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Fri., April 29, 2005

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Batman Begins

Electronic Arts, $49.99

Platform: Xbox/PS2/Gamecube

Ships: June 13

Worthy buzz for the film, as well as for the game, might cause a surplus in the napkin industry to mop up the foam spilling from kid and adult mouths alike. Those of us who have aged with the caped crusader for decades know the real thing when we see it. And if this new direction on the franchise lends a darker edge to the Black Knight lore, some of his credibility may find redemption after the pitiful offerings of late that turned our batty hero into a neon-lit, Las Vegas freak show. Joel Schumacher lynching party anyone? With a game script written by JT Petty (Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell) we can expect more than a simple kablam! zap! game storyline, one which purports to burrow deeper into the intricate psyche of our caped crusader. With such larger-than-life villains as the Scarecrow and Ra's Al Ghoul in need of handcuffing, Batman will require an organized Palm Pilot to schedule time for romance into his crime-fighting days. Electronic Arts promises a fully realized Gotham City underworld, filled with all the grit and texture one would expect in this universe of corrupted souls. Billed as a meticulously rendered landscape that emulates director Christopher Nolan's upcoming film, the game suits up players into latex and offers locales such as Himalayan monasteries and the fabled Wayne Manor to be explored at your own leisure. And, yes, the Batbelt is fully functional and at your command, as is a roaring Batmobile that will send you rocketing through a twistingly dark Gotham. But, like the real Batman, your wits, brain, and sheer muscle will serve as your strongest allies in the never-ending fight against faceless evil.

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