TITLE: Batman: Rise of Sin Tzu
PUBLISHER: UBI Soft
DATE RELEASED: 10/16/2003
Batman has been with us forever, it seems.. He's had multiple TV shows and movies, and has been represented as everything from a campy goody-good superhero to a dark, twisted vigilante.
He's no stranger to video games, either, having appeared in dozens that I can think of. Of late, his appearances on the latest generation of consoles have been dissapointing to me. Sin Tzu changes that for me, and read on to find out why I like this game - and why many of you probably wont.
The game is based off of the animated series, which I've always felt was the truest non-comic representation of the Bat to date. The game also boasts a Batman first - the first time a Batman villain has been introduced via a video game. Sin Tzu was created by legendary comic artist Jim Lee especially for this game. So what sort of game is it?
The last few batman games took what I deem a boring approach. They were too focused on stealth, cunning, and the toolbelt. They had you sneaking around in shadows, using the grappling hook to swing silently past sentries, and so on. With all the box hype about comic book artists and a new villain, I expected another drawn out adventure with lots of boring plot..
Not today. In Sin Tzu, all subtlety is thrown out the window. Batman and his cohorts storm straight down the streets and take it to the badguys. Yep, this is an old school beat-em-up, reminiscint of the TMNT Arcade game, or Final Fight. The bad guys come at you, you punch 'em in the face, kick em in the gonads, and pound 'em into submission.
The old-school fighting charm, coupled with the look and feel of the animated series, are in a nutshell, why I like this game.
The game is played by one or two, who each choose one of four characters, Batman, Robin, Batgirl and Nightwing. Each have their own strengths and weaknesses, Batman and Nightwing move slower but hit harder, Robin and Batgirl move quicker, you all know the drill. You earn credits by playing through the levels with each character, and the credits can be spent to upgrade them to learn new moves with which you can pummel the bad guys. There's a spaz meter, which fills up, and when full, you can unleash power attacks to really stick it to the baddies. And you're on a time limit too - you have civilians to rescue before the clock winds down, and something too horrible to imagine happens to them (at least it's too horrible to show in the game).
The graphics in this game aren't mindblowing, but are nonetheless perfect for the title. It looks and feels like the gotham city in the comicbook. The fighting animations are comicy and cartoony, and the badguys look like who they're supposed to look like. There are some cool surprises to be found, and I don't plan on spoiling all of them. I will say (since it happens on pretty much the first level) that when going after Scarecrow, you will be gassed with his fear-potion, which makes the bad guys look like demons and skeletons as the screen goes wavy and distorted.
All in all, this game gets a 7/10 graphically, it doesn't push the xbox to its limits, but on the other hand it doesnt suck.
The sound is acceptable. The combat voices are varied enough that they don't get annoying, even when you restart a level, Batman (or whoever you are) will say something different - it doesn't get repetitive, which is all to common in action oriented games. The BGM is some good 'ol rock'n'roll video game fare. Par for the course. 8/10 for some actual variety in the combat dialogue.
6/10 here.. Lots of incentive to go back as another character, get all the upgrades. There's a time attack mode for levels you've completed, so there's something to do there. Eventually, though, you will get sick of it and move on.
9/10.. For a beat-em-up, this game avoids being a button masher and forces you to calm down and pull some punches. If you whack away at punch/kick, you will pay a price for missing - in the form of an oops upside the head. Just wailing on the buttons won't get you through this game, as it will on so many other scrolling punch-em-ups.
I like the animated Batman. I like when Batman just beats peoples heads in. I don't like the Batman who hides in the corner, or sits around analyzing cloth fibres in the batcave. 10/10 for a Dark Knight who kicks ass and takes names.
Overall... 8/10.. Maybe even a 9... I like this game, it's right up my alley. As an oldschool gamer, it has the arcade style gameplay I crave. And it's got Batman. Punching people.
Of course, as I said in the intro, many will disagree. Diff'rent strokes for diff'rent folks. Others no doubt would prefer the pensive, shadow hiding, stealthy, gumdrop analyzing detective Batman. Many would like to play Splinter Cell in a black cape and cowl. But if you want to lay down an oldschool ass whompin on some bad guys, this is the game for you.