Batman: Rise of Sin Tzu Review

Licensed games seem to have a curse on them. Well developed characters and storylines never seem to be captured in games. Batman seems to be a property that has had problems shaking off the “comic-book” curse. With games like Batman Vengeance and Batman: Dark Tomorrow, Batman fans have only been able to look forward to disappointment. Ubi Soft looks to break that curse with a new story and a new villain specifically designed for the game.

While the GBA can’t produce the quality of graphics of today’s powerhouse home consoles, the system still can produce some nice graphics. The characters in RoST are very well animated. When moving to slide down a ladder, Batman will jump up and his cape will flow with him in the air. While jumping in the air, Batman can release his cape to glide with the cape spreading out realistically. Enemies will fall over realistically when hit. The character animations are simply amazing.

Unfortunately, the graphics of the game are rather bland. The enemies look very generic. There isn’t a lot of variety in the enemies either. I think I can count on one hand the different enemies I found in the first two stages. The different stages have their distinct feel, but they share a lot of the same graphics. There isn’t a lot of variety in each stage either.

The animation of the game simply can’t save the graphics score.

RoST has a lot of good music. The music at the start of the game is a nice hard rock sound the fits the mood of Batman. It might not be the traditional theme you might think of from the movies or recent cartoons, but it works well.

Sound effects are another matter all together. The batarang has a nice whooshing sound, but most of the other sound effects sound the same. Whether using a punch or a kick, every attack sounds the same. Each enemy sounds the same, when you hear them. The sound effects are rather sparse though.

The controls for RoST are simple enough. The control pad will move Batman, with a double tap making him dash. A will jump while the B button attacks. The L button selects the gadget to arm, and the R button uses it.

While the controls are simple, it seems sometimes that they are too sensitive. Batman moves around very quickly, but sometimes it can be tricky to have him land on the platforms, even while gliding. Also, a combination can be done by hitting the B button three times, but the timing has to be exact…almost too exact. If you hit the B button too fast or too slow, the combo won’t register, and Batman performs a series of punches.

If you’ve ever played a platformer, you know exactly what to expect. Jump, fight, jump, fight, reach end of the level. Complete a few more levels. Reach end of the stage. Fight boss who has some kind of pattern. Rinse. Repeat. Also, if you get frustrated easily, do not get this game. The levels are short enough, so repeating a level isn’t too painful, but sometimes it’s difficult to what you need to jump to.

The fighting is rather simplistic as well. Yes, a combo is available, but most of the time it will become a button pressing affair. While Batman can pick up an enemy and throw him into another enemy or over a ledge, but most of the gameplay is rather simplistic. The batarang can be used for attacks, but it’s mostly used for the few puzzles in the levels. A training level is included, but it really isn’t very necessary.

Levels do have a few puzzles, but they generally involve flipping a switch to open a door or hitting a hook with the batarang to lower a bridge. None of these are very difficult, but sometimes exploring for the switch will take a while.

Finally, RoST is on a portable system, but Ubi Soft doesn’t have any game saves in the cartridge. Instead, it gives you a PASSWORD at the end of each level. That’s right, a FREAKING PASSWORD! I don’t know about you, but I don’t know many gamers, especially kids, who are going to want to copy down a password when they are finished playing a level.

Unless you are a glutton for punishment, I don’t see any reason why you’d WANT to play through the game again. The only extras available are only accessible if the GBA is connected to a GameCube with RoST playing. The game has a moderate length to it, but the constant platform jumping will make the game seem longer. The curse continues with this Batman game. The lack of innovation and depth of this game, as well as the password system, really ruin the game. With fighting nothing more than button mashing, and frustrating platform puzzles, RoST degrades itself to a less-than-average platformer.

Ron Burke is the Editor in Chief for Gaming Trend. Currently living in Fort Worth, Texas, Ron is an old-school gamer who enjoys CRPGs, action/adventure, platformers, music games, and has recently gotten into tabletop gaming. Ron is also a fourth degree black belt, with a Master's rank in Matsumura Seito Shōrin-ryū, Moo Duk Kwan Tang Soo Do, Universal Tang Soo Do Alliance, and International Tang Soo Do Federation. He also holds ranks in several other styles in his search to be a well-rounded fighter. Ron has been married to Gaming Trend Editor, Laura Burke, for 21 years. They have three dogs - Pazuzu (Irish Terrier), Atë, and Calliope (both Australian Kelpie/Pit Bull mixes).
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