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Forget the game's graphical misgivings. The heart of this game is in it's authentic atmosphere and superbly entertaining gameplay.
Tenchu was released in 1998, before Konami released Metal Gear Solid, making it the first 3D action adventure to incorporate stealth tactics as the main element of its gameplay. Unlike the loud, epileptic gameplay of Ninja Gaiden, Tenchu requires you to advance as a silent, unseen shadow warrior.
The biggest highlight of this game are the stealth kills, which are executed upon an enemy unaware of your presence and are deliciously and sadistically satisfying.
The game also requires you to fight. Both assassins Rikimaru and -the female- Ayame use very different blades and fighting styles to dispatch their foes. Also aiding you are a variety of mysterious ninja weapons and magic spells.
One thing that will have you playing this game over and over is the atmosphere. The music, composed by Noriyuki Asakura, is so atmospherically beautiful, most notably in the 5th mission "Execute the Corrupt Minister" where delicate wood pipes sooth the air as you scurry across the snow capped rooftops of the minister's estate.
The animations are all motion captured and very smooth, so there is a definite air of realism even if the characters look like flesh coloured boxes skewered on a pole.
The game has so far had two sequels (and one prequel), but to be honest none of them have managed to recreate the feel of the first game (probabaly because they were made by a different company, after the original team lost the production rights).
However, the original Tenchu certainly made its mark and is a definite gem of a game.
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