Composer(s): Nick Arundel, Ron Fish
In 2009, Rocksteady did the seemingly impossible when they released Arkham Asylum, a super-hero game that wasn’t mediocre and it wasn’t just good, it was pretty damn incredible. 2 years later, it’s sequel, Arkham City. had big boots to fill, but it delivered in every way. On top of starring in one of the best animated series and in some of the most respected super-hero films, the Dark Knight has now become star of the absolute best super-hero video game, bar none. Critics from every corner of the industry labeled Arkham City as the best super-hero/comic book/licensed video game of all time, and it topped many people’s lists of game of the year. Just like everything else, the music was also much better than the already outstanding soundtrack of Arkham Asylum. So we’re suiting up and paying tribute to the world’s greatest detective himself as we take a listen to the soundtrack of Arkham City, and with Batman: Return to Arkham just recently announced, there’s not better time than now.
The soundtrack for this game was composed by the duo of Nick Arundel, the same man responsible for Arkham Asylum’s soundtrack and Ron Fish, known for his work on the God of War trilogy. Both Nick and Ron seem to have been inspired by Cristopher Nolan’s Batman movies (and much more as I’ll point out later) as Arkham’s soundtrack resembles the orchestral sounds those movies are known for, and rivals them in terms of memorability. The best example of said similarity is Arkham City’s theme which is nothing short of masterful and easily reminds us of the excellent Batman movies that Nolan delivered.
While the main theme of the game sounds a lot like Nolan’s Batman, other songs in the game actually resemble Tim Burton’s darker and grittier Batman films. The first track from this set of songs, “Sorry to Disappoint You, Boys” takes cues from the iconic music that Danny Elfman created for those films. Based on the differences between the main theme and this upcoming song, it’s easy to see (or hear) how the game’s composers paid homage to not only the music of Hans Zimmer’s recent Batman score but also Danny Elfman’s earlier Batman sounds.
“What’s he doing here?” and “This Court is now in Session” are perfect “beating the crap out of bad guys” music. The Riddler’s challenges are the best place to hone your fighting skillls and the music sets just the right mood. I love the way the music loops in these combat challenges which are meant to be played multiple times (especially in the later and extremely challenging levels) but as soon as the fight is over, the loop ends and the song comes to an end. Let’s listen to the latter of the two songs mentioned earlier as Robin demonstrates his combat skills by breaking bad guy skulls left and right.
And here’s a few more songs that perfectly compliment the frantic combat in the game:
It’s only fitting that the man who stole the show with his amazing portrayal of the Joker, the talented Mr. Hamill takes us out with a special performance that anyone who’s beaten the game and didn’t skip the credits should remember. Forward to 1:30 if you will and enjoy.