Rocksteady’s Batman: Arkham series stands among the greatest comic book-based video games ever made, mixing a faithfulness to the source material with a rich atmosphere and blistering gameplay, punctuated by a tremendous voice cast headlined by DC Animated Universe icons Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill as the Dark Knight and Joker respectively. However, while Conroy and Hamill were rightly lauded as the strongest elements of the Batman: Arkham games’ voice cast, there were newcomers who also turned in great performances. Together, they all helped bring the Arkhamverse to life – and sometimes left more of an impression than the series’ iconic two leads.
This cast includes beloved Batman: The Animated Series voice actors Mark Hamill and Kevin Conroy, who stepped into their iconic roles as the Joker and Batman in all three of Rocksteady’s mainline Batman: Arkham games. Years of perfecting their portrayals in countless DC projects led Conroy and Hamill to arguably turn in some of their strongest performances in the Arkham games, capturing the twisted and complex relationship between the Dark Knight and his psychotic arch-nemesis in three epic gaming adventures. Even after the Joker’s death at the end of Arkham City, these two great actors were able to continue playing off each other as the Clown Prince of Crime haunted Batman’s mind in 2015’s Batman: Arkham Knight.
While Conroy and Hamill shined throughout the entire Batman: Arkham series, they were far from the only great performances to come from these games. Several other talented voice actors – some of whom were already DC Comics veterans before stepping into the Arkhamverse – have helped create some of the best Batman: Arkham villains, and many are hailed as the definitive versions of these characters outside of the comics and live-action Batman films. Some of these roles were recast between games, but the replacement voice actors in these instances proved worthy torchbearers and put their own spin on the groundwork of their predecessors.
Batman: Arkham’s Best Performances – Grey DeLisle Griffin As Catwoman
No Batman story would be complete without an appearance from the Dark Knight’s rival-turned-love-interest Selina Kyle/Catwoman, and veteran voice actor Grey DeLise Griffin turned in a shining performance as the jewelry-obsessed anti-heroine starting in 2011’s Batman: Arkham City. Known for portraying strong female characters like Daphne in Scooby-Doo and Princess Azula in Avatar: The Last Airbender, Griffin’s sultry tone and quick-witted sense of humor is a natural fit for Selina Kyle, and she would go on to voice her in NetherRealm’s Injustice games. Aside from Catwoman, Griffin portrays Gotham News anchor Vicki Vale in both Arkham City and the WB Montreal-developed Christmas-set prequel Batman: Arkham Origins, and has also lent her voice to other DC icons like Black Canary in the Batman: The Brave and the Bold animated series and Magpie in the short-lived Beware The Batman.
Nolan North Put A Fresh Spin On Batman: Arkham’s Version Of Penguin
The Penguin was introduced as the owner of the criminal Iceberg Lounge in Batman: Arkham City and has been a villainous foil for the Dark Knight since. Prolific voice actor Nolan North, who is better known for starring as Nathan Drake in the Uncharted series and has also made his presence in the DC Universe felt as both Superman and Superboy in Young Justice, brought Arkham’s version of the avian-themed gangster to life with a gritty Cockney accent and a brutal, thuggish demeanor and volatile temper that quickly turns to cowardice when Batman inevitably gains the upper hand. This attitude makes Arkham’s monstrous version of the Penguin one that players enjoy putting in his place, and North reprises the role in both Arkham Origins and Arkham Knight. He also voices Black Mask in Batman: Arkham City, where players can battle his minions in some of the game’s DLC Challenge Maps.
Tara Strong Was A Worthy Replacement As Batman: Arkham’s Harley Quinn
Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill weren’t the only voice actors from Batman: The Animated Series to return to their iconic roles in Batman: Arkham Asylum, as Arleen Sorkin once again lent her voice to the psychiatrist-turned-lovesick jester Harley Quinn as she aided her beloved “Mister J” in his takeover of the titular madhouse. Sorkin served as the original voice of Harley when she was first created in BTAS, and hearing her signature New York-style accent once more was a treat for longtime fans of the character – even if some of the ways Batman: Arkham handled characters like Harley and Ivy haven’t aged well.
While Arleen Sorkin didn’t return as Harley Quinn in either Batman: Arkham City or Batman: Arkham Knight, she would gain a worthy successor in Tara Strong, who DC fans will fondly recognize for her roles as Raven in the Teen Titans cartoon and Batgirl in The New Batman Adventures (also known as the final season of Batman: The Animated Series). Strong brought a mix of aggression and vulnerability to Harley as she tended to the dying Joker in Arkham City, sought to avenge the fallen clown by killing Batman and Robin in the aptly-named Arkham City: Harley Quinn’s Revenge DLC, and became a playable character in Arkham Knight‘s Harley Quinn DLC. Her take on the mad jester quickly became a fan-favorite portrayal, so much so that she has returned to the role several times – including the Injustice series and even a brief, voice-only cameo during Arrow’s second season. She will also return as Harley Quinn in the upcoming Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League, which is set in Rocksteady’s Arkham universe, and sees the villains of Task Force X attempt to take down mind-controlled versions of Superman, Green Lantern, and the Flash.
Dino Andrade & John Noble As Scarecrow Were Creepy As Arkham’s Scarecrow
While the Joker was the most notable villain in the first Arkham game the Scarecrow is a close second thanks to his unforgettable reality-warping antics. Scarecrow’s Nightmare sequences in Batman: Arkham Asylum proved to be a series highlight, where the character – voiced by Dino Andrade – repeatedly taunted the Dark Knight. While Johnathan Crane and his fear-obsessed alter ego are Andrade’s sole foray into the world of DC Comics, he carries the role of the sadist out to psychologically torture the World’s Greatest Detective with an air of menace that can leave players checking behind their chairs. He’s also responsible for arguably the series’ scariest moment, which tricks players into thinking their chosen platform is suffering a hardware crash.
Jonathan Crane was absent from Arkham City save for an Easter egg that foreshadowed his return in Batman: Arkham Knight, but he would resurface to plunge Gotham City into chaos with his dreaded Fear Gas and the help of the titular Arkham Knight. He also had a new voice to go with his scarier design, that of Fridge and Lord of the Rings star John Noble. Noble’s deep voice and soft-spoken, cerebral tone challenged Batman and the player as he plotted his revenge from behind the scenes, playing off the Dark Knight’s greatest fears before finally being taken down in the game’s climax. Aside from Scarecrow, John Noble has voiced the equally villainous Brainiac in Superman: Unbound and the time-traveling demon Mallus in DC’s Legends of Tomorrow.
Best Batman: Arkham Actors – Troy Baker As Jason Todd In Arkham Knight
Fans may have predicted the big twist surrounding Batman: Arkham Knight‘s titular antagonist from the moment the character was first unveiled, but the story of Batman being forced to confront a vengeful Jason Todd still made for an emotional finale. Veteran voice actor Troy Baker has made a name for himself with roles like Joel in The Last of Us, and he has plenty of Batman roles under his belt. He serves as the only actor to date to portray both the Dark Knight and the Joker in different projects and has voiced Two-Face and the Tim Drake version of Robin in Batman: Arkham City. However, it is his turn as Drake’s immediate predecessor Jason Todd that remains one of his strongest, as he deftly channels Jason’s sorrow and rage during his ultimate confrontation with Batman.
Once he renounces his identity and becomes the Red Hood in his designated Arkham Knight story DLC campaign, Baker displays a cocky attitude and dark sense of humor befitting a tragic anti-hero willing to restort to brutal methods to bring down the criminals of Gotham City. It allowed him to bring a real emotional depth to the character, and was a strong follow-up to his portrayal of the Joker in Batman: Arkham Origins.
Maurice LaMarche Was Perfect As Batman: Arkham’s Mr. Freeze
Mr. Freeze is one of Batman’s most memorable enemies, and the tense battle against the fallen doctor in Batman: Arkham City remains one of the series’ best boss fights. Giving Freeze his chilling voice in Arkham City and the BTAS-inspired Arkham Origins DLC is none other than legendary voice actor Maurice LaMarche, who also put in a nightmare-fueling performance as the imprisoned Calendar Man in Arkham City and a lighter turn as Red Tornado in DC Super Hero Girls. When the Batman: Arkham version of Mr. Freeze is wearing his life-sustaining bio-suit, LaMarche’s voice is cold and menacing, with an electronic filter making the doctor sound more like a machine as he hunts Batman through his makeshift laboratory in Arkham City. Outside of it, his pained gasps show him to be a broken man caught in one of Batman’s most tragic love stories with a wife he cannot save – a heartbreaking reality he is forced to accept during Arkham Knight’s Season of Infamy DLC.
Batman: Arkham’s Best Castings – Wally Wingert As Riddler
The riddle-obsessed Edward Nygma might not have appeared in the flesh in Batman: Arkham Asylum, but his presence was felt through a hidden tape interview and the collectible Batman: Arkham Riddler Trophies hidden throughout the island. Subsequent games saw the green-clad villain take a more active role in his efforts to stump the World’s Greatest Detective with traps, puzzles, and even more hidden Trophies, and the prolific Wally Wingert gives The Riddler a smug and self-righteous voice that fits a man who thinks he’s smarter than everyone else and openly voices this opinion at every given opportunity.
Whether he’s taunting Batman into trying to solve his latest death-defying obstacle course, threatening his many hostages, or berating his minions during Arkham City’s Riddler Challenges, Wally Wingert’s Riddler oozes with condescending scorn, which makes hunting down all the Riddler Trophies and finally seeing him get his comeuppance all the more satisfying. Wingert has also acted in several other DC-based video games and animated features over the years, with some of his non-Riddler roles consisting of King Tut and Hal Jordan. However, his turn as Riddler in the Batman: Arkham games remains his finest DC role to date.