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Although Batman: Arkham Asylum has some elements of a sandbox, stealthy action-adventure game, at heart it is really a brawler. There is heavy emphasis on combat in the game and it features unique fight mechanics that allow you to experience Batman's high level of expertise. Becoming fluent in the combat system not only keeps you alive so you can beat the game, but also awards you with more experience for better execution, which allows you to upgrade sooner. Experience is based on combos and variation during combat encounters. While the mechanics function the same in Story Mode as they do in Challenge Mode, the enemies you face and how your moves are scored is a bit different.


In the upper left-hand corner of the screen you will see your combo multiplier build as you perform applicable moves. In Story Mode, you get experience based on the types of enemies you defeated. If you achieve a five hit combo during combat, you'll also get a 10× experience bonus. Lastly, you'll be awarded a variation bonus based on how many different moves you incorporated into a single freeflow combo. In Challenge Mode, the combo multiplier is used to increase your points as you are gaining them and at the end of a round you will also receive points for variations as well as other bonuses.

Once you get your combo started, you'll be able to perform Power Strikes which let you fly around the area (regardless of distance) from enemy to enemy performing attacks. You'll need a 2× combo to engage the Power Strikes, and you'll normally start this off by using normal strikes or counters. Below the combo multiplier in the corner of the screen, you'll see the names of the attacks you are doing, so you can see when you start doing Power Strikes. Your combo will continue until you run out of enemies, or have a combo failure.

There are three ways to break your combo prematurely. The most obvious way is to take any damage during the fight. This can be from an enemy attacking you, hitting an electric wall, attacking an enemy with a stun baton or (sometimes) receiving gunfire. The most common way to lose your combo is to perform an action that doesn't hit a target. This would be an attack that doesn't land, a counter when no one is attacking, etc. It's important not to button-mash if you are going for a large combo. Lastly, you can break your combo by not attacking in time. If you wait longer than a second in between moves, your combo will end.


Different moves have different effects on both your combo and enemy health. In Challenge Mode, each move has a different point value, making it even more important to choose your attacks wisely. Some moves can start combos while others can't, and some moves must be purchased as an upgrade before you can use them.


  • Availability: Start of the game
  • Increments multiplier: Yes
  • Can start a variation: Yes

Strikes are the bread and butter of fights in Story Mode. Along with the Critical Strikes upgrade, this move allows you to quickly decimate your foes and fly back and forth between them. You will strike whoever is right in front of you if you don't specify a direction, or you can aim very generally and Batman will leap to the target, even if he's off screen.

An upgrade to the strike attack is available called Critical Strike, that does twice the damage and gives you twice the increment to you combo multiplier. In addition, critical strikes knock your opponent to the ground, helping to clear large groups and give you ground takedown opportunities. A critical strike is performed once you're in Power Strike mode, by only pressing the strike button once for each hit. If, during a strike or in the second before the combo expires, you press the strike button a single time with the direction of your target, your next hit will be transformed into a critical strike. Criticals are the single most important combat technique you will master. They will allow you to safely fight off groups of enemies on any difficulty in Story Mode and will allow you to get high scores on the extreme combat challenges in Challenge Mode.


  • Availability: Start of the game
  • Increments multiplier: Yes
  • Can start a variation: Yes

Can be used to start a combo and increments your combo. Available at the start of the game. Counters are the most common way to deal with incoming attacks. On Easy and Normal difficulty settings, you'll see white lines appear above an enemy's head as he's about to attack, warning you to counter. On Hard the lines aren't present, although sometimes you'll see a prompt at the bottom of the screen to counter. Counters don't work on knife-wielders, baton-users, thrown objects or Titans, and on Easy or Normal the first three will have red lines instead of white to denote this.


  • Availability: Start of the game
  • Increments multiplier: No
  • Can start a variation: Yes (enemy vault)

There are two types of evasion: where Batman dives away from enemies over the ground or where he vaults over an enemy. Depending on which variation you're using, they affect your combo multiplier in different ways. You can perform a single normal evasion during a combo without losing your multiplier, but you'll to perform a move the increments the multiplier right afterward or your combo will end. Doing two normal evasions in a row counts as a failed move and will break your combo. Enemy vaults on the other hand are much more useful. Not only will your combo never break as long as you're using enemy vaults, but it also makes the enemy stumble or fall to the ground in the case of stunned enemies. The enemy vault is also the variation that counts toward your variation bonus, and is the normal way to off balance a stun baton user so you can attack him.

Cape Stun[edit]

  • Availability: Start of the game
  • Increments multiplier: No
  • Can start a variation: Yes

The cape stun temporarily confuses an enemy, but is different than an actual stun, such as from the Batarang. The enemy will recover very quickly, and it's really only useful against knife-wielders to break their guards. You can cape stun indefinitely and never break your combo, but it also doesn't help your multiplier. Both counter and evasion are better options for incoming attacks, and this move is only recommended for attacking knife-wielders or as needed for the variation bonus. Batman will hop a fairly good distance to perform a cape stun, but not as far as a strike.

Ground Takedown[edit]

  • Availability: Start of the game
  • Increments multiplier: Yes
  • Can start a variation: Yes

Ground Takedowns are the most dangerous move in your arsenal, but also the most lucrative in Challenge Mode. This move can be used on enemies who have been knocked down, and Batman will leap to them like a strike, although the range isn't as good. This move should be used with caution if an enemy is very far away for two reasons. First, the enemy might be out of range, in which case it will be counted as a failed move and you'll lose your combo. Second, the one second grace period between moves starts from the moment you initiate the attack, so it's possible to time out your combo while flying to the target. The other danger of this move is it leaves you vulnerable to attack while it's being performed. The ground takedown should really only be used when all enemies are on the ground or standing ones are very far away.


  • Availability: Upgrade
  • Increments multiplier: Yes
  • Can start a variation: No

The throw ability, like the instant takedown, require a certain combo multiplier before you can use it. The throw ability starts out being useful only after an 8× multiplier is reached, but after purchasing a separate upgrade, that multiplier can be reduced to 5×. Your combo multiplier will turn yellow from white when you're able to use one of the special moves. For the throw, you pick up an enemy who is either standing or prone and throw him in a direction of your choosing. Using this move, you can throw an enemy over a railing or into other enemies, causing more damage. Some great things about the throw are it works on any non-Titan enemy, whether they have knives or the stun baton and you are invincible (except against Titans and gunfire) during the animation, unlike the ground takedown or Batclaw.

Instant Takedown[edit]

  • Availability: Upgrade
  • Increments multiplier: Yes
  • Can start a variation: No

After purchasing the Throw ability, the Instant Takedown becomes available. Like the throw, this move can't be blocked and always works as long as there is a conscious enemy in the direction you specify. Also like the throw, you are invincible while in the instant takedown animation, except against Titans and gunfire. For this move, Batman grabs an enemy, takes him to the ground and breaks one of his bones, incapacitating him instantly. The best use of this move is against knife-wielders and baton-users, who normally take special measures to hit. This move becomes available for use at 5× or 8× multiplier, depending on whether you have the Special Combo Boost or not. Once used, the throw and instant takedown moves don't become available again until you've performed 5 or 8 more attacks.

Combo Batarang[edit]

  • Availability: Upgrade
  • Increments multiplier: Yes
  • Can start a variation: No

You Batarang is available as a weapon from the beginning of the game, although it doesn't count toward your variation until it has been upgraded. The Combo Batarang is also considered a Power Strike, so the same combo multiplier rule applies, where you must have a 2× multiplier to use it. Once you are using the Combo Batarang, any upgrades to multi-Batarang will apply, meaning you can throw two or three Batarangs at once with the proper upgrade. While you can use the gadget's aiming function like in normal play, it is extremely hard to do so within the second time limit before your combo expires, so you'll always want to just tap the Batarang button once to unleash the attack in the direction you specify. Depending on the enemy's awareness and proximity, he will either be stunned standing up or will be knocked to the ground. In the former case, an enemy vault will knock him down, allowing a ground takedown for more points (in Challenge Mode).

The dangers of using the Batarang—besides the normal danger of throwing it where no one is, counting as a failed move—are when you accidentally double-tap the button or hold it for too long. Double-tapping will automatically cancel your combo, as the second tap is interpreted at a failed move whether the Batarang hits someone or not. When holding the button too long, you'll go into aim mode, which can be just as devastating to your combo, as you likely won't have enough time to acquire a target or remember to hit the fire button. The game is not forgiving on the single button press, so make it a very quick tap to avoid going into aim mode.


  • Availability: Acquired during the story
  • Increments multiplier: No
  • Can start a variation: Yes

Like the Combo Batarang, the Batclaw can be used through normal aiming as well as quickly with a double-tap of the appropriate button. Once the Batclaw is found in the game you can start using it in combat to pull an enemy toward you. This is a good way to start a fight where one of the enemies is armed, or, when the Batclaw is upgraded, up to three enemies. The Batclaw is a good way to knock down enemies, but comes with some drawbacks. First, there is a significant time of vulnerability during the animation in which you may be attacked by nearby enemies. Like the ground takedown, it's important not to use this attack unless you're away from enemies. The other disadvantage of the Batclaw is when used against stun baton users, who will give you damage when you pull them in to you. You get a slight boost in points (in Challenge Mode) for striking a Batclawed enemy before he hits the ground, but it's much safer to always enemy vault after a Batclaw unless they were very far away and won't reach you. The Batclaw is a great way to get the last few enemies on the ground for high point value ground takedowns at the end of Challenge Mode rounds. You can also aim the reticle below where it turns yellow and you can knock a thug's shins/knees out with the Batclaw. This can be accomplished within a combo, but will not always let it be unbroken(i.e. a variable combo option if you time it within the combo well)


Depending on which mode you are playing in (Story Mode or Challenge Mode), and where in the story you are, you will face different enemies. When fighting in a group, it's best to quickly build up your multiplier so you can use instant takedowns on knife-wielders, who are the most dangerous. After them, baton-users are your next threat. The only exception is when an enemy gets his hand on a weapon or when facing a Titan as well.

  • Thug: Found throughout the game, can pick up weapons, throw items and open gun lockers.
  • Pipe Thug: Found throughout the game, drops pipe when knocked down.
  • Armed Thug: Snipers and some enemies are already armed, others must open gun lockers.
  • Knife Thug: Start showing up about a quarter way through the game, will guard against all attacks, must be cape stunned.
  • Stun Baton Thug: Start showing up about halfway through the game, will damage yourself when attacking, must be enemy vaulted, will drop stun baton when knocked down.
  • Titan: Large, powerful enemies who charge, throw bodies and deal massive damage. Quick-Batarang while charging to disorient them, then evade. Ridable after every third of their lifebar is depleted and other enemies remain. Combo multiplier can't break while riding a Titan, and each hit increments the multiplier. Rodeo stops after a certain time or after hitting another Titan three times.
Special enemies
  • Plant Pod: Occur only while Poison Ivy is loose. Destroy spores with multi-Batarang, then approach and destroy. Only in Story Mode.
  • Lunatic: Appear after jailing Harley Quinn and leaving the Penitentiary. Only in Story Mode and DLC Challenge Mode.
  • Skeleton Thug: Like normal thug, but only take one hit or one counter to destroy. Only during Scarecrow sequences.
  • Skeleton Titan: Like normal Titan, but will be destroyed after running in a wall after a quick-Batarang disorientation. Only during Scarecrow sequences.

Knockout mechanics[edit]

Enemies have health meters, just like you do, although theirs are invisible. If it is given that a single punch from Batman will take off 1 hit point from an enemy, an entire system can be outlined based on that measurement. The following is an in-depth analysis of what it takes to defeat different enemies at different combo multipliers with different moves. It is advanced mechanics and is entirely unnecessary to beat and/or enjoy the game, but here it is. The following information assumes a playthrough on the Normal difficulty setting and only applies to normal thugs. High-security thugs (knife-wielders) and Titans have higher hit points and will require more damage.

The first and second hit

The first two hits are your set up strikes, after which you enter Power Strike mode (mentioned above). Before Power Strike mode, your attacks and moves do less damage or none at all. Obviously, moves which never do damage like evasion and the Batclaw, still don't do any damage.

  • Counter: 0 HP
  • Batarang: 0 HP
  • Strike: 1 HP
  • Glide Kick: 1 HP
  • Ground Takedown: All HP
Third hit and beyond

After the second hit you will be at a 2× multiplier and will enter the Power Strike mode, which increases the damage you do and allows you to fly around the area.

  • Combo Batarang: 2 HP
  • Strike: 3 HP
  • Counter: 3 HP
  • Glide Kick: 3 HP
  • Critical Strike: 6 HP
  • Throw: 6 HP
  • Instant Takedown: All HP
  • Ground Takedown: All HP
One enemy left

When only one enemy is left, the normal rules don't apply. In general, it's much easier to take out the last guy, as can be seen in Predator scenarios where a single Glide Kick will take out the last guy. On the other hand, normal strikes won't knock the last thug out unless he was already down to 1 HP.

  • Strike: 1 HP
  • Glide Kick: All HP
  • Counter: All HP
  • Power Strike: All HP
  • Critical Strike: All HP
Enemy hit points

Now that you know how much damage you do, here is how it applies to the enemies you'll face at different times during the game. On Easy difficulty the enemies always have 9 HP throughout the game, and on Hard they will have more than the following.

  • Intensive Treatment 1: 9 HP
  • Medical Facility: 10 HP
  • Caves 1: 12 HP
  • Arkham Mansion: 13 HP
  • Outside Penitentiary: 15 HP
  • Penitentiary: 15 HP
  • Botanical Gardens 1: 15 HP
  • Intensive Treatment 2: 17 HP
  • Caves 2: 17 HP