Tenchu 2 Hands-On: Ayame

Sugar, spice, and all things nice wasn't the recipe for Ayame, the beautiful but deadly female assassin who can be found slitting throats and sneaking through enemy encampments in Tenchu 2: Birth of the Assassins. Check out this report for all the details about this femme fatal.

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Ayame's Tenchu 2 adventures begin much the same as Rikimaru's - in a training level where you must prove your worth before being accepted as a true ninja. Once that's done, Ayame is given her own missions to carry out. As mentioned before, some stages share the same physical environment but differ from one to the next in terms of tasks, enemies, and time of day. In one scenario, Ayame rushes to Lord Gohda's castle to rescue his wife from his power-hungry uncle. After arriving only moments too late to save the wife, Ayame is set upon by a big, lumbering brute of a boss character who is reminiscent of the giant at the end of Tenchu's cave level. Following a short battle, the brute escapes through the castle window. Well, actually, he attempts to but gets stuck between the bars and requires a kick from Ayame for a boost.

In a later level, while Rikmaru must find Gohda's uncle within the camp of a rival warlord, Ayame is charged with recovering Princess Kiku from a hiding place within the same environment. Instead of the traditional "get to the end and fight the boss" structure found in most stages, this one requires you to find Princess Kiku without being seen by anyone at all. If you are spotted, Kiku is executed and you must start the level over again.

Later on, while attempting to save a leper colony from a group of evil ninjas known as the Burning Dawn, Ayame meets up with the brute character once again. He informs her that he is now a lord of the Burning Dawn and escapes in a cloud of smoke. Shortly after, she must fight three boss characters at once to complete the level. Distracting them with caltrops and explosives works well, but you still have a major fight on your hands. Not surprisingly, Ayame's levels seem to focus more on stealth than boss fights, since her speed can make short work of most foes. It's a relief from Rikimaru's boss-heavy life.

Tomorrow, we'll discuss the third playable character in the game and his connections to the order of the Burning Dawn.

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