|Release date:||7 March 2003|
Set one year after the events of the original PS one Tenchu game, Tenchu 3: Wrath of Heaven allows players to reprise their role as enigmatic über-ninja Rikimaru or super-swift female fighter Ayame. And, as with the first two instalments, you must rely on stealth, cunning and a liberal dose of strategy to overcome the bad guys.
The story picks up with the services of the sneak-tastic samurai being called upon once more by the Gohda family after a prominent member is assassinated. Choosing to play as either Rikimaru or Ayame, you will pursue the evil-doers through a series of mission-based levels, taking in all the stunning scenery feudal Japan has to offer along the way.
Gameplay-wise, Wrath of Heaven retains much of the feel and movement of its predecessors, but with some very nice new extras. The totally overhauled fighting engine and all-new stealth attacks have raised the game for Tenchu considerably. As you enter each level, you'll notice the inclusion of some new-fangled items: Kanji icons. These ten symbols appear empty onscreen when you begin, but will fill up as you perform stealthy kills throughout each level. All of which, we hasten to add, are gratifyingly gory close-up attacks that'll see you dispatching unsuspecting victims with blood-spattering accuracy. Once you've earned the full compliment of Kanji icons, you'll be awarded a new special move to add to your repertoire.
And it wouldn't be Tenchu if you didn't get to wield some rather impressive weaponry to boot. In addition to Riki's Izayoi sword and trusty grappling iron, there's a wealth of extra goodies to pick up as you progress, as well as the more traditional favourites. Amongst the tools of the tip-toeing trade on offer are: bombs, poisonous rice, shurikens, exploding arrows, and an armful of inventions created to confuse and maim the opposition.
There are nine missions to carry out and, as with the other games in the series, these challenges differ depending on who you start out as. The order of levels, objectives and placement of enemies varies between Ayame and Rikimaru's quests, so you could play the game afresh after completing with one character, and encounter a different set of goals with the next. There's also a secret third character to unlock and play once you've seen off the enemy with the central characters.
The life of a samurai can be a lonely one, and you'd be forgiven for wanting a companion to keep you company from time-to-time, help murder baddies, that sort of thing... Luckily, Wrath of Heaven includes a co-operative mode, which means you and a chum can go at it together in the split-screen mode. Competitive modes add to the fun too - with head-to-head battles pitting you and your friend against each other in a test of ninja skills.
Whether you're nimbly dashing across rooftops, scurrying up walls, or even hanging from ceilings, you'll always feel completely immersed in the action. Tenchu: Wrath of Heaven will no doubt have steath n' slash fans salivating in anticipation in the latest edition to this pioneering classic.
- Play as Rikimaru, Ayame or unlock a third hidden character
- Take on nine missions, each with distinct goals and objectives, depending on who you play as
- Multiplayer options allow you to take on friends and show-off your ninja skills