Batman: Arkham Asylum Combat Mechanics This guide is meant to help you master the combat in Batman: Arkham Asylum, most particularly to get the following achievements: Freeflow Gold, Freeflow 40, Freeflow Perfection, Flawless Freeflow Fighter. Freeflow Gold, of course, is an essential piece to unlocking Perfect Knight. Most of the information contained here can be figured out by anyone with a little time (it took me about 2 nights to fully discover the depth of the system), but for those not interested in the quest for glory, I've written this guide. Hopefully I'm not missing anything crucial, but at the very least I can give strong advice on getting the various challenges. I may add in a section for the Predator Challenges at a later date. So, that said, let's begin. Table of Contents: Section A. - XA Combat Mechanics Combos - CB1 Fail-Outs - FL1 Moveset - MS1 Unlockable Moves - UM1 Scoring - SC1 Putting it all together - PT1 Environment - EV1 Enemies - EN1 Section B. - XB Challenge Mode Challenges Intensive Treatment - CM1 Sewer Bat - CM2 Shock and Awe - CM3 Rumble in the Jungle - CM4 Intensive Treatment (Extreme) - CM5 Sewer Bat (Extreme) - CM6 Shock and Awe (Extreme) - CM7 Rumble in the Jungle (Extreme) - CM8 Section C. - XC Achievements Special Thanks, Contact Info, and Disclaimer - END1 XA. Section A: Combat Mechanics ---CB1 - Combos--- First, let's have a discussion on what elements comprise a combo in B:AA. Though there are several methods of effecting enemies in the game, only nine of them count as combo elements (the most notable exclusion from the comboing system is the Explosive Gel). The nine elements are Strikes, Counter, Dodge, Cape Stun, Ground Takedown, Batarang, Batclaw, Throw, Instant Takedown. Each of these count as what a game calls a "variation", and certain bonuses are given for high variation scores. Another import concept is that of Critial Strikes. While not distinct from Strikes, they still have important applications. We'll discuss each of these in depth in a moment, but first a few words about the combo system itself. A combo begins when Batman performs certain of the combo element moves against his enemies. Most commonly this is a Strike or a Counter. The combo meter is signified by a hit counter in the upper left-hand corner of the screen. The counter will continue to run and be incremented until Batman reaches one of the fail-out conditions. ---FL1 - Fail-Outs--- 1. Timed-out Fail: If Batman fails to perform any action for 1 second, the combo meter will fade. Notice that I said 1 second. This is actually a tremendously generous timeout window, which may be difficult to notice since fail-out #2 makes it seem like combos fade more quickly than they actually do. Take note of this fact, however: the timeout is very generous. If you perform a move, and you're not immediately sure what to do next (this is often the case if you think an enemy is about to attack you, but it hasn't begun the attack yet), you MAY give yourself a half-second of pause to gather your wits. Slowing down the pace of the battle to a level you find comfortable is often the key to victory. 2. Failed-Move: Arguably the most commonly encountered fail-out, certainly the most common if you're still sloppy with the combat system. Whenever Batman attempts a move that completely fails, he will automatically lose his combo. I'll discuss each of these in depth in the various move sections. 3. Taking a hit: A fairly obvious one, if Batman is hit he loses his combo. Now, under some circumstances (usually gunfire), Batman can take a hit and not be stunned out of whatever he is currently doing. This will cause you to be able to continue as if you are in the middle of a higher-point combo. In particular, this can allow you to continue a Critical Strike chain. For the most part, however, this failure is a simple concept: don't get hit. ---MS1 - Moveset--- Here is a detailed discussion of each type of move in the game. 1. Strikes - How to perform: X - Can be used as a variation starter: Yes - Counts as a hit: Yes Gained by starting the game, this is one of Batman's 5 basic moves. The most basic move in the game. Batman punches an enemy. Not a lot more to say. Actually, that's a lie. There's a lot to say about strikes. First of all, when Batman begins a combo he has different phases. The first two hits of the combo are a simple punch, and must be performed at close range. Once you have a 2-hit combo, Batman enters what I call Power Strike Mode. Each time you perform a Power Strike, Batman will leap across the screen and find the nearest enemy that he is facing and punch them. There is NO limit to how far Batman will travel to perform this move. It is both ludicrous and awesome. After the Critical Strikes upgrade has been purchased, Batman has a further type of attack. After building up to a 3-hit combo (it doesn't matter how the combo is achieved, it does not need to include 3 strikes, or any for that matter), he can begin to use Critical Strikes. To execute a Critical, all you have to do is only tap the X button only *once* since your last move. This means do not button-mash. It's a hard habit to get out of, but ridiculously rewarding. Critical Strikes do absurd damage, reducing enemies to ribbons in seconds. In addition, each hit will always knock an enemy to the ground with a brief stun period. Most importantly, a Critical Strike counts as 2 hits in all measurable ways. This will come up later as being very important. Notice that this means the most direct route to Critical Strikes is Strike, Strike, Power Strike, Critical Strike. That third hit Batman performs must always be a Power Strike, it cannot be a critical. This is because when you perfectly time a Strike, you are not actually making *that* attack a Critical, but rather the one that follows it. What this means is that if you want your 4th hit to be a Critical, you have to properly time the third hit. Meaning you can only use the "mash X" strategy for Batman's first two punches. You must them perfectly "time" all Power Strikes, to make the blows that come after them be Criticals. The only other type of strike in the game is Rodeo Strike. This is a peculiar one, but Rodeo Strike counts as a strike in all significant ways, except that it is scored slightly differently. Failures: A strike that fails to hit an enemy will count as a failed move, and end your combo. The only time a Power Strike can fail is if it is performed in a direction where there are no STANDING (important distinction) enemies. Once Batman enters Power Strike mode, as long as you keep him facing an enemy who is vulnerable to being punched, he will always successfully strike. It is also imporant to note that attacking a Knife Thug will be blocked, and counts as a failed move, even for Power or Critical Strikes. Rodeo Strikes cannot be blocked. Attempting to strike a Stun Rod Thug will cause Batman to take damage, which also counts as a fail-out. 2. Counters - How to perform: Y while a counterable enemy is attacking you. - Can be used as a variation starter: Yes - Counts as a hit: Yes Gained by starting the game, this is one of Batman's 5 basic moves. Counters are mostly just a defensive measure, but they are also sometimes essential in order to continue a combo, since taking a hit will guarantee losing your combo meter. In Normal or Challenge modes, you will receive an indicator for counters in the form of a series of blue streaks appearing above the enemy's head who is about to attack. Sometimes these streaks will instead be red. This means the attack coming in cannot be countered, and should be avoided. In Hard Mode, these indicators do not appear (but the rules of what can and cannot be countered still apply). Here is a list of counterable and non-counterable attacks from enemies: Counterable: Unarmed Strike Pipe Strike Non-Counterable: Knife Strike Stun Rod Strike Thrown Objects Titan Attacks Gunfire Failures: If you attempt to do a Counter and there is no incoming enemy attack, it WILL count as a failed move, and WILL end your combo, no matter what you attempt to follow it up with. Once you begin to master the game's combo system, this is the easiest way to accidentally lose a combo meter. 3. Dodge - How to perform: Double-tap A - Can be used as a variation starter: Yes - Counts as a hit: No Gained by starting the game, this is one of Batman's 5 basic moves. The dodge allows you to avoid some enemy attacks, maybe. Personally, I find that from a defensive standpoint, anything dodged can usually be better avoided by simply holding A and running past it. However, there is a more useful version of dodge where Batman rolls over an enemy's back, which I will call the Enemy Dodge. This will not only stun the enemy and stop whatever they are currently doing (useful for preventing incoming knife or stun rod attacks), but it will also completely renew the timer on Batman's combo meter. Dodging over an enemy can be done as many times in a row as you like, and the combo meter will never fade as long as no other Fail-Out cases are met. If you are not using Enemy Dodges, you must make certain to only use a single dodge in a row. It is important to note that the dodge is most useful against enemies with stun rods, as dodging over their back to get behind them will allow you to combo them normally until they recover. Failures: If you are using ground dodges, the second dodge will always count as a Failed Move, and end your combo. This does not apply to Enemy Dodges. 4. Cape Stun - How to perform: B - Can be used as a variation starter: Yes - Counts as a hit: No Gained by starting the game, this is one of Batman's 5 basic moves. The Cape Stun will stun an enemy briefly. The Cape Stun can be used sometimes to stop an incoming attack, but it is generally more useful to perform either a Counter or Dodge depending on the attack coming in. Cape Stuns can be chained indefinitely without causing you to lose your combo meter, though this normally accomplishes little more than wasting your time, unless you are trying to set Batman up for an incoming attack from another enemy (useful if you're trying to get the Counter variation late into a combo). However, it is noteworthy that Batman will do a fairly liberal hop in order to reach an enemy if he's using a Cape Stun, as long as he was facing them when the move began. The most important use of the Cape Stun is against Knife enemies. After being Cape Stunned, a knife enemy can be combo'd normally. However, if you Cape Stun a Knife Thug and then use an Enemy Dodge to get behind them, they will recover from the Stun and will no longer be attackable. REMEMBER THIS. Failures: Cape Stun will cause a Fail-Out if it does not make contact with an enemy. 5. Ground Takedown - How to perform: RT+Y after downing an enemy. - Can be used as a variation starter: Yes - Counts as a hit: Yes Gained by starting the game, this is one of Batman's 5 basic moves. The Ground Takedown is the final, and most difficult, of Batman's initial variations. It is often best used when there are no other enemies standing, because the technique takes some time to do, and Batman can be attacked (and cannot counter or defend himself in any way) before he delivers the final blow. If Batman is in Power Strike Mode, the Ground Takedown will seek out any enemy on the battlefield and Batman will leap to them. Failures: If Batman attempts a Ground Takedown when he is not in Power Strike Mode and no enemies are near him, it will count as a Failed Move. Once Batman has landed on an enemy and begun the Ground Takedown, his combo meter is extended. However, if Batman has to move to an enemy who is down, his traveling time is counted against you. In other words if you being a Ground Takedown and Batman leaps to an enemy, but does not reach the enemy before 1 second has passed since your last combo extension, you will hit a Time-Out Fail. Also, if Batman is forced to leap a great distance to a downed enemy, he will sometimes miss. These are both good reasons to only use Ground Takedowns when enemies are close by. Finally, and perhaps most frustratingly, if Batman leaps to do a Ground Takedown while an enemy is standing, and the enemy achieves its full standing status before Batman lands on them, he will simply land next to them and it will count as a failure. Again, this normally will only happen if Batman has to go a great distance, but I have seen it happen in rare other cases. 6. Combo Batarang - How to perform: LT+RT while Batarang is selected as gadget. Alternate: tap left-trigger. Requires Power Strike Mode. - Can be used as a variation starter: No - Counts as a hit: Yes The Combo Batarang must be purchased. It can be upgraded with the Double or Triple Batarang purchases, which cause Batman to throw 2 or 3 Batarangs once he has entered Power Strike Mode (minimum 2-hit combo). If Batman is not in Power Strike Mode, he will only throw a single Batarang, and you will not gain the Combo Batarang score or variation points. To my knowledge, Batarang Power does *not* affect the Combo Batarang's stun time, it is only for Stealth Missions. The most effective way to use a Combo Batarang is by tapping the left trigger once. Once in Power Strike mode the Combo Batarang can still be used by manually using the gadget, and it will still count for your variation, though there is no conceivable advantage to this. Failures: The Batarang can count as a Failed-Move in a couple of different ways. Like with a strike, if Batman attempts to throw a Batarang in a direction where there are no standing enemies, it will fail. But, much more annoyingly, if you double-tap LT when you throw a Batarang, this counts as two attempts to throw it, the first of which is a success, and the second is a failure. This is a bit like how mashing the X button causes Batman to not use Critical Strikes, except with a more extreme penalty. Mashing LT will cause you to lose your combo meter instantly, regardless of whether or not the Batarang Batman actually throws connects. This can be difficult to get used to, especially since the other combat Gadget, the Batclaw, is performed with a double-tap of RT. 7. Batclaw - How to perform: LT+RT while Batarang is selected as gadget. Alternate: double-tap right-trigger. - Can be used as a variation starter: Yes - Counts as a hit: No The Batclaw must be obtained through story. For combat purposes, it will grab the enemy and pull them toward you. They will stumble while standing for about a second, and then fall to the ground with a significant stun-time. Also as part of story, there is an upgrade that will cause the Batclaw to grab three enemies when used instead of only a single. Failures: The Batclaw will fail if you fire it into a direction where the are no enemies. Perhaps more dangerous to your Batclaw usage, however, is Stun Rod Thugs. If a Stun Rod Thug is Batclawed at close-range it will stumble into you and damage Batman, causing a failure. If you perform a Batclaw from a significant distance, you can Dodge over or out of the way of the thug and prevent this damage, however it is often a risky gamble unless they are all the way across a battlefield. 8. Throw - How to perform: X+A after move becomes available (see Unlockable Moves section below) - Can be used as a variation starter: No - Counts as a hit: Yes The Throw is an upgrade that must be purchased. After Batman grabs an enemy and is preparing to throw him, you have some time to aim it. Throwing an enemy into another enemy will knock that enemy down with significant stun time. Once Batman has begun the animation for this move, he is in an invincibility state where other thugs cannot attack or stop him, except with gunfire (gunfire will not stop Batman's Special Combo move, but it will reset the Combo counter and deal damage to Batman). However, Titans or bosses can still attack Batman while he is in this mode. When they're present, Titan Charges are particularly dangerous during the lengthy throw animation. Failures: The Throw cannot be activated if there are no standing enemies in the direction Batman is facing. Once activated, the Throw cannot fail. It is unblockable, it will ignore Stun Rods, and if all of the enemies are out of Batman's range he will continue to leap multiple times until he finds an enemy to throw. Only Titans or Bosses can stop this move. 9. Instant Takedown - How to perform: Y+B after move becomes available (see Unlockable Moves section below) - Can be used as a variation starter: No - Counts as a hit: Yes Instant Takedown is a move that must be purchased, unlocked after Throw is purchased. As it suggests, whatever enemy Batman uses Instant Takedown on is finished and removed from combat. Failures: Like Throw, the Instant Takedown cannot be blocked, and can only fail if there are no targets. Batman is invincible to normal thug attacks during its animation. ---UM1 - Unlockable Moves--- Certain of Batman's moves become unlocked during Combat. I will list them all here, but this section is mainly for Throw and Instant Takedown mechanics. Power Strikes - Usable once Batman has achieved a 2x combo Combo Batarang - Usable once Batman has achieved a 2x combo Critical Strikes - Usable once Batman has achieved a 3x combo Throw/Instant Takedown - These two moves are unlocked in the same way, and either one can be used when it is available. Initially, once Batman has achieved an 8x combat multiplier his Combo Counter will turn yellow. This signifies that Special Combo moves can now be used. Once the Special Combo Boost upgrade is purchased, this requirement will be reduced to 5x. After using one of the moves, Batman must re-enable them by performing further attacks. Spillover points do not factor in. In other words, if you have purchased Special Combo Boost, and wait until a 9x combo to perform it, you will not be able to perform another Special Combo until 14x. There's an interesting caveat here. Even if Special Combo Boost has not been purchased, Special Combo moves are unlocked every 5 further combo points after the initial one is performed. In other words, though the initial Special Combo move cannot be done until 8x, the next one can be done at 13x, then at 18x. Both Special Combo moves give Batman +1 to his combo meter, and this DOES count towards the +5x requirement to the next unlock (meaning you must only gain 4 more combo points to your next Special Combo unlock). ---SC1 - Scoring--- Combos are scored in two different ways in B:AA, one for in-game experience bonuses, and the other the point-system for challenge mode. I will discuss each of them here. 1. In Game Experience At the end of any non-boss thug encounter you get experience based on the number of thugs you defeated, with each one being worth a certain number of predetermined points. This is normally about 25 points for most common thugs in the game. The method by which you kill them does not affect this experience value. If you achieved a minimum of a 5-hit combo during the encounter, then you will receive 10*X bonus experience for the battle. You will then receive a variation bonus based on the number of combo variations used during the battle. Here is a list of the variation bonuses: 3x - 25xp 4x - 50xp 5x - 75xp 6x - 100xp 7x - 150xp 8x - 200xp 9x - 250xp 2. Challenge Mode The challenge mode scoring system is much more complicated than story mode. Whenever you perform a move that adds to your combat counter, it will give you points in the form of M*X, where M is the Modifier for that particular move, and X is the number of hits in your combo after the move is complete. Except for in the case of Batarangs (I don't know WHY), where you get the number added BEFORE the +1 the batarang gives to your combo counter. Here is a list of the modifiers for moves I am aware of. I do not claim this is complete: 10 - Strike 10 - Counter 10 - Combo Batarang - Calculates damage based on pre-batarang combo 20 - Power Strike - Critical 25 - Throw 25 - Batclaw Strike - a punch that immediately follows a Batclaw. 25 - Ring Out - caused when an enemy is thrown over a ledge in applicable areas 25 - Rodeo Strike - caused when riding a Titan, and it hits another enemy 50 - Takedown - This is the variety of takedown bonus given only by Instant Takedown 100 - Ground Pound - Caused by a normal Ground Takedown 100 - Titan Takedown - Caused when killing a Titan through normal combo strikes Miscellaneous: 10 - Knockdown - caused when an enemy is Thrown into another. This gives you points like the regular moves, but does not give a +1 hit bonus 25 - Collateral Damage - caused when a Titan charges through or smacks a thug. Collateral Damage is worth a static 25 points, will not add to your combo, and is not affected by your multiplier. 100 - Takedown - This takedown is caused when throwing a goon into an electric fence. This move gives you +1 to your hit counter, but is only worth static points when it happens. Your combo meter does not affect it. At the end of the round, there is a list of static bonuses you can receive, and then a variation bonus which changes depending on the highest variation combo you obtained during the match 500pts - Dark Knight Bonus - Do not take damage during a Round 1000pts - Flawless Freeflow Bonus - Kill an entire round of enemies in a single combo 5000pts - Perfect Knight Bonus - complete an entire challenge (all 4 rounds) without taking damage Variation Bonuses: x3 - 100pts x4 - 200pts x5 - 500pts x6 - 1000pts x7 - 2000pts x8 - 3500pts x9 - 5000pts So let's walk through a simple scenario and calculate the points you would gain for it. You begin a battle by performing Strike, Strike, Strike, then an enemy attempts to attack you so you counter. Next you use a Cape Stun, Dodge over an enemy's head, throw a Combo Batarang, Batclaw, perform a Critical Strike, and then finally use an Instant Takedown. For the purposes of this example, we'll assume the battle somehow ends here. Here are the points you would receive for each move performed: -Formula, Points awarded, Total- 10x1= 10= 10 (remember, you receive points AFTER the number is incremented, so the first hit still gives points) 10x2= 20= 30 10x3= 30= 60 10x4= 40=100 (Counter) Cape Stun and Dodge give no points and add no combo hits, so have no affect on your score. 10x4= 40=140 (Combo Batarang, counts at the combo level BEFORE the batarang hits) 25x7=175=315 (Batclaw Strike, which also gives you a +2 to your combo meter since you Critical'd it) 50x8=400=715 This would give you 715 points onto your counter. In addition, you would receive a x7 variation bonus worth, or +2000. You would also receive the Dark Knight and Flawless Freeflow bonuses, +1500. Giving you a total score of 4215 points. Not bad for a single combo, huh? Of course, this is a very simple example and assumes a lot (you didn't get hit, all of the enemies died throughout the course of the combo, etc). Another caveat to the scoring system you might be interested in if you've read this far. Sometimes certain attacks will hit multiple enemies. When this happens, you will receive the full combo hit bonus for these attacks, but you will only receive the points *once*. So for example, if Batman throws a Strike and it hits two guys at the same time, you will receive +2 to your combo meter, but only get points for the first hit, which will have been evaluated at the normal level that hit would've been. In other words, the system will do +1 hit, Score+=X*10, +1 hit. This sort of thing also applies to the Throw system. If Batman Throws an enemy into a group of 5 enemies, the system will do +1 hit (for the throw), Score+=X*25 (for the throw), Score+=X*10 (for the collision). You will not receive additional points for the extra enemies hit, and you will not receive additional hits to your combo meter, since collisions are not worth hits. ---PT1 - Putting it all together--- Knowing all of this is a good place to start, but at some point you've actually got to apply the knowledge to a fight. Whether you're going for bonus in-game experience or a high score in a challenge, there are two main combat methods that are effective for scoring. They can be used solely, mixed and matched, or put together. - Combat Method 1 - Method 1 is the variation approach. Each round of combat allows you up to a +5000 point bonus for doing only 1 perfect 9-variation combo. The rest of the battle you can do any way you like. This may sound very difficult, but it's actually not once you boil it down to a few basic elements, slow yourself down (realize the timer is more generous than you think), and learn all of the failure cases I mentioned previously and how to avoid each one. Against a mere 3 enemies, you can achieve an 8 variation bonus, which amounts to 3500 points. Add a fourth or more enemy, and 9 variations is always possible (although not necessarily simple). The key to mastering the variation process is to think of Batman's various moves in segments. First, you start with the basic 4 elements. Strike, Counter, Dodge, Cape Stun. You always want to begin a battle with some combination of these four. The simplest method is to run to the first enemy and do 3 Strikes. At this point, you will usually have an attack incoming that you can Counter. If you do not, do repeated Cape Stuns on an enemy until an attack is incoming. If your first Counter connects, it's best to always follow it up with a Cape Stun regardless. If you group the Cape Stun and the Counter together as a single unit of the battle, it'll make it easier not to forget one of them (before I started doing this, I found they were the two I skipped most often). Once you have successfully done at least one Cape Stun and your Counter, start using Enemy Dodges. At this point, you have a 4x variation bonus. Good job! You're well on your way. There are a few possible alternate ways to start this first step. If there's a Knife Thug nearby, you may want to knock him down to keep him from attacking you with a non-counterable attack. To do this, simply run up to him and do a Cape Stun, then your 3xStrike combo on him, then wait for an incoming attack to Counter by the usual method. If there's a Stun Rod Thug, similarly, you can start the combo by doing an Enemy Dodge over his back, then punching him with your 3xStrike from behind. This will knock him down and make him drop his Stun Rod. No matter how you go about it, the goal of the first phase of combat is to get your first 4 variations in. Don't bother thinking about getting fancy until you have these 4 out of the way. If done right, you should normally have a 4x Combo meter running at this point as well. That's only 1 hit away from a Special Combo opportunity. But let's not go there yet. The next phase of your combo should be "the gadgets". If you think about it in this way, it makes it easier to remember both of them, rather than trying to deal with them separately. Since you've been dodging in order to give yourself time to think, now it's time to get to the edge of the group of enemies, and do one ground dodge out to give yourself some distance. After that, turn around (remember, you still have some time after a ground dodge, as long as you don't try to do a second one) and fire off your Batclaw. This will grab three enemies and stun them. Next, round off a quick tap of the Batarang. This can stun up to 3 more enemies, though it often gets many of the same ones as the Batclaw. You can try to wait about half a second after firing the Batclaw, and sometimes this will allow your Batarang to hit other targets as the first set is falling. Now you have completed the gadget phase, gotten 6 variations, and a 5x combo meter. Now you begin the Special/Takedown phase. There are a few ways to go about this, depending on what you think is best for you. Personally, I recommend shifting immediately into a Throw. When you do a Throw, just tap X+A once. If you try to tap it rapidly, the game will override the command and consider you to be double-tapping A, causing you to do a dodge, often causing you to break combo. Once you tap X+A once the Throw command will have been input, and Batman will find the nearest enemy and throw them, whatever he has to do. During the lengthy throw animation, the other enemies should all or mostly all recover from your previous round of stuns. If you were in a battle with very few foes, then you can try a Ground Takedown immediately after the throw is complete. This will get you to a x8 multiplier (3500 points), which may be all you want or even need, and it only takes about 15 seconds to pull off. If you're in a group of a lot of enemies, the throw can be replaced with an Instant Takedown first, to help clear the air a little bit, and a Ground Takedown is probably not a safe idea yet. Once you come out of this phase, it's best to start using Enemy Dodges again, because you're gonna need to buy yourself time to find your next opportunity. From the first punch thrown it takes an average of 15 seconds to get to this point. Assuming this phase went perfectly, you'll have a variation of 8 now. That's not bad for most scenarios. If you can successfully pull off an 8 variation at the beginning of every battle in a Challenge, that will be +14,000 BONUS points alone, not counting the points given by the actual combos (though it is fairly small for combos that short). This coupled with a Perfect Knight bonus (which is worth 7000 points altogether) will give you a bare minimum of 21,000 for a Challenge. That's enough to 3-star the Normal-Score Challenges and 2-star the Hard-Score Challenges. Not too shabby, right? If you want to go the extra mile and get your final variation, you need to get +3 hits after completing this phase (this assumes you got +1 hit for the Throw/I.Takedown, +1 hit for the Ground Takedown). This can be done in a variety of ways, depending on the number of enemies still standing. The most conservative is probably to Cape Stun to the nearest enemy (Batman will generally fly to them), then continue to Cape Stun until you have a Counter opportunity. Alternately you can just use Strikes and Batarangs, if you're not worried about clearing the enemies out too quickly. As soon as your combo meter turns yellow again, simply trigger the remaining Special Combo move, and voila! Doing this will unlock the Freeflow Perfection (FRPF) achievement. - Combat Method 2 - Method 2 is the simple approach: Critical Strikes. Critical Strikes is a tremendously powerful move, and relatively simple to use once you slow yourself down and get into a steady rhythm of just tapping the X button once whenever you want Batman to attack (unlike what the game implies, you do NOT have to follow the previous attack immediately. You have the full combo window to initiate your next Critical Strike). Each Critical Strike is worth +2 hits, then adds 20x your combo meter in points to your score, and they cause Batman to fly around across the screen pretty wildly, which if used carefully to your advantage can be a great defense mechanism. A 19-hit combo (3 initial Strikes, 8 Critical Strikes) is already worth 1,980 points. Add just 5 more Critical Strikes to that chain, and you will be at 4,480. Five more (a total combo of 39 hits at this point) gives you 7,980. For adding just 10 hits (it might sound like a lot, but it's really not), we've added 6000 points to our score. That's more than a perfect 9x variation bonus! There are a couple of different ways to get these massive Critical Strike chains going. The easiest (and least reliable) way is to simply use nothing but the X button. With some dedication you can make this work, but it will cause you some grief with incoming attacks, Stun Rod Thugs, or Knife Thugs. For many basic battles, however, this method can be applied successfully. The second step is to intermix counterattacks into your Criticals. Watch for blue lines during Batman's slowdowns before the hits, and try to slip a Y in when it seems appropriate. This will raise your hit counter, but can be dangerous because it requires a split-second decision on whether or not a thug is about to hit you. If you tap Y and no attack is coming in, it will count as a failed move and you will lose your combo. If you fail to catch an incoming attack, you will take a hit and lose your combo. The third, and better step (the second step could arguably be skipped for this one in most cases) is to apply a liberal use of dodging between every 1-2 criticals that you do. A dodge will buy you time to think, and in large groups of enemies you can simply dodge around until you see a good opportunity to execute your next critical. In fact, you can often dodge over an enemy at the edge of the group, then do a FURTHER ground-dodge out into the open. From here you can use your next Critical strike, or do a Batclaw followed by a Critical Strike (25 modifier instead of 20, stuns two additional foes). The final step, very important to remember for some of the challenges, is intermixing your Criticals with Instant Takedowns. Here is a sample flow of what can be done using this technique: Strike, Strike, Strike, Critical Strike, Instant Takedown, [Critical Strike, Critical Strike, Instant Takedown], repeat ad nauseum. Since the hit from the Instant Takedown gives you a +1, then you only need 4 more points until your next Special Combo move becomes available. In this case, that only means 2 Critical Strikes, since each one is a +2. This is a devastating attack method, since the instant-death effect of Instant Takedown will absolutely obliterate a battlefield, leaving Batman invincible a significant portion of the battle. Each time you go into an Instant Takedown all of the nearby foes will stop their attacks, giving you an opportunity to come out swinging cleanly. You can pretty much always come out of an Instant Takedown with at least one Critical Strike, and then if you need to you can start dodging over enemies and pick your next opportunity, which will be followed by an immediate Instant Takedown. -Combined Methods- Now remember, we can mix the two methods for tremendous results. Here's an example. We go into battle and recklessly charge our first enemy, and do an X, X combo against him. At this point an attack is coming in (an aggressive enemy with a pipe), so we need to Counter immediately. We have a +3 combo. Next we do a Cape Stun, because we know to do so after our counter, then we Dodge over the nearest enemy. Next we tap X once to do a Critical Strike, giving us a +2 combo, and immediately we follow it by triggering a Throw. After the throw an enemy is behind us so we Enemy Dodge over him, then Ground Dodge away from the group of enemies once. We do a Batclaw, followed by a Batarang, but an enemy is still charging us and we don't want to risk a Ground Takedown yet. Instead we do a Critical Strike into the charging enemy, knocking him senseless. Now we do our Ground Takedown, quickly finishing off one of the enemies our Batarang knocked down. At this point an enemy has already recovered and is mid-punch against us, so we tap Y for a rapid Counter. After the Counter ends we start Enemy Dodging again to buy a second to think. Eventually we perform a quick chain of three Critical Strikes, to clear the air a little, and then go into an Instant Takedown. When the Instant Takedown is over the enemies who are still alive are back up on their feet, so we Dodge away once, turn and fire the Batclaw, then punch the closest one with another Critical Strike. We finish things off with a series of Critical Strikes mixed with Ground Takedowns until everything is dead. Take note of the fact that I end with a chain involving Ground Takedowns, NOT Instant Takedowns. This is because a Ground Takedown is worth x100, not x50, so once you get a 20+ combo a Ground Takedown over an Instant will net you an extra 1000 points every time. That's as much as the Flawless Freeflow bonus EACH time! Using this pattern, I am able to consistently score over 15,000 points on a round of only 8 enemies. The more enemies you add in and the longer you can hold out the final phase of combat, the higher this score will soar. It's also good to realize that the Critical Strikes technique can be used for very quick chaining between your first and second Special Combo attack, the same way it can be used to chain between Instant Takedowns as I mentioned above. This makes flowing from one to the other much faster. -Further Techniques- Aside from these two main modes of combat, there are a few other things you should keep in mind as you're working for points. Gadgets are worth very little. A Batarang is only a 10x multiplier, but counts pre-hit, not post (not too big of a deal, but still less than a regular strike). The Batclaw is worth nothing on its own, and a Batclaw Strike is only worth 25 points, even if it's a Critical Strike (which are normally 20). That's technically only an additional 5x multiplier for using the Batclaw at all, and then ONLY if you follow it with a Strike and nothing else. Now there are a few advantages to Batclaw Strikes, but as far as points go it's not overwhelming. The useful tactic here would be, in a large group of enemies, to make every attack a non-Critical'd Batclaw Strike. This would allow you to only do a +1 to your combo meter each time, so you can get 2 hits in at x25 when you normally would've gotten 1 at x20. This could potentially allow for inflated scores, but overall it's more annoying, time consuming, and dangerous than it's really worth. The overall point here is, don't think of gadgets in terms of enhancing your score. What the gadgets are really for is clearing the battlefield. A Batclaw followed by a Batarang can cause up to 6 enemies to get knocked down. This will give you a decent amount of time to decide on your next move. However, if you knock ALL of the enemies down, you must remember that you will timeout soon if you don't do something! Most of Batman's moves won't work on a downed enemy. So after doing a Batarang/Batclaw, unless you're in a large group of enemies (6+), your best bet is to follow up with a Ground Pound to make sure to keep your combo going. Which brings me to my next point. Ground Pound is a 100x multiplier, the highest by quite a margin. A very useful tactic is to learn how many of the enemies in a wave you need to kill, then start doing Ground Pounds on all of them. Again, the best way to set up for this is use the Batclaw/Batarang. If you leave one enemy standing after a Claw/Rang combo, then follow up on that enemy with a Critical Strike (always knocks an enemy down), then do an immediate Ground Pound on someone on the ground. You've got to make sure you're in not danger of being countered when you start the Ground Pound. If you knocked everything down with the Claw/Rang, then you can almost always get in 2 G.Pounds before the enemies start to recover and you need to stun them all again. Starting at a 25x combo (fairly easy to achieve with Critical Strikes in large groups), 5 Ground Pounds alone will net you 13,500 points. Now it's often difficult to get a full 5 Ground Pounds in at that point (after all of those Critical Strikes, I find that most of the enemies are highly weakened and die to the Batarang or next punch often), but you can see that when you can pull it off, the rewards are well worth it. If you find yourself unable to perform a Ground Pound in a lot of situations, Instant Takedown is also a good move. At half the value of Ground Pound it's still a significant reward, and safer to work into a battle between Critical Strikes. ---EV1 - Environment--- There are a few environmental factors to consider during combat. Electric Fences: Throwing an enemy into one of these will kill him instantly and grant a 100 point, non-combo'd Takedown bonus. Hitting it as Batman will count as a hit and reset your combo meter. Edges: Some arenas have void areas into which you can toss an enemy, causing their demise and a Ring Out bonus of 25 points. Batman cannot fall off of these in Challenge Mode. Flagged scenery: This is an important one. Certain arenas can have background scenery that thugs can use as weapons, including pipes, throwable boxes, and Gun Boxes. If an unarmed thug goes to one of these, they will have to spend a few seconds attempting to obtain the weapon, and then they will have it available. When a thug attempts to access the gun boxes, an alarm will sound to warn Batman of it. With the exception of throwable boxes, once you knock a weapon from a thug's hand it remains available in combat, and can be picked up easily (no long animation) at any time by another unarmed thug. Scenery cannot always be fetched in Challenge Mode, however. Certain pieces of it are flagged during various rounds as being available. These flags are individual to a specific element, and do not apply to the weapon class as a whole. In other words, just because one pipe is flagged does not mean they are all flagged. Once an object has been flagged in a round, it will remain flagged for all future rounds if no thug successfully uses it. ---EN1 - Enemies--- I've decided to divide the enemy strategy sections up into Challenge Mode and Story Mode enemies. Most Challenge Mode enemies do also appear in story mode, but the strategies I discuss for them are more relevant to Challenge Mode overall. I do not discuss enemies who require story or Stealth tactics to defeat. Take note that Zsasz is simple in both of his story mode appearances, but also appears in Challenge Mode as a different enemy. However in this case he is simply an alternate appearance for the Knife Thug, and requires no other special treatment. -Challenge Mode Enemies- There are 7 main classes of enemies in B:AA Challenge Mode. Unarmed Thugs, Pipe Thugs, Stun Rod Thugs, Knife Thugs, Gun Thugs, Throw Thugs, and Titans. Unarmed Thugs are your garden-variety thugs. All they can do is punch you, and it can be countered. Some seem to have a running kick attack, which will happen much faster than a punch and can be tighter to counter. Any Unarmed Thug can pick up any weapon that is flagged as available and use it against you. Pipe Thugs: Pipe Thugs are like Unarmed Thugs but have increased aggression, faster attacks, longer reach, deal more damage, and cause Batman a brief period of blurriness after a hit. All in all they are not a significant threat, and can be handled the same way as normal thugs. Stun Rod Thugs: Stun Rod Thugs are slower than others, but their attacks cannot be countered. Also if Batman punches them, it will cause Batman to take damage and reel. The easiest way to handle a Stun Rod Thug is either to roll over their back then combo them normally, use a Special Combo move, or Batclaw/C.Batarang them. Any of these methods will cause them to drop the Stun Rod. However, there is an important thing to note here. Once dropped, the Stun Rod can be picked up by other thugs. If you choose to use the Batclaw, keep in mind that when pulled towards Batman they WILL do damage, so you must quickly dodge over them or out of their way. This is sometimes impossible if they were too close when you fired the Batclaw. Knife Thugs: Knife Thugs are a special breed. They cannot be attacked, as they will block all blows. Also, their attacks are unblockable, like Stun Thugs. Dodging over a Knife Thug will not allow you to attack them. Only a Cape Stun or Batclaw will open them up to regular strikes. They can still be hurt normally by Special Combos and gadgets. Once killed, a Knife Thug will NOT drop their weapons. Gun Thugs: When a gun box has been flagged as available, any unarmed Thug may try to open it for a gun. When they do this, it takes them several seconds, and an alarm will sound to notify Batman. The best way to prevent this is to either Batclaw them, or use a Critical Strike to launch yourself across the screen to them and knock them down. This will normally only dissuade them for a while, but each time they go to the case they must restart their opening animation. As long as a gun is never successfully gotten out, you will have plenty of warning when a thug is trying to open it. Gunfire cannot be blocked, but it can (somewhat) be dodged through. However, even taking a minor hit from it will reset your combo meter, so it's best to keep them out of play. Gun Thugs do not appear until the Extreme Challenges. Throw Thugs: When a box has been flagged, Unarmed Thugs will go to the walls in either the sewer or Rumble in the Jungle areas and tear boxes off of the walls, to throw them at Batman. They can be handled the same way as Gun Thugs, and are overall less dangerous. Like gunfire, the thrown objects cannot be blocked. Titans: The bosses from the game, these guys have a few moves. Charge, throw body, Ground Slam, and punch. The punch is slow and easily avoided. The throw is fast, but can be avoided simply by running perpendicular to its path. The Ground Slam is also slow and releases a big shockwave, but is easy to run out of the radius of. The most dangerous move is the charge. It's fast, but preceded by a loud roar that can always be heard over the sounds of combat. When you hear it, you need to fire a Batarang immediately. Batman will always throw to the charging Titan. Once the Batarang hits it, only then does the charge become easily dodgeable (it can still be dodged without stunning them, but the timing has to be just right, because they will adjust as you move). After stunning a Titan with a Batarang and letting them hit a wall, they will stumble around blindly for a few seconds, during which you can combo them. After a Titan has lost a lifebar, he can be Rodeo'd and used to attack other enemies. Keep in mind that Titan attacks can break through periods where Batman is otherwise invincible. -Story Mode Enemies- These are enemies who you will only see in Story Mode. Lunatics: They will charge you, then jump on your back and suck the life out of you. The easiest way to handle them is to simply wait for their approach while hammering Y rapidly. Batman will do the rest. Spore Pods: These appear once Poison Ivy has affected the Island. To eliminate them, walk up to them slowly with the Triple Batarang drawn and your reticle hoving over the pod slightly. When they release their spores, adjust quickly until you have all 3 highlighted, then throw the Batarang. After this, just walk up to the side of the pod and press A to destroy it. Skeleton Thug: Summoned by Scarecrow, these are only weaker versions of thugs. In order to kill them quickly it's best to start a Critical Strike chain. Each hit will one-hit-KO a Skeleton Thug. Skeleton Titan: Same as a regular Titan, except it only takes on Batarang+Dodge to kill him. A pleasant relief. Bane: Bane is a much more powerful version of a Titan. He does not need downed enemy bodies to throw at you, he cannot be Rodeo'd, he can heal himself, he can't be combo'd after being stunned by a Batarang (though you can safely punch him twice), and he hits harder. In order to deal with Bane's first phase focus solely on dodging his attacks and using a Batarang when he charges. For the second wave you will have 4 enemies to deal with. The easiest way to handle this phase of combat is to use the Enemy Dodge to roll around on the thug's backs and let Bane charge through them for you. If he knocks down all of them except for one, do a quick combo on that one and then try to slip a Ground Pound on one of the others. It's normally not safe to do 2 Ground Pounds unless Bane is healing when you come out of the first one. Alternately, if you're wanting more sport, you can defeat the waves of thugs with Critical Strikes+Instant Takedowns, but Bane will often attack and interrupt you, so don't ever stop listening for your opportunity to toss a Batarang at him and start dodging. Poison Ivy: Ivy's first round has two alternating phases of combat. During the first, she will cause a garden of plants to grow up under two sections of the battlefield. If you're grabbed by one of these, they will do significant damage before you can escape. To avoid them, always start by standing in the middle of the area. Watch to see where Ivy's first attack goes. If it goes to the middle, then dodge to whichever side that tentacle came from. For example, if you're standing in the middle and the left tentacle attacks the middle, then dodge into the left side of the battlefield. The tentacles cannot reach to the opposite side. If the first tentacle goes to its own side (it usually does), then watch to see where the second tentacle lands, and simply move to the area where it did not attack. Ivy cannot be hurt during this phase. During the second phase, Ivy will blast you with spores, while occasionally opening her shield and leaving her vulnerable to a Batarang. You can avoid the spores simply by running around the entire battlefield in a circular motion. Here's how to consistently hit Ivy during this phase without taking a hit yourself: start by running in a circle, try to keep your turns short (you want to be running side-to-side most of the time). At the exact same moment that Ivy release her second spore attack (it may take you a couple of tries to find this timing), tap RT, but continue to hold A+analog stick in the direction you were moving. If timed right Batman will stop briefly, throw his Batarang, the first spore will land missing him, he will start walking again, then the second spore will land just *barely* missing him behind his feet. Repeat until she switches back to phase 1. Once you finally bring Ivy down, quickly switch to the Explosive Gel and paint it on her cell wall, and detonate it to end this round. After getting through the first round, she will switch to a second round. The first phase here is elementally the same as the first, but with thugs summoned. The easiest way to deal with the thugs is to try to wait as late as possible before dodging into the cleared zones. This will cause many of the thugs to get grabbed by Ivy's own attack. If one or two are left, combo them and try to get a x5 with one Critical Strike (only if there are two can this be done easily), then do an Instant Takedown. If no thugs are left standing, and all were grabbed by vines, wait until they're laid down and try to slip in one Ground Pound for a quick KO. Repeat this until all of the thugs are dead. It's slow, but safe, and Ivy's vines will do quite a bit of damage to them. The second phase here is exactly the same as the first, only sped up. This time instead of throwing your Batarang as Ivy released the second spore, simply throw it (with the same timing) as she releases the first. Scarecrow: To defeat the Scarecrow, avoid his gaze and punch him with the Light of Your Mind(tm). Joker: Joker's, thankfully, much simpler than Ivy or Bane. During the combat stages where Joker is trying to attack you, just run away from him and wait. He'll eventually go up top and summon thugs. Handle the thugs through normal tactics, Critical Strikes being the easiest. Joker will change it up a bit by sending exploding mechanized teeth (which I find HILARIOUS) into the fray. When you see one simply get really close to it, then dodge out over an enemy and out a second time. This will detonate it and get you out of the way of the explosion. As long as you watch out for them I find the teeth to be more helpful than harmful, since they throw most of the thugs to the ground and are very easy to avoid. When all of the thugs are down quickly switch to the Batclaw and pull Joker down to the ground. Run over to him and combo him, then repeat the entire cycle until dead. XB. Section B: Challenge Mode Challenges Now let's take the lessons we've learned and try to apply them to the Challenges. There are 8 Challenge Mode challenges, 4 Normal and 4 Extreme. The major difference in the Extreme versions (other than enemy sets) is that guns become involved. You fight with whatever Batman you currently have available in story mode. This means that if you haven't upgraded the Batclaw yet, your Batclaw in challenge mode will only grab 1 Thug instead of 3. This can be either a tactical advantage or disadvantage depending on the situation. I've classified the scoring for the various challenges into 3 categories. Normal, Hard, and Extreme. I based this solely on the number of points required to get the 3-star score, as I was uninterested in anything less. There is an interesting point that the two Extreme scores in the game are different at the lower tiers, but the same at the top. Normal: 6000/12000/18000 Hard: 10000/20000/30000 Extreme: 10000/30000/50000 Alt: 30000/40000/50000 ---CM1 - Intensive Treatment--- Scoring: Normal (18000) Round 1: 3 Unarmed Round 2: 5 Unarmed Round 3: 2 Unarmed, 4 Pipe Round 4: 8 Unarmed I recommend you use this challenge to practice, practice, practice. The first enemy group is only 3 enemies, giving you the perfect opportunity to absolutely master getting an 8x variation whenever you want. Here's the method I recommend: Charge center enemy, Strike, Strike, Strike, Counter, Cape Stun, Enemy Dodge, Ground Dodge Out, Batclaw, Batarang, Ground Pound x2, Instant Takedown. This will net you a total score of 5000-6000 points for this round, all things depending. Now, variations aside, the easiest way to do this entire Challenge is with nothing but Critical Strikes (another good thing to practice). If you do rounds 1-4 without taking a single hit or ever breaking your combo, you will get +4000 points for four Flawless Freeflows, +7000 points from Perfect Knight, and somewhere around 10,000+ points from comboing alone. This leaves you with a somewhat slim margin of error (if you take a hit anywhere, you will lose Perfect Knight, with will almost always cost you the top score by just a few hundred points), but it can be done in very few attempts if you learn to slow down and master Critical Strikes by any of the methods listed above. You'll want to do this now because you will be needing this technique later. If you're having trouble with the pure Critical Strike strategy, then mix and match. If you simply add in a +6-7 variation to each round at the beginning before going into Critical Strikes (Strike, Counter, Cape, Dodge, Batclaw, Instant Takedown are the safest choices, throw in a Batarang if you want to go to 6), you'll net an extra +1000-2000 points for each round. If you follow the basic pattern of Strikes, Counter, Cape Stun, Dodge, Batclaw, Batarang, Ground Pound, Throw, Criticalx2, Instant Takedown, you can get easy 9 variations. A variation of 8 in the first round and a variation of 9 in the second round will put you at around 13000+ points for those two rounds alone. If you manage to complete both in single combos, that's an additional +2000. If you end your battles with a few extra Ground Pounds, and get Dark Knight bonuses as well, it's relatively easy to get 15,000 points before even entering the third round. If you do Round 3 with nothing but a single fluid Critical Strike chain, you can come out of it easily over 20,000 points. ---CM2 - Sewer Bat--- Scoring: Normal (18000) Round 1: 4 Unarmed Round 2: 1 Knife, 3 Unarmed Round 3: 4 Unarmed, 2 flagged pipes, +3 throwable boxes flagged Round 4: 1 Knife, 7 Unarmed There's nothing particularly extra to add about this challenge. If you can do the first one, you can most likely do this one as well. The only twist thrown into this challenge is round 4. There's a Knife Thug, as well as 3 thugs who will throw boxes at you. The easiest way to handle this Knife Thug (and all future ones) is to move to a different thug and do a three hit combo, Counter if necessary, then Critical Strike to a different (not knife) thug. This will put you at an immediate 5x combo. If you're good with Instant Takedown, then just use it immediately and home on the Knife Thug. If you're not good with it yet, or there are guys between you and the Knife Thug, go into Enemy Dodges until you can get next to him and use Instant Takedown. Now the Knife Thug is removed. Continue the fight with more Critical Strikes, using the homing and leap-across-the-screen abilities to track your way to each of the Throw Thugs and knock them down before they get a chance to throw at you. Beyond this, normal tactics apply. ---CM3 - Shock and Awe--- Scoring: Hard (30000) Round 1: 1 Pipe, 3 Unarmed, 45 seconds Round 2: 1 Stun, 1 Pipe, 4 Unarmed, 60 seconds Round 3: 2 Pipe, 2 Knife, 4 Unarmed, 1:15 seconds Round 4: 1 Stun, 1 Knife, 8 Unarmed, 1:30 seconds I recommend skipping Shock and Awe until after Rumble in the Jungle, just because the timers make Shock and Awe such a different battle. Once you get into the habit of being rushed, it's hard to drop it, and it's not a good habit for Rumble in the Jungle, where it's best to take your time. Shock and Awe is where things start to get hard for the first time. Each round is timed, which makes it a lot harder to take multiple attempts to get your variation bonuses. There's a good mix of Knife and Stun enemies, making it a lot harder to just blast around the room throwing Critical Strikes like a madman. Finally, we've left the Normal scoring tiers and entered Hard, so instead of the 18,000 you're used to you now need 30,000 points for a shot at the title. I actually find this to be one of the harder missions to consistently 3-star, just because of the limited number of foes on the screen and the lack of forgiveness. If you can get a Perfect Knight you make things a lot easier on yourself, but I don't recommend trying for it. There are so many armed foes that you're likely to take a cheap hit somewhere, and always aiming for Perfect Knight will prove to be very stressful on your nerves. Instead, we've got to focus on the variation bonuses. That's the most reasonable place to get most of your points for this battle. An 8x variation in each round gives us an additional 14,000 points to work with. That's halfway to our goal, but still not really close enough. You're going to want to try to get at least a 9x variation in two of the rounds. It's not necessary, but it's *really* helpful. My first advice: get the first round PERFECT. This is a very good common strategy for these harder Challenges. Getting the highest possible amount out of the first round often opens up a lot of breathing room in the later ones. Here's how to get a perfect first round. This won't work 100% of the time, but it has a high success rate, probably 25% if you're sloppy, higher as you get more proficient at thinking on your feet and changing the tactic as need be: Run to the third guy from the left and do 2-3 Strikes, then Counter as someone attacks you. Throw in a Cape Stun to get it out of the way, then do one Critical Strike out to another enemy. Now Throw one of the enemies against the back wall. Make sure that neither the enemy you Critical Strike nor the enemy you Throw are Ringed Out. If they are, restart. Now, after the Throw do a Dodge of the enemy's backs, one Ground Dodge out of the circle, then turn and do a quick Batclaw. Wait until the Batclaw finishes (don't mash the Batarang button!), then fire your Batarang and do an immediate Ground Pound (you cannot pause for long after a Batarang throw). By the time the Ground Pound is over an enemy should be standing somewhere, do one Critical Strike against him. You will now have another Special Combo available (1 hit from Throw, 1 from Batarang, 1 from Ground Pound, 2 from the Critical Strike), so do an Instant Takedown on whoever is standing. This will normally end the battle. If it doesn't finish up with Critical Strike or Ground Pound, depending on if the remaining foe is standing or on the ground. This combo will generally put you within spitting distance of 9000 points. If you want to be brave and mix it up a bit, you can try turning the later Critical Strike into a Batclaw Critical Strike, or even two Batclaw Non-Critical Strikes, but the Batclaw tends to knock enemies down for a long time and leave them there, and I find this is dangerous to my eventual goal of getting off the Instant Takedown. Still, with only the slight variation of making the Critical Strike after the Throw a Batclaw Critical Strike, getting a Flawless Freeflow and Dark Knight bonus, I've managed to break 10,000 points on this single round. ~9000 points in the first round with the 8x variation bonuses from the later rounds will put you at about 20,000 points overall. Getting another 9x out of a later round will ensure a 2-star score. But we've got to make up 10,000 points somewhere. A lot of these (probably 6000 or so) will come from your normal tactics and battles. If you increase your Critical Strike chain length, it'll make up even more (and probably put you over the top). But the most important thing to start focusing on in this challenge is takedowns, both Instant and Ground. For a couple of reasons. First of all, you are still timed. The timing is pretty generous on Normal, but a sloppy round 3 or 4 (especially when you're trying to get your 8x variation) can start to put you in danger zones. To make up for this, after completing whatever variation you're going for it's best to start doing a mix of Critical, Critical, Instant Takedowns, and throw in Ground Takedowns as available. If you can keep a chain of this nature going until the end of a battle without ever losing your combo, you'll be reigning in the points. ---CM4 - Rumble in the Jungle--- Scoring: Hard (30000) Round 1: 1 Pipe, 1 Knife, 4 Unarmed Round 2: 4 Pipe, 8 Unarmed, +2 flagged throwable boxes Round 3: 1 Pipe, 1 Stun, 1 Knife, 4 Unarmed Round 4: 1 Titan, 8 Unarmed This challenge is dramatically easier than Shock and Awe. In the first round, as always in situations like this, your first priority is to kill the Knife Thug at all costs. Start with a 3-hit combo, Counter if you have to, Critical Strike, then use an Instant Takedown on the Knife Thug. Simple as that. If you fail, just restart the challenge. Try to get an 8x variation in this battle if you can. I find that with this many enemies you're better off leaving out Ground Takedown rather than Throw. If you can keep the combo going long enough to get into a Ground Takedown position then try to work it in (remember the Batclaw/Batarang strategy), but don't try to force it, you'll usually just take a hit and lose your Dark Knight bonus. 6000+ points is a good threshhold for this first round, but far more is possible. The second round is a cakewalk for the most part. Make your goal at least 10000 points here. If you come out of the first and second rounds with less than 15,000, you may want to consider restarting, although technically it can easily be made up for in round 4. There are no Stun Rod/Knife enemies in Round 2, but with 12 thugs overall your focus should be on building a massive Critical Strike chain. Make sure to keep an eye out for Throw Thugs with boxes, and either direct Batman at them with a Critical Strike or disarm them with a quick gadget in their direction. I find the Batclaw's a little more stable to pull of against them, but it leaves Batman open longer than a Batarang. You should come out of here about halfway to your goal. Dont sweat Round 3 too badly, it's probably the trickiest round to squeeze points out of here. Once again try to take the Knife Thug out immediately, same as Round 1. But this can be a little trickier because of the Stun Rod Thug. Remember, you have to Cape Stun Knife Thugs, Enemy Dodge Stun Rod Thugs, and the two are NOT interchangable. Neither technique works on both types. From here, you'll hopefully have 5 enemies left, a minimum 4 variation (Strikes, Counter, Instant Takedown, Dodge), and a 10x or so combo built up. If you want to try to milk points out of this round you need to tackle getting both a higher variation (work in the gadgets, Cape Stun, and a Throw), and also a decent Critical Strike chain. Don't feel bad if you fall apart, but aim for at least 6000 points in this fight after bonuses. Round 4 is worth a ton of points if done properly. Initially, ignore all of the thugs (you don't want to hurt them yet) and keep an eye out for the Titan charging and hit him with a Batarang. From there, use combos on him to bring him down. Try to get really good at also Countering incoming attacks while continuing to combo the Titan. Once he goes down, turn away from him and use a few Critical Strikes on the surrounding foes. Try to build at LEAST a 6x combo before going back to the Titan, preferably a 10x. Now attack the Titan to trigger the riding sequence. Try to aim it to hit the enemies as much as possible. It's very reasonably easy to build a 20-25x combo with Rodeo Strikes here, which is worth a ton of points. Rodeo Strikes are worth as much as the Batclaw Strike technique I mentioned earlier, and are much faster to pull off. As soon as you get off of the Titan go immediately into an Instant Takedown (it's easy and good points), then go into Critical Strikes again if you can get away from the Titan. An important note here is that it IS possible to Enemy Dodge over the Titan quite safely, and it's a great way to get clear of him. With a good round of Rodeo Strikes here while most of the enemies are still alive, it's quite achievable to come out of this round with 10,000 points alone even on a bad performance. After the Rodeo, finish off the remaining thugs however is easiest for you. This should leave a Titan standing alone with almost 2 full lifebars left on him. If you let him charge you now and hit him with a Batarang, you will be able to do an extended combo on him that builds up to the Titan Takedown, netting about an extra thousand points or so. If you aim for around 10,000 points in Round 2 and 4, and then 5,000 for the other two, you'll find this a relatively easy 3 star. Certainly not as rough as Shock and Awe. And with that, we complete the normal Challenges with a full suite of 3-stars. Congratulations, you should have your Freeflow Bronze achievement. Let's try to work our way up to Silver. ---CM5 - Intensive Treatment (Extreme)--- Scoring: Hard (30000) Round 1: 6 Unarmed Round 2: 6 Unarmed, +1 flagged gunbox Round 3: 4 Pipe, 4 Unarmed Round 4: 1 Knife, 9 Unarmed This challenge isn't dramatically different from its Normal version, but with an increased goon ratio. This actually works to your favor, allowing higher combo counts and easier attempts at perfect variations. It is scored a little more rigidly, requiring 30000 points instead of 18000 to get your 3 star, but by the time you've made it this far I believe you'll find this to actually be even easier than Intensive Treatment was when you first started, as your feel for the combat should have grown. There are only two things to keep an eye out for during this challenge. The Knife guy in Round 4; try to take him out quickly with an S, S, S, CS, IT, as per usual. Also this is your first encounter with a flagged gunbox, so pay it close mind. You can use either a dashing Critical Strike to knock the thugs trying to open the box down, or you can use the Batclaw. I find the first method makes it easier to hold your combo chain, but either can be done successfully. Critical Strike Chains will overall rack you up more points here, and are probably the most advisable strategy. But that's no reason to completely give up on variation bonuses, as an at least 7 variation should still be pretty easy for you now and nets an extra 2000 points per round. ---CM6 - Sewer Bat (Extreme)--- Scoring: Extreme (50000) Round 1: 8 Unarmed Round 2: 10 Unarmed, 2 Pipe, +4 flagged pipes, +4 throwable boxes Round 3: 1 Knife, 9 Unarmed, +1 flagged gunbox Round 4: 4 Pipe, 12 Unarmed, +1 flagged gunbox The Extreme version of Sewer Bat has the most flagged scenery of any challenge in the game. If you manage to make it to Round 4 without any scenery coming into play yet, there will be 4 flagged pipes, 4 boxes, and 2 flagged gun boxes. This is probably not a good idea, as it makes your work load way too heavy to prevent it all. Instead, in Round 2 let the thugs draw all of the throwable boxes off of the walls, then knock them down as they're carrying them, before they're able to actually get a throw out. In Round 3, just focus on making sure the first gunbox isn't opened. In Round 4, try to keep the battle near the top half of the screen so you can keep an eye on both gunboxes, and keep a good Critical Strike chain going. This challenge might take you a few runs to get, but all in all it's not actually hard, it just takes a little luck and a real mastery of the Critical Strike system. In Round 4 if you intermix your Critical Strikes with enough Instant Takedowns, Dodges, Batclaws, and Counters to keep Batman from ever being hit, you can have a 70+ hit combo by the end of the round easily, which amounts to about 40,000 points for the *single* Round. Needless to say, this virtually guarantees the 3 star. That's not to say you won't have any trouble here, but all in all the tactics isn't really anything I haven't already discussed. If you need to know more, read about Combat Method 2 under the (PT1) section. If you have completed all of the Challenges up to this point with a 3 star, you'll have gotten the Freeflow Silver Achievement. Almost there... ---CM7 - Shock and Awe (Extreme)--- Scoring: Hard (30000) Round 1: 2 Knife, 2 Pipe, 2 Unarmed, 45 seconds Round 2: 2 Stun, 2 Pipe, 2 Unarmed, +1 flagged gunbox, 45 seconds Round 3: 1 Knife, 1 Stun, 2 Pipe, 4 Unarmed, 55 seconds Round 4: 2 Pipe, 2 Knife, 1 Stun, 5 Unarmed, 60 seconds Like it's predecessor, this Shock and Awe is timed. This time, you will find the timers to be much harsher than the first, and may very well find yourself frequently losing Rounds 3 and 4, or only barely finishing after the timer has already ended. In order to milk the 30000 points necessary out of this challenge, I recommend a careful regimen of Critical Strike, Instant Takedown, and nothing else. Near the end of the battle if you find an opportunity for a Ground Takedown use it for double points, but all in all Instant Takedowns are faster and safer. The reasoning for this is because you don't have a lot of time to finish these challenges, so you need to take guys down as quickly as possible. Now, as always Dodges are essential to success, especially if a Knife or Stun Thug is about to attack you. So if you want to throw in a Batclaw (perhaps to disarm the Gun Thug) and a Cape Stun for a small variation bonus in each round, it won't hurt you. In addition, you may consider changing up one of your Instant Takedowns to a Throw, and try to throw an enemy over the ledge. Once you get near the end of combat, if you have 10+ seconds left it's safe to switch back to the Batclaw/Batarang/Ground Pound strategy for more points as long as you can keep your combo running. This is probably the hardest challenge to 3 star. As I've mentioned before, one of the necessary techniques is to do nearly perfect on the first round. This can be done in a variety of ways, but I recommend you settle for no less than 9000 points. This can be done with a simple mix of Critical Strikes and Takedowns. Try mixing in a higher multiplier for even better results. With a 9x variation bonus, 10,000+ is doable in this round. That puts you a third of the way to your goal, which is a good start. Starting at Round 2 thugs will begin to make an occasional run to the gunbox. In order to deal with this, wait (I know it's hard) at the beginning of each round until you see a thug go over the ledge. Then run over there behind him and scale over the ledge (this is most easily done by simply holding A the entire time and continuing to run at it). Once you get over, fire a Batclaw at him, then retreat back down to the regular level. Most of the time, this will cause the thug to come back down to the ground floor when he gets up, and not even try to return to the gunbox for the rest of the round. I recommend doing this for Rounds 2 and 3 at least, though for Round 4 it's mostly okay to ignore the thug going for the gun, as it takes him so long to get it out that by the time he comes back you can just start pounding on him with Critical Strikes. If you're having a hard time winning because of time, try to increase your Takedown ratio. If you're having a hard time getting the score, try to decrease your Takedown ratio for more Critical Strikes. It takes some time to find the right balance, but you're going to want to focus on a majority of your points (nearly 20,000 of them) coming from Rounds 1 and 2 by themselves. The rest should come in Rounds 3 and 4 by you simply focusing on trying to kill all of the enemies with Critical Strikes and Instant Takedowns. ---CM8 - Rumble in the Jungle (Extreme)--- Scoring: Alt. Extreme (50000) Round 1: 1 Knife, 1 Stun, 2 Pipes, +2 Throwable Box Round 2: 1 Titan, 8 Unarmed Round 3: 2 Stuns, 2 Pipes, 2 Knife, 4 Unarmed +1 Gunbox, +2 throwable box Round 4: 2 Titans, 8 Unarmed This Challenge can be somewhat difficult, but all in all it is littered with points. It's relatively easy, with some practice, to achieve scores of 20000, 10000, 20000, 10000 in the respective rounds. Here are the things to keep in mind. First of all, this challenge is all about Critical Strikes. As always, starting off with a variation is nice, but there are so many guys in all of the rounds here that your Critical Strike chains can grow to +30 hits every time. Pull off a few Ground Pounds at this level, and that's +3000 points apiece. That's not to say things will be easy. First of all, in Rounds 1 and 2 you'll have to contend with thugs going for throwable boxes. Keep an eye out for them. In Round 1 after taking out the Knife thug (usual method, quick 5 hit combo + Instant Takedown), I always go for the Throwing Thug who's moved to the far left side of the screen with a long-reaching Critical Strike. After this, you can come back into the enemies via the same method, or fire off a Batclaw, Batarang combo. Rounds 1 and 3 are both the same strategy. Focus on building long Critical Strike chains, then end with Ground Takedowns (steer clear of Instant Takedowns for the most part). In Round 3 you've got 2 Knife Thugs you will need to Instant Takedown, and two Stun Rods you will need to keep an eye out for. Remember, even while chaining Criticals, you can Enemy Dodge over a Stun Thug and then punch him in the back. With a Critical, this will knock him down and make him drop his Stun Rod. Don't forget there are still throwables in Round 3, as well, and the gunbox becomes flagged. Round 2 is basically the same as Round 4 from the Normal version of Rumble in the Jungle. Again, focus on downing the Titan first while countering incoming enemy attacks, try to build up to a +10 or more combo, then hop on the Titan for a Rodeo, when it's over do an Instant Takedown. This should let you milk an easy 10000 points out of this round, more if you can continue a Critical Strike chain after ending the Rodeo. Round 4 here is a little different. 2 Titans instead of 1, but the same principles apply. You'll probably find it harder to start your Rodeo with a high combo because of the interference of the other Titan, and while in the Rodeo if you hit the other Titan only 3 times it will end immediately. It can be difficult to get the full 10000 points out of a single Rodeo here. However, you also have the opportunity for 2 distinct Titan Takedown combos. All in all I wouldn't expect a lot out of Round 4. It's best to aim to have at least 45,000 points going into it, certainly 42,000+, which should be pretty easy if you get near 20,000 in Rounds 1 and 3. If you're closer to 40,000 than 45,000 coming into Round 4, you may want to try to avoid the first to Titan charges, then build an 8x variation as quickly as possible. If you get through all of this, you'll get your Freeflow Gold achivement. Congratulations! XC. Section C: Achievements This is a list of the achievements related to the topics covered in this guide, and the ways I recommend getting them. Freeflow Combo 5, 10, 20, 40: The easiest place to get this achievement is Round 4 of Sewer Bat (Extreme). Use the methods discussed in Combat Method 1 under (PT1). Freakshow Rodeo: Get a 10 hit combo from the back of a Titan. This is most easily accomplished in Round 4 of Rumble in the Jungle, or Round 2 of Rumble in the Jungle (Extreme) Party Pooper: You must defeat the sixteen thugs waiting inside of the Visitor's Center before the final boss fight. This isn't terribly difficult if you've mastered the combat system, just use Critical Strikes and Instant Takedowns for a quick victory. Flawless Freeflow Fighter: This requires you to get the Perfect Knight bonus in one of the Combat Challenges. I recommend a quick Critical Strike only run through Intensive Treatment. Freeflow Perfection: Search this guide for (FRPF) and you will find my discussion on getting this achievement. Mano-A-Mano: Defeat a Titan Henchman without using a Batarang. This is easiest to do in Rumble in the Jungle phase 4. Take out all of the other thugs first, and then to defeat the Titan, simple do a combo that consists of doing an enemy dodge over him, then a punch, then a dodge, then a punch. Repeat until the Titan goes down, then finish him off with Batman's autocombo. It's as simple as that. Invisible Predator: Complete a Predator Challenge using nothing but Silent Takedowns, and without being detected. This is most easily done in Record Breaker. To make this easy, simply use a Sonic Batarang to lure a thug into a corner where no other enemies are near, or the end of one of the walkways, and then get behind him and Silent Takedown. Then, retreat back up to the top of the gargoyles and get away from the body until the thugs are done noticing him. When your Sonic Batarang recharges, simply do it again. If you see a thug isolate himself as easy pickings, go ahead and take him out. Freeflow Bronze, Silver, Gold: Use Section (XB) to complete these achievements. This is a prerequisite for Perfect Knight. ---END1 - SPECIAL THANKS--- Thanks to Onionknight for helping me figure out the details to the combat system, proofereading the guide, and going through and patiently harvesting out all of the multipliers for the various combat events. ---CONTACT INFO--- If you have any suggestions, or if I missed a detail somewhere, feel free to contact me at abaddononion at hotmail dot com. ---INEVITABLE DISCLAIMER--- This FAQ has been approved for use on GameFAQs and TrueAchievements.com. You may not copy, reproduce, or link to this FAQ without permission. If you want to use this FAQ on your website or publication, please e-mail me at abaddononion at hotmail dot com. I have no problems with anyone who asks. September 2011.