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Tenchu 4

Sneaky stealthy stuff on the Wii

Fact: we love ninjas. There's nothing cooler than someone sneaking into a secure building, giving the guards a sound kicking, doing a secret mission, then sneaking out without anyone knowing about it. So the fact that Tenchu 4 promises to offer exactly that sort of action makes us excited without even seeing the game.

To be fair, it's worth calming down and putting things into perspective for a minute. After all, the most recent Tenchu games haven't exactly been great. We reviewed Tenchu: Dark Secret for the DS back in issue 12 and gave it a sparkling score of 30%. So why are we getting excited about this one? Because it's being developed by Acquire, the same team behind the original few games in the series (before it became rubbish). As a result, Tenchu 4 is more likely to be a decent game than the poorer efforts of late.

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Tenchu Forget About Me

Despite being the fourth main game in the series, this is actually the eighth Tenchu game. It continues the ongoing saga of the two remaining ninjas of the Azuma clan, Rikimaru and Ayame, as they attempt to help keep the peace in feudal Japan.

Each of the ninjas has different strengths and weaknesses. Rikimaru is a male ninja with a dodgy grey haircut. As the head ninja of the Azuma clan, he wields the Izayoi sword which is passed down from leader to leader. He fits into the classic 'strong but slow' category, so while his attacks do huge damage he can be a bit sluggish to control, which, let's face it, isn't ideal for a ninja.

As you'd expect, according to the age-old laws of videogaming, the other ninja has to be speedy but weak. This is indeed the case with Ayame, a kunoichi (female ninja) in the Azuma clan. While she's a nippy young lady with unmatched agility, she's not the strongest of ninjas and so has to rely on her speed and stealth in order to survive and avoid any unnecessary scraps.

Tenchu 4 makes the most of the unique abilities of the Wii Remote and Nunchuk, to the extent that pretty much all actions in the game are performed with gestures. To jump, you simply flick the Nunchuk upwards, while waving it left and right lets you dash to 'safe', shaded areas. When you get close to an opponent who hasn't noticed you yet, you can press A to trigger a special surprise kill, which is done by following the on-screen prompt. When you want to throw a shuriken at an enemy you aim with the analogue stick and flick the Remote. It takes a while to get used to but once you do it feels fairly intuitive.

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If you get caught by an enemy, you enter a one-on-one battle. This takes place in a first-person perspective, and sees you and your opponent taking turns to attack and defend. When you defend you have to turn the Remote in the direction prompted on the screen, then once it's your turn to attack you (predictably) do so by swiping with your Remote.

Naturally though, this is a last resort situation. Being a ninja involves sneaking around unseen, not getting involved in ruddy great Pirates Of The Caribbean-style swordfights. As a result, the majority of the game still involves stealth, so in order to avoid detection you'll need to rely on every trick in the ninja book. You'll have to hide in bushes, stand in shadows, climb rooftops and blow out lanterns to make sure nobody sees you, and when you're properly hidden your character will be bathed in blackness so you know you're stealthing it up in a proper manner.

Fight Club

The people complaining that the Wii doesn't have enough mature games will be happy to know that Tenchu is pretty grim in terms of violent content. If you manage to successfully sneak up on an enemy you can execute them with a selection of particularly gory deaths. Tenchu 4 looks set to be a cracking title for fans of stealth 'em up games. Not only does it look the part, it's also atmospheric and extremely mature to boot, with some gory deaths throughout.


6 comments so far...
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  1. ACRID Thursday 5th Feb 2009 at 10:37

    I haven't played a Tenchu since the first one on PS1 and I really enjoyed that, probably because it involves ninja's cutting off peoples heads, I really hope that Tenchu 4 is going to bring the series back to life, from what I've read of the other games they've been huge disappointments.

  2. hikickry Sunday 8th Feb 2009 at 19:06

    This is a must-buy for me. I love stealth games, and i remember the original well. My wii is crying out for games like this and Deadly Creatures etc. My decision is boosted by the decent review on ign, the feedback is pretty good.

  3. StriderHedgehog Wednesday 11th Feb 2009 at 06:53

    I'm really looking forward to this. Tenchu 2 was a tremendously enjoyable game (moreso, I dare say, than the original) and I hope that this is just as enjoyable. It's just a shame that it might not have a Level Editor and that Tatsumaru's not going to be in it.

  4. Super_Sonic96 Sunday 15th Feb 2009 at 08:25

    i've never actually played a Tenchu game, but this one does look good. I tryed out the Tenchu demo on xbox and it was fun, terrible combat and disapointing graphics though.

  5. Juan777 Wednesday 25th Feb 2009 at 21:04

    For me this is a dream coming true :P I've play Tenchu 1 & 2 and finished both. Since then i haven't play any decent stealth game. The Xbox360 version was really crap! it was very hard to control the ninja and creating your ninja was boring... I'm really looking forward to as Rikimaru again and revive the good old times...

  6. Anonymous Sunday 8th Mar 2009 at 11:33

    I really want this to be a good game because there aren't enough new adn good games. The Resi series is awesome but its the same kill, blood comes out the zombie dies. And although the mario and zelda games are awesome they are just to much like a fairy story. the Xbox 360 has got Gears of War 2 which lets you fight a new human like species that come in all shapes and sizes and lets you do new things like chainsaw people, plant grenades on the floor and on the enemy themselves!! Plus if the developers make it to new then it will turn out with laser beams and glowing things which although are cool they just ruin the fun. We need more games. I am hoping Monster Hunter 3 is going to be good aswell as i have played the other two. Please developers bring us awesome games.

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