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Rise to Honor

Sony Computer Entertainment of America or SCEA has been a great publisher for years, but now there getting into the devolping buisness. Rise to Honor is an action beat em' up starring Jet Li.  While it's not the best of the bunch it certainly serves some entertainment.

This game is hard to write about the story because almost anything I can say will give away the story, so for you that expect a long descriptive story-line I'm sorry, but I can't deliver without spoiling it. I can say that this is not based on any movie. Just a very cinematic, story driven beat em' up built from the ground up. You play the roll of as you guessed it Jet Li. An undercover cop in search of revenge (wow never seen that done before). You are out for revenge when your father is killed and his buisness is practically taken away from what you once thought was a close friend. That's about all I can say about the story.  Just be ready for a few twists and turns.

This game is very innovative in the fighting controls. Instead of the constand button mashing of the buttons like in most other beat em' up's you use the right analog stick for puches, kicks, and very cool fight choreography. If you slap the stick to the right he'll punch or kick the guy to the right, and vice versa. A complaint I have is that it's a shame that you can't decide what type of attack he does. You never know if he will punch or kick until he's already done it. There are not only tons of fighting brawls but also gun missions. In these missions you are running down either an alley, street, or backway blasting at anything that moves. These aren't to well done for three reasons. 1. the controls are very loose and not very responsive, you'll find yourself stumbling over the controls too many times. gets increasingly repetitive and 3. This game has possibly the biggest abuser of bullet-time ever. You litteraly hang in the air until everyone's dead. Sure it looks pretty cool, but come on SCEA that's ridiculous. On the positive side the fighting sequences are intense and fluent, but another problem arises. When you're in the heat of the battle the game slows down and goes into a mini cut-scene to enhance the blow and make it look cinematic. Sure it looks cool, but it really takes you out of the expericence. With that another problem comes up. The game is amazingly repetetitive. Group of baddies come you kick you punch you take no names you play no games. Wham, Bam, Goodbye. That happens dozens of times threw each level. Plus the game is short! You're probaly thinking now, "Wow this game sounds bad." But this game is not. There are over 500 combos to execute, and no folks that's not an exageration, I'm serious 500+ moves to execute. You can also pick up objects like a chair, stick, bat or That's right you can slap Catonese cooks with Daffy's cousin. The game also has a lot of nods to some of Jet Li's best movies, so fans of Mr.Li will be pleased to see some of Jet's coolest silver screen moments in the game.

The graphics in this game, though not amazing are pretty good. You're not going to see amazing shadow or water effects, but you do see some clean surfaces. Since Jet has been motion-captured for all his martial marts moves his face too has been put in the game. SCEA did a pretty good job with his face, but it just looks goofy. Not saying anything about him in real-life, but in the game it looks like his face has been smashed with a frying pan.

Since the cut-scenes are long and story driven, SCEA decided to go with a more cinematic approach and add in sub-titles. During every cut-scene you can hear the characters speak in Catonese (language in Hong Kong). This changes when you are in the San Fransisco levels. It is then changed back to English, but you still get the sub-titles. The sound as of the fighting moves are top notch. Every punch and kick sound very crisp and like the real thing. When an enemy gets hit with a stick it's a smack. When he's hit with a fist it's a hard *poof* sound. The weapon sounds aren't too well though. They often sound clunky and delayed.

Lasting Appeal:
Simply said this game is short. You will blaze through this game in less than a day, so it's hard to warrant a purchase if you aren't a die-hard Jet Li fan. The game is set up into roughly 85 missions. About two and a half hours in I was on mission 78. Again if you're not a huge fan of Jet Li I can't reccomend anything more then a rental.

The gameplay is repetitive, the graphics are average, the sound is good, and the story is great. Pretty much you're getting a little bit of every level. The game is short and far too easy. While it has some good things going for it, it just doesn't feel complete. With only three gameplay elements which only one feels like it's finished there's just nothing more to this game, but a beat em' up with a good story. Only for the die-hard fans.

- Blake Becker (GoinCommando)

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