If you feel like being Batman these days, there's no shortage of options. There's a new Batman game. There are several old Batman games. You could buy a heavily discounted Batman Halloween costume, put it on, and start punching crooks. Or, you can do what I did this week: install a Batmobile mod for GTA IV, and bring a little Gotham to Liberty City.
Let me tell you about the features of the Batmobile mod. Ha ha! No. If you've read my other superhero adventures in Liberty City ( Iron Man , Hulk , and Superman ), you know by now that I like to have a reason for being a superhero, and despite that reason being absolute nonsense, it still often takes several long and pointless paragraphs to reach. I can't just get in the Batmobile and drive around and tell you about it. I first must become... the BATMAN.
By now we all know what turned an simple, ordinary billionaire child into a nocturnal vengeance machine: tragic alleyway violence. So, I'll start there. I run into the nearest alleyway and wait for something horribly traumatic to happen.
Of course, nothing happens. In Liberty City, if anything horrible happens in an alley it's most likely me doing it to someone else, often with a flamethrower. Still, I run into a couple different alleys in search of someone who will start a fight with me or at least give me an excuse to start a fight with them which I would then deliberately lose , thus experiencing life-altering crime-related trauma. Finally, something does happen: as I'm running from one alleyway to another, I cross the street and get hit by a cab.
Yes! Finally! TRAUMA. This will make an awesome flashback.
I've seen these cabs all over the city. They must be part of some merciless TAXI GANG. Will the cops do anything to stop them? They won't. They can't . But I can. I will become a vigilante and bring down the Taxi Gang.
I press the Insert button, bringing up the mod menu, and change into... THE BATMAN.
Um. Well, it looks like the Batman skin I tried to install earlier isn't working, or perhaps just isn't recognized by the Batmobile mod. Instead of the Batman cowl and cape and utility belt and muscles, I appear to be a somewhat portly fifty-seven year old grocery store manager named Douglas.
Oh well. This column is supposed to be about Batman's car, not Batman, so let's just roll with it. It's time for Douglas to VIOLENTLY JUSTICE THINGS. I spot a member of the Taxi Gang driving around in his car, drag him out, and start punching him. He goes down easily, and I begin running from cab to cab, pummeling all the drivers. It's not long before the local cops notice, and now, like Batman, Douglas is a wanted vigilante. Even though Batman and the cops are on the same side, Batman must often flee from them. Time to make my escape. I call in... the Batmobile.
From the mod menu, you can have the Batmobile deliver itself to you, just like in the movies, often through whatever obstacles (poles, people, other cars) are in the way. This is the 1989 movie version of the Batmobile, back when Michael Keaton was Batman and plastic models were used instead of CGI and perhaps when we first began to realize that Batman is kind of a boring humorless sulk-monster and that his enemies are always far more interesting.
The Batmobile has twin machine-gun turrets that are fun to use, and much more effective than GTA's "stick your arm out the window and shoot" feature that you can do while driving. You can also switch to rockets that let you lock onto nearby targets and fire, also fun. But we're running from the cops, not trying to kill them, so let's talk about some defensive features.
You can blast fire out of your rocket engine in the back of the Batmobile, which is a great way to discourage pursuers. Who is going to be stupid enough to keep driving when there's a thirty foot gout of flame pouring out of your car and onto the street? Well, LCPD, I guess. If you don't like the idea of roasting police officers, you can also use your jet engine as a jet engine. When you really throttle up the Batmobile, you can escape from the police radar in no time.
You've also got grenades that pop out of your wheels. Speed off and let them detonate on their own, or trigger them yourself. Either way, it's another great tool you can use to lose law enforcement officers who insist on chasing you even though you're just trying to make Liberty City safer by punching taxi drivers to death.
My favorite feature, though, is the smoke screen. If the cops are closing in on all sides, just stop the car, hit the smoke button, and foooooooosh, within moments the air is filled with smoke and the Batmobile completely vanishes from sight. The cops are baffled. "Where did that crazy car go? All I see is smoke! Let's look elsewhere. Let's not look in the giant cloud of smoke. That's the one place I'm sure Batman isn't ."
When the smoke clears after a bit, they will come running back to shoot you, but in the meantime, you can use the mod menu to repair any tires that have been shot out, or climb out and try to escape on foot. One word of advice: if you happen to flip the Batmobile onto its roof and then try to get out, you may fall through the world.
Installation : Here is the mod's page, with several mirrors for downloads . Just be careful, they're those Adfly/Mega type download pages, where you have to wait for five seconds before getting to the actual download you're looking for.
You'll also need OpenIV, which you can acquire here . Once you install and run OpenIV, open the tools tab, select Package Installer, then navigate to the Batmobile .oiv file that came from the mod's zip file. Then start the game! Pressing the Insert key will bring up the mod menu.