When I whip out the comedy "would your character beat Batman in the fight?" interview question, rarely do I receive anything other than a bemused glare before getting shooed out of the door and quickly blacklisted. Not so with Max Cant, art director for Bodycount, who positively lit up like a Christmas tree when posed the all-important question.
For instance, did you know that The Target - the enemy force of Codemasters' upcoming shooter Bodycount - have a aerogel fibre and an advanced Kevlar weave material? No, me neither. But, more urgently, who does Max think would win in a fight to the death? Spoiler: it's not the Dark Knight.
The Target vs. Batman
What does Max have to say about this, then? "The Target standard issue rifle is a KALUKA-775 tactical rail gun, which (via induction) electrically fires caseless mini sabot rounds. That means that rounds hit the subject with a super-dense flat head projectile with a huge amount of kinetic energy delivered in one spot. It also has a very rapid rate of accurate fire so Batman's going to be on the receiving end of a vicious pounding. Batman, at the end of the day, doesn't use a powered suit and relies mostly on just being a badass fighter with gadgets, not to mention the fact that his face is exposed so he wouldn't last at all. His suit would be penetrated and he would be killed."
Does that mean Batman stands absolutely no chance? "If he rolled and dodged his way towards the trooper he might do better and might be able to drop behind him and break his neck," says Max. "If Batman wasn't prepared to kill he'd be at a disadvantage because the trooper wouldn't hesitate, he couldn't bind the trooper because the armour would slice the bonds."
"Mind you, The Target might offer him a job first, although he wouldn't take it obviously."
While Max's argument sounds convincing, I'm still not entirely sure Batman wouldn't have some kind of trick up his sleeve. Or he could just beckon the forces of Superman (or even the entire Justice League, thinking about it) so I think the Dark Knight will have to win.
The Target vs. a Medieval Knight
Ah - from Dark Knight to the enduring English icon of a medieval knight. How would The Target get into a ruckus with one of these - does the knight even have a chance of winning? "Highly unlikely," says Max, adding that "he might have a little survivability if he was lucky and deflected a few glancing shots off his armour, since it sort of uses the basic ablative principal of Target armour."
Is it all over for our friend the knight? "I suppose he might also stand a very slim chance of getting a kinetic or penetrating kill from a poleaxe in the neck or a sword blade up under the Target trooper's visor, but it's more than likely it would be another falling over and not moving scenario for the knight I'm afraid."
Well, I can't really argue with that. Looks like The Target has notched up a victory.
WINNER: The Target
The Target vs. a Greek Spartan
Everybody knows that Spartans come back from war with their shield, or on it. How does Max think the Spartans and the Target would stack up in a fist fight? "In unarmed hand to hand or blade fighting then it would be a near even match, both would be spirited and believe in their superiority so there would be no backing down, in the end I think the centuries of various combat technique styles available to a Target trooper would give him some wicked little tricks that might let him win."
"If it was a fully kitted out Target trooper versus an armoured Hoplite then much like poor Batman, it would be a shooting and falling over scenario," Max adds. Oh. Well, it looks like the Spartan is done for.
WINNER: The Target
The Target vs. Iron Man
I think we all know the answer to this one. "Iron Man, on the other hand, would win" says Max.
"His armour appears to be completely encompassing and airtight since he can go into space and fly etc. I'd think that if he can survive a tank round at point blank range then he'd survive Standard issue Target weaponry."
But Max says the Target would be smart enough to not get into such an encounter in the first place. "The Target (whilst being infinitely well supplied) would look at the average soldier strength that they'd be facing, and their relevant level of combat competence, and adapt their assets accordingly. As a one off or aberration Iron Man would receive some other 'special attention' from Target."
"There were a lot of other ideas I'd developed for Target trooper specialists and I think a couple of those guys (or girls) would be able to pop Mr Stark out of his awesome armour like a well boiled little lobster."
Well, unluckily for those specialists - because until those ideas are developed it looks like Iron Man has it in the bag.
WINNER: Iron Man
So, then, what have we learnt? That a ultra-powered mercenary from a shady private military company can duff up some of history's greatest warriors? It looks like technology can make your life easier. But he still can't beat Batman. Nobody can beat Batman.
Bodycount will be released for Xbox 360 and PS3 on September 2. VideoGamer.com's Bodycount review will be published this week.