So you want to be a ninja? Well Tenchu seems to be the game to let you be just that, as you play deadly assassins Rikimarue, Ayame, Rin and Teshhu in Sega's outing on the PSP. But does the game live up to the promise or this is one ninja game that has the wool over its eyes?



Like Tom Clancy, this game is all about stealth and for the most part played out in the dark. While this might work perfectly in the blacked out living room or den with the lights turned out and a towel across gap at the bottom of the door, on a sunny train or anywhere other than that darkened room, we found it meant that the game is virtually unplayable.

In levels where you've got to avoid the bad guys to score maximum points you'll find yourself falling over them without even realising it.

That combined with a lack of display options - all you get is whether you want to see the blood or not - and things don't look too good.

Find that dark room and of course things do get better, but then the game fails to ignite any excitement as you drone your way through cutscene after cutscene explaining that you are - that's right, a mean lean stealth fighting machine.

Of course Sega are quick to suggest that Tenchu: Time of the Assassins is all about the intense single player campaign and a strong multiplayer component that allows you to play against each other or co-operatively, but we failed to be intensified.

Those who do persevere with the easy to complete levels (even when you can't see a damn thing) can get some extra longevity out of the game with a level editor that allows you to create, wait for it, more levels, and you can play them yourself, or share with other game owners - oh the excitement.

Verdict

While previous Tenchu efforts have worked perfectly on the PlayStation 2 for us the conversion to the PSP isn't a happy one.



Whether it’s the poor AI, dark gameplay or overtly annoying camera angle that only confuses and hinders more than it helps, Tenchu: Time of the Assassins is one to be avoided, unless of course you like to play in the dark.