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Overview

Rise to Honor is a beat-'em-up style game released in 2004 for the Playstation 2 featuring martial artist Jet Li. The character you play is Hong Kong police officer Kit Yun. Kit is working undercover in a Chinese triad gang headed by one Boss Chiang.
 

Story

In Rise to Honor, you play as Kit Yun. Kit is an undercover police officer who happens to be working for a Triad gang headed by Boss Chiang. During the starting events, Chiang says he wants to live a normal life, free of crime. One of his associates, a Mr. Kwan, protests against this decision made by Boss Chiang. However, Boss Chiang is soon shot dead by a sniper, after an attack lead by a rival gang. Regardless of how well you do in this fight, Chiang must die for the story to continue. In Boss Chiang's final moments, he makes a request: Chiang's request is for Kit to find his daughter and give her an envelope containing information on the rival gangs in the Hong Kong area. Kit agrees to do this, and to fulfill Chiang's last requests. This means traveling to San Francisco, and Yun willingly obliges. 
 
Once Kit reaches San Francisco, you meet both Michelle, and a childhood friend by the name of Chi. The trio are almost immediately pursued by would-be attackers. These assailants were sent by one Billy Soon, an Asian-American gangster and leader. After progressing onwards through the game, you discover that the envelope is of significance to both Kwan, and Billy Soon. Mr. Soon had been hired by Kwan to execute anyone who threatened the security of the envelope. Eventually, you will fight against Billy Soon in a hand-to-hand fight. Upon succeeding in this fight, Soon attempts to kill Michelle by firing his handgun at Kit, and her. Chi throws himself in front of Billy's weapon, sacrificing himself for the safety of Kit and Michelle. Out of anger, Kit brutally executes Billy Soon, before the remaining two leave the building. Michelle then resolves to make amends and return to Hong Kong.
 
Upon arrival in Hong Kong, Michelle is shot at by a sniper (whether the sniper is the same assailant who killed her father is unknown). Kit takes her to the hospital, as it was not a fatal wound. Several hours later, Michelle is kidnapped by the henchmen of Kwan, who are then pursued by Kit Yun again. The thugs arrive at a large skyscraper, which Kit infiltrates. The skyscraper, at one time, was property of the deceased Boss Chiang. However, it is now under the control of one of his associates - Kwan. After a long and brutal fight to Kwan, where you have to obliterate scores of henchmen, you arrive at his room. You then engage in a hand-to-hand fight in the hope of arresting Kwan. As Kit attempts to arrest Kwan, he pulls out  a handgun. As a natural reaction, Kit's superior opens fire, fatally wounding Kwan.
 
The game then cuts to a dignified, private funeral for Boss Chiang, at which Kit Yun and Michelle Chiang are present. Kit's superior, Victor, arrives and requests that they burn the envelope. Kit agrees with him, and torches the envelope. Victor then admits his responsibility for the death of Boss Chiang - he was one of the key profiteers from the gang syndicate. Kit afterwards says that the envelope was all he burned - the documents contained inside were not torched. He also shows a 'wire', which he recorded the confession with. Victor is enraged and attacks Kit, before Kit beats him down and has him arrested by the Hong Kong police. 

 A typical brawl in Rise to Honor

The final scene of the game shows Michelle and Kit discussing life without a father. Kit ends the discussion with the words "It is better to die with honor than to live without".
 

Gameplay

Rise to Honor features stealth based gameplay, as well as general fighting and occasional shooting missions. However, general beat 'em up missions are the most common of the three, as they make up much of the game. In standard gameplay, you can interact with the environment in a number of different ways, such as running up a wall and jumping obstacles.
 
Combat in Rise to Honor is taken directly from Jet Li himself. Li motion captured the attacks for Kit, as well as doing the voice acting. Some of the techniques used in the game appear in different Jet Li films. Sometimes, you may be surrounded by enemies. Attacking simply means moving the right analogue stick in the direction of the victim. Generally gameplay is simple, though the game itself can be difficult. Attacking successfully earns some points for your 'Adrenaline Meter.' Once this meter is full it allows you to engage a slow-mo mode where you can move more quickly and inflict more damage. This mode is similar to 'Bullet Time' in the Max Payne games. Blocking can be performed regardless of the direction the enemy is in relation to you.
 
In stealth missions, you are limited to one attack which can be performed in any direction. Your movement speed is also capped in this mode, to emphasize the ideals of using stealth. During all stealth scenes, enemies will be searching for you with flashlights.
 
In shooting based missions, you are only able to use a handgun. This handgun has unlimited ammo, as do all the enemy handguns. You are able to take cover in these missions, and when the Adrenaline Meter is full, you can perform a slow motion dive, a la Max Payne.
 

Fun Facts and Trivia

Being, that this is a Jet Li game, a lot of references to his movies have been planted in the game. Some of them are list ed below:  

  • In a gas chamber, while fighting Kwan, Kit must grab his gas mask to gain air. A reference to Black Mask.
  • Kit is letting go of the banister, dropping one story and grabbing the banister of the next floor. A reference to Cradle 2 the Grave.
  • Two characters can be unlocked: Wong Fei-Hung from Once Upon a Time in China and Chen Zen from Fist of Legend.
  • Kit fights a couple of twins before defeating a boss. This is a reference to Kiss of the Dragon.
  • These twins are named; Fei and Hung – inspired by the hero Wong Hei-Hung.
  • Kit breaks the neck of a bad-guy with his legs. A reference to Lethal Weapon 4.    
 

Reception

Based on 50 critic reviews, Metacritic have an aggregated score of 68/100. The highest score given by any publication is that of GamePro, who rated the game a 100/100. Their attributed quote is:

Displays great imagination and attention to detail that is at once challenging, innovative, and fun. It accomplishes the task of re-creating the venerable beat-em-up genre with honor.

Meanwhile, the lowest score received was an atrocious 33/100, from Game Revolution. Their attributed quote happens to be:

A more traditional control scheme and some serious gameplay polish could have done wonders for this game. Instead, terrible control, lame AI and a few other rough edges hand Rise to Honor the Black Mask of shame.

11 user reviews have earned the game 89/100 for Metacritic's user reviews section. The lowest user rating was 1/10, or 10/100, should you prefer Metacritic's system. Meanwhile, the highest given was 10/10.
 

Box Art

Rise to Honor features one box art design for all regions. This art shows Jet Li standing in a position generally used for martial arts, and another background image of the man himself. There are additionally Chinese symbols contained inside the 'o' in the word 'Honor.'

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