While it’s obvious that the graphics found on the Playstation cannot compare to the accelerated beauty of a PC, the images seen in Tenchu are dull. The majority of the levels are set at night and often over half of the screen is simply black. Furthermore, the physical boundaries of the levels are not even creatively displayed. If the player runs to the end of the map he will simply see his character running up against a black void. Characters clipping through walls is common.
The game offers three different controller configurations, but does not allow the user to configure his own choice. Although the new force feedback controllers are supported, the very useful analog controllers are not. A menu that allows the player to select his weapons while paused would have been useful, instead of having to scroll through a list of choices while arrows rain from above.
The clashing of the swords is uninspired. Activision should have taken a lesson from the swordplay in Samurai Showdown. The sound of the blood geysers is similar to a light drum roll, and the two characters only speak in cutscenes. The NPCs are limited to a few cliché phrases: “When I find you…” “Come here…” “Ki-yaah!” However, the addition of a heartbeat (when spotted by an enemy) is a nice touch.
The score is somewhat odd. It ranges from Dave Grusin-type piano solos to classical guitar to the occasional Asian-sounding singer. The music occasionally helps establish the mood, but not often.
Intelligence & Difficulty:
This is a really tough call. An unsuspecting character is dispatched with a single stroke, but drawn out sword fights are common. Some enemies hit the player with unavoidable chains, while others continually walk face first into walls and are easily butchered from behind. The player to can choose between Normal and Hard modes, but on either setting Tenchu is not for the restless gamer. Patience is absolutely required. The lack of an in-level save-game option further requires the player to carefully calculate the potential consequences of his actions.
Tenchu had enormous potential, but it feels as if it were rushed. A few more months spent tweaking the camera, improving the AI, and correcting the inventory scheme would have resulted in a much more enjoyable experience. As it stands, however, many will enjoy it for the unique gameplay it offers. No other game on the market is quite like it, and because Tenchu rates the player’s ability, one can always improve. Its replay value is enormous, and the tactics a player can employ are only limited by his imagination.
No related posts.