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'Batman Begins' swoops into stores

EA ships new stealth-actioner for GBA, PS2, Xbox and GameCube just as superhero blockbuster opens at theaters nationwide.

At the same time the would-be summer blockbuster "Batman Begins" debuts on more than 3,400 screens nationwide, Electronic Arts has shipped the console game inspired by the film.

The game is rated T for Teen and costs $39.99 for the Xbox, GameCube and PlayStation 2. An E-for-Everyone-rated GameBoy Advance version is also available for $29.99, and an unrated and undated PSP edition is in development.

Developed by Eurocom Entertainment Software and co-published by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, "Batman Begins" follows the titular superhero as he fights lawlessness in the blighted metropolis of Gotham City. The game features the voices and likenesses of the film's lead actors, including Christian Bale as Batman, Michael Caine as Alfred Pennyworth, Liam Neeson as Ducard, Katie Holmes as Rachel Dawes, Cillian Murphy as Dr. Jonathan Crane, Tom Wilkinson as Carmine Falcone and the always-impeccable Morgan Freeman as gadget-master Lucius Fox.

Besides a repertoire of hand-to-hand combat moves, "Batman Begins" gives players several other options to nab criminals. As one would expect, Batman's utility belt contains various gadgets, including a minicomputer for hacking into computer systems. The game also sports a stealth mode, which allows the caped crusader to sneak up on opponents and deliver "Splinter Cell"-esque stealth kills. Batman can also strike panic into the hearts of his enemies with a new fear mechanic, making them easier to defeat.

Tor Thorsen reported for GameSpot.