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Erneut ist es an der Zeit, in wenig in der Vergangenheit zu schwelgen. Diesmal geht es um die traditionsreiche Tenchu-Videospielreihe, welche neben Metal Gear und Thief das Schleichgenre ins Leben rief.

Rikimaru und Ayame
Rikimaru und Ayame

Die Geschichte von Tenchu spielt im feudalen Japan, wo sich verschiedene Lords um Reichtum und Macht balgen. Der Spieler verkörpert Rikimaru und Ayame, die beiden letzten überlebenden Ninja des Azuma Clans. Sie dienen dem großherzigen Lord Gohda als Augen und Ohren, dessen oberstes Ziel es ist, Verbrechen und Korruption in seinen Ländereien ein Ende zu setzen. Und so erfüllt man aus der Verfolgerperspektive verschiedene Aufträge, von Spionage über Sabotage bis hin zu Auftragsmorden.

Der direkte Weg wäre tödlich

Das klingt allerdings actionreicher als es letztendlich ist, denn unentdeckt zu bleiben hat oberste Priorität. Es kann durchaus schonmal vorkommen das man einige Minuten im Schatten wartet, bis der Weg zum Ziel frei ist oder man unentdeckt eine Wache zu beseitigen vermag. Nur wer aus dem Verborgenen zuschlägt und seine Hilsmittel (darunter Kletterhaken, Wurfsterne, Rauchbomben und vergiftete Reisbällchen) weise einsetzt, bekommt am Ende der Mission den begehrten S-Rank, die höchste Leistungsbewertung des Spiels.

Man klettert über Dächer, schleicht durch die Schatten, springt rasch in Gebüsche, und behält die Patrouillewege der Wachen dabei stehts im Auge. Denn ein einziger Fehltritt, eine schreiende Wache, und man startet den Abschnitt am besten von vorn. Denn in der direkten Konfrontation zieht man in der Regel den kürzeren.

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Doch man wäre kein Ninja, wenn man es auf eine solche ankommen ließe. Möchte man sich einer Person entledigen (und das möchte man oft), sind List und Tücke die Mittel der Wahl. Hier einen Wachhund mit Gift schlafen legen, dort ungesehen eine Geisha aus dem Haus locken, dann eine Patrouille abwarten, den Kletterhaken benutzen und schon ist man auf dem Dach des Hauses, in dem man den verräterischen Händler wähnt, der das Ziel ist. Jetzt nur noch leise durch das Dachfenster eindringen, über das Gebälg schleichen und schon ist man knapp drei Meter über dem Opfer…
Natürlich war das jetzt sehr vereinfacht dargestellt, aber das ist die Art, wie die Missionen etwa ablaufen.

Rikimaru entledigt sich einer Wache

Grafisch wurde bei Tenchu seit jeher nur unteres Mittelmaß geboten, und auch die künstliche Intelligenz der Gegner ist gelinde gesagt katastrophal. Das Spielsystem, nicht Realismus steht hier im Vordergrund. Da kann es schon einmal passieren, dass eine Wache den tot zu Boden sinkenden Körper seines (kaum einen Meter entfernten) Kameraden nicht wahrnimmt. Auch die Kamera und Steuerung haben manchmal ihre Macken, letzteres trifft leider besonders stark auf die ansonsten recht gelungene Wii Version zu. Positiv hervorzuheben ist die Musik, die hervorragend zur Atmosphäre der Spiele passt.

Ayame beobachtet unbemerkt einen Gardisten

Alles in Allem weckt Tenchu in mir gemischte Gefühle: Auf der einen Seite liebe ich die Geschichten um Ayame und Rikimaru und das Spielsystem. Auf der anderen Seite könnte man technisch so viel mehr herausholen. Gerade weil das feudale Japan, seine Architektur und Stimmung noch ein sehr unverbrauchtes Szenario in Spielen ist… Naja, man kann ja noch hoffen.

So, ich gehe jetzt weiter S-Ranks sammeln 🙂

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