TOKYO--Proving that everyone really does love ninjas, the makers of seminal ninja-stealth-action game Tenchu are hard at work on a new game in the same vein called Shinobido Imashime, which we got to check out at Acquire's display at the Tokyo Game Show. From what we could tell during our brief look at the game, anyone who was a big fan of Tenchu, or even ninjas in general (and let's face it, who isn't a fan of ninjas?), ought to find something to like about Shinobido Imashime.
In fact, we were surprised to see exactly how much the game resembles Tenchu, which isn't necessarily a bad thing (because hey, ninjas!). You'll have access to the standard array of ninja weaponry, including up-close fighting implements like the trusty katana and long-range weapons like throwing stars. Every good ninja carries a grappling hook too, which will let you get up on rooftops to creep around all stealthily. It seems that stealth gameplay components will all be in place--we saw the main character carrying a dead body to hide it from roving eyes. Finally, you'll also get some fun stealth kills to play with. We saw one in which the main character was hiding up against a wall, waiting for an approaching enemy to round the corner. Just before he did, the ninja spun around the edge of the wall, grabbed him, flipped him back around, and impaled him on his sword. Oh, those crafty ninjas.
Shinobido Imashime will also ship with a level editor, if the big-screen demo at Acquire's booth is any indication. The editor looked pretty easy to use. It lets you shape the terrain of your level and add various effects, such as steps, trees, and even houses, with apparent ease. There seems to be a physics engine at work in the game that you can exploit with creative level designs, too, as the demo video showed. We saw a Rube Goldberg sort of contraption being constructed in which the player could push a rock off a cliff onto one side of a seesaw-like contraption, the other side of which had a box resting on it, which naturally flew up into the air. Level editors are always good news for anyone looking to eke extra life out of a game, so this bodes well for fans of Tenchu-style ninja action.
The existence of Shinobido Imashime proves that stealth action hasn't become the exclusive domain of super-top-secret agents like Solid Snake and Sam Fisher. There's no word yet on a US release, though we'll bring you more on the game if that changes.