- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 15, 2011

In Batman: Arkham City Lockdown (Warner Bros. Interactive, reviewed with iPad 2, rated 12+, $5.99), DC Comics’ Dark Knight returns to a mobile computing device that could have easily been built by Wayne Technologies.

Tapping into the stunning realistic character models seen in this year’s smash hit video game Batman: Arkham City, Mortal Kombat, developer NetherRealms does not disappoint iPad owners and comic book fans with this third-person combat challenge.

However, a better name to the title might be Batman: Fightclub due to the non-stop preponderance of one vs. one, fisticuffs during more the 16 levels.

After a player picks a location, maybe at the Gotham Steel Mill or sewers, he confronts a selection of thugs assembled by some of Batman’s greatest arch enemies such as Two Face and Joker.

A player uses his swiftest finger-swiping techniques to deliver a wicked combination of upper cuts and a cape to the face by touching in multi-directions on the screen. Head butts, snapping a knee and back breaking kicks are quickly executed with a tap of a transparent icon hovering over an opponents’ body.

For the tougher criminals, an abbreviated complement of utility belt goodies become available that includes a temporary swarm of bats sucking the life out of an opponent, a smoke bomb to make criminal dizzy and electrified gloves.

Batman can even take down an enemy at a distance with use of a radio-controlled Batarang. After the hero tosses his trusted weapon, simply tilt the iPad to control the direction and strike.

Once Batman dispatches the minions, it’s a final showdown with the super villains such as Solomon Grundy (outrunning him and often dodging his giant fists) and surprise guest, the metahuman mercenary and foe of the Teen Titans’ Deathstroke.

Success leads to leveling up and acquiring WayneTech points that are used to upgrade combat and gadgets.

To make up for the brevity of the game, a serious fan will rip through it in about an hour, Warner Bros. intelligently tosses in three digital comic books (No. 1 and Chapters 6 and 7 from the Batman: Arkham Asylum miniseries).

Starring a story by Paul Dini, the presentation is not quite up to par with Comixology’s iPad comics layouts but still gives an easy way to swipe through pages and zoom in to admire the illustrated panels and dynamic splash pages.

So $5.99 gets you in on the streets of Gotham and into the Batcave. However, as is becoming the case of developers looking to squeeze a few more bucks out of players, those slow to accumulate WayneTech points can buy them online starting at 99 cents for 5,000 points to 120,000 points for $14.99.

Additionally, for another 99 cents, alternate costumes of our hero (that slightly alter his power attributes) are available and range from his cartoon personas in Batman: The Animated Series and Batman Beyond to Frank Miller’s lumbering interpretation of the vigilante in The Dark Knight Returns.

I’ll also mention Warner Bros. Interactive hints at some new battles to conquer in possible future content downloads with blank parts of an extended map shown and villainesses such as Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn labeled as “coming soon” in the biography section.

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