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Which Console Did You Buy/Receive Over The Holidays?

Xbox One X
Nintendo Switch
PlayStation 4

Game Profile
Ubisoft Montreal
GENRE: Action
PLAYERS:   1-2
November 11, 2003
Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes

Gotham City Impostors

Batman: Arkham City

Batman: Arkham City

Batman: Arkham City

More in this Series
 Written by D'Marcus Beatty  on December 17, 2003

Full Review: Holy Bat-brawler!

Next to the big blue Boy Scout Superman, and maybe your friendly neighborhood wall-crawler Spiderman, Batman is one of the largest and most well known superheroes ever created. Lacking any true super-ability, Batman has endured wave after wave of supervillians by utilizing only his determination, intelligence and his plethora of cool bat-gadgets. Though slightly satirized by his campy television series, Batman has always been a dark but moral character, full of deep and intense conflict. Lacking Superman's nigh-invincibility, Wolverine's healing ability, or Spiderman's uncanny spider-sense, Batman perseveres through sheer strength of will and cunning. And the Dark Knight has needed both of these traits to survive the hordes of bad games made using his likeness. Batman: Rise of Sin Tzu finally gives fans of the animated series a decent beat-em-up, and although the game lacks variety, it offers pure superhuman (or human in Batman's case) fun.

Batman: Rise of Sin Tzu follows the story of Sin Tzu, a character created exclusively for this game by comic-book artist and creator Jim Lee. Sin Tzu is a master strategist looking for a challenge. To fulfill his desire for adventure, he turns to Gotham City to challenge the world's greatest detective. Sin Tzu also recruits some of Batman's previous sparring partners, heavyweights like Scarecrow, Clayface, and Bane to aid him in destroying the Dark Knight for good. However, Batman isn't alone either. Players are able to challenge Sin Tzu with a partner, specifically Nightwing, Robin or Batgirl.

Rise of Sin Tzu is a basic side-scrolling brawler, similar to Final Fight or Streets of Rage. Players control Batman, Robin, Nightwing or Batgirl, or any pair thereof, as they stroll through Gotham City towards the final confrontation with Sin Tzu. Strangely enough, the streets of Gotham are filled with hordes of criminals who all seek to destroy the Dark Knight.

The graphics of the game are probably its best feature, translating the artistic style of the popular animated series to the game nearly flawlessly. Characters look exactly like their television counterparts, and are animated extremely well. The sounds in the game are good, utilizing the actual voice actors from the series. Sound effects are well done too, although the background music is largely forgettable.

The gameplay, however, has both good and bad elements to it. First, there are a wide variety of moves for players to choose from for each character and there are also double team moves that are exclusive to two-player mode. Players earn points based on their performance and between stages have the option to use their points to purchase new moves. This ensures a wide variety of attacks throughout the game. Moves also differ from character to character, as do levels of strength and speed. The end result is that players have numerous ways to dispatch foes. However, the major problem with the game is that all your character does is fight.

Even with the wide variety of moves, eventually the gameplay just begins to feel monotonous. Luckily, there are a few features that break up the repetition. One early impressive feature was that while fighting Scarecrow's minions, the henchmen occasionally use a fear-bomb that turns them into monsters if allowed to affect the protagonists, which is an interesting innovation. Also, players will save civilians from thugs and defuse bombs frequently and boss battles are fun as well. However, despite these innovations, the game still feels repetitive.

On the upside, the game also offers some connectivity options for its GBA counterpart to unlock special items in the trophy room, but nothing essential or especially rewarding is proffered.

Bottom Line
Batman: Rise of Sin Tzu is a decent brawler, with great graphics, sound, and gameplay. However, unless you have a Batcave under your house, RoST is going to offer only one great gaming experience with little to no replay value. Pick this title up if you love Batman or are nostalgic for the days of Streets of Rage. Otherwise, consider this a rental.

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