors could open faster or slower depending on how much loading is left to be done for the room on the other side, and in the worst case if Bats runs fast enough in some places he'll outright stall for a second while the game halts to catch back up. He's also forcibly slowed to a stoic walk whenever receiving a radio conversation, just like in another game that uses the same engine.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Several of the asylum staff like Aaron Cash and Penelope Young appear in the opening credits sequence before being properly introduced in the story.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness:
    • In retrospect, Arkham Asylum is a lot smaller in scope and far more linear than the sequels, taking place in the closed-off Asylum rather than a large open section of Gotham.
    • Unlike the other Arkham games, which are open-world and feature plenty of sidequests, the first game has no real sidequests except for a series of collectibles that are part of Riddler's Sidequest without any additional hostage missions, interrogating Riddler informants, or a confrontation with Riddler himself.
    • On the subject of the Riddler's sidequest, not only are there no informants to interrogate to learn the location of the Riddler trophies, you can't scan the trophies to mark them on your map either. Instead, each region comes with map that reveals their locations, and said map is treated as an actual riddle that must be picked up to complete the quest. The sole "Breakable Objects" (Joker's teeth in this case) do not appear on the map; and Joker's teeth being the only breakable object is itself unique to this game. Finally, the interview tapes are actual tapes that are treated as riddles that must be picked up, rather than rewards for completing entire groups of riddles.
    • The Detective Vision identifies armed thugs in red whereas the sequels would mark them in orange. It also doesn't turn off the HUD or reduce viewing distance, which the dev team felt made it overpowered, resulting in a nerf from the sequel onwards. On a more minor note, toggling it on or off also makes the screen flash white here, which was removed from the sequels.
    • Batman can't slide while running, and the traversal is mostly on foot and grappling. Gliding is mostly only used in a few scripted sequences rather than an actual skill that you can use to navigate the environment, which is justified since there aren't many tall buildings on an island facility. The dive bomb mechanic is also absent, as is the ability to grapple while gliding, along with the grapnel boost.
    • In terms of gadgets, Batman can only use the Batarang and Batclaw as quicktime gadgets in combat (and as for the latter, the Batclaw Slam is absent), and the Cryptographic Sequencer tunes on frequencies rather than actual passwords. The Remote Control Batarang lacks the boost, brake and U-Turn features, travels in slow-motion, and aside from some predator challenges, it has no real use in the game (whereas the sequels would use it to solve environmental and Riddler puzzles). The Explosive Gel and Batclaw are swapped relative to the other games (be careful if you're replaying this after those!), the Ultra Batclaw is unique to this game, and the Batclaw can't pick up Riddler trophies or yank guns out of prisoner's hands.
    • While on the subject of gadgets, another difference is the ones you start with (or lack thereof). In the other three games, you generally start out with the following six gadgets: the Batarang, Batclaw, Remote Control Batarang, Explosive Gel, Smoke Pellets, and the Cryptographic Sequencer. You unlock more as you progress and the ones you start with are enough to give you some variety in combat as well as solve most Riddler puzzles. Here, you start with the Batarang...and that's it. Everything mentioned above is either gained as you progress or unlocked from the upgrade screen, except for Smoke Pellets which don't appear at all. Hell, you don't even get the Batclaw until a third of the way into the game!
    • Armor upgrades offer protection to both melee attacks and bullets. In subsequent games those are two separate upgrades, each with their own health bar.
    • In terms of combat, Batman is unable to deliver Stun Beatdowns or Aerial Attacks to his opponents, and he lacks the Vent, Grate, and Wall Takedowns in the Predator sequences. Instead of Bat Swarm or Environmental Takedown, he has a throw move that only appears in this game (until Arkham Knight where it revamped into throw counters). Also, none of the mooks in the game wear any kind of armor protection (or even shoes, for that matter), riot shields are also absent. Inverted and Special Combo Takedowns (which are performed in slow-motion unlike later titles) need to be unlocked with a Waynetech upgrade instead of being default moves. Also, the Special Combo Disarm and Destroy and Multi-Ground Takedowns are completely absent.
    • Knife wielding mooks are unique Elite Mooks with an unblockable attack, and you had to hit them with the cape stun before attacking them. In subsequent games, knives (and broken bottles) would be separate melee weapons any mook could pick up, their attacks could be countered (though it required a special method to do so) and they could be hit normally; with armored, shield carrying, or brutes serving as the enemies that would screw up your hit combo by requiring a unique attack.
    • Likewise, there is no New Game Plus, and storywise, Arkham Asylum is very straightforward in plot, lacking the shocking plot twists and turns that the later games became equally well known for. If the player wanted the Hard mode trophy after beating the game on normal, one'd have to start up a new file.
    • Personality-wise, Batman is very sane and even amicable in his conversations, showing camaraderie with Oracle (even quipping sarcastically with her about wishing he faced something as simple as a Joker robot) and Gordon in his interactions. He's more friendly to civilians and police in this game compared to the others. On a few occasions, he'll even deliver a hilariously cheesy B-movie one-liner ("I eat punks like these for breakfast")! He even gloats to Crane in the Interview Tapes, and he doesn't submit mooks to Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique. Much like Batman: The Animated Series, Batman loses this lightness of spirit in succeeding works, becoming a darker character as his crusade takes a toll on him.
    • In his bio picture, The Penguin is seen with his iconic cigarette holder from the comics and is described in the actual bio as a gentleman. In the later games, starting with Arkham City, the Penguin is shown as a Cigar Chomper and is far cruder.
    • This is also the only game where Batman makes little grunts with standard actions such as punching or dive rolling, and even a death cry. Some of them sound a bit comical.
    • Harley Quinn is voiced by Arleen Sorkin, her voice actress from Batman: The Animated Series, rather than Tara Strong.
    • Also, the Joker doesn't sing during the end credits.
    • The HUD and other user interface elements have a stylized, comic-inspired appearance, as opposed to the more computer-like, most likely Diegetic Interface used from Arkham City onwards. This is best exemplified in the character profiles, which use hand-drawn, exaggerated comics-style artwork for their images as opposed to the renders the following games would use.
    • For the most part, the game functions are a pretty direct adaptation of the Batman comics of the time, and operates under the general assumption that Batman has already experienced the most notable arcs from the comics, something reaffirmed by the unlockable character bios for villains like Hugo Strange and Hush. It wasn't until later games that the "Arkhamverse" truly began to emerge as a distinct, often radically different continuity. Among other things, Batman hasn't encountered Strange or Hush yet.
    • The redesigned costumes for characters such as Scarecrow and Harley Quinn are simply the villains cobbling together makeshift outfits from whatever they can find in the Asylum, with the character bios implying that they usually wear their classic comic book costumes. Starting with Arkham City, the games generally ignored this idea in favor of a uniformly "realistic" design philosophy.
    • Several of the game's bios are for characters who don't appear in the game. While some of them would make their debut in later installments, there are a fewnote  who never appear at all. In subsequent games, the only characters to get bios are the ones who directly appear in the game, or at least factor into the plot/are referenced (such as Thomas and Martha Wayne).
    • James Gordon looks and sounds significantly older here than he does in future games.
    • Joker is the only playable character other than Batman, and his gameplay appears to have been designed on Unexpectedly Realistic Gameplay due to lacking Batman's stuff; he cannot get any armor upgrades likely because he wears none in the first place, his gadget selection is extremely lackingnote  likely because he doesn't have an Utility Belt, and he even takes Fall Damage due to lacking a cape to slow him down, something that's never used in the series again. (From City onwards, even characters without any special abilities or equipment can fall any distance without any issues whatsoever).
    • While the sequels would famously have massive amounts of costumes, DLC or otherwise, here there's only one extra outfit that's unlocked by beating the game, and it can only be used in challenge maps.
    • Jack Ryder is the reporter covering events, and is treated as the main reporter for Gotham. Subsequent games have Viki Vale being Gotham's most trusted new reporter, with Ryder being a (washed up) controversial talk show host. Further, his character profile implies that Ryder has already become the Creeper, subsequent games make it clear he's just a wannabe journalist, not a vigilante.
  • Easter Egg:
    • In the medical facility, a recording plays that advertises the care that Arkham offers, and references their website. The website is no longer online, but is mirrored on the Internet Archive.
    • The site includes information about the asylum, its inmates, and secret details about the game's plot that you might not otherwise have grasped... for those with the right login...
    • This game had one of the most well hidden Easter eggs in gaming history. A secret room in the Warden's office that didn't show on the map and that you had to place three layers of explosive gel in very specific spots on the wall to blast open. It showed plans for Arkham City, the titular setting of the sequel, Batman: Arkham City. It was so well hidden that Rocksteady ultimately revealed it themselves because they were going to officially announce the sequel.
  • Eldritch Location: While affected by scarecrow's toxins, you spend most of your time in these.
  • Elite Mooks:
    • The high-security inmates (the knife guys) can block strikes as long as they aren't stunned, and the mooks with stun batons will zap you if you hit them from the front. Both also have unblockable moves.
    • The ones with the guns are worse. The others you can just flip over and attack from behind. If they have a gun, you have to sneak up on them or drop them with batarangs. However, they won't fire into crowds — a fact Batman can take advantage of by making sure the other mooks you're fighting are between you and the gunner. As well, you can chain melee attacks towards them in the process.
  • Endless Game: The Totally Insane downloadable map pits Batman against an endless army of Mooks to see how long he'll last - or how big a score he can rack up until his inevitable defeat.
  • Enemy Chatter: One of the most fun parts of the game is listening to the Mooks freaking out after you encounter them. If you listen to their conversations before you start on them, a lot of conversations delve into Even Evil Has Standards after getting the batclaw. It varies from some henchmen being less than thrilled about their friends' past exploits, getting fed up with the antics of the super villains, and one case of Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas.
    • Some of these even wander into Easter Egg territory, as there are a few bits that you'll only hear if you hang around a certain area, sometimes after doing appropriate actions.
  • Enemy-Detecting Radar: Detective Mode lets you see the glowing X-ray skeletons of people through walls; during sneaking sections this is vital. In a few cases this can be used to spoil the surprise of an inmate hiding in a box to ambush you.
  • Enemy Posturing:
    • Employed during the boss battle with Poison Ivy. Occasionally she'll open her protective glass pod just to laugh at you, and you can hit her with a batarang when she does.
    • During the final battle with Titan-infused Joker on the roof, he'll sometimes climb up one of the towers to taunt one of the police helicopters flying overhead. When he does this, you have to use the batclaw to pull him down.
  • Enhanced Punch: Batman defeats the final boss by coating his gauntlet in Explosive Gel and setting it off on impact with the boss's face.
  • Entertainingly Wrong: Listening to one of the Riddler patient tapes reveals that the Riddler is convinced that Batman is a criminal like him who steals from the criminals he apprehends to fund his operations and has bribed Commissioner Gordon to gain the police's compliance with his actions, because he's convinced that "no one is that selfless". Considering Batman's actual secret identity, it's yet more proof that the Riddler isn't quite as clever as he likes to think he is.
  • Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: One of the Joker's brutal, vicious mooks is heard to express concern that the Joker's plan involves poisoning the water supply because his mother lives near the water. The other mooks promptly laugh at him and imply his mother is an ugly whore.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Shortly after Joker releases the lunatics, one of the Blackgate Joker henchmen openly questions why Joker would do something like that. Unlike the above example, the other mooks don't hush him or mock him for saying this, implying that they agree with him.
  • Even Mooks Have Loved Ones: Some of the Mooks seem to be working for Joker out of pure fear for their families.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: The Riddler is convinced that Batman is actually a criminal posing as a hero because "no one is that selfless."
  • Everybody's Dead, Dave: Early in the game, you can find holdouts of Arkham Security or medical staff all over the island. Batman saves them from whatever peril and tells them to stay put where it's safe. This almost never works, Batman finds them dead on his next trip through the area. By the end of the game Gordon, Cash, Sharp, Batman and a handful of guards and doctors look to be the only survivors of the nights' events.
  • Everything Sensor: Detective mode, see enemies though walls, tell you if they have guns or not, isolate DNA and chemical traces, track finger prints of a certain age, identify weak walls, grapple surfaces, control boxes and air vent covers, detect shapeshifting clay monsters.
  • Evil Laugh: Joker, Scarecrow, Poison Ivy, the Riddler, Killer Croc, even Commissioner Gordon gets one! Sort of.
  • Evolving Title Screen: The title screen features Batman standing on a building ledge looking over the island and as you progress through the game not only does his cape and armor become increasingly damaged as it does in-game but he also goes from clean-shaven to a five o' clock shadow as time passes in-game.
  • Explosive Instrumentation: The control panels that Batman tampers with tend to blow up after being compromised instead of, say, just shutting down.
  • Explosive Punch: At the climax following the boss fight against the Titan enhanced Joker, Batman sprays his fist with explosive gel then punches the Joker in the face, the force detonating the gel, the explosion knocks the Joker out cold.
  • Expository Gameplay Limitation: Several examples:
    • The game's intro sequence combines this with Scenic-Tour Level, as Batman can only walk forwards while following the Joker through the asylum.
    • The game forces Batman to walk slowly when communicating with Oracle via his earpiece. This doubles as Dynamic Loading, as noted above.
    • Finally, whenever Batman enters the Visitors' Centre, in which a Joker mannequin sits loudly mocking him, the game cuts to first person and Batman can do nothing other than walk.
  • Falling Chandelier of Doom: There's a big impressive chandelier in the asylum's library, which inevitably gets dropped. Likewise the bell in the clock tower.
  • Fission Mailed: The game at one point has Batman strapped to a chair, and the Joker shoots him in the head. The game over screen then gives you nonsensical advice: "Use the middle stick to dodge the Joker's gunshot." (Or, in the PC version, "Tilt the mouse." or "Press the any key.") The game gives another clue to how this is Fission Mailed: No villain appears to deliver a one-liner like in all other game over screens. And when you eventually hit Retry, the scene is completely different. Batman's death in this scene turns out to be a fourth wall breaking Scarecrow toxin hallucination.
  • Flash of Pain: When Batman takes damage, the screen goes black and white and gets significantly darker for a moment. When he is shot at, the screen goes red.
  • Flunky Boss: Most of the boss battles are structured like this. The actual bosses only take a handful of Action Commands to KO but in between each sequence they get hordes of Mooks to screen for them. Despite being heavily used, this works quite well.
  • Fluorescent Footprints: Available during Detective Mode.
  • Foe Romance Subtext: Batman and Poison Ivy have a lot of this throughout the game. Although it's partly because Ivy is The Vamp, she comes off as very interested in the Dark Knight and even has Orgasmic Combat with him.
    Poison Ivy: Are you ready for me? Do you think you can handle me?
  • Foe-Tossing Charge: Rare occurrence of the Ally Tossing Charge. When the Titan Henchmen charge at Batman, they will plow through every mook in their way, knocking them down.
  • Force-Field Door: Many of the doors have electrical force fields in front of them to keep Batman from getting through.
  • Foregone Conclusion: Dr. Sarah Cassidy spends the first two Zsasz tapes interviewing him, only for him to develop an unhealthy fixation on her and be transferred to another doctor's care. In the last tape, Zsasz is right outside Cassidy's door, waiting for her to answer the door...but she's one of the doctors Batman rescues in the Medical Center early on, so everything turned out alright.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Many characters who are never seen, but leave traces of themselves behind as Riddles, go on to have major roles in the sequel. For example, the player can find Catwoman's whip and goggles on display in a glass case, Mr. Freeze's, Two-Face's and Clayface's cells, a series of case files written by Hugo Strange, and a duty schedule that lists Dr. Thomas "Hush" Elliot as an employee. Ra's al-Ghul's corpse even shows up in the morgue, only to vanish when the player returns.
    • For the game itself, at one point, a security guard angrily tells Joker as he's being taken back to Arkham that he'll pay for the deaths of three of his friends from the previous escape, only for Joker to be shocked that he only managed to kill three, and state that he'll try to improve by killing 100 more people the next time he escapes. By the time of the end of the game, he did kill well over 100 people at Arkham.
    • While rescuing Dr. Young you can hear her telling the mooks to let her speak directly to Joker, a seemingly unwise demand that you wouldn't expect from a garden-variety hostage. But you might expect it from someone who had unwittingly done business with him and wants to try resolving such an incriminating situation quietly and privately.
    • Finding the penultimate Riddler trophy, Batman will punch in coordinates on his scanning device, indicating that thanks to the Riddler prattling on and on about how stupid Batman is, Batman has triangulated his position.
    • Throughout the game you can optionally go to the Visitor's Center for some additional dialogue from Joker via a mannequin of him with a television for a head. The entire area is in first person which limits your field of vision and prevents you from using any gadgets or detective vision. After you turn around to leave if you turn back around and look at the mannequin again it's position will be slightly shifted because it's not a mannequin, it really is The Joker sitting perfectly still with a TV on his head.
    • During the beginning sequence, the Joker greets one of the Arkham Asylum guards, Frank Boles, as if he is an old friend, calling him Frankie and asking him how his wife and kids are. While this is initially treated as just the Joker being his usually affable self, it also subtly foreshadows Frank's actual allegiance, as later on in the game, it's revealed that he had been secretly working for the Joker and assisting him in his plans behind the backs of the other guards (until he was later killed by Joker).
  • The Fourth Wall Will Not Protect You: At the third encounter with Scarecrow, the entire game seems to crash. It's actually the fear toxin who plays on the player's fear: the console/PC crashing or freezing.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: More of a meta example, but still present in The Riddler, who managed to be a legitimately terrifying villain in this game. And then there's the riddle he tells Dr. Young.
  • Game-Breaking Bug:
    • There is one case of this being done intentionally, as in order to combat pirating for the PC version of the game, the developers added a glitch that prevents Batman from gliding. This makes it impossible to get past a room filled with poison gas. An employee of Eidos is quoted to have said this to an unsuspecting gamer complaining about the problem.
      It's not a bug in the game's code, it's a bug in your moral code.
    • A genuine example is how there's a bug that randomly corrupts your savegame, which infuriatingly has a chance to trigger after completing the game at 100%, losing hours of progress.
  • Game-Over Man: If you get killed as Batman, you get Joker (for failing on his or Zsasz's segments), Harley Quinn, Bane, Scarecrow, Poison Ivy or Killer Croc, depending on how you died. If you get killed as Joker, it's either Aaron Cash or Batman himself.
  • Genre-Busting: It's a bit hard to classify, having elements from stealth, beat-'em-up, RPG, survival horror, and Metroidvania games, not to mention the rhythm game style of combat.
  • Genre Savvy: Penelope Young displays a bit. When Joker tries his Multiple-Choice Past nonsense and says his dad was a cop who fell victim to Retirony, she interrupts him by saying, "No, I've seen that movie. Let's move on."
  • Giant Mook: Titan Henchmen.
  • Giant Poofy Sleeves: Harley Quinn's outfit.
  • Gigantic Moon: The game has an absolutely massive full moon hovering over Arkham Island, large enough to frame the Bat's face inside of it with your camera. It doesn't actually do anything, it's just for atmosphere. It's also backwards. The sequel continues the overly large moon trend.
  • Girlish Pigtails: Harley Quinn, as part of her bouncy Genki Girl persona.
  • Glass Cannon: The Joker, in the PS3 and Nintendo Switch exclusive mode where you play as him. This is because, unlike Batman, he's got no problem with using lethal force. He can actually shoot people, and carries some very deadly explosive teeth. He's a lot less bullet-resistant than Batman, though.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: Batman under the influence of Fear Toxin-for players with a little of Batman's cunning, this is the first clue something is wrong. Scarecrow, always.
  • Good Is Not Nice: Early on, Batman saves a thug dangling over a pit of deadly Joker Gas. He then punches the thug unconscious right on the spot. POW.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: One of the Arkham guards has an extremely noticeable facial scar. He turns out to be less than trustworthy. Plus, Zsasz.
  • Good Smoking, Evil Smoking: Commissioner Gordon gets the "fatherly" variety of good smoking, with a pipe and tobacco. Then when he's kidnapped, he drops the pipe on the ground and regularly drops bits of tobacco as he's carried off, leaving a trail for Batman to follow.
  • Goomba Stomp: Although rare (i.e. there's no automatic function allowing you to do a takedown this way), landing directly on top of a thug will knock down and stun them. One of the challenge rooms actually requires you to do this.
  • Gratuitous Latin: There's plenty of Latin inscribed on walls.
  • Gratuitous Spanish: Bane refers to Dr. Young as THE BRUJA!
  • Grievous Harm with a Body: The Titan Henchmen throw unconscious mooks at you. You can also throw mooks at other mooks as part of a combo.
  • Groin Attack:
    • One of Joker's Stealth Takedowns has him punting a guard in the nuts from behind.
    • Batman gets in the act too. Some of his counter attacks target the groin. The ground takedown can also glitch how Bats and a henchman are positioned, so while the attack is supposed to be in the face, it can hit the back of the head, the butt, or well, anywhere.
    • Another counter/finisher involves Bats catching a mook's high-kicking leg, lifting even higher, then driving his knee right inna nerts. You will wince with sympathy, even you ladies.
    • If the mook has a stun baton and you use the combo takedown, Batman throws the guy to the ground, grabs the baton, then drives it right into his sack. Ouch!
    • And while this might be due more to the angle of the camera, when you break through Scarecrow's final illusion, the ray from the Bat-Signal fires right into his crotch. No wonder he's screaming.
  • Growing Muscles Sequence: Happens to those injected with Titan. And quickly turns into Body Horror immediately afterwards.
  • The Guards Must Be Crazy: The Gun wielding mooks, in more ways than one. In the stealth parts of the game, they can be incredibly idiotic. Batman can break open grates and choke hold mooks at arm's reach of the other guards without being detected.
    • The Arkham Guard Staff themselves are incredibly lousy. Not only did they utterly fail to hold off against any of Joker's unarmed goons, even after managing to reform after his initial breakout, but the security system of the entire island was completely compromised by Joker with the help of just two insiders, both of whom appeared to be relatively incompetent. What makes it even more frustrating is that a lot of the higher ups knew Joker was up to something.
    • More than once the Joker addresses this.
      "He's in the middle of the room. The middle. In plain view. Do you guys need glasses!?!"
  • Guide Dang It!:
    • Riddler really put out some fiendish puzzles. Even if you find all his maps, working out where his "Spot the invisible-ink Riddler Question Mark" solutions are can be really hard if you don't have spectacular observational skills.
    • Some Joker Teeth are hard to find. In particular, there's the ones located on the second floor of the Warden's office. It's not obvious that his office even HAS two floors, considering there are no stairs or elevators that go up there.
    • The Riddler himself lampshades this. When you've completed most of his challenges, he angrily accuses you of cheating by "looking them up on the internet".
    • Some riddles become much harder to resolve in non-English versions of the game, thanks to some untranslatable puns being badly translated. For instance, Arkham North has "Tweedledum and Tweedledee SAW it, can you SEE it?", which is resolved by looking at, well, a nearby see-saw. The French version translates it literally (with exactly the same emphasis on the verb "see"), but the answer is almost impossible to guess because the French words for "to see" and "see-saw" are completely unrelated.note 
  • G.I.R.L.: In the Alternate Reality Game, Dr. Wendi Maga turns out to be The Riddler.
  • Harmless Electrocution: Batman not taking damage from electric fields could be hand-waved as his suit dissipating it (or him being, y'know, Batman,) but apparently Gordon can also take being strapped to an electric chair and repeatedly jolted, and still be fit for duty.
  • Have a Nice Death: Specialized game over screens, based on how and where you died.
  • Heal Thyself: A rather unique variant: Batman's health refills based on how much XP he's generated, either by fighting or by finding the Riddler's collectibles. So the better you do, the more health you get back. If you're playing really well, you may not even need that health boost at all.
  • Hell Is That Noise: Batman himself causes this in the thugs sent to stop him, especially as their numbers dwindle lower and lower by a seemingly invisible assailant. Experiment with the Batarangs for the greatest effect.
  • Helpless Window Death: At the start of the game, Batman is watching from a control room window as the Joker is moved through to processing, only for the new patient to suddenly free himself and kill both his guards. Batman is eventually able to batter his way through the security glass, but by then, the Joker has already escaped the area and released the rest of his gang from their cells.
  • Heroic Willpower:
    • He's shot with Titan and Batman still doesn't go Ax-Crazy, and holds it off long enough to inject himself with the antidote!
    • Batman's fighting off the effects of Scarecrow's injected toxin, a dosage apparently potent enough to drive ten men insane!
    • The in-game character bios give this as the reason why Batman can shrug off Poison Ivy's pheromones. You get Ivy's bio before either of the above examples, thus creating a minor bit of Foreshadowing.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: The risk of becoming evil while chasing evil is a theme the Batman franchise enjoys pursuing.
    • Quincy Sharp. After he had spent years amongst the Asylum and their inmates, his mind had slowly turned murderous and insane, developing another secret personality: "The Spirit of Arkham". Before the events of the game, he had tried to kill Joker in his cell (failed badly), and had thought of lobotomizing Harley and burning Ivy alive.
    • Joker keeps trying to invoke this trope on Batman, and gets increasingly angry when Batman refuses to surrender to madness/murderous urges/ actual Titan monster serum.
  • Hyperspace Utility Belt: How many freaking batarangs does Batman have in that thing?

  • If You're So Evil, Eat This Kitten!: At one point, you can hear one of Joker's goons telling his buddies about how Joker told him to kill his sister to prove his loyalty. He did so with zero regrets, since he never liked her. Another mook one-ups him, saying that Joker made the same request of him even though he doesn't have a sister, but Joker wouldn't leave him alone. So what did he do? Get in his car and run over the first woman he saw.
    Thug: Joker seemed happy. *shrugs*
  • I'll Never Tell You What I'm Telling You!: After being defeated, Harley Quinn taunts Batman about the Joker's location:
    Harley: You'll never find him! He's in a secret lab in the gardens and... aw, crap!
    Batman: Yeah, I know.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: Tick, tock, here comes the Croc. Cash happens to have gotten his hand bitten off, and in his patient interviews, Croc makes constant mention of his cannibalistic tendencies.
  • I Meant to Do That: When you find the first few Riddler trophies and / or solve the first few riddles, the Riddler will respond along the lines of this, usually with a snide jab at how he expected you to find it much sooner. Considering that it doesn't take him very long to get rather annoyed when you find more of them, this probably isn't true.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: Averted. Getting into a direct fight with armed mooks is practically suicide.
  • Improperly Placed Firearms: Firefly's weapon, seen in a cabinet as one of The Riddler's puzzles, is played by a WW2-era US M2 flamethrower.
  • In Case of Boss Fight, Break Glass: Poison Ivy. Considering she's a plant, it could have simply been a transparent membrane.
  • Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain: Okay, maybe she isn't entirely useless, but Harley was defeated pretty easily by Batman. Admit it: you felt a bit sorry for her when she was crying in her cell. Till you turn on Detective Mode and see she's perfectly calm while crying. And stealing glances every few seconds to see if you're still watching.
  • Institutional Apparel: Most of the appearing villains (and almost all the Mooks), who have gone out of their way to recreate their iconic getups using whatever they can find in the Asylum.
    • Zsasz and Croc wear orange prison pants with no shirt, while Ivy simply wears an open orange jacket.
    • The Blackgate Prisoners wear dirty gray scrubs with or without the pants.
    • High Security Henchmen wear orange jumpsuits with chains, and also wear masks.
    • Aslyum Lunatics wear white scrubs with belts, with tight masks on their faces.
  • Intercom Villainy:
    • Throughout the entire game, the player hears the Joker mocking Batman over Arkham Asylum's intercom and making announcements as if the Joker really was the asylum's warden. He ends up with more dialogue than Batman because of this.
    • The Riddler isn't actually in the asylum, so the player only encounters him in calls he makes as Batman collects more of his trophies. This culminates in him being arrested by the police while he's on call with Batman.
  • Interface Screw: Featured in all of the Scarecrow segments, such as keeping Batman from running and disabling Detective Mode. The game "freezes" at one point and "restarts" the intro sequence with Joker and Batman's roles reversed in the third one.
    • A minor one occurs during several of the boss fights, where the view changes from a free-moving camera to a fixed third-person camera. This can cause some muscle memory issues for players unprepared for them.
  • Interface Spoiler:
    • The game is one of those that tells you the name of an area before you enter it, so just before Scarecrow's second fear-gas trip there's a split second where it tells you that your location is Wayne Manor before you actually see it.
    • The Visitor's Center. It's the only place on the island where you are locked into first person view and can't use any gadgets, suggesting that it will be significant later. Indeed it is.
    • The first time you are infected with the fear toxin it's not immediately obvious apart from the slight coughing and the Red Eyes, Take Warning, but if you use detective vision and pan over Gordon's 'corpse' it identifies him as 'unknown'. The fact that he's recognizable as Gordon when everyone else in Detective Mode is a blue skeleton is also suspicious.
  • Invisible Wall: The security force fields. There are also Invisible Walls which prevent you from killing mooks, e.g. by throwing them off a high ledge onto solid ground, or into electrified water.
  • Ironic Echo: Batman's Scarecrow-induced hallucination features a few of these, as it is essentially the game's introduction with the roles reversed.
  • Is This Thing On?: Spoken word for word by Harley Quinn when talking to Batman through the monitor system.
  • It Was a Dark and Stormy Night: The game starts with this. It clears up by the time you get back outside, with a little bit more once Batman glides into the Arkham Batcave.
  • Jiggle Physics: Harley Quinn. It isn't too noticeable, but it is there, which arguably makes this a much more realistic use of the trope.
  • Journey to the Center of the Mind: Scarecrow's segments. Combined with terror and Mind Screw and played up to perfection.
  • Just Eat Him: Actually, if Croc does get a hold of you, he does just eat you, and it's game over.
  • Just One Man:
    The Joker: Come on boys! He's just one man! One man dressed like a lunatic and armed to the teeth. [maniacal giggle] Go get him!
  • Knight Templar: The Spirit of Arkham. Also known as Quincy Sharp.
  • Laughing Mad: We ARE talking about the Joker, after all.
  • Large Ham: Most, if not all, of the villains. Justified considering that the vast majority of them are insane.
  • Last Lousy Point: The Joker Teeth can become this if the player doesn't take out each set as soon as possible since they don't show up even if the player collects Riddler's maps.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Some of the enemy taunts in the game could apply just as well to the player as to Batman:
    • As the Riddler starts growing more and more incredulous at the number of his challenges you've completed, he at one point makes the following comment:
      Riddler: What? You're nearly done? Are you cheating? Looking them up on the internet? Tell me!
    • When you visit the visitor's centre for the first time, the Joker asks Batman what his identity is and why he fights. However, it seems like the question was more directed toward the player, rather than Batman himself. The fact that this sequence forces the camera into first person lends credence to that idea.
      Joker: Come in! Sit down! Take off your mask! So Bats, I was thinking: you could really use a friend in here. Someone to talk to, share secrets with. Shall we start with the big one? Who is that behind the mask? Why do you feel the need to go out into the world and fight people like me? Do you really think you can win? We'll see...
    • A very subtle example at the end of Killer Croc's level. Right before you detonate the gel to take Croc out Batman shouts "Now!". Who exactly is he talking to? Himself? Or... the player?
  • Leitmotif:
    • Batman has his "Detective Theme," best described as "inspirational, yet grim."
    • The Joker and his minions have an unpleasant-sounding brass fanfare.
    • Poison Ivy has a creepy chorus and string music.
    • Scarecrow's nightmare world always has the same disturbing ambient track with its Cherubic Choir.
    • Killer Croc tends to appear in a burst of drums and string chords designed to startle you. This particular Leitmotif is very helpful, because otherwise you would be startled when Killer Croc ate you.
  • Let's Split Up, Gang!: The henchmen in the stealth segments tend to do that, even though being alone makes them more vulnerable. "Spread out and find the Bat!"
  • Lighter and Softer: Oh, don't get it backwards, this game is pretty dark. That being said, the comic book from which it takes inspiration, Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth is often considered to be the darkest most macabre Batman comics ever, featuring cannibalism, pedophilia, rape, corpophilia and such. This game does semi-adapt some of its elements and themes, but doesn't feature things like Mad Dog Hawkins raping and cannibalising Arkham's wife and daughter (And Arkham later eating them too), Batman self-harming with a glass shard through his hand, the Mad Hatter being blatantly implied to be a pedophile or Killer Croc and Batman's gory and brutal fight. The videogame also heavily tones down the psychological, religious and philosophical subtext that characterises Grant Morrison's works, making it far easier to understand.
  • Made of Iron: The explosive gel can demolish walls and send mooks flying. Batman? He flinches slightly and looks irritated, and loses no health at all.
  • Madness Mantra: Zsasz in one of the interviews.
    "... cutting and cutting and cutting and cutting..."
  • Magic Pants: The venom/Titan mutants and Joker Titan are (thankfully) wearing these.
  • Male Gaze: Used with Harley and Poison Ivy. The latter could be considered part of her powers but the former is clearly just fanservice as she herself points out.
  • The Many Deaths of You: You can get any number of game over screens depending on which villain you're fighting and how often you die.
  • Masked Luchador: This version of Bane has the look.
  • Master of Unlocking: Batman becomes one after getting the warden's keycard.
  • Megaton Punch: On Joker when Batman delivers the final blow. With a helping of explosive gel.
  • Metroidvania: As if the game needed something else to make it awesome, it's set in an interconnected world with hidden items where some progression is based on movement upgrades. It's Batroid!
  • Mind Rape: Every encounter with Scarecrow. Often accompanied by Interface Screw.
  • Mind Screw: The Scarecrow pulls this in-game, on both Batman and the player. See Fission Mailed above. At least Bats coughing gives it away, or Eternal Darkness would get a serious run for its money on the oh-crap-did-my-console-break side of things. There's a particularly famous example, which imitates a PC/console crash, that has spooked a significant chunk of the playerbase before they realise what's going on.
  • Mission Control: Oracle serves this function, just like in the comics. It's also inverted: Joker does this for his mooks. He's quite unhelpful and worsens their overall morale at times.
  • Mission Control Is Off Its Meds: The Joker to his minions.
  • Monster Clown: The Joker, as usual. And his face-painted mooks, though not nearly at the same order of magnitude. Once the Joker gets the Titan formula working, Batman starts encountering literal monster clowns.
  • Mood-Swinger: The Riddler. While he generally undergoes a gradual Villainous Breakdown in his appearances in the main plot, his tapes reveal that one minute, he's as charming as an Insufferable Genius can be, while the next minute, he's screaming and ranting. In the final tape, Dr. Young even admits that she can't handle his violent mood-swings and is just pawning him off to another doctor's care.
  • Mook Chivalry: Downplayed. When you drop in on a group of unarmed mooks, they will surround you and just stand there until one attacks on his own. Eventually, though, they work up the nerve to gang up on you; they don't attack simultaneously but it's downright common for one mook to try and hit you in the back of the head with a baseball bat while you're engaged with another. Fortunately, the combat system is incredibly smooth, and allows for seamless transitions from fighting one enemy to another.
    • During the special attacks, the mooks will politely wait for Batman to finish up before continuing the fight. Titan henchman, however, do not give a damn (or are too stupid to give a damn) about this.
  • Mook Horror Show: Those poor bastards, having to go against a shadow who can easily thin out their numbers without them noticing.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Harley Quinn with her Naughty Nurse Outfit. And yes, Poison Ivy's being a hot green-skinned redhead wearing only a prison shirt and leaf underwear definitely counts.
  • Multiple Endings: Sort of. The Stinger has either Scarecrow, Bane, or Killer Croc reaching out of the water and grasping a crate of Titan.
  • Multi-Mook Melee: Particularly with the various brawling challenge modes.
  • The Joker briefly thinks of doing this (or at least floats the idea around).
  • Mysterious Backer: In Road to Arkham, a prequel tie-in comic to Arkham Asylum, Batman notes that all three of his captures (including The Joker) were given via anonymous tips, and he has a gut feeling that they are from the same person, asking Oracle to go over the tips. Who the anonymous tipster was is unknown, although evidence from this game as well as the sequel implies that it is either Quincy Sharp, Professor Strange, or Ra's Al Ghul.
  • Mythology Gag: The game uses items and details all across the various Batman incarnations, and the following is a brief sampling of what they put in: A list of most, if not all of these
    • Titan Joker looks a lot like like the Joker on Venom, as he appears in The Batman.
    • Joker's like "You little minx! I could never stay mad at you" also comes from The Batman (with minx replacing imp).
    • Harley's interview tapes are direct quotes of her backstory flashback The New Batman Adventures episode "Mad Love".
    • During the scenes where she breaks out Ivy, Harley can be heard humming some of her theme from Batman The Animated Series.
    • The musical notes that play before each intercom sounds like a piece from the score of Batman: Mask of the Phantasm when we see an exterior shot of Frye's office building before the Joker attacks him.
    • As Joker is wheeled into the scanning device, he refers to Arkham as his Ha-Ha-Hacienda, which was the name of a secret lair he had built under his cell in Arkham in his short-lived comic series.
    • During the last Scarecrow hallucination, we see that one of the things that scares Batman is seeing himself munching on a rat.
    • There's a digital sign in the medical building that mentions "Dr. Clooney", a reference to actor George Clooney, who played Batman in the infamous Batman & Robin, as well as his famous role on ER.
    • At one point while Harley is torturing Warden Sharp, she silences him saying "Quiet, or mama spank!" referencing this memetic golden age panel.
  • Naughty Nurse Outfit: Harley trades in her usual jester catsuit and motley hat for a fetish nurse outfit when she becomes the de-facto administrator.
  • Near-Miss Groin Attack: Gives a Good Bad Bug in which the titular hero can occasionally give a near Groin Attack to some random Mooks, but it isn't for relief on the audience's part. While the mook will go down, looking at him with Detective Mode afterwards will show he's unconscious; since real groin attacks don't cause unconsciousness, it's easy to headcanon, as per the Fridge page, Batman using a self-defence technique which injures the pelvis to make it painful to stand and impossible to walk.
  • Never Found the Body: Bane, Killer Croc and Scarecrow. All three survived.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: The game's ad campaign was based entirely around stealth, to the point where it gave the impression that Batman had snuck onto the island and had to spend the entire game in the shadows, lest the Joker blow up those bombs of his.
    • Also, several of the "character" trailers significantly over-represented the characters they referred to. This was especially the case for the Harley Quinn trailer, which foreshadowed a fight between Harley and Batman; in the actual game, Batman defeats Harley in a single blow at the moment immediately after the trailer cut out.
  • New Powers as the Plot Demands /Strong as They Need to Be: When Batman needs a new piece of equipment to get around, he gets it from the Arkham Batcave, the Batmobile, and the Batwing. When the suicide collars are added to the mix, the Sonic Batarang can be enabled, meaning he had them, but didn't use them. Likewise, Batman always had the Cryptographic Sequencer on him, but he needed the warden's codes to make it work. Strangely enough, he never gets one thing that would really help, despite it being standard equipment for several other versions of Batman; a gas mask, though there's an argument to be made that if it was realistic it wouldn't be much use.
  • No Ontological Inertia: Averted: Once you defeat Poison Ivy, the giant vines she sent out will wither and die, thus no longer blocking you from the last Riddler trophies, but they'll still be around. In a more mundane example, if you intend to keep playing after the main storyline to track down Riddler trophies and such, you best not forget about the explosives planted on gargoyles. They are still there and are one of the few things that can kill you.
    • All the Titan-enhanced people, after growing to something like five times normal size and having their vertebrae force their way through the skin of their backs, all change back to normal after the game. However, the sequel makes it clear that doing this causes some serious long-term health problems.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Riddler's voice and physical appearance is based heavily on Neil Patrick Harris.
  • Non-Fatal Explosions: Explosive Gel.
  • Non Sequitur Environment: Whenever Scarecrow's fear gas shows up, hallucinations cause environments to fuse and blend with very little logic: after being startled by a jumpscare in the morgue, Batman looks up to find that the room has begun to dissolve into a nightmarish jumble of platforms suspended above a maelstrom. Later, another dose of toxin sends him on a flashback to the death of Thomas and Martha Wayne, resulting in the corridor ahead slowly transforming into the alley where they were shot; when he finally recovers from this latest trip, he finds that he's somehow ended up inside the clock tower of the main building - an area that was inaccessible up until now.
  • Nothing Is Scarier:
    • In Killer Croc's lair, there's no music until he finds you... but there is plenty of ambient noise, including his breathing.
    • One Riddler Trophy in the Penitentiary has you walk past a lunatic behind glass to use a Cryptographic Sequencer panel. You'd expect him to break out of the glass as a Jump Scare... but he never does, just staring at you and breathing heavily. The fact he was put there as a Contest Winner Cameo doesn't really lessen the unnerving feeling he gives off.
    • You can spend the post-game going through Arkham getting all the stuff you missed. Except it is almost completely abandoned.
  • Not Distracted by the Sexy: Batman, in relation to Harley and Poison Ivy.
  • "Not So Different" Remark: In the patient tapes, the Riddler's convinced that Batman's a criminal like he is, he just steals from other criminals and bribes the cops. Joker's interviews reveal he has much the same attitude towards Batman; that he's as crazy as anyone else in Arkham, but he's got everyone fooled into believing he's a hero.
  • Of Corsets Sexy: Harley Quinn wears one as part of her outfit.
  • Offhand Backhand: Thanks to the combat system, it's pretty simple to take down a mook who's trying to hit you from behind and look stylish while doing it. Batman pulls off the classic version seen about once an episode in Batman: The Animated Series on a mook in a custcene towards the end. At the end, it happens not once, not twice, but three times. You'd think those inmates would learn eventually.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • You cause this in the Mooks, but you also cause it to Scarecrow when you beat the last of his challenges.
      Scarecrow: You just ingested enough toxin to drive 10 men insane! What are you?
    • When you confront Scarecrow again in the sewer, he'll threaten to poison the Gotham River, but when Bats approaches anyway, Scarecrow backs away.
    • Also, in the ending, if you look closely, Titan Joker sees the explosive gel on Batman's glove right as the punch connects.
  • One-Winged Angel: Titan Joker.
  • Optional Stealth: In most of the areas, if you feel lucky, you can bring down all of the nearby mooks with overt means. However, stealth is safer, especially when gun-toting enemies are around.
  • Orgasmic Combat: Poison Ivy's moans of pain and the whole imagery during her boss battle are strongly vaginal.
  • Out-Gambitted: The entire game is a battle of wits between Batman and Joker. For example, when Joker breaks loose, he has corrupt guard Frank Boles kidnap Gordon just to keep Batman from following him—and then has Boles killed to keep Batman from tracking the whiskey on his breath to Gordon's location. Even when Batman avoids having Harley drop an elevator on him and manages to pick up another trail thanks to Gordon leaving his pipe behind, Harley puts up a security gate so Batman can't go through the main entrance. Even when Batman does find a way in, Joker sics the Scarecrow on him to slow him down. And when that doesn't work, Joker instructs Harley to kill Gordon if any of the goons guarding the room are taken out. And when even that doesn't work, Joker unleashes a Titan-powered Bane to break Batman. And that still doesn't work. Really, Joker's gambits keep failing because he underestimated how determined Batman would be to stop him.
  • Painting the Medium: Certain attacks have medium-painting effects; for instance, when Batman takes damage from electricity, the screen develops interference patterns as if there were actually an electrical discharge nearby. Also, at one point in the game, there's a dramatic graphical glitch and then the game restarts from the opening cinematic — with certain... disturbing... differences. It's another fear gas attack from the Scarecrow.
    • Destroying one of Poison Ivy's killer plants causes goop to fly everywhere, with some of it getting on the "camera".
    • Similarly, walking through the waterfall in the Batcave makes water cover the "camera."
  • Patrolling Mook: Later in the game, Mooks will have devices on them that alert each other if they are knocked out, causing the rest to be more cautious and more scared.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: While it's the event that truly marks his decent into madness, Amadeus Arkham's torturing and killing of one of his patients comes off more as this than a Moral Event Horizon thanks to the fact that said patient was a truly insane man who raped and killed Amadeus' wife and daughter, then after Amadeus' sincere and at first seemingly successful attempts to help the man and cure his madness kills one of the Asylum's secretaries just as he's about to be released.
  • Personal Space Invader: The Arkham lunatics.
  • Perky Female Minion: Harley, as always, but now even moreso thanks to her costume redesign.
  • Player Headquarters: Batman has a Batcave installed on Arkham Island, in prepartion for a stituation such as one that occurs in the game. However, it really only fits this trope from a story standpoint, as there's no benefit to visiting it outside of certain story events, as it doesn't provide any of the usual benefits like health restoration or saving.
  • Playing with Syringes: Doctor Young creates Titan, a reverse-engineered Venom. That doesn't require the bulky equipment Bane needs. And planned on using it on Arkham patients. What Could Possibly Go Wrong?
    • Also, Scarecrow, who has what can only be described as a syringe glove.
  • Plot-Irrelevant Villain: To an extent, Bane: he shows up once to fight Batman and gets taken down for good in the next cutscene. He has a greater indirect role in the plot, however, in that it's his blood that Titan's being made from and Joker starts making to Hulk-out all of Gotham.
  • Police Are Useless: The GCPD's main role in this game is to quarantine Arkham Island, and to arrest all surviving villains at the end of the game. They aren't even visible until the end cutscene. Island-side, Arkham's security demonstrates a complete inability to stand up to armed criminals and mutants. Looking back, it's actually kind of funny that The Joker escapes from them as soon as he's more than thirty feet away from Batman.
  • Power Born of Madness: It's heavily implied that the reason why the Joker retained his mind shortly after injecting himself with the Titan serum is precisely because he lacked sanity to begin with.
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner: The Joker, when he is about to deliver the fatal headshot to Batman, leading to Fission Mailed in the Scarecrow's final Mind Screw segment:
    The Joker: Let's get this party started. With a bang!]]
  • Prison Level: Much of the game qualifies as this, being set in the infamous madhouse. A good number of the levels are meant to be holding areas for the prisoners Batman faces.
  • Properly Paranoid: Batman worries that the Joker is up to something when he realizes that he isn't worried about being taken to Arkham Asylum. It then becomes apparent that he was plotting to release the other prisoners from Arkham Asylum all along. And that's simply the beginning.
  • Psycho Serum: Titan.

  • Railing Kill: Well, Railing Bonk, anyway. In the event that the railing is really high up off the ground, Batman thoughtfully attaches a bungee cord to one of their legs as he smacks their head into the railing and tosses them over the side so they won't die.
  • Red Shirt Army: Taken to absurdly idiotic levels with the Arkham Guards.
    • Arguably even more so with the Blackgate inmates. The guards can't stop an army of murderous felons, but those same felons can't even stop what is ultimately, as Joker himself lampshades, just one man.
  • Reckless Pacifist: Given all the terrible, terrible things you can do to enemies in this game, it's amazing that Batman doesn't kill anyone by accident.
  • Reptiles Are Abhorrent: Well, actually Croc's just a human with a "skin condition", but he is definitely reptile-like, and very, very abhorrent. A really bad skin condition. It is possible that, like in the comics from 2003 onwards, he's meant to have been infected with a virulent mutagen that's made his condition even worse, but the game is silent, as Batman is more concerned how Croc wants to use his femur as a toothpick.
  • Retirony: In a recording of one of the Joker's patient interviews, his doctor asks him about his childhood, and he claims that his father was a cop, who was a week away from retirement when — but we don't get to find out what happened then, because at this point the Dr. Young decides that he's just making it up (she's seen that movie already), and changes the subject.
  • Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves: Guard Boles. It's also You Have Outlived Your Usefulness but there is an undercurrent of this. Though The Joker would certainly have killed him no matter what he did.
  • Rewarding Vandalism: If you want to solve all of the Riddler's riddles, you're going to be destroying a lot of walls and security terminals. In addition, a lot of takedown moves involve breaking through walls, windows, ceilings, and floors. Batman isn't known for arbitrary property damage, and there are more conventional boxes and such around, but they are either indestructible or cannot be interacted with.
  • Riddle of the Sphinx: Referenced in gruesome fashion by the Riddler in one interview tape: he claims the answer is "a baby", because it walks around on four limbs, but it walks on only two if you cut off its legs and three if you give it a crutch. When asked how he could make such a sick joke, the Riddler calmly responds "It's not my baby."
  • Rise from Your Grave: Batman does this after the Joker shoots him in the forehead and the player chooses to retry in the fake "Game Over" scene, all in the Scarecrow's final Mind Screw segment.
  • Room Full of Crazy: It's Arkham Asylum. Individual rooms full of crazy can be found for bad guys such as Two-Face, the Calendar Man, Maxie Zeus and the Riddler, amongst others. Seems the inmates like to decorate their cells.
  • RPG Elements: You gain experience when you beat enemies or explore around, and when you level up, you can choose between different upgrades such as getting a new combo, getting more health, upgrading your gadgets, etc. It's firmly in the territory of this trope as there's no need for specialization: by the end of the game (assuming you've been following the Riddler challenges) you'll have enough experience for every upgrade in the game and then some.
  • Sanity Slippage: The Spirit Of Arkham messages, for both Amadeus and Sharp.
  • Scary Scarecrows: The Scarecrow—in addition to his fear toxin, he wears a Freddy Krueger style syringe gauntlet and looks incredibly emaciated.
  • Scenic-Tour Level: Escorting the Joker through Arkham in the intro. Interestingly enough, you can take time to talk to the people you meet during this part and learn some new things you wouldn't otherwise. Killer Croc used to be a drug dealer before he mutated, and when he's moved through Arkham, he's pumped full of tranquilizers.
  • Schrödinger's Gun: In the morgue, during the first Scarecrow hallucination, you are confronted with three body bags. Whatever order you open them in, the contents are always Bruce's father, then his mother, and finally Scarecrow. Probably justified given that it's a hallucination. Also, no matter what order you collect the audio tapes in, they are always the next one in the set. Same goes for the Spirit of Arkham messages.
  • Sequel Hook:
    • During the ending, there's a news report of Two-Face's robbing a bank, to which Batman presumably flies. Also, The Stinger has Bane, Croc, or Scarecrow's hand (chosen randomly) getting hold of the Titan formula.
    • Also, take a close look at Ra's al-Ghul's body bag in Dr. Young's office before and after beating the game.
    • And Tommy Elliot, AKA Hush, is a doctor at Arkham.note 
    • After finding all the Spirit of Arkham messages, go back to the room where you left Warden Sharp for his own safety. The room is empty, and has the word "Batman" scribbled all over the floor.
    • Go to the warden's office, as seen here. The middle section of the wall can be blown down with multiple gel charges, revealing a secret room with blue prints and photos providing a sneak peek at the sequel.
  • Sequence Breaking:
    • After fighting some thugs in the Arkham Mansion library, you go down the stairs to see the Joker gloat as there are poor people hostage. You can, however, go straight to their rescue after beating up the thugs, and the Joker will call you out on it. You don't even have to beat up the thugs: you can grapple up as soon as you enter the room in which case the Joker will berate his mooks for not even being a distraction and summarily dismiss them. Which incidentally sidesteps the possibility of Batman killing them by dropping a ridiculously large chandelier on their heads.
    • There's actually several places where scenes play out differently if you try to Sequence Break, usually if you try to enter a building through the front door. Harley (or several other thugs) will be safe behind a forcefield and taunt Batman. It's particularly delicious to get the drop on the ones who were taunting you moments earlier. Especially since they're relating the incident (and Batman just up and leaving) to their disbelieving companions.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: Despite all the trouble Batman went through to get the spores needed to make a Titan antidote, including finding a way into Killer Croc's lair and tangling with Croc in the process, only one vial is made before his Arkham Batcave is trashed by Poison Ivy's plants, and Batman ends up using that single dose on himself after taking a shot Joker aimed at Gordon. What's more, the effects of the Titan formula end up being temporary and everyone it was used on ends up returning to normal after a few hours.
  • Shapeshifting Sound:
    • People who have been given a dose of TITAN undergo a horrific Growing Muscles Sequence with a series of loud, visceral crunching noises, as is the case with Bane, several of Joker's mooks, and very briefly, Batman himself.
    • It's possible to stumble upon Basil Karlo AKA Clayface caged inside a hermetically-sealed cell and disguised as either Aaron Cash or Quincy Sharp, begging for you to let him out. Turning your back on him will result in a distinctive oozing sound effect, and by the time you turn back, he's transformed into another character.
  • Shell-Shock Silence: Batman experiences one of these near the end of the game, after the Joker triggers his booby-trap.
  • Shipped in Shackles: This is how The Joker is wheeled into Arkham in the first scene. Batman gets the same treatment later in a Scarecrow-induced hallucination.
  • Shock Collar: The only way to take down Killer Croc is to use the one installed on him.
  • Shoot the Hostage Taker: A non-lethal version: When Zsasz is holding a knife to Dr. Young's throat, you save her by knocking him out with a Batarang.
  • Shoot the Shaggy Dog: Batman rescues Dr. Young from Zsasz, only for her to die a mere minute later in a trap the Joker set for her.
  • Shoot the TV: Batman can throw batarangs at most TV monitors which the games' villains appear on, cracking the screens.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Scarecrow's design and tricks in this game are reminiscent of a certain Psycho Mantis. Plus, he's wearing a syringe glove reminiscent of Freddy's knife glove.
    • "There is no Crane, only Scarecrow!"
    • The prelude to Scarecrow battles, especially the 2nd and 3rd, is very reminiscent of The Sorrow from Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater.
    • The "Tick, Tock, feed the Croc" is a reference to the crocodile in the Peter Pan stories. It's also a reference to the mini-series Arkham Asylum: Living Hell, where Killer Croc says it to Arkham security guard Aaron Cash (whose hand he had bitten off some time ago-also a Peter Pan reference, specifically Captain Hook-, giving Cash a phobia of him).
    • One room in the Penitentiary area is named The Green Mile and carved over the doorway is the Latin phrase Liberate Me Ex Infernis.
    • Clayface's cell holds the mannequin Preston Payne (the third Clayface) fell in love with in an annual written by Alan Moore.
    • Joker gives a shout-out to The Three Stooges over the intercom at one point:
      Joker: Paging Dr. Howard, Dr. Fine, Dr. Howard!
    • And one to Groucho Marx in another:
      Joker: Remember guys, he may look like an idiot and talk like an idiot, but don't let that fool you. He really is an idiot!
    • Some of the Joker's thugs have a familiar spiked hairstyle, rather reminiscent of the Mutants from Frank Miller's 'The Dark Knight Returns'.
    • After you rescue Cash and Dr. Kellerman in the Medical Facility, zoom up to the little black box with the red letters. They spell out 'Dr. Clooney report to gynecology'.
    • Scarecrow's Patient Interview Tape refers to an incident with Dr. Murphy and Dr. Combs.
    • At one point, Joker refers to Bats as the "friendly neighborhood rodent".
    • When fighting mooks they'll sometimes get sharp wavy lines over their heads It looks uncanny to Spider-Man's Spidey-Sense.
    • During flashback to the death of Thomas and Martha Wayne, a young Bruce Wayne asks Gordon why he did it. He responds:
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!:
    • What's that, Joker? You think you're going to win? "I'll never let you win. Never." EXPLOSIVE PUNCH.
    • Whenever any of the inmates tries to psych out Officer Cash, his typical response is along the lines of "You wait until I'm not in this death trap you put me in, and I'll shove those words up your ass."
    • One from Batman:
      Bane: I will break you, Batman! Then the "bruja"!
      Batman: No, Bane, this time I break you! (the Batmobile slams into Bane, sending him into the water)
  • Sickening "Crunch!": Some of the more brutal finishing moves result in this.
  • Slave Mooks: The Titan Monsters work as this trope, as are Poison Ivy's slaves. And the Joker seems to be threatening the families of at least some of the inmates.
  • Sleazy Politician: Despite a massive prison takeover and Joker unleashing havoc on Gotham, Warden Sharp's only concern is his upcoming political campaign.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: The Riddler comes off like this when he hacks Batman's comm system. Every so often, when you discover a riddle, you'll get a message from him along the lines of saying that obviously he intended for you to find that one and he's astonished that you didn't find it before now. Then you find more of them. Gloating becomes genuine astonishment. Then you find even more. Astonishment becomes white hot fury.
  • Small Role, Big Impact: Bane himself doesn't play any major role in the story beyond being an early boss, but Dr. Young extracting the Venom from his blood allowed her to create the Titan formula, which drives the plot of the game.
  • Soft Glass: Some takedowns require hitting henchmen through windows. Large pieces rain down and no one gets cut.
  • Spiritual Successor: For the Batman Begins videogame adaptation.
  • Square-Cube Law: Batman is six-two and weights 210 pounds. Killer Croc is 11 feet tall and weighs 580 pounds (changed in the sequel to 9 feet tall and 320 pounds). Either Croc is full of mostly air or he should weigh three or four times that. The game itself seems to treat his weight as more realistic; an elevator that visibly strains to lift him has no trouble with four people and a reinforced gurney afterwards.
  • Start of Darkness: If you find her patient interview tapes, you get to listen to Harley Quinn's.
  • Stating the Simple Solution:
    • Harley doesn't mind if the goons shoot Bats, even asking them to just grab a gun and shoot him in the Penitentiary.
    • The guards really just want to put a bullet in the inmates head, and given the inmates it's a little hard to blame them.
  • Stealth-Based Game: But rare for the genre, it often isn't obligatory. The developers called it "Predator-based" gameplay, as the player is not so much hiding as patiently waiting for a chance to strike.
  • Stealth Pun: Ivy is wearing planties. That or it's her "bush". And guess where she's being kept? The Green Mile.
  • Steel Ear Drums: Stand as close as you want to your own explosive gel going off, Batman's cowl apparently has incredible ear-protection. Also, that giant clocktower bell he sends crashing to the ground.
  • The Stoic: None of the crap Joker, or nearly any villain, does freaks Batman out. Only Scarecrow is able to get some kind of reaction, but that's more the effects of his gas. It's pretty obvious when you find the Titan-flooded old sewage chamber and Batman says there's a new problem. It sparks this conversation:
    Oracle: (exasperated) What now? Riddler? Two-Face? Some kind of giant Joker robot?
    Batman: Unfortunately, nothing that simple.
  • Stripperiffic: Ivy's only wearing a prison shirt held closed by one or two buttons (that appear to be under considerable strain) and leaf underwear. Harley to a lesser extent with her nurse outfit.
  • Super Drowning Skills: Played with; though Batman doesn't drown if he jumps into water, he doesn't progress either. The player gets a cutscene of him pulling himself out of the water and is returned to the last safe spot they were at.
  • Superman Stays Out of Gotham: But only because Joker threatens to detonate random bombs around the city if he sees anyone in a cape besides Batman.
  • Surrounded by Idiots:
    Joker: Note to self: need to order more henchmen. Good ones this time!
  • Survival Horror: Subjective, but the general flow of the gameplay (see Metroidvania above) as well as the setting gives it that old fashioned surhor feel, but it's a subversion in that you're the horror.
  • Stupidity Is the Only Option: Noticeably inverted with Clayface's cameo. Even if the player falls for Clayface's disguise and tries to free him, releasing him from his cell is impossible since the explosive gel won't work on the containment glass.
  • Suspiciously Cracked Wall: Used to indicate areas where Batman can use the explosive gel.
  • Tactical Suicide Boss: In short, all of them. Each and every single one.
    • Bane doesn't have to charge at you.
    • Killer Croc doesn't have to come up out of the water and engage you on the walkways.
    • Poison Ivy doesn't have to open up her protective shell while she's bombarding you with spores. Although she's a bit of an exception in that she takes some damage from being attacked otherwise, just not enough for any but the most skilled players to beat her without waiting for her to... er... expose herself.
    • Titan Joker doesn't have to turn his back on you.
  • "Take That!" Kiss: One of the Game Over screens has Harley Quinn mockingly blow Batman (and by extension the player) a goodbye kiss while mocking his death. Harley also does this in the actual game after she escapes Batman and says it won’t be so easy trying to catch her, blowing him a quick kiss before running off.
  • Technical Pacifist: After dispatching enemies, if you turn on the visor and scan them, they're just unconscious.
    • If you ever manage to yank a henchman into a bottomless pit, you'll typically hear a splash so that you don't break Batman's no-kill policy.
  • Terminal Transformation: Early on, the Joker unveils the first of his TITAN henchman, an inmate beefed up to hulk-size by the eponymous performance-enhancing drug... only for the battle to end with the henchman abruptly dying of a heart attack. Joker then grumbles, "note to self: use stronger test subjects."
  • That's Gotta Hurt: Batman's only rule is not to kill his enemies, but that rule says nothing about their physical state after he's done with them. Nearly every move in your arsenal evokes this trope. Drive a guy's face into your knee? Check. Pull an enemy over to you with a claw on a rope and roundhouse him across the face? Check. Land on a prone guy's body and megatonpunch him in the groin? Double check. Then there's the instant takedown moves, which usually involve actions like ramming a stun baton into a guy's solar plexus or breaking his limbs in a variety of ways. Ouch.
  • Tickle Torture: The Joker pulls out a feather and attempts to do this to Batman in an effort to make him give in to the Titan effects near the end of the game.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Most of the Arkham staff. Most of them seem to walk straight into the Joker or his goons clutches and end up dead or taken hostage. It's surprising any of them last the night.
  • Tragic Monster: The Arkham Lunatics are this, especially when the sequel strongly implies that Dr. Strange is the reason why they are currently rabid.
  • Transformation Discretion Shot:
    • During the visit to the penitentiary, it's possible to run into Basil Karlo AKA Clayface - thankfully imprisoned in an airtight cell. Over the course of your encounter, Karlo will try to trick Batman into releasing him by impersonating first Aaron Cash then Warden Sharp, before finally shapeshifting into Commissioner Gordon and laughing mockingly. In each case, the transformation only occurs when the player turns away from the cell, only given away by the faint slurping sound; by the time you turn back, Clayface has taken on a new persona.
    • The effects of TITAN are demonstrated quite openly on Bane and two of the Joker's henchman, with all stages of the transformation remaining in shot. However, when Joker himself takes a dose of TITAN prior to the final boss battle, we only see his eyes beginning to glow green as the serum takes effect; then we cut to the exterior of Arkham Asylum as the fully-transformed character clambers out onto the roof with Batman in tow.
  • The Unfought: Of all the villains gathered for the game, Bane, Poison Ivy and the Joker are the only ones you get a proper boss fight with. Harley and Scarecrow are taken out in cutscenes, Riddler is arrested after you finish all his challenges, Zsasz is defeated with a single stealth attacknote  and Croc just gets beaned with a few batarangs and then gets taken out in a cutscene.
  • Unhand Them, Villain!: In the Botanical Gardens. (To be fair, the guard isn't dangling over deadly peril when Batman says "Let him go!" — the Joker deliberately shifts before letting go.)
  • Unspoken Plan Guarantee: Batman pulls it a couple of times like calling the Batmobile to run over Bane, just after the guy has (supposedly) been defeated - how clever of you, Bats! Most importantly, he pulls one on the player. Better figure it out before Killer Croc reaches you, or you're toast.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Dr. Young created the Titan formula with funding from the Joker. Granted she didn't know this until after she made the formula. In the Viral Marketing Alternate Reality Game, you'll be contacted by The Riddler, who thanks you for compromising Arkham's entire security system, making the island takeover that much easier and effectively setting up the events of the game. Nice Job Breaking It, Hero.
  • Variable Mix: The music in Predator sections becomes more intense as you dwindle down enemy numbers and the rest become increasingly more terrified.
  • Version-Exclusive Content: The PS3 and Switch versions has exclusive predator and combat challenges where you play as the Joker and fight Arkham guards.
  • Vertical Kidnapping: The "inverted takedown", which is basically flashing down to enemies standing under whatever gargoyle you're perched on and stringing them up by their ankles.
  • Victoria's Secret Compartment: Well, not so secret considering how much cleavage she's displaying, but Batman steals the Joker's party list out of the front of Harley's top after defeating her.
  • Video Game Caring Potential: A minor example, but worth mentioning: When you first enter the Sanatorium, you see Dr. Cassidy "escorted" by a thug to where the other hostages are being held, where she kneels sobbing and scared. If you go nearby her prior to eliminating all of the thugs, she'll stop sobbing and whisper "Batman?" who will tell her to stay put since it's not safe yet. For the rest of the time you're busy eliminating the thugs, she isn't crying anymore.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential:
    • Once you've leveled up a bit, you can get downright vicious on the Mooks; you can combo throw them into other Mooks, over a railing into pits, or into the electric doors. Using the weapons, you can knock them off ledges with batarangs, yank them over ledges and catwalks with the Batclaw, make landmines with explosive gel, etc. And this barely covers what you can do in the game.
    • Then there's the trick with inmates dangling from ropes. You can earn an achievement/trophy for launching a batarang and severing the rope holding them up. One level actually requires you to do this; you need to clear a room of Joker Toxin by throwing batarangs into the starters of the vent fans to suck the gas out. In order to reach the last one, you need to sever the rope of a helpless dangling inmate to allow him to break the roof of the room below, whereupon you hear him start to laugh maniacally as the Toxin takes hold (even if you save him later).
    • You know the first inmate you find clinging to the grating over the gas-filled decontamination chamber? You don't have to rescue him.
    • If psychological cruelty is more your thing, you can have hours of fun reducing a crew of heavily armed henchmen from tough, sadistic thugs who confidently boast about the atrocities they've committed against the guards and what they'll do to Batman when they get ahold of them into terrified little cowards practically wetting their pants at every tiny noise just with a vantage point, a few batarangs and the willingness to take each man apart one at a time...
      Mook: *screams; repeatedly shoots at machinery* ... Damn boiler scared the crap out of me.
    • The rope trick can be done with the ropes used in Vertical Takedowns. Meaning you can snatch a guy from out of nowhere to scare the crap out of him. Drop him 10 feet to scare more crap out of him. And then when he thinks he's (relatively) okay, drop him again on his head. It's even possible, when cutting him down, to make him land on another guy, taking that guy out.
    • One particularly fun move becomes available after upgrading the explosive gel so that it will act as a proximity mine. Spray it on the top of a ladder and just wait for a henchman to climb up the ladder, at which point, the unfortunate slob will be sent cartwheeling through the air like the animated rag doll that he is, which is far more effective than just spraying the gel on some random point on the floor (which just stuns the mook). Another good one is that one section of breakable floor found in the sanatorium/Silent Knight challenge level). Go to the room underneath it and spray the gel on it from below as close to the center as you can get. Then go up topside and wait for the unfortunate mook to walk right over it. If you time the detonation right, you can send the poor schmuck flying as high as the gargoyle you're sitting on.
    • Just before the Boss Battle against her, you can really piss off Poison Ivy by destroying her plants. What makes it fall under this trope is that you can avoid them.
  • Video Game Tools: Batman has his usual arsenal of bat-gadgets, which can be used for progression, combat, and sometimes both —the bat-claw, for example.
  • Villain Team-Up: There is tons of evidence that the Riddler is working with Joker. As usual, he's working with Harley, and judging from his comments in the Medical Facility he might have made an alliance with Bane and Scarecrow, too.
  • Villainous Breakdown:
    • The Riddler, gradually as you find more and more of his secrets.
    • Also Scarecrow, when he realises his fear-gas ain't worth crap anymore.
    • Joker has one when his attempt to drive Batman nuts using Titan fails. He explains the whole point of the game was to make Batman as crazy as him.
  • Villainous Widow's Peak: This design of the Joker has an almost-impossible one.
  • Voice with an Internet Connection: Oracle. The Riddler also pesters you when you solve one of his puzzles.
  • Wake-Up Call Boss: Bane is the first true boss encounter and a hefty challenge to inexperienced players. His mechanics are identical to the Titan goon fought briefly at the start of the game, but he puts up more of a fight and adds some extra tactics of his own; the inclusion of extra mooks adds a layer of difficulty, as this is the first time players will have encountered a group with differing attacks and weaknesses, meaning they will have to learn to adjust their own attacks and not just mash punches and counters; finally, it's early enough in the game that players will have had very few upgrades, and if they haven't been putting them into combat and/or health, their mistakes will be punished rather heavily.
  • Water Source Tampering: Scarecrow threatens to flood the Gotham river with his toxins and Joker pollutes the water flow to flood it with Titan.
  • Wham Line: From Warden Quincy Sharp, when the player finds one of the Spirit of Arkham messages, and realizes it's not written by Amadaeus Arkham, and is actually contemporary note .
    "Yet again I found myself watching him. No one can provide a cure. He laughs in the face of those who try. Amadeus would not have let him live and neither should I. One last sip of cognac and I was ready."
    • He has another regarding his family's killer, who had reformed and was soon to be released:
      "He talked about wanting to walk in a park, how he longed to feel fresh air on his face, and then he took my father's fountain pen and killed my secretary... he pleaded for forgiveness, [but] I watched as my guards beat him to a stain on the floor."
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Zsasz is MIA after you save Dr. Young from him. There's the Scarecrow vision, but that's an illusion. Same thing applies to some of the named staff in Arkham after you save them. Considering how many guards got killed, we can only hope they made a run for it.
  • What the Hell Are You?: Scarecrow asks this of Batman when he proves resistant to ludicrous doses of fear toxin.
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: Invoked by Joker in an inversion with Batman; early in the game the Joker specifically stands on a precarious height and dares Batman to knock him off, end his entire breakout plan before it even started even if it would likely kill the madman. Batman being Batman, he initially pulls a batarang— only to visibly hesitate and pull himself back from going through. Joker laughs it off, and proceeds to escape and cause an incident that kills almost every single staff member and a number of the inmates in Arkham Asylum.
  • Xanatos Gambit: The game is based off one pulled by the Joker. He wanted Batman to stop his attack on the Mayor so he could get into Arkham. Being the Joker, he would have had a blast killing the mayor and every other crime he committed until Batman DID catch him.
  • You Have Failed Me: One of Joker's radio chatter lines uses this word-for-word if you've taken out all but one or two Mooks.
    • Likewise to Harley after she fails to stop you. He doesn't kill her, but just tells her she's "off the party list".
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Frank Boles is killed shortly after helping Harley kidnap Gordon. Upon finding his corpse, Batman mentions that he must've outlived his usefulness.
  • You Have Researched Breathing: Batman carries a seemingly limitless supply of Batarangs in his Utility Belt. One of the upgrades is the ability to throw two Batarangs at once. Then three. The ability to throw three Batarangs is separate from the ability to throw one at a time, and requires recharging (but one can still throw three individual Batarangs in rapid succession).
  • Your Makeup Is Running: Dr. Young looks like a raccoon after being rescued by Batman.


Video Example(s):


"OK, if you say so, Bats."

Batman demands Joker to let go of the security guard he's holding hostage. Joker, of course, obliges... after he pushes an electric box into the water. Whoopsie!

How well does it match the trope?

5 (2 votes)

Example of:

Main / UnhandThemVillain

Media sources: