was never about graphics and sound, however. The original game did something that no other ninja game had ever done -- presented you with something that's a hell of a lot closer to how ninjas were than most video games. It was all about stealth and quick kills and saving the innocent. That game still brings back memories of crazy kills, rooms full of completely silent folks for fear of messing up the one controlling the game, and an experience that's a touch too short. Tenchu 2
repairs that one flaw, and although it throws another one or two into the broth, the final result is a can't-miss game.
Tenchu 2 is -big-. After playing through the game with both characters (who have unique storylines, by the way), you open up a third ninja to play with. And when that's all done, you can break out the level editor and start designing your own levels. In other words, there's not a chance in hell that you're going to get tired of playing Tenchu 2 any time soon. That is, unless the game plays poorly... it doesn't.
Once again, stealth is often the only way to make it through a level without dying gruesomely. You'll be grappling to the tops of buildings and hiding behind walls and at the bottoms of hills to keep yourself from being noticed, and then coming in for the stealth kill. A large amount of blood usually consummates the death, but somehow it doesn't feel gratuitous. You have your ninja armory, with caltrops and rice and a few new things, like dust to throw in people's eyes and bottles of air to sip underwater.
Ah, yes. Underwater. In Tenchu 2, you can find yourself swimming underwater, bringing a new angle to the game. Unfortunately, swimming itself is crazy loud, so you'll often want to find some other way to do it. Everyone and anyone can hear you splashing about.
You can also drag dead bodies around, to keep people from seeing them and getting scared, and you can pick up items off of the bodies. The exact spot to grab when you're moving bodies around is often easy to hit, but sometimes it's unexpectedly hard. And it's usually rather unnecessary -- you tend to kill guards at a faraway spot anyway, so that nobody notices it when you do.
Combat itself is still as hard as it was in Tenchu, but I've started considering that a feature instead of a bug. Combat -is- difficult in real life, and trivializing it in a game like Tenchu 2 would be something of a weakness. Sure, it'd be cool, but you wouldn't feel as proud of yourself when you best that boss. Speaking of bosses, Tenchu 2 has a whole slew of them. Some are easy, others are very hard, and they'll all keep you on your toes. You'll want to save most of your items for the boss fights -- you shouldn't be going around throwing grenades at the normal folks anyway.