GameSpy Network Featured Sites
Be Vewy, Vewy Quiet
While stealth is not a terribly original or recent video game innovation (witness the original Metal Gear, all the way back in 1987), it's fair to say that the concept came into its own during the PlayStation generation. Advances in 3D graphics made it possible to render more realistic environments that were full of nooks and crannies in which to hide -- perfect for stealthy gameplay. One of the more popular stealth-based games of this era was Tenchu: Stealth Assassins. It featured a unique mix of mundane realism and supernatural ninja mysticism, creating a shinobi simulation that was truly in a class of its own. Unfortunately, its sequel got bogged down in trying to be too realistic, and that was the end of Tenchu's PlayStation lifespan.
Now, on a new system and with a new developer, Tenchu is returning to the relative simplicity that earned it so many fans the first time around. Gone are cumbersome mechanics like hiding bodies and sheathing swords to run faster; back are gruesome one-hit kills, fun grappling hooks and those lovely poisoned rice balls. Indeed, Tenchu: Wrath of Heaven distills the Tenchu gameplay down to its most basic components: sneak, kill, and remain unseen. This sharp focus makes for a fun, if somewhat simple, ninja outing.
Dangers in the Night
Wrath of Heaven offers three ninjas to play as, and while the characters' goals differ, each level basically amounts to killing everything possible without being seen. To this end, the game sports a very nicely designed "Ki Meter" that reveals how close enemies are to your ninja, and what their current state of alarm is. Tenchu is refreshingly lenient with its stealth mechanics, so you often have a grace period in which to escape from an enemy's gaze before it becomes aggressive. If it does see you and you flee, the enemy will lose interest much faster than in (say) Metal Gear Solid 2, which ends up being considerably more fun than if you would have had to hide for three boring minutes. You generally will want to run, too, because not only is the combat system kind of weak, but you'll then have another opportunity to instant-kill that guard.
Tenchu's trademark one-hit kills can only be utilized if the enemy is completely unaware of your presence, so much of your time will be spent waiting for an enemy to turn its back or to walk within range of the rooftop you're on. Each character has six or so instant kills, which vary based on which angle you approach from. While it's satisfying to watch the instant kill animations, I had a bad experience where the instant kill I used on a guard caused my ninja to step over a pit. As the animation ended, I was filled with a feeling of dread. Sure enough, as soon as the game came back Rikimaru plunged into the abyss, ending the game. "That was the worst thing ever," Christian said. I couldn't disagree, and turned the animations off after that.
Next: Page 2 »
Page: 1 2
Powered By PriceGrabber
• home • contact us • corporate • jobs • developers • advertise • support • legal stuff
© 1996-2004 GameSpy Industries.