RELEASED: October 2003
AVAILABLE ON: GBA, GCN, PS2, Xbox
Sun Tzu was a Chinese general and master strategist who (probably) wrote The Art of War. Sin Tzu was a new DC Comics supervillain obsessed with The Art of War, who DC attempted to push by pitting him against Batman in another Ubisoft game based on The New Batman Adventures. This game was promptly named Batman: Rise of Sin Tzu. DC had introduced many new characters and revamped old ones to great success in the last decade, including Hush, Harley Quinn and Mr. Freeze, so Sin Tzu was expected to rule and join the central rogues' gallery upon his introduction. However, Sin Tzu never made one single appearance again. What does that say about the game? Everything or nothing?
Know your controls and know your enemy
On the anniversary of Bruce Wayne's parents' death, a mysterious warmonger calling himself Sin Tzu plunges Gotham City into total chaos, seemingly assisted by the local trio of Batman's most formidable foes - Clayface, Scarecrow and Bane.
|"I'm not going to kill you. I want you to tell |
all your friends about me."
Although Batman: Rise of Sin Tzu is based on The New Batman Adventures just like Ubisoft's previous Batman game Batman: Vengeance, it's not really a sequel. The two games have very little in common. This is a consistent beat 'em up, stirred up with elements from cinematic platformers and some mild puzzles based on timing. It reminds me - very strongly - of a Game Boy Advance game I reviewed months ago, called Star Wars Trilogy: Apprentice of the Force, which was also made by Ubisoft and, in turn, based on the handheld version of Prince of Persia: Sands of Time. The game has almost the exact same qualities, in better and worse.
The graphics are better than in Star Wars: Apprentice of the Force, though, which is funny because Batman: Rise of Sin Tzu was released almost a year prior to it. Well, I suppose it's also because DC Comics - who apparently were monitoring the game's development for each platform very carefully - wanted Batman to retain a certain, authentic outline. The game does look the part. However, once again I have to criticize the music. It's closer to home than what I've grown used to hearing in earlier Batman games in the last few weeks, but it's still not even near the threshold. Electronica and Batman just do not mix.
The controls are quite good, and it's actually quite amazing how much Ubi managed to improve from the lacking controls of Batman: Vengeance and generally squeeze out of the limited Game Boy Advance scheme, such as the rare supercombo you can build up by finding combo boost power-ups and use whenever you wish by the prolonged press of a single button. The combat's physical enough, it's just too bad that most of the millions of enemies in this game take something like a dozen kicks to the head to go down - I usually push them towards edges, throw a Batarang at 'em, pick 'em up and throw 'em off the edge. Not a very Batman-ly stunt, but hell, anything for comfort.
Thanks to sufficient controls, the handheld version of Batman: Rise of Sin Tzu is good for fans to have along on their travels, but it is not suitable for long, serious game sessions due to how boring it gets after you've learned the basic, surprisingly complex but fun controls and completed the first few stages. Serious DC buffs will surely want this game in their collection due to the one-off storyline.
GRAPHICS : 7.8
SOUND : 6.0
PLAYABILITY : 7.0
LIFESPAN : 5.5
CONCLUSION : 6.4
GameRankings: 58.80% (GBA), 61.68% (GCN), 59.42% (PS2), 61.28% (Xbox)
The character of Sin Tzu was created by the Korean-born Jim Lee, a long-time illustrator for DC Comics, as well as Marvel Comics.
The game was substantially promoted. The Xbox and PlayStation 2 Special Editions of the game came complete with action figures, while the Nintendo GameCube Special Edition came with a lithograph. A novel based on the game, written by Devin Grayson and Flint Dille, was also released.