From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Tenchu logo.png
Genres Action-adventure, stealth
Developers Acquire, K2 LLC, From Software
Publishers Sony Music Entertainment, Activision, From Software, Sega, Nintendo, Microsoft Game Studios, Ubisoft
Platforms PlayStation, PlayStation 2, Xbox, PlayStation Portable, Nintendo DS, Xbox 360, Wii
Platform of origin PlayStation
First release Tenchu: Stealth Assassins
February 26, 1998
Latest release Tenchu: Shadow Assassins
February, 2009
Official website http://www.tenchu.net/

Tenchu (天誅) is an action-adventure stealth video game series of that was originally developed by Acquire where the player assumes the role of an assassin and a ninja.

The title in Japanese literally translates in English as: "Divine Retribution", with 天 (ten), meaning heaven and 誅 (chu), meaning death penalty (another translation of this phrase, Wrath of Heaven is the title of the first PlayStation 2 entry in the series).


The series takes place in 16th-century feudal Japan. The original story (Stealth Assassins) revolves around two ninjas, Rikimaru and Ayame, who have both been members of the Azuma ninja clan since childhood. The two ninjas serve the benevolent Lord Gohda and work for him as his secret spies to root out corruption and gather intelligence in his province. However, the evil demonic sorcerer Lord Mei-Oh sought to destroy Lord Gohda, and using his demon warrior Onikage, wreaked havoc throughout Lord Gohda's province. Although Mei-Oh was killed in the first game, Onikage appeared in all subsequent games (except Fatal Shadows and Tenchu Z) as the archenemy of the two ninja, especially Rikimaru. Another major character who shows up frequently is Princess Kiku, Lord Gohda's daughter who is often the damsel in distress.


The game perspective is third-person. There are numerous items to help the ninja on his/her mission, but unlockable items can be acquired if the player gets a "Grand Master" rating at the end of the level by being as stealthy as possible. Items and controls vary from game to game, but the gameplay is essentially the same throughout with the exception of Tenchu: Shadow Assassins. Stealth is a very important element in the game, where players have to duck, crouch, and hide behind walls to avoid detection. Enemies can be killed with one manoeuvre by using Stealth Kills, and a player can avoid detection by using the Ki meter. The larger the number, the closer the player's position to an enemy. If a player is spotted, the Ki meter will turn red, the enemy will alert everyone in the area, and the player is forced to fight hand-to-hand or hide somewhere until the enemies give up their search and resume their patrol routes (similar to Metal Gear Solid's "Soliton Radar").


Main articles: Rikimaru and Ayame (Tenchu)

The main characters of the Tenchu series are Rikimaru and Ayame. Rikimaru is a tall, silver-haired ninja with a single ninjato named "Izayoi" and a scar over his right eye. He is physically stronger than Ayame but relatively slower. Ayame is a kunoichi or female ninja who wears standard ninja clothes with her midriff exposed. She carries a pair of kodachi. She is faster and could perform more combos than Rikimaru, but is the weaker of the two.


Aggregate review scores
As of July 27, 2013.
Game GameRankings Metacritic
Tenchu: Stealth Assassins (PS1) 84.26%[1] (PS1) 87[2]
Tenchu 2: Birth of the Stealth Assassins (PS1) 78.59%[3] (PS1) 77[4]
Tenchu: Wrath of Heaven (PS2) 79.38%[5]
(Xbox) 70.09%[6]
(PS2) 79[7]
(Xbox) 70[8]
Tenchu: Fatal Shadows (PS2) 60.54%[9] (PS2) 58[10]
Tenchu: Time of the Assassins (PSP) 51.25%[11] -
Tenchu: Dark Secret (NDS) 34.35%[12] (NDS) 37[13]
Tenchu Z (X360) 56.93%[14] (X360) 56[15]
Shadow Assault: Tenchu (X360) 48.57%[16] (X360) 46[17]
Tenchu: Shadow Assassins (Wii) 70.16%[18]
(PSP) 65.18%[19]
(Wii) 70[20]
(PSP) 68[21]

Activision purchased the rights to this game from Sony Music Entertainment, who originally published the game in Japan. However, Activision sold the rights to the Japanese game publisher From Software in 2004. From Software's rights agreement does not include games previously published by Activision. From Software licensed distribution of Fatal Shadows to Sega. Tenchu Z was the only game in the series published by From Software worldwide. Currently From Software has the rights of the Tenchu series.

There was an additional Japan-exclusive release for Tenchu on the PlayStation. One hundred of the best competing levels designed with the level editor of Tenchu: Shinobi Gaisen (an expanded version of Tenchu re-released in Japan) were put together to form a stand-alone, non-story based expansion set called Tenchu: Shinobi Hyakusen. The engine and game fundamentals remained unchanged. Shinobi Hyakusen is still famous for the hardest level settings among Tenchu fans, especially because of the tight time limits and the overall lack of the items, excluding the caltrops and the throwing stars. No North American or European versions were released however.

Several games were also ported to mobile phones with graphic changes. This includes: Tenchu: Ayame's Tale 3D which was released for The Sony Ericsson mobile phone series and Tenchu: Wrath of Heaven by TKO-Software and Digital Bridges which was released for mobile phones in 2005, although it used two-dimensional graphics.

Tenchu: Stealth Assassins (1998)[edit]

The first of the game's series, Tenchu: Stealth Assassins on the PlayStation 1 begins with Lord Matsunoshin Gohda's ninja, Rikimaru and Ayame, training to reach an honourable rank. In the training missions the performance of the character determines their rank; ranging from Thug, Novice, Ninja, Master Ninja to Grand Master. Lord Gohda himself gives his feedback on Rikimaru's performance while his daughter Princess Kiku speaks to Ayame instead. The playable characters Rikimaru and Ayame are only selectable as singular players and their storylines vary considerably, yet they experience the same levels and missions. Rikimaru, the oldest of the two, is the primary character in the game.

In the game Rikimaru and Ayame begin as novice ninja trained as comrades from childhood to serve their master Lord Gohda. Rikimaru, a 25 year old male, has served Lord Gohda since the age of 16, but underwent ninja training since birth. His characteristics include unusually white hair and a scar over his right eye yet maintaining the stereotypical hoodless ninja outfit including his long sleeved fishnet top under a vest, with baggy trousers and traditional ninja boots, while carrying a legendary sword named Izayoi granted to him by his master and mentor, Shiunsai. He is well known in the series for his "thoroughness, patience, and bravery".[22]

Ayame, a 21 year old female who has served Gohda since the age of 14, was recruited at a later age as a child from her older comrade Rikimaru. In contrast to his personality, Ayame holds her "boldness, spontaneity, and quickness" [23] throughout the game's series, often comically cutting her enemies with her words as much as her swords. She has dark hair and eyes, wearing a sleeveless vest and baggy trousers with ninja boots, carrying her twin knives. Highly protective of the 12-year-old Princess Kiku, she looks to her as her younger sister. Both Rikimaru and Ayame are orphans but were raised by Shiunsai as his own children.

The game features 10 levels which are introduced in increasing difficulty: Punish the Evil Merchant, Deliver the Secret Message, Rescue the Captive Ninja, Cross the Checkpoint, Execute the Corrupt Minister, Infiltrate the Manji Cult, Destroy the Foreign Pirate, Cure the Princess, Reclaim the Castle and Free the Princess. Notably many of the bosses react differently to the two ninja based on their genders, highlighting the realistic social attitudes at the time.

These missions, including the initial training mission, can be replayed for an unlimited number of times, but Mission 2 and onwards cannot be accessed without the previous chapter being successfully completed. Three different layouts are used to distribute the enemies, obstacles and items spread on the levels' maps. On playing the training level only several throwable deadly objects and a grappling hook are automatically selected as interactive objects.

The weapon selection section contains throwing knives (kunai)/shuriken (depending on the game version), smoke bombs, caltrops, poison rice cakes, coloured rice, healing potions, grenades and mines. Advanced items on completing a mission with the rank Grand Master are known as: Super Shuriken/Kunai, Lightfoot Scroll, Fire Eater Scroll, Protections Amulet, Sleeping Gas, Ninja Armour, Shadow Decoy, Resurrection Leaf, Chameleon Spell, Dog Bone and Decoy Whistle. These are optional to use on missions but are limited to a number of objects overall. The Grappling Hook is permanently locked into the inventory and does not consume item space.

On failure, the character dies (sometimes being ridiculed by a boss) and the text "Mission Failed" appears on the screen in front of the grave of the respected character. All items that he/she acquires or takes with him/her are permanently lost until found in future missions, therefore the player should note a risk in selecting a large number of objects to use for the mission.

If the character succeeds in their mission they will be scored and ranked while the player's time is recorded into the game's system. This score is compared to previous attempts and the scores of the partner to the current character if they have been played before. A cinematic scene happens at the end of each level revealing some of the character's personality to the player.

Mission 10 has a longer cutscene which leads to the ending of the game and credits. The player still has an option to complete the game as the alternative character as the attempts in playing each level are limitless. Some aspects can be unlocked by completing sections of the game, which can include alternative costumes for Rikimaru and Ayame. Cheats can also trigger unlockables.

Tenchu 2: Birth of the Stealth Assassins (2000)[edit]

Information needed

Tenchu: Wrath of Heaven (2003)[edit]

Information needed

Tenchu: Fatal Shadows (2004)[edit]

Main article: Tenchu: Fatal Shadows

Information needed

Tenchu: Time of the Assassins (2005)[edit]

Information needed

Tenchu: Dark Secret (2006)[edit]

Main article: Tenchu: Dark Secret

Information needed

Tenchu Z (2006)[edit]

Main article: Tenchu Z

Information needed

Shadow Assault: Tenchu (2008)[edit]

Information needed

Tenchu: Shadow Assassins (2008)[edit]

Information needed

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Tenchu: Stealth Assassins Reviews". GameRankings. Retrieved July 27, 2013. 
  2. ^ "Tenchu: Stealth Assassins Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved July 27, 2013. 
  3. ^ "Tenchu 2: Birth of the Stealth Assassins Reviews". GameRankings. Retrieved July 27, 2013. 
  4. ^ "Tenchu 2: Birth of the Stealth Assassins Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved July 27, 2013. 
  5. ^ "Tenchu: Wrath of Heaven Reviews". GameRankings. Retrieved July 27, 2013. 
  6. ^ "Tenchu: Return From Darkness Reviews". GameRankings. Retrieved July 27, 2013. 
  7. ^ "Tenchu: Wrath of Heaven Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved July 27, 2013. 
  8. ^ "Tenchu: Return From Darkness Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved July 27, 2013. 
  9. ^ "Tenchu: Fatal Shadows Reviews". GameRankings. Retrieved July 27, 2013. 
  10. ^ "Tenchu: Fatal Shadows Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved July 27, 2013. 
  11. ^ "Tenchu: Time of the Assassins Reviews". GameRankings. Retrieved July 27, 2013. 
  12. ^ "Tenchu: Dark Secret Reviews". GameRankings. Retrieved July 27, 2013. 
  13. ^ "Tenchu: Dark Secret Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved July 27, 2013. 
  14. ^ "Tenchu Z Reviews". GameRankings. Retrieved July 27, 2013. 
  15. ^ "Tenchu Z Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved July 27, 2013. 
  16. ^ "Shadow Assault: Tenchu Reviews". GameRankings. Retrieved July 27, 2013. 
  17. ^ "Shadow Assault: Tenchu Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved July 27, 2013. 
  18. ^ "Tenchu: Shadow Assassins Reviews". GameRankings. Retrieved July 27, 2013. 
  19. ^ "Tenchu: Shadow Assassins Reviews". GameRankings. Retrieved July 27, 2013. 
  20. ^ "Tenchu: Shadow Assassins Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved July 27, 2013. 
  21. ^ "Tenchu: Shadow Assassins Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved July 27, 2013. 
  22. ^ Tenchu: Stealth Assassins official game booklet
  23. ^ Tenchu: Stealth Assassins official game booklet

External links[edit]