Excerpt: Since its debut on the PlayStation, the Tenchu series has had problems keeping up with the pack. While it was one of the originators of the stealth-action genre, only the first game showed any real impact. Instead, the series has been trying to keep up with a slew of titles that have continually pushed the barrier. Tenchu: Fatal Shadows , the latest in the series, attempts to keep up with the competition, but still falls dangerously behind.
Excerpt: SEGA’s Tenchu series, which debuted on the PlayStation with Tenchu Stealth Assassins, has many admirers. Though the stealth genre is much more expanded now than it was at the game’s inception, there are still lamentably few which allow you to play as a deadly ninja, a career which has been glamourised by no small number of videogames throughout the history of the medium.
Conclusion: THE VERDICT: Tenchu: Fatal Shadows is a fairly decent game, but it was just as good about ten years ago when the first in the series came out. The main concept of a Ninja simulator is just too good an idea to be neglected; let us just hope that Tenchu has finally found a permanent dev team at which to suckle and grow up, and that the inevitable next-gen sequel can make up some of the ground the series has lost to other stealth games over the years.
Excerpt: Here are some facts of life: money makes the world go round, girls ain’t nothing but trouble and ninjas are pretty damned cool. In the case of Tenchu: Fatal Shadows, two of these are true, as both main characters are ninjas (pretty damned cool) and they’re both girls (nothing but trouble). Yes, Rikimaru is gone, which is no surprise actually as he died several games ago, making his resurrection in Wrath of Heaven a bit of a stretch of the imagination anyway.
Excerpt: It's been a good couple of years since Tenchu's last (and first) outing on the PlayStation 2. Ready for more? This seminal stealth action series, whose publishing rights recently changed hands from Activision to Sega and From Software, actually hasn't changed much at all since its last jaunt.
Pros: Some cool-looking moves and characters, Stealth kills can be fun to pull off, Multiple level layouts and difficulty settings add replay value
Cons: Dumb enemy AI and antiquated stealth action formula, Clunky combat, Some frustrating level designs
Summary: Sneaking around in the shadows and silently snapping spines has always been fun in Tenchu, but this latest edition fails to address the problems that mired previous instalments. While the graphics are sharper than ever before and the story does a decent job of portraying the ninja duo as real people - stressing that the nimble heroines are fragile human beings, rather than the indestructible fighting machines found in most martial arts mash-ups.