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Batman: Rise of Sin Tzu Package Art
Ubisoft Montreal

Batman: Rise of Sin Tzu

Sin Tzu Advance, as I like to call it, completes UbiSoft?s somewhat homogenous triad of ambitious Batman titles. Making a valiant attempt on each account, I believe that the developers ultimately failed to capture something (varying) with all three. Though it cannot entertain the same kind of technological prowess as Vengeance and Sin Tzu Senior, the sadly forgotten Sin Tzu Advance attains numerous merits that put it a cut above its bulkier console brethren.


Since Ubisoft?s license applies to the animated series that aired on the Warner Bros. Network for several years, the in-game models won?t particularly wow the player. Instead, they achieve the completion of a standard, necessary objective in the development process. Authenticity. Aye, as was the case when I took Vengeance for a test drive, I felt like I was (virtually) adorned in Bruce Wayne?s dark armor.

Sharp black silhouettes of skyscrapers cut across the dark, gaseous Gotham skies. Stylistically, these shades of air were often moody purples and flushed reds, outwardly exhibiting the underlying evil that is Gotham. The dark knight returns to the rooftops in bleak, terribly familiar factory settings. Gates, steam pipes, crates, barrels, cranes, and what have you are all rendered to satisfaction as they play out their functions in aiding or hindering Batman?s progress.

Bruce?s flash pellets, combat collision, and the rippling waves of the Gothic waters show off some basic particle effects. Though stagnant, the simple backgrounds described above appear to move as you yourself push Batman forward. I also liked the models on the whole -- they seemed more crisp and defined than the licensed platformers of the sixteen-bit era. Lest we forget the Game Boy Advance?s capabilities supercede that of home consoles from just two generations ago.


I?m not too keen on the music we?ve been provided here. Not that it?s all bad (though occasionally it can be more insufferable from one point to another); rather, it?s all relatively the same. If there is a slight instrumental buildup to orchestrate the level of on-screen intensity, it?s not at all noticeable. Meandering around the landscapes is accompanied by beats that are acceptable at best, leaving a lot to be desired if one were to expect more out of the cartridge. I was not.

On the other hand, lots of neat little sound effects have been littered about the levels. Though I would have preferred more -- such as the rustling of the murky waters below -- I enjoyed taking in what was there. Wayne?s pitch-as-night cape pattering against the air induces warm fuzzies, though even more likeable were the effects administered in the descent or ascent of a ladder. The remaining bits of audio were basic inclusions, such as the smashing of barrels, the grunt of a foe, and the motions of a boss. The adage of ?more is less? doesn?t work out so well in this instance, for aurally, Ubisoft came up a bit too short.


Though it may be all in my head, I am pretty confident in telling you that Sin Tzu Advance features more platforming elements than Vengeance, which was more of a three-dimensional brawler than anything else. It is with this inherent property splicing that I realize the present title?s strengths.

Rather than suffer clunky, overly difficult combat, the game player must solve elementary puzzles and conquer over obstacles with time-based acrobatics and lever pushing. These mechanics are entirely hackneyed, but who out there was honestly expecting Sin Tzu to push the genre into new territory? I?d rather enjoy a little variety, in decisively old school fashion, than suffer through another mindless bit of licensed drudgery.

Your enemy is an annoyingly ubiquitous army of thugs and degenerates who come in but few forms. Those with a crook?s sock over their head are a bit tougher than the more common, lower-classed baddie. They?ll actually block some of your martial arts techniques (you?ve got a nifty little combo system), and may even try to damage you further whilst already grounded from a previous beating. When duking it out with environmental overlords (ahem, bosses), such as The Scarecrow, you?ll occasionally have to use items from your arsenal. Flash pellets, as one example, paralyze your enemy. You can sweep, punch, kick, jump-kick, and throw (when already floored) your normal opponents. Two constants are Bruce?s grappling hook and batarang, the former only used in certain situations.




As I deliberated in my more introspective review of Batman Vengeance, Ubisoft has got what it takes to deliver gamers the near perfect Batman title. They?ve got the style. They?ve established plotline fluidity. The only thing lacking is the gameplay, which has notably improved this time around. All things considered, it was a gifted team who helmed this project. Though an external license, my best advice would be to take more quality time to hone the experience to its full potential, as Ubisoft has done with their triple-A Splinter Cell and Prince of Persia franchises. Nix the password ?save? too, please.

final score 6.7/10

Staff Avatar William Jacques
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"Oh oblivious, nave Humanity... How ignorant we really are - safe only in our blind "superior" view of the world."

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