Tenchu 2 Hands-On: Level Editor
Most games that boast level editors have quick, cheesy editors that feel like they've been tossed into the game at the last moment. So how does Tenchu's level editor stack up? We've got the info.
I've found console level editors in games to be fairly limited in scope, so I wasn't expecting much when I started fooling around with Tenchu 2's level-making tool. But I ended up spending several hours glued to it - fine-tuning a stage, testing it out, and then making other people play it.
You start off by choosing from a few basics parameters. You can choose from goals such as assassinating a specific character, eliminating all foes, and escorting Princess Kiku to a safe spot. You can set a time limit in increments of thirty seconds from one minute to ten, or none at all. And you have variety of different settings to pick from, from castle to in-town environments.
But the real work comes after you've made such selections. Next, you enter the map screen, where you set walls, tiles, doors, and other structures from a top-down perspective. You also have a number of objects at your disposal, such as traps, pits, sword racks, lanterns, pillows, and the like. Beyond that, you can go into the character screen to pick and place enemies and noncombatants that will populate your level.
I found all of this to be very intuitive and learned it all over the course of a few moments - except for two things: turning objects to face other directions and creating paths for characters to follow. Once I had the level all set up though, I searched the menus a little more and quickly taught myself how to do both. Since you can test your results whenever you want from the map screen, it's easy to see how well a new change works in the level and if it should stay or go into your final save. The entire process of creating a stage seemed to take a very short amount of time, leaving me happy with the results. The levels created from the editor seems to be more in the style of the original Tenchu than do most of the stages in the sequel, and in many ways I even prefer my own level over the ones in the game. That's not a criticism of the game but rather a compliment, as it allowed me to create exactly the sort of level I wanted to play. I wish there were a way I could share my level with everyone so they could check it out for themselves. Perhaps we can post my level on the site once the game comes out. We'll see what's possible closer to the title's launch. In the meantime, take a look at the shots and video to see the level-building process in action and the end result.
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