(天誅) is the title of a popular stealth game
series wherein the player assumes the role of a ninja
. The title is a Japanese
term whose literal English translation is heaven's punishment
, with 天 (ten) meaning heaven and 誅 (chu) meaning death penalty (it is notable that a rough translation of this phrase, "Wrath of Heaven
" is the title of the first PlayStation 2
entry in the series, therefore translating to "Heaven's Punishment: Wrath of Heaven").
Tenchu is known for its stealth gameplay, and the eerie settings of feudal Japan. It was one of the first ninja games to incorporate stealth, a very crucial aspect of Ninjutsu. However, aside from featuring traditional martial arts battles, the game incorporates elements of fantasy and Japanese mythology. So far, the series has had four (one being a standalone expansion) games for the PlayStation, two appearances on Mobile Java, one game for the Nintendo DS, two games for the PlayStation 2, one game for the Xbox, one game for the Xbox 360, and one game for the PlayStation Portable. An upcoming title will be released for the Wii.
The series takes place in feudal Japan. The original story revolves around two ninja: Rikimaru
(力丸) and Ayame
(彩女). Rikimaru is a tall, silver-haired ninja with a single ninjato
named Izayoi and a scar over his right eye. He is stronger than Ayame but relatively slower. Ayame is a kunoichi
, or female ninja, wearing standard ninja clothes with her midriff exposed. She carries a pair of kodachi
. She is faster and has more combos
than Rikimaru, but is the weaker of the two. Both have been members of the Azuma ninja clan since childhood.
The two ninja serve the heroic Lord Gohda, and work for him as his secret spies to root out corruption and gather intelligence in his province. However, the evil demonic sorcerer Lord Mei-Oh seeks to destroy Lord Gohda, and using his demon warrior Onikage, wreaks havoc throughout Lord Gohda's province. Although Mei-Oh was killed in the first game, Onikage appeared in all subsequent games (except Fatal Shadows) as the archenemy of the two ninja, especially Rikimaru. Another major character who shows up frequently is Princess Kiku, Lord Gohda's daughter who is often the damsel in distress.
The storyline has been continuously expanded with the release of the newer Tenchu series.
Other than the playable characters above, a third ninja, who is also part of the story, is made available if the player finishes all of the missions (only in Tenchu 2 and Tenchu 3). Tenchu 2 has Tatsumaru, a ninja who prefers unarmed combat though he is the original bearer of Izayoi. He is like an older brother to Rikimaru and Ayame, being much younger than their mentor but still a very powerful fighter. Tenchu 3's third character is Tesshu, a doctor by day and hired assassin by night. Like Tatsumaru, he uses unarmed combat, but his primary weapon is a set of needles used for throwing and stabbing.
Some of the equipment available to Tesshu, Rikimaru and Ayame includes throwing stars (altered to "Crimson Blades" and Throwing Knives in the PlayStation, PlayStation 2 and the PlayStation Portable games released in the UK, due to laws banning the depiction and use of throwing stars), poisoned rice, mines, caltrops, magic scrolls, health potions, armour, needles, a bone that turns into a dog, and of course the ever useful grappling hook (Ninja Rope).
The current head of the Azuma Ninja clan of ninja, under the service of Lord Gohda. He wields the Izayoi sword, which is passed from generation to generation of successive leaders of the Azuma clan. His master and predecessor as head of the clan was Shiunsai, who was killed by another member of the clan, Tatsumaru. Dedicated, honourable, and withdrawn, Rikimaru would sacrifice his own life without hesitation, something he does at the end of Stealth Assassins only to reappear in Wrath of Heaven/Return from Darkness. However, he is not to be underestimated and shows no mercy to his opponents, something he is constantly reminded of each time he thinks about the scar left over his eye by Tatsumaru. His ability to retain his composure and sense of destiny allows him to undertake missions others would consider suicidal. He lacks speed in combat when compared to Ayame, but has greater strength and a greater control over his temper than his female campanion. His primary rival in the series is Onikage, whom he fights in almost every game and usually defeats, but keeps coming back due to his resurrection abilities.
Rikimaru's personality was different before the events of Tenchu 2: Birth of the Stealth Assassins. He believed that he was already good enough to defeat any opponent. His misplaced self-confidence would eventually earn him many painful experiences once he finally left his village, but those experiences would also be the source of great mental and spiritual growth.
The Azuma ninja clan is reduced into being made up of only two ninjas left: Rikimaru and Ayame.
Ayame is a clouded matter. She has shown feelings for Tatsumaru, and treats Rikimaru only as a companion. Even though both of them show loyalty and respect towards each other, not much compassion is felt between them. This may be an illustration of the harsh life they take on together, or simply Ayame's own tough attitude, which denies us the ability to say if she even thinks of Rikimaru as a friend. Not much is told about their relationship (aside from being partners and being raised by Master Shiunsai). Romantic relationships between the two are unknown and unlikely to exist.
Rikimaru had bonds with two other Ninjas: Shiunsai and Tatsumaru. Both were very important to him, and both were lost. Tatsumaru was Rikimaru's role model, and Shiunsai was a father figure to him. Suffering from a memory loss, Tatsumaru kills Shiunsai. Upon the recovery of his memory, he kills himself. This event marked the death of Rikimaru's former personality.
Upon his master's death, Rikimaru takes the role of leader of the Azuma Ninja Clan at the age of 18. His clan is now very small and consists only of Ayame and him. Rikimaru wields the ancient sword Izayoi, which is passed on through the generations from leader to leader. Rikimaru took possession of the sword during the war with the Burning Dawn. Ayame defeated Tatsumaru, who had previously wielded Izayoi, and gave it to Rikimaru, effectively turning over leadership of the clan to him. Izayoi does have certain magical properties, and is also extremely strong and resilient to injury. The only time it has ever been damaged was during Rikimaru's duel with Dr. Kimira in Wrath of Heaven
, and it was promptly repaired by the clan's blacksmith, Ressai.
The scar over his right eye will always remind him that not being focused, showing mercy or acting from a state of pure selflessness will always result in failure. When Tatsumaru killed Master Shiunsai, who was the leader of the Azuma at the time, Rikimaru let his feelings take over and pursued the murderer, his former companion. A fierce fight between the two took place, but eventually gaining the upper hand, Rikimaru hesitates. Tatsumaru takes that time to cut his right eye, leaving him scarred for life. The battle ends here as Kagami takes Tatsumaru with her in a rush. Tatsumaru used to be Rikimaru's role model, but by now, Rikimaru has surpassed him in his spiritual and physical abilities. The power concealed within the right eye will later be revealed as his Dohjutsu, the power that he alone has. It is possibly power that rivals that of Lord Mei-Oh and Tenrai (he was the only one able to survive the portal aside from Mei-Oh and the only one who can really defeat Tenrai).
Many years ago, Shiunsai received an order to assassinate a particular samurai. Together with several fellow ninja, he infiltrated the home of the samurai and killed him. As he and the other ninja were preparing to leave, the dead samurai's wife and servant discovered the ninja. The others quickly dispatched the wife and servant, but as they moved to silence the baby clutched in the dead wife's arms, Shiunsai stopped them from killing the baby boy. Taking pity on the boy, Shiunsai brought the baby home with him and raised it as if it were his own flesh and blood. Shiunsai was already raising Tatsukichi (Tatsumaru) to become a ninja, and he decided that the new baby would follow the same path. After the baby had grown into a young boy and started his training as a ninja, it became apparent that he was something of a weakling. Shiunsai therefore gave him the name Chikara, which means strength. Whether or not it was this name that drove him to become stronger, or whether it was from sparring with Tatsukichi every day, no one can say. What is known is that Chikara grew to be the strongest boy in the village. He also developed into an outstanding swordsman. If he had a shortcoming, it was that he didn't learn new techniques as fast as the other students. Slow learner or not, Chikara eventually earned a new name, Rikimaru, and a new title: Ninja.
By the time of Tenchu Z, Rikimaru decides it's time to train the next generation of Azuma Ninja and sends his newest ninjas (The player character and a companion of his choosing) to complete missions assigned to help the town of Goda. Rikimaru trained two young ninjas before the events of the game, a male and female. Depending on the sex of the character the player chooses for the game, the other new ninja will die during the course of events. Since Ayame is not mentioned in Z it can be assumed that she is still alive, which means that the Azuma clan now numbers three at the game's end.
Ayame was the last student chosen by Master Shiunsai, the now dead leader of the Azuma Ninja Clan. During the Warring States Period, it is said that Shiunsai travelled to Kyoto only to find it in ruins after warring armies destroyed in bids for ownership. He came across a shocked young girl watching corpses float down a river, unable to recall anything except her own name and age. Shiunsai found himself unable to leave her, but uncertain as to how he could help her. Eventually, he decided to take her with him and train her to become a kunoichi (female ninja). Shiunsai raised the girl, Omon, as a ninja alongside Tatsukichi (Tatsumaru's childhood name). Though blessed with raw talent, Omon possessed a bad attitude; while she was curious and willing to learn new techniques, she was never patient enough to fully master one. Of his three students, Shiunsai found that she was the most talented in terms of natural abilities. Despite her late start, Omon was initiated into the circle of ninja when she was fourteen, around the same time as Rikimaru, and was given the name Ayame. She became known for her deadly skill with blades as well as her caustic tongue and speed. Ayame respects fellow ninja Rikimaru well, fighting alongside him and willing to sacrifice herself for his sake if necessary. She develops a strong relationship with Kiku, the daughter of Lord Gohda. After the death of Kiku's mother Lady Kei, Ayame became sort of an older sister for Kiku. As a symbol of her relationship, Ayame and Kiku always wear their sister bells close to their hearts. Ayame will protect Kiku at any cost from any harm. The upcoming instalment Tenchu 4 on the Nintendo Wii features Ayame with shortened hair and no ponytail. Clips of what appears to a serious duel between Ayame and Rikimaru have lead some fans to speculate that Ayame may have left the Azuma Clan.
Other main characters
- Tatsumaru (Birth of the Stealth Assassins, Wrath of Heaven/Return From Darkness, Time of the Assassins) A ninja raised by Master Shiunsai, he was a prominent member in the Azuma clan, whom Rikimaru looked up to and Ayame loved. During a great fight with Lady Kagami, the two seemingly drowned in the sea. Upon waking up, Tatsumaru lost his memory of his former life and pledged alliance to Lady Kagami and the Burning Dawn. He then joined the attack on the ninja village, in which he brutally killed his former Master Shiunsai, and recovered his memory. Rikimaru, upon seeing his master's body, attacked Tatsumaru, but hesitated to kill his former friend. Tatsumaru took this opportunity to scar Rikimaru's eye and flee with Lady Kagami. Tatsumaru then followed Lady Kagami on her final assault on Gohda's castle. Despite knowing his crimes were unforgivable, he stayed with Lady Kagami because he loved her. His final battle with Ayame resulted in his death, when he committed suicide by impaling himself on his own blade. His body was last seen as Lady Kagami died clutching his corpse. Eleven years after his first death Tatsumaru was resurrected by Tenrai to serve as one of the evil sorcerer's minions. He would eventually break out of Tenrai's mind control, sacrificing himself in order to help his former allies Rikimaru and Ayame stop Tenrai.
Tatsumaru wields his sword with great skill and efficiency, but prefers to use methods of unarmed combat, like lighting-fast punches and intricate, graceful kick combos.
- Tesshu (Wrath of Heaven/Return from Darkness, Time of the Assassins,) - A doctor by day and an assassin by night. He is not a trained ninja and not under the employ of Lord Gohda, unlike Rikimaru and Ayame. He favors unarmed attacks, but in a contrast to Tatsumaru, Tesshu's attacks resemble brutal Karate and/or Jujutsu techniques, utilizing crippling strikes and vicious bone-breaking techniques. He also wields acupuncture needles in many of his stealth kills. Another weapon he utilizes is his sheer brute strength, as well as his natural physical resiliency, noted both in his in-game ending (He is stabbed numerous times, yet still manages to kill his attackers and walk out of an exploding town alive), and the fact that out of the three main characters in Wrath of Heaven, he can take the most physical damage. Tesshu works as a mercenary for an underground vigilante organization known as Muzen that murders only if it serves justice. As such, Tesshu has an iron-clad sense of justice, but tempers it with a calm, almost cold personality. He also has a brief moment of rivalry with Rikimaru, when they fight each other to a draw after Rikimaru "steals" Tesshu's kill (Nasu). In Tenchu: Fatal Shadows Tesshu makes a brief appearance in a cutscene after Rin defeats Futaba and Hitoha.
- Rin (Fatal Shadows, Time of the Assassins) is voiced in English by Lina Zee and Amy Provenzano and in Japanese by Satsuki Yukino. Rin is a young kunoichi who has trained in the arts of assassination and unarmed combat since childhood. She was born and raised in a small ninja village that lies on the border of "Hagakure", kingdom of the evil sorcerer Lord Mei-oh. After her village was destroyed, Rin has sought to avenge the deaths of her loved ones, working as a hired assassin for “Lady Razor” Ogin. Upon encountering Ayame, the two briefly battle, although Rin soon realises that the other kunoichi is not responsible for the destruction of her village. The pair then form an alliance so that they may better achieve their personal agendas. Rin wields a sword called Natsume, but prefers to fight in unarmed combat, like Tesshu and Tatsumaru. She seeks to avenge her slain kin.
Recurring and supporting characters
- Lord Gohda - The lord whom the Azuma clan serves without fail.
- Princess Kiku - Lord Gohda's daughter. Her mother, Lady Kei, was murdered when Kiku was a child. She is like a younger sister to Ayame.
- Zennosuke - Leader of an underground assassin group present in Wrath of Heaven that seeks justice on those who have had "wrongs" done to them. He could also be considered to be Tesshu's boss, and Tesshu takes his assignments and receives payment from him. He makes a cameo appearance in Fatal Shadows.
- Semimaru - The Azuma Ninja's dog that appears in almost all the games in the form of a dog bone which summons him, following which he attacks the enemy. He also is a playable character in Wrath of Heaven and Time of the Assassins in versus mode. In Tenchu: Stealth Assassins he appears in the opening cutscene.
- Onikage - A mysterious Ninja who serves Mei-oh, the King of Hell. He has fought against Rikimaru several times, and he considers Rikimaru to be his ultimate rival, despite him being human, while Onikage is demonic in nature. Onikage seems to have some sort of past connection with the Azuma Clan, though this connection is currently unknown. He first crossed paths with Rikimaru, Ayame, and Tatsumaru during the Burning Dawn incident, under the title of "Suzaku, the Red Sparrow." He seemed to have some sort of strange romance with Yukihotaru, the Princess of the Fireflies, but later killed her, stating, "I have no love for weakness, only power." Whether this is some sort of twisted love, or even love at all, is unknown. He was later recruited by Tenrai to retrieve Shichishito, the sword of Mei-Oh, his shadow faced off against Rikimaru's shadow, followed by a battle between the real warriors. He failed to retrieve the sword, but was counting on the possibility that Rikimaru would use steel from the Demon Blade to repair his own sword, the Izayoi. After facing Rikimaru again in the depths of Tenrai's fortress, he shows a side totally unlike himself, by addressing Mei-Oh. "Master Mei-Oh........ It was a true honour to serve you..... please forgive my failure...." He then proceeds to throw himself into a chasm, and apparently explodes. It is likely that he will return in the next Tenchu installment, as explained by a cutscene after the credits, where he has apparently found a way to bring Mei-Oh back to the Human world. Onikage attacks with a vast array of kicking attacks, including a spinning combo kick, a jumping heel drop, a diving drop kick, close-range knees, and a vicious heel-grind/flip kick throw. Onikage's most impressive technique is a special grab move where he siphons the player's blood screaming "I LOVE IT!". This move drains a significant amount of the enemy's health and restores his own.
- Mei-Oh - Powerful demigod and boss of Tenchu: Stealth Assassins. He is the first to employ the services of Onikage.
- Lady Kagami - Leader of the Burning Dawn & Lord Toda's Nyogetsu ninja until her betrayal & rebellion. She wields a large sword (No-Dachi) and is the final boss in Rikimaru's storyline. Her forward lunge strike can knock Rikimaru clean off his feet. Kagami is also seen in a theatre costume wielding a fan in some cutscenes.
- The Burning Dawn - A cult of Ninja in Birth of the Stealth Assassins. Their goal was to bring down the reign of the Samurai and have a world dominated by Ninja. They are led by Kagami and by her lieutenants "The Four Lords". The Four Lords are:
- Genbu "the wise" - a big man with a small brain and a child's innocence. Kagami gave him his nickname "the wise". He carries 2 clubs shaped like fish. He is killed by Ayame.
- Seiryu - carries a kusarigama. He is killed by Tatsumaru on the roof of Goda castle.
- Suzaku - he is actually Onikage in disguise. He is "Killed" by Rikimaru but is shown to be revived by Lord Mei-Oh.
- Byakko - a midget who guards the entrance to the Burning Dawn's hideout. He has a pet tiger called "Kotaro". Byakko is killed by Rikimaru and the tiger by Ayame.
- Tenrai - Powerful wizard and boss of Tenchu: Wrath of Heaven, he even possesses a set of candles representing each of the other boss enemies throughout the game. As his candles snuff themselves out, he is aware of the movements of Rikimaru and Ayame.
- Tajima - A drunken bodyguard armed with a katana and a pistol, encountered in Tenchu: Wrath of Heaven. Nothing at all can be learned about him because he dies after his first encounter with Rikimaru or Ayame. While many of his attacks are wild and unfocused, his most impressive move launches the player character into the air with his sword and fires several shots at them while they are up in the air.
- Kagura and Ganda - Two later-game enemies in Wrath of Heaven who sometimes work as a pair, depending on which character (Rikimaru or Ayame) the player is using. Despite their pairing, they are extremely different is appearance. Ganda is a gigantic, albeit unhuman monster possessing several dangerous wrestling-style moves, whereas Kagura is about Ayame's size, and fights via throwing magical scriptures and utilizing teleportation. In Rikimaru's encounter with both of them, Ganda is invulnerable, and a rather dangerous obstacle while Rikimaru must defeat Kagura first to eliminate Ganda's magical protection... where Tatsumaru appears and finishes off the raging Ganda with a single slice. Ayame must fight either of these enemies in separate locations during the same mission. Ganda's triple-backbreaker throw is identical to a move used by Clark Steel from the King of Fighters fighting game series, and Kagura bears more than a passing resemblance to Chizuru Kagura, from the same series.
- Dr. Kimaira - The psychotic doctor in charge of a fortress Rikimaru and Ayame are forced to visit. He attacks mainly using his powerful machine "Maihime", which he can use to perform a chopping attack, a throw-move, a mobile spin-attack, or a long-range gatling gun move. Dr. Kimaira is a fairly easy to defeat as he typically falls into a repeated pattern while fighting.
- Nasu (WoH) - A villain encountered early on into Wrath of Heaven, he has no affiliation at all with Tenrai. He is a fat man with a large hat who hangs out with Echigoya, a non-fighting enemy and target of the first mission in Wrath of Heaven. Nasu attacks like a basic enemy, sometimes utilizing "feigning defeat/surrender" moves. If playing dead, he will use a tackle-style attack; if surrendering, he will place a random item on the ground, and try to "spin attack" the player when they get near.
- Nasu (FS) - An entirely different enemy, sharing the same name as one in the previous title. This Nasu is a large bald blind man who uses Iaido-style sword techniques (obviously modelled after Zatoichi). His attacks are blindingly fast, and a few are unblockable grappling moves, which resemble his regular attack pattern. He possesses another attack, which knocks away the player's guard and proceeds to slash them twice viciously.
- Hamada - Another minor enemy in Wrath of Heaven, he is a traitor to lord Goda who's assassination is ordered among the game's first missions. Hamada pretty much resembles a basic "guard" enemy, only with his own personalized face. Rikimaru carries out the kill without even having to battle this man, although Hamada puts up more of a fight when confronted by Ayame.
- Jyuzou- Supreme leader of the Kuroya assassin group, the main enemies present in Tenchu: Fatal Shadows. He carries a large parasol with a long blade concealed inside it. He is the one who ordered the attack on Rin's village, Hagakure. This is the same village, which he was once destined to become the leader. Jyuzou is an extremely difficult opponent, as landing a decent attack on him is very trying. He possess a lunging grappling move, and a deadly "flash" attack which autoguards anything during the moves duration (and even right after it).
- Futaba - Member of the Kuroya, and a member of Rin's community. She betrayed the village and sold them and their secrets out to the Kuroya, leading to the extermination. She ambushed Rin during a mission to deliver a letter to Zennosuke. She attacks mainly from a distance by throwing knives in various ways. If Rin gets too close to her, she will use a short-range spin attack to knock her away. Rin gets to kill the traitor herself after the battle.
- Shinogi -(note) Shinogi is based almost exactly off of a character named Manji, from a popular manga called blade of the immortal, right down to his description in the wrath of heaven encyclopedia stating that he joined jyouzou's group in order to kill a thousand people, whereas in blade of the immortal, manji, is cursed with a parasitic life-form called a bloodworm, which prevents him from dying and heals his injuries, if he kills a thousand evil men then the curse will be lifted allowing him to die, also in the gallery section there's a concept art picture of Shinogi carrying an assortment of weapons based on the weapons Manji used, who often fought with various blades taken from fallen enemies. shinogi A spikey-haired Kuroya member who seems to be able to attack using three swords at one time (Roronoa Zoro from One Piece). He ambushes Ayame during a mission to find Princess Kiku's bell... he lures Ayame near by ringing Kiku's bell. Shinogi uses some very brutal attacks, including a rushing ten-slice frenzy, and well as even kicking up pieces of the floorboards to stun Ayame.
- Hitoha - Futaba's twin brother who joins her in her attack on Rin. He fights using magical gauntlets that allow him to execute incredibly damaging physical attacks. Interestingly enough, if Futaba should fall in battle before him, he will descend into a sort of "overdrive" mode, becoming stronger and gaining more attack moves. In normal mode, Hitoha uses a rushing punch, a flying kick, a few combos, and a tremendous knockdown blow. While in overdrive, Hitoha gains a ground fire wave, a jumping area-bomb attack, and a vicious grappling move. When defeated, his last thoughts are of his sister, and Tesshu steps in for a cameo and ends Hitoha's life... although it seems to have no effect for a few moments.
- Ranzou - A tall, lanky member of the Kuroya who dresses in all black clothing and who delights himself in torturing people. At the moment when Ayame finds him, he is torturing Rin's master, Lady Ogin. Ranzou states specifically that he enjoys torturing women, and seems glad that Ayame had found him. At first, he draws two large katanas from the holders on his back, but he then attaches them together forming a weapon similar to that wielded by Star Wars villain Darth Maul. Ranzou attacks extremely fast with slices from all directions using his blade, as well as using a sadistic, "impalement"-style close range move, similar to Darth Maul's killing of Jedi Qui-Gon Jinn. He also possesses an interesting special attack called Shadowbind, which utilizes a blackhole opening up under the player, effectively stunning them, making them completely vulnerable to his next move.
- Shou - A short-haired, effeminate, narcissistic member of the Kuroya who disguises himself as a musician. His musical specialty is the shamisen, only his is equipped with a machine-gun style weapon inside of it (see anachronism). The only other attacks used by Shou are a spread knife-throw, and a close ranged throat slash. He is Jyuzou's personal favourite of the assassins, as Jyuzou silently honours Shou's final request following his defeat at the hand of Rin, just before swiftly ending his misery.
- Tatsukichi - A geisha who is in love with Jyozou. He sends her to her death to fight Ayame as distraction, so he can escape. Although she is a boss, she is not even on par with that of a regular enemy. Her only attack is the cowardly thrust of a poisoned knife... and cringing in fear.
- Kumagorou - A large bear kept by the Kuroya and used as a sort of "death trap" to ninjas who should get in their way. Both Ayame and Rin were tossed into a pit with it. He attacks with claw swipes, charging headbutts, and a biting hold move. Occasionally, he will jump up and slam the ground, stunning the player with a sort of earthquake style attack, though it does no damage.
- The Jinnai Brothers - Ukyo and Sakyo, leaders of a particular organization which Tesshu's superior, Zennosuke, seeks to dissolve. Described by Tesshu as "Ukyo sets the trap, but Sakyo does the killing", this double-boss showdown serves as the final encounter for the "Tesshu sidequest" in Wrath of Heaven. Both enemies are very tall men who use Iaido-style blade techniques. They both use typical guard enemy attacks, a large unblockable "wind-slice", and another unblockable rushing "flash" attack similar to Jyuzou in the next title. Whereas Ukyo's dash attack is a simple double slash attack, Sakyo's is an instant death "no questions asked" move... effectively ending the fight if it lands.
- Mifuyu (Return from Darkness and Time of the Assassins) - The 20-year old daughter of the samurai Kanbe Tadokoro, who was trained by her father in the art of sword fighting. She holds a high code of honour. Unbeknownst to her, her father was involved in a rebellion against Lord Gohda. When she learned that her father was a threat to Lord Gohda, she became quite confused and killed her father to protect the family name. She is the boss character for the new Samurai Mansion mission in Tenchu: Return from Darkness.
- Kanbe Tadokoro (RfD) - Mifuyu's father and one of Lord Gohda's vassals. He leads a rebellion against Lord Gohda and is killed by his daughter Mifuyu in order to preserve the honour of the Tadokoro clan.
- Jonosuke Yuge (RfD) - Kanbe Tadokoro's vassal. Jinnai Sakyo convinced him to lead an attack on Gohda castle.
- Mr. D CEO - The boss of a hidden mission, where Rikimaru arrives in present day via a time portal created after the defeat of Lord Mei-Oh. This enemy's mere existence may not be canon, as this entire event may not have taken place. Whatever the fact, Mr. D is indeed a powerful enemy. He is armed with a katana in one hand, and a futuristic bionic-arm cannon for the other. He fired energy blasts from his arm, as well as using a shocking grasp attack. His strongest attack is a rushing combination attack ending with a finishing move not seen anywhere else in his move selection. He makes another appearance in Tenchu: Time of the Assassins, where he has similar techniques and clothing. Once again the player must assassinate him.
- Shigi - Shigi is a mysterious ninja seen in Tenchu Z. He works for an enemy clan and is an assassin for that clan. He has stolen two kills from the main character of Tenchu Z and made an appearance three times in the game (two of which the player fights him). He tends to block often, but there is time to strike when he is taunting. His attacks consist of charging at you with full speed slicing you in the stomach, kicking you in the back, blowing fire and a weird chant making the tip of his sword glow blue. On the final level, Rikimaru and the main character surround Shigi only for him to burn the castle down and escape.
The game perspective is third-person. There are numerous items to help the ninja on his/her mission, but unlockable items can be acquired if the player gets a "Grand Master" rating at the end of the level by being as stealthy as possible. Items and controls vary from game to game, but the gameplay is essentially the same throughout. Stealth is a very important element in the game, where players have to duck, crouch, and hide behind walls to avoid detection. Enemies can be killed with one hit by using Stealth Kills, and a player can avoid detection by looking at the Ki meter. The larger the number, the closer the player is to an enemy. If a player is spotted, the Ki meter will turn red, the enemy will alert everyone in the area, and the player is forced to fight hand-to-hand or hide somewhere until the enemies give up their search and resume their patrol routes (similar to Metal Gear Solid's "Soliton Radar").
Tenchu: Stealth Assassins (1998)
- Platform: PlayStation
- Developer: Acquire
- Publisher: Sony Music Entertainment, Activision
Tenchu: Shinobi Gaisen (1998)
- Platform: PlayStation
- Developer: Acquire
- Publisher: Sony Music Entertainment, Activision
Tenchu: Shinobi Hyakusen (1999)
- Platform: PlayStation
- Developer: Acquire
- Publisher: Sony Music Entertainment, Activision
Tenchu 2: Birth of the Stealth Assassins (2000)
- Platform: PlayStation
- Developer: Acquire
- Publisher: Activision
Tenchu: Wrath of Heaven (2003)/Tenchu: Return from Darkness (2004)
Tenchu: Fatal Shadows (2005)
- Platform: PlayStation 2
- Developer: K2
- Publisher: From Software, Sega
Tenchu: Time of the Assassins (2005)
Tenchu: Dark Secret (2006)
Tenchu Z (2006)
Tenchu 4 (2008)
- Platform: Wii
- Developer: Acquire
- Publisher: From Software
Activision purchased the rights to this game from Sony Music Entertainment, who originally published the game in Japan. However, Activision sold the rights to the Japanese game publisher From Software in 2004. From Software's rights agreement does not include games previously published by Activision. From Software licensed distribution of Fatal Shadows to Sega and Tenchu Z to Microsoft.
There was an additional Japan-exclusive release for Tenchu on the PlayStation. One hundred of the best competing levels designed with the level editor of Tenchu: Shinobi Gaisen (an expanded version of Tenchu 1 re-released in Japan) were put together to form a stand-alone, non-story based expansion set called Tenchu: Shinobi Hyakusen. The engine and game fundamentals remained unchanged. Shinobi Hyakusen is still famous for the hardest level settings among Tenchu fans, especially because of the tight time limits and the overall lack of the items, excluding the caltrops and the throwing stars. No North American or European versions were released.
- For the versions released in the UK, the shuriken or throwing stars were replaced by kunai or throwing knives. However, Tenchu Z was the first Tenchu game in the UK to break this precedent
- The Tenchu version is available only in Japanese and is different from the released version. The bosses have different weapons, levels 4 & 5 are absent (Cross the Checkpoint & The Corrupt Minister), the story is a little more in-depth and the graphics are different. This version is very rare and sought after.
- Tenchu Shinobi Gaisen is the Japanese version of Tenchu Stealth Assassins but has a level editor built into the menu (rather than using the debug code in the western versions).
- Tenchu: Ayame's Tale, was also released for The Sony Ericsson mobile phone series.
- Actor/martial artist Sho Kosugi and his son, Kane, were hired as motion-capture actors for the game's combat moves.