Home Features I absolutely, truly and utterly hate those damn Riddler challenges from the Batman Arkham games

I absolutely, truly and utterly hate those damn Riddler challenges from the Batman Arkham games

4 min read
13
Arkham Riddler (1)

A lot of things happened in 2009. Bitcoin established its first Blockchain, Barack Obama became the president of a surprisingly United States of America and James Cameron updated the Smurfs with the release of Avatar. Beyond the Czech Republic signing the Treaty of Lisbon and UNESCO launching the World Digital Library, something even more momentous happened: We finally got a decent Batman game.

Batman: Arkham Asylum was a runaway success, creating not only a caped crusader experience that felt brilliant to handle, but was also wholly original in execution. There was a rhythm to the action, a groove to the detective work and a thrill in the ability to stalk escaped convicts through the narrow confines of Gotham’s infamous madhouse.

Arkham Riddler (2)

This was a game where Batman had to face some of his most terrifying villains. The Joker had orchestrated a massive jailbreak, the Scarecrow had gone full Nightmare on Elm Street and the only thing more terrifying than that tip-toe encounter with Killer Croc is the sound of footsteps in PUBG. And then there was…the Riddler.

F**king Riddler.

Arkham Riddler (7)

Now don’t get me wrong, the Riddler as an idea is brilliant. Here you’ve got a criminal mastermind hobbled by his own obsession to give his opposition a chance to stop him, manifested within his trademark riddles. Frank Gorshin’s take on the character was a silly genius jester in the 1966 Batman series, Alex Ross created a man who was suffering from a serious mental illness and the 1990s animated series version was a sleek and cool reinvention.

Rocksteady’s take on the character wasn’t too bad either. More of a narcissistic criminal who was hellbent on proving his superiority to the world, Arkham Asylum’s Riddler was as deluded as he was arrogant. Which was a great reimagining! Unfortunately, it was a reinvention that was shackled with something else: Those damn Riddler trophies.

Arkham Riddler (3)

The funny thing is, is that I actually enjoyed solving them in Arkham Asylum. There was a decent number of them, some of these puzzles were real head-scratchers and they added some decent longevity to Batman’s maiden adventure long after the credits had rolled. I still have an Xbox 360 achievement for getting 100% of these challenges done, a feat that left me feeling absolutely satisfied towards the end.

And then the idea went completely overboard. Arkham City added more adventurous puzzles to the mix, scenarios which tested every skill and tool in Batman’s bat-belt, but the sheer glut of the riddles waiting to be discovered amidst more obtuse solutions made me want to reach for a bottle of Bat-headache pills. Arkham Origins came along and brought the Riddler back to his days as hacker supreme Edward Nigma, but it was Batman: Arkham Knight that reached the absolute zenith of Riddler-saturation.

Arkham Riddler (8)

Now granted, there was some better variety on offer here. You still had your usual collectibles to find and puzzles to solve, but the Batmobile sequences were a nice touch overall. The thing is, most Batman fans couldn’t be arsed to see this Riddler ride to the end. They’d had enough of Nigma and would rather see Gotham City burn than listen to him prattle on about his intellectual superiority.

Not that you had a choice however, as Nigma would periodically hack the Gotham emergency broadcast system and taunt you with juvenile jabs at your progress. It was the equivalent of a one-sided Twitter debate, a constantly annoying monkey in green hanging on your shoulder and mocking you, as Nigma’s own modus operandi had become more diluted than homeopathic medicine at this point.

Arkham Riddler (4)

To rub salt in the wound, actually attempting to solve all of his riddles was a monumental challenge that didn’t feel deserving of the pay-off. I mean yes, Catwoman was in danger of losing some weight by having her head blown clean off of her neck, and solving her dilemma resulted in a Riddler showdown. Of course, to get the true ending to the Riddler’s revenge and a chance to once again lock him up for good, you had to get every single trophy and puzzle solution within the entirety of Gotham City.

Arduous, taxing and if I wanted a decent payoff to fighting a criminal mastermind I’d rather dress a hobo in green and get arrested for attacking him. It’s kind of demoralising when you think about the entire system of mental tests of strength, of how a brilliant idea became its own worst enemy over the course of the Arkham series.

Arkham Riddler (9)

There’s a rumbling in the air that a new Batman game is due for a reveal in March, one that offers a more adult story, a bigger narrative payoff and a new generation of enemies to confront. If this rumour pans out to be true, maybe the biggest advancement it can make to Batman’s video game legend is to ensure that the Riddler stays locked up in Arkham Asylum.

Last Updated: January 31, 2019

13 Comments

  1. I 100%’d every riddler riddle in all three games and I’m NEVER DOING IT AGAIN.

    Particularly in Arkham Knight, a game already struggling under the shadow of City, it was a grueling experience.

    Reply

    • The D

      January 31, 2019 at 15:16

      You’re a brave man, Dan. A brave man.

      Reply

  2. G8crasha

    January 31, 2019 at 15:05

    I’m all for challenges, as long as the reward is worth the effort!

    Reply

  3. Admiral Chief

    January 31, 2019 at 14:50

    110% agree

    Reply

  4. Caveshen Rajman

    January 31, 2019 at 14:56

    I remember arguing once that the Riddler was Batman’s best villain because other villains would threaten to kill or maim or destroy as a means of besting Batman, whereas Riddler actually bested Batman by wasting his damn time, each and every time. Batman was forced to play his games, and in that way The Dark Knight’s Joker took a lot of cues from the Riddler and his antics.

    But yeah, you’re right, Arkham Knight came along and it turned into an absolute grind-fest, and the reward just didn’t make sense. Since fucking when does Catwoman get captured and just sit there and wait for you to rescue her. Since fucking when.

    Reply

    • Daniel Hallinan

      January 31, 2019 at 15:00

      I mean, regarding Catwoman waiting to get rescued, it’s not entirely rare. I know I’ve seen it at least once or twice in the animated series, and definitely in the comic books.

      Reply

  5. Skittle

    January 31, 2019 at 15:05

    Didn’t you have to 100% all riddles to get the full ending in Batman: Arkham Knight?

    Reply

    • The D

      January 31, 2019 at 15:16

      YES.

      Fortunately, I don’t care about chievos and I just Youtubed the ending.

      Reply

      • BradeLunner

        January 31, 2019 at 15:21

        Even me.

        Reply

  6. Original Heretic

    January 31, 2019 at 15:51

    I already reached my limit with them in City. Getting that damn remote controlled Bat-a-rang at just the right angles to hit a switch, that pissed me off. Severely.
    I still gotta jam Knight properly. I may let Catwoman die.

    Reply

  7. Skyblue

    January 31, 2019 at 21:47

    Enjoyed the challenge in Arkham Asylum but it got stale real fast after that.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Check Also

Xbox Series X Restock Update Today: Track on Twitter, Walmart, Best Buy and More

New consoles are on the horizon, and while Sony and Microsoft have spoken plenty about wha…