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Tenchu 2: Birth of the Stealth Assassins (PlayStation) artwork

Tenchu 2: Birth of the Stealth Assassins (PlayStation) review

"While some players may be tempted to just run out into the open, and run to the end of the level, they'll hardly get any points, and it'll be much harder. It's much more fun to take your time on a level (around 15-20 minutes), and try not to be spotted."


The first Tenchu set a new standard for action titles on the PSX. It created the near-perfect blend of graphics, action, atmosphere, and stealth. You played as one of two ninjas, who's mission was to complete a series of levels, whether it be destroying the head of an evil cult, or assassinating the lord of a rival dynasty. The sequel continues with this trend, and leaves little to be desired.


Unfortunately, the graphics are one of the weaker points in Tenchu 2. They really haven't changed much from the original, aside from adding more detail to the environments. The game still runs fairly choppily, and the areas are all pretty grainy-looking. They would've been good, if this game had come out a year earlier. The graphics won't ruin the game in any way, and they're still not bad to look at, but nothing legendary.


The music is pure oriental goodness. It really provides a cool atmosphere for the game. The voice acting is bad, yet that makes it good, if you know what I mean. It's much like in the Resident Evil games, where it's fun to laugh at the voice acting. You can also choose to have Japanese language, with English subtitles, which is also interesting. The sound effects of swords slashing, kinves being thrown, and people screaming in agonizing pain are also all authentic and realistic-sounding.


Much like in the original Tenchu, there is quite a bit of depth to the gameplay. Your character acquires a variety of different items, such as a disguises, throwing stars, caltrops, smoke bombs, etc... You have to sneak your way through about 10 large levels, making as little noise as possible. Hiding behind buildings and in shadows is very important. While some players may be tempted to just run out into the open, and run to the end of the level, they'll hardly get any points, and it'll be much harder. It's much more fun to take your time on a level (around 15-20 minutes), and try not to be spotted.

Be warned, though; Tenchu is a very difficult game, and it took me a lot of practice to get the hang of using stealth effectively. Being spotted by one guard or civilian can mean utter disaster. Fortunately, there is a somewhat in-depth tutorial at the beginning of the game, explaining most of the moves and such you can use.


The story in Tenchu 2 isn't really something that matters. It takes place before Tenchu, and acts as prequel. You control the same two characters as in the first one, but in their childhood. You basically just have to kill the evil villain, by sneaking into his lair. There's nothing involving or terribly exciting about the story, but the very in-depth gameplay more than makes up for that. There are certain parts of the story which are priceless, though. Most of the dialogue and character interaction right before a boss fight is very entertaining.


I thoroughly enjoyed the great elements of Activisions first stealth game, and the second gave me more of what I loved. The adventure is longer, the graphics are better, the weapons are cooler, and the challenge is greater. No complaints here.

ender's avatar
Staff review by James Gordon (Date unavailable)

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