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Tenchu (AKA: 天誅, てんちゅう) is a highly creative and classic game series that redefined the gaming experience of ninja themed games, which opened up a new world for ninja stealth action type of games. Its first work was born on SONY’s PlayStation game console in 1998, and then launched on PS2, PSP, Xbox 360, NDS and so on game consoles, most of which were developed and published by Acquire from Japan. As a Japanese ninja action game that focuses on sneaking and assassinating themes, Tenchu’s appearance made this type of game a hit for players around the world, and the subsequent Tenchu 3 became even more famous. So far, it has released eight works.
Tenchu: Stealth Assassins started a new era of ninja gaming, which made players find everything fresh and new. This work created the one-hit killing system, which can carry out assassination action in various positions to the enemy. And this work supports close-up shots with very strong ornamental value, which has become the signature system of the entire Tenchu series. In addition, the music in this game has reached its peak, greatly enhancing the atmosphere of gaming.
More than a year later, the encouraged Acquire company released another expansion pack – Tenchu: Shinobi Gaisen. This work remade the opening and ending animations in game, added new levels and plots, optimized player operations, and fixed some bugs in the previous work. The most important improvement is that this game added a mission editing mode for the first time, in which players can edit the scenes of game, set the configuration of enemies, so as to create their own levels. Better yet, these levels can be stored directly in a memory card to be exchanged with friends. Therefore, we can regard Tenchu: Shinobi Gaisen as an enhanced version of Tenchu.
As for Tenchu 2, although it didn’t sell very well, as long as you savor it, you’ll find that it has a huge improvement over the first generation of works, except for the music. Therefore, players who like Tenchu series should not miss this work.
The first game in the series ported to the NDS console was considered a failure by most players, because it was a departure from the tradition and lacked excitement and cheeriness in the past. Tenchu: Dark Shadow was almost specially designed for dual-screen and touch manipulation, so that players can only survive by using props flexibly. The touching operation and item-based combo killing system turned a 3D ninja action game into a puzzle game.
Tenchu: Senran/Tenchu Z is the first work in Tenchu series that appeared on the next generation console platforms. It presented more detailed and gorgeous characters, scenes and special effects through the hardware capabilities of Xbox 360 console. This game provides up to 130 different action designs, which can be applied one by one according to different opportunities, conditions, places and operation modes. This work provides the most (50) missions throughout the history of the whole series, detailed and distinctive stage settings, and high degree of freedom in mission solving. In addition, it also supports Xbox Live WAN and LAN connection function for multiplayer online gaming. 36 of the 50 missions support a collaborative online game mode with up to 4 players, which adds a lot of interest to the game.
Shadow Assault: Tenchu changed the stealth + assassination type of action game design of all the previous works, and created a well-designed action puzzle game using traps to kill the enemies. In this game, players can manipulate multiple protagonists to play online battle game with up to four players over a network.
As the orthodox new work of Tenchu series, also the commemorative work of the 10th anniversary of this series, Tenchu 4/Tenchu: Shadow Assassins became another failure work of the whole series. It’s only middling in terms of game background setting and character portrayal. Both light and shadow effects are so poor that it is even difficult to see any roles in game. And there is little change in the appearance of enemies. In other words, except for the BOSS of each level, everyone looks the same, which is really boring. However, the good news is that there are so many ways to assassinate the enemy, which is still very comforting. Moreover, this work has a lot of well-crafted CG animations that make the game appear more substantial.
The pomp of the first launch of Tenchu series was matched with the same type of Thief series on PC. Unfortunately, the latter died at an early age with the closing of its developer Looking Glass Studios, and Tenchu 2 was not as glamorous as its predecessor. Fortunately, the much-anticipated Tenchu 3: Wrath of Heaven made a name for itself on the PlayStation 2 console. Because it employed a fresh-new game engine with better technical performance, especially the entire development team was replaced by the outstanding K2 team. The following Tenchu: Fatal Shadows sublimated the awareness of Tenchu series again, coupled with Tenchu 3: Return from Darkness remade for Microsoft’s Xbox, Tenchu’s popularity at that time was comparable to that of Ninja Gaiden – the originator of all ninja types of games. But the subsequent failure of Tenchu: Senran/Tenchu Z directly led to a serious crisis to the production team.
Subsequently, Capcom, the established game publisher from Japan, fully acquired K2 in 2008 to significantly improve its development strength, so as to reach the established development strategy, bring more business benefits to the group, bring higher quality of game products to users, and make itself more competitive. Later, Capcom released the brand-new Tenchu 4 on Nintendo’s Wii console, which continued the Tenchu series, but brought a big change in style.
However, we haven’t heard from Tenchu since the launch of Tenchu 4 in 2008. Even worse, Activision, the publisher of Tenchu series, lost the ownership of the Tenchu trademark in the United States. Because there was no proof that it would continue to use this trademark in business in the future, the ownership of this trademark had been taken back by the United States Courts according to the trademark law of the United States. The good news is that Acquire, the original developer of Tenchu series, has said it will release a new work for the console platform, but isn’t sure if it will be a new sequel of Tenchu series.
// Official Demo Videos //
// Full Games List //
|Japanese Title||English Title||Console||Release Year|
|天誅||Tenchu: Stealth Assassins||PS||1998|
|天誅 忍凱旋||Tenchu: Shinobi Gaisen||PS||1999|
|天誅 忍百選||Tenchu: Shinobi Hyakusen||PS||1999|
|天誅 弐||Tenchu 2: Birth of the Stealth Assassins||PS||2000|
|天誅 参||Tenchu 3: Wrath of Heaven||PS2||2003|
|天誅 参 〜回帰ノ章〜||Tenchu 3: Return from Darkness||Xbox||2004|
|天誅 紅||Tenchu: Kurenai/Tenchu: Fatal Shadows||PS2||2004|
|天誅 忍大全||Tenchu: Shinobi Taizen/Tenchu: Time of the Assassins||PSP||2005|
|天誅 DARK SHADOW||Tenchu: Dark Shadow/Tenchu: Dark Secret||NDS||2006|
|天誅 千乱||Tenchu: Senran/Tenchu Z||Xbox 360||2006|
|Shadow Assault 〜TENCHU〜||Shadow Assault: Tenchu||Xbox 360||2008|
|天誅 4||Tenchu 4/Tenchu: Shadow Assassins||Wii||2008|
|天誅 4 Portable||Tenchu 4 Portable||PSP||2009|
|天誅 参 Portable||Tenchu 3 Portable||PSP||2009|
|天誅 紅 Portable||Tenchu Kurenai Portable||PSP||2010|
|天誅 5||Tenchu 5||?||?|
// Tips //
- In general, you need to use jumps flexibly in the stealth kill, because the jump speed is a bit faster and the noise after a jump is much lower than that in a running condition. This is also a customary tactic to ensure a fast stealth kill and launch a surprise attack to the enemy.
- For Tenchu: Shinobi Taizen, if it gives an error like “PPSSPP has stopped working” when directly opening the ROM ISO with PPSSPP emulator, try to launch the game from “Games” option (by locating the game ROM file first) instead.
// Download URLs //
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