Tenchu: Stealth Assassins

Fun concepts, but bad controls and worse graphics make Tenchu not worth your time.
Colonel Link - Staff Reviewer

Content at a glance:

The violence is quite heavy, with enemies throats being slit, with blood spurts, and decapitations.

You also fight demons, but they just look like weird aliens that shoot fireballs.

Tenchu: Stealth Assassins is a stealth game in which the player takes the role of a ninja. During the 10 stages of the game you will have to compete missions or your master, varying from assassination to message delivery.

Set in Feudal Japan, you take on the role of one of Lord Gohda’s Ninja assassins, Rikimaru or Ayame. You are sworn to serve Lord Gohda, and you must take out all who oppose him, be they human, canine, undead or Demon. Slight story details vary depending on whom you choose, but not enough for them to qualify as differing storylines.


The goal of the game is to sneak you way through a predefined map, either eliminating your target, or escaping so you can deliver and important message. By far the best part of gameplay is using your grappling hook to go from rooftop to rooftop, allowing you to drop on to unsuspecting enemies.

And keeping your enemies unsuspecting is a big part of the game. A meter on you screen tells you if your completely hidden, enemies have heard you or suspect you, enemies think they see you, or they see you and are going to kill you. If you can manage to sneak up behind an unsuspecting enemy, you’ll perform a stealth kill, which is the highlight of the game. Depending on where you are in relation to the enemy, you can do things like slit his throat, behead him, break his back, etc, etc. And not to sound sadistic, but they never get old.

Combat is very clunky and doesn’t feel ninja-ish at all; so it’s better to run for it if an enemy sees you, because you’ll probably die or loose a lot of health.


At the beginning of each mission you choose which character you want to play as (as long as they have both completed the previous mission), and then choose up to 15 items. Each character has its pro’s and con’s: Rikimaru is stronger since he wields a Katana, but slower; and Ayame is faster but weaker. The item selection also has a catch: If you die, you loose all of the items you were carrying, so the level gets harder each time, not easier.

Not good enough for a ninja game. The D Pad makes it a pain to move around, which will often end up making you swing forward while your enemy is behind you.

All of the game is set at night, which helps cover up the PSX’s graphical and frame-rate limitations. You can never see very far in front of you, and the characters look like crud.


I didn’t give it an “extreme” rating because the graphics are so bad it’s not very realistic. When you slit an enemies throat in a stealth kill, blood in the form of big pixels flakes out (about 20 noticeable pieces). Beheading is also a possibility, but I only managed to get it twice. In combat, enemies will keel over as blood pours out of their stomachs, and bodies don’t disappear (but other enemies seem to be able to stand right on top of their fallen comrades and not notice a thing). In one of the levels you are sent to kill a corrupt minister, but in the end you just “help” him. He stabs himself in the stomach (lots of blood), and you proceed to send his head flying.


Spiritual Content:
The enemies you fight include “demons”, which range from things that look exactly the same as humans, to fire breathing 3 foot tall ET’s.

2 uses of d**n.

Sexual Content:
The “boss” in the first level is a corrupt merchant, who seems to enjoy molesting women. You find him trying to convince a woman to come with him to his room (“c’mon! c’mon!”), but nothing happens since you arrive.

T:SA is a decent stealth game that any ninja fan should play. However, due to heavy violence and bad controls, I can’t recommend it to anyone else.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this Spotlight review are those of the reviewer (both ratings and recommendations), and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Eden Communications or the Answers Network.

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