reviews\ Mar 8, 2004 at 7:00 pm

Tenchu: Return from Darkness - XB - Review - XB - Review

A burst of speed and Ayame closes on the target. She leaps in the air, landing on the guards shoulders, then twists. Bone snap and crackle. A gasp of air escapes and the guard slumps to the ground in a kneeling position. He would almost look serene kneeling there, if his head was not rotated 180 degrees and staring upward at the sky with lifeless eyes.


Activision, K2 and ProSoft have teamed up for Tenchu: Return From Darkness, a stealth ninja action title for the Xbox. The game features solid multiplayer support and Xbox Live play, as well as a story for the single player.


Multiplayer allows for versus mode as well as co-op missions.


The game itself has two central characters - Rikimaru and Ayame. Both are sworn to a lord whose land has been infiltrated with all manner of evil. But where local government cannot go, the ninja can. Both have missions, which are markedly different in nature, but both are highly trained ninjas capable of dispatching opponents quickly.


If there is a big drawback to this title, it lays in the linear nature of the levels. There are environmental walls, and while there can be several different paths, the number of enemies encountered will tell you that you are on the right course. And, naturally, the enemies blow whistles, yell “ninja” and bring friends if you are spotted.


The style of enemy combatants you face is varied – from katana-carrying foes to those with staffs and bows. Striking those with extended reach from the shadows is the soundest plan, but while shuriken are recoverable, you can only carry five starting at the load-out screen.


There are 11 missions and two player maps, and the game will allow you to master new moves as you work through the game.


The control elements are simple to understand, but the camera – placed generally above and behind your avatar – can be caught on environmental elements and not allow you to view the surrounding area.


The game’s sound features some musical effects which sound as though they are borrowed from the snowmobile racing title, Arctic Thunder. The narration is good but the game is really more average than anything else in terms of the sound effects.


Graphically the animation is smooth and your ninja bounces all over the place rather well. Targeting for ranged attacks is interrupted by the environment, and if you select a ranged weapon, you will have you use the look feature to target your victim.


Tenchu: Return From Darkness is a solid action title. The linear nature of the levels is a bit of a drawback. However, if you are seeking some stealth ninja action for the Xbox, this title may hold what you are looking for.


Gameplay: 8.3

The game is very linear and the path to the goal is marked by a host of enemies. If you travel a path and don’t find enemies, chances are you are going in the wrong direction.


Graphics: 8.2

The animation is very good, but the game does have a tendency to bog down in camera angles that get hinged on environmental elements, and the defeated foes (or you, for that matter) become fountains of blood, erupting red mists and geysers when defeated.


Sound: 7.5

Somewhat average, the sound still manages to support the graphical elements.


Difficulty: Medium

There is challenge in the game, but players can pick up power-ups along the way and with a little stealth and wise management, you will make it through.


Concept: 8

The idea is quite nice and well executed. The player interface is kept simple and is relatively easy to use.


Multiplayer: 8

The cooperative mode is nice and the game does have the stock versus mode.


Overall: 8.1

This is a solid title, fun to play with some wonderful animation. Tenchu makes its foray on the Xbox with solid results. The game is smooth, somewhat linear, but does have challenge with multiple enemies, a good AI and interesting ways to kill your foes. Stealth is your ally, use it and you will win through. Ignore it, and get ready to hit the retry button.


About The Author
In This Article
From Around The Web
blog comments powered by Disqus