After a two year absence, Tenchu is about to go in a whole new direction … the past. Fatal Shadows is the prequel to 2003’s Wrath of Heaven, the game that brought the long running series into the current generation. Set before Wrath of Heaven, this brand new Tenchu promises to fill in some gaps in the story and offer a lot more character development for fans of the series.
The biggest change comes when you realize that you won’t be controlling Rikimaru, the long running champion of the Tenchu series. Instead the story revolves around Ayame and Rin, a pair of female ninjas off on a journey to locate the missing Rikimaru. But fans of the series fear not, Tenchu promises to serve up a healthy dose of stealth action, with all the tweaks and improvements you expect from a sequel.
One of the major new aspects of the game comes from the improved combat, which now allows you to kill two people at the same time. These new moves enhance the overall feel of the game by offering you more variety to the action, and giving the game play some added depth. The game rewards players for studying the board and practicing your moves; hopefully adding up to an overall satisfying experience.
Like the moves, the graphics and sounds have been improved to take advantage of the PlayStation 2’s hardware. With improved enemy AI it’s more important than ever to make sure you’re making as little sound as possible and staying out of sight. You will be able to move downed foes so guards won’t see them, but if you’re going to get out of this situation you’re going to need to stay alert and master your ninja skills.
Unlike previous Tenchu games, Fatal Shadows is making a concerted effort to go back and create a full immersive story to get swept up in. This game sports more cut scenes and conversations between the key characters than ever before, no doubt giving you more incentive to play through the game, while offering more of an understanding of the plight of these characters.
For the most part Ayame and Rin start out very similar, but as they kill enemies they will be able to collect scrolls they will improve their abilities and moves and flesh out the differences between the two. Unlike previous Tenchu titles, Fatal Shadows makes collecting scrolls a fun and painless task. And not only will Fatal Shadows offer a lot of ways to improve your skills during the single player campaign, but Sega also promises some extras for those who manage to make it through the full game.
If you’re worried that all of this stealth was going to get in the way of traditional boss battles, Fatal Shadows has you covered. Throughout the game’s lengthy story you will run into all kinds of towering beasts and vicious bosses that will make you scramble to come up with a plan of attack. Some will test your timing and patience; others give you an opportunity to use some of the games brand new weapons and special moves. Play your cards right and you’ll be packing around all sorts of effective weapons and satisfying ninja moves.
These days there are all kinds of choices when it comes to stealth action games, but Tenchu has always felt different and offered a much more unique experience than what you find with Solid Snake and Sam Fischer. Fans of the long running series should not fear this evolution, it promises everything you love plus a few new things to keep you satisfied until Rikimaru can make his heroic comeback.
To whet your appetite we have provided a few brand new pictures of the game in action. Expect a full review of Sega’s Tenchu: Fatal Shadows later this month, just after it sneaks its way into U.S. retailers.