Arkham Asylum Shortchanged Harley’s Backstory

Batman: Arkham Asylum rushes Harley Quinn’s character improvement by way of interview tapes, however given her standing within the sequence, she deserved extra.

Batman: Arkham Asylum has been universally lauded as one of many biggest superhero video games of all time, however some depictions of traditional DC characters have are available for criticism, specifically Harley Quinn. The Rocksteady Studios title, launched in 2009, kickstarted the Batman: Arkham timeline and story. Regardless of this, there are a group of the characters that really feel rushed into the sport world with none, or at most a short, clarification of their backstory, which is particularly disappointing contemplating the standard of writers engaged on the title, in addition to the numerous comics that may have impressed them.


All through the sport, Batman can discover interview tapes – 35 in total-  round Arkham Asylum, usually well-hidden from the participant. These interview tapes function conversations between the medical doctors of Arkham and their sufferers – together with Killer Croc, the Riddler, and Victor Zsasz. The usage of these tapes created a world and ambiance that, to some followers, meant Batman: Arkham Asylum exceeded Arkham Metropolis. Apparently as nicely, 4 of those interview tapes are between Dr. Harleen Quinzel (who later will develop into Harley Quinn) and the Joker, briefly analyzing her transformation from harmless physician to prison sidekick.

Associated: Batman: Arkham Asylum’s Creepy Model Was Joker The Complete Time

Even after Dr. Quinzel’s first line in her first interview with the Joker, it’s hinted at already her curiosity in him as greater than only a affected person. Joker’s line of “I am going to attempt to make it memorable for you.” is met by “Oh, you have already got” by Harley. Regardless of Dr. Quinzel solely having 4 traces within the first tape, all of them are delivered in a flirtatious and already infatuated method, which involves the instructed conclusion of the Joker’s maintain over the physician in a disappointingly fast time. By the second tape, the Joker has already damaged out of his cell to carry flowers to Harley’s workplace, which she doesn’t inform the guards of. That is an instance of the place Batman: Arkham did Harley soiled. Regardless that Harley Quinn’s descent described in Batman: Arkham Asylum‘s interview tapes is taken verbatim from Paul Dini and Bruce Timm’s Mad Love comedian, but it surely deserved deeper exploration within the recreation itself.

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After all, to inform a building-relationship story over a sequence of brief interview tapes will inevitably have to appear rushed, particularly in comparison with the tempo of a comic book, but it surely might be instructed that extra of the tapes ought to have lined the Quinn/Joker dynamic, and this is able to have assisted with the sudden pacing seen within the recreation. Mad Love outlines the background between Harley Quinn and the Joker in rather more element, together with the Joker’s childhood struggling abuse from his alcoholic father – which he defined to Dr. Quinzel throughout their classes at Arkham Asylum – but it surely wanted extra consideration in Batman: Arkham Asylum, which was additionally written by Paul Dini.

Batman: Arkham considerably modified Harley Quinn, influencing her depictions in different video games and even the comics, however that is an instance of the place she wanted extra improvement. The character of the Joker doesn’t wrestle through the video games by way of improvement, with Mark Hamill’s efficiency of the killer clown being among the finest in gaming historical past. As compared, Harley Quinn’s backstory feels shortchanged and never cared for, a shock contemplating how sturdy and well-written Mad Love was in comparison with what was depicted in Batman: Arkham Asylum.

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