Tenchu: Stealth Assassins
Developer(s) Acquire
Publisher(s) SMEJ
Designer(s) Takuma Endo (director)
Writer(s) Takuma Endo
Artist(s) Koushi Nakanishi
Naoki Sudo
Composer(s) Noriyuki Asakura
Platform(s) PlayStation
Release date(s) NA August 31, 1998
Genre(s) Stealth action
Mode(s) Single-player
Rating(s) ESRB: M
Media CD-ROM
Input methods Gamepad
Next game (release) Tenchu 2
Next game (canon) Tenchu 3
Tenchu: Stealth Assassins (立体忍者活劇 天誅 Rittai Ninja Katsugeki: Tenchū?) is the first game in the Tenchu series. Created and designed by Takuma Endo of Acquire, Tenchu has been cited as one the most influential games in the stealth genre. The game was also the start of a long lasting franchise, consisting of nine releases over the first decade of its existence. Tenchu was originally owned and published by Sony Music Entertainment Japan.

Canonically, the storyline takes place after the events seen in Tenchu 2 and Dark Secret.


note: the following is a description of the American, English version of Tenchu: Stealth Assassins. The game is mission based and therefore has a semi-flexible plotline. In the game, you may choose who will be the main protagonist; the Ninja Rikimaru, or the Kunoich (female ninja) Ayame. To limit confusion about the plot, and character specific details, the story is told here through each mission.

The game takes place in Feudal Japan, and revolves around two characters; Rikimaru (力丸) and Ayame (彩女). They are members of the Azuma ninja clan, who are loyal to Lord Matsunoshin Gohda. The Ninja clan serves his lord as spies and assassins to maintain the safety and honor of the Gohda province.

  • The game starts with a training mission. Ayame, or Rikimaru, must complete an obstacle course to test his/her ninja skills. If the ninja does well, there is a chance that Lord Gohda will remark upon his/her skill. If the ninja does poorly, Naotata Sekiya berates the ninja.
  • On the first mission, the protagonist is sent to kill the merchant, Echigoya. Having attained great wealth when his competitors started dying off, Echigoya expanded into protection, loan-sharking and gambling. There is chance that he could bribe his way out, if caught and tried traditionally. After dispatching Echigoya's guard, the ninja finishes off Echigoya. As he dies he cries out My money! My money, as further evidence of his corruption.
  • On the second mission, the Protagonist starts out having stolen a copy of a written plan to attack Lord Gohda. Without knowledge of the plans, Lord Gohda could face a brutal fight. The enemy, apparently, sent their own warriors and ninja to the village outside Gohda's castle. the protagonist must elude or execute the enemies in order to deliver the plans to his lord.
  • On the third mission, one of the ninjas have been captured. if you chose to be Ayame, the captured ninja will be Rikimaru, and vice versa. Lord Gohda released the protagonist, temporarily, from the ninja code, which forbids the rescue of a captured comrade. the protagonist must navigate through a forest and a dangerous cave in order to find the other ninja. Upon finding the other ninja, the protagonist must fight the rotund, well armed jailer and a bear in order to advance. once the jailer is dead, the wicked, mystic ninja Onikage reveals himself and says that he will come for lord Gohda and the ninja in time.
  • On the fourth mission, the protagonist is on the way back from a reconnaissance mission for his lord. The neighboring province is preparing for war and the protagonist must get his/her acquired information to Lord Gohda. the protagonist crosses a checkpoint, as there is no way around it. The protagonist must first duel the young lady guarding the gate, then get through the obstacles of the checkpoint, before finally facing the young lady's older brother. the first duel will ultimately go the same way; the ninja comes upon the girl handling a great staff, then lectures the girl, doesn’t give her any identification before she attacks. However, the second duel is different depending on the protagonist you choose. if the player chooses Ayame, the Brother is angry and seeks retribution for his sister's death, and takes her sassy comments as insults. if the protagonist is Rikimaru, he apologizes for his sister's attitude and challenges Rikimaru to a formal duel.
  • On the fifth mission, the protagonist is sent to kill Lord Gohda's finance minister, Kataoka. After going through Echigoya's -the target from the first mission- journals, Gohda had found record that Kataoka has also been conducting corrupt business procedures. Kataoka is also the son in law of Naotata Sekiya -Lord Gohda's trusted advisor-. Sekiya and his lord send the ninja to execute the corrupt minister. Coming upon the ministers head guard, the ninja duels him in order to find the whereabouts of Kataoka. upon completion of the duel the guard reveals that his master has been out and should be back soon, before being killed with a gold arrow that was shot by an unseen person. like the previous level, the final confrontation is different depending on the protagonist. if the protagonist is Rikimaru, the ninja simply reminds him of his honor and Kataoka requests to be assisted in suicide. if the protagonist is Ayame, the minister rejects her criticism and attacks her, believing that he has the upper hand as she is a woman. the battle between Ayame and Kataoka can possibly be an empowering fight, as Kataoka fights with a bow and arrows and is easily dispatched by a swift ninja.
  • On the sixth mission, the protagonist is sent out to terminate the followers of a cult, and retrieve a stone that holds an evil spirit. the cultists are using the stone to build an army of zombie like followers, and appear to have ambitions for further spreading this mystical corruption. upon finding the keeper of the stone, a rather large woman, she tells the ninja that it is inside her belly and that you will not get it. after completion of this first duel, Onikage appears again and attempts to kill the ninja, but ultimately runs away when he starts to lose.
  • On the seventh mission, the protagonist is sent to kill Spanish pirates that have been attacking a coastal town. after reaching their ship, the ninja must battle the ship’s captain and exterminate him.
  • On the eighth mission, the protagonist is sent to retrieve a magic herb from the top of Mt. Shibah to cure princess Kiku. the princess has suddenly fallen ill and is losing her sight, and this magic herb is the only thing that can save her. after a perilous climb, fighting past the demons of the mountain, the ninja finds the herb and remarks that they are on their way back to the castle.
  • On the ninth mission, the protagonist is sent to kill OniKage and his army of demons that have taken one of lord Gohda’s castles. the demons have the ability to attack the surrounding villages, now that they have a fortified base. upon reaching Onikage, he lets slip the name of his master, Lord Mei-oh. he also says that Lord Gohda's own castle may have been breached before attacking the ninja. In the ensuing battle, OniKage begins to bleed heavily and disappears in a flash of light.
  • On the final mission, Lord Gohda's daughter, Princess Kiku, is taken captive by Lord Mei-Oh, the king of hell. it turns out that the ninth mission was just a diversion for the protagonist. Lord Gohda, now at the mercy of the evil Lord Mei-Oh, sends both Ayame and Rikimaru to save his only daughter. after fighting skeletal samurai and twisted, fire breathing zombies, the protagonist defeats OniKage and searches for princess Kiku in the underground tunnels. finally, the ninja confronts the evil lord Mei-Oh in a deep cavern, where Mei-Oh has opened a portal.

in the final cut scene, it is revealed that the secondary protagonist has saved the princess and that the three must make it out of the crumbling caves. Rikimaru lays his sword down so that he may shift a boulder so the others can get out. Kiku and Ayame make it to safety, but Rikimaru is left behind. Ayame watches Kiku and her father reunite, and plunges Rikimaru's sword into earth. Edit.

Background Information and NotesEdit



Missions Edit

  • Training

Rikimaru Edit

  1. Punish The Evil Merchant (悪徳商人を成敗せよ Akutoku shōnin wo seibai seyo)
  2. Deliver The Secret Message (密書を運べ Missho wo hakobe)
  3. Rescue The Captive Ninja (捕虜を助け出せ Horyo wo tasukedase)
  4. Cross The Checkpoint (関所を越えろ Sekisho wo koero)
  5. Execute The Corrupt Minister (悪の奉行を討伐せよ Aku no bugyō wo tōbatsu seyo)
  6. Infiltrate The Manji Cult (邪教卍教の御神体 Jakyō Manjikyō no gojintai)
  7. Destroy The Foreign Pirate (南蛮海賊の来襲 Nanban kaizoku no raishū)
  8. Cure The Princess (姫の大病 Hime no taibyō)
  9. Reclaim The Castle (鬼の城 Oni no shiro)
  10. Free The Princess (闇の城 Yami no shiro)

Ayame Edit

  1. Punish The Evil Merchant (悪徳商人を成敗せよ Akutoku shōnin wo seibai seyo)
  2. Deliver The Secret Message (密書を運べ Missho wo hakobe)
  3. Rescue The Captive Ninja (捕虜を助け出せ Horyo wo tasukedase)
  4. Cross The Checkpoint (関所を越えろ Sekisho wo koero)
  5. Execute The Corrupt Minister (悪の奉行を討伐せよ Aku no bugyō wo tōbatsu seyo)
  6. Infiltrate The Manji Cult (邪教卍教の御神体 Jakyō Manjikyō no gojintai)
  7. Destroy The Foreign Pirate (南蛮海賊の来襲 Nanban kaizoku no raishū)
  8. Cure The Princess (姫の大病 Hime no taibyō)
  9. Reclaim The Castle (鬼の城 Oni no shiro)
  10. Free The Princess (闇の城 Yami no shiro)


Concept ArtEdit


External linksEdit

Tenchu Series

Main Series

Stealth AssassinsBirth of the Stealth AssassinsWrath of HeavenShadow Assassins

Portable Games

Time of the AssassinsDark Secret

Other Versions and Releases

Dimensional Ninja Action MovieShinobi GaisenShinobi HyakusenReturn from DarknessFatal ShadowsTenchu ZShadow Assault

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