Monday, September 19, 2016

Soundtrack September: Tenchu

Game: Tenchu: Stealth Assassins (1998)
Platform: PlayStation
Composer: Asakura Noriyuki

This month has already seen a lot of love for ninja games, and it's no news by now that I like traditional Japanese instruments. In the inaugural Tenchu game, the two come whirling together like a sumujikaze of greatness. 

This game, which deals with a pair of ninjas named Rikimaru and Ayame running around in the dark and dispensing tenchu (divine retribution) to corrupt politicians, merchants and rival ninjas, features some occasionally-hokey-but-always-awesome music that sounds like it belongs — here we go again — in an 80s TV series about ninjas. Even the original Japanese title of the game, Rittai Ninja Katsugeki: Tenchu (literally, "3D Ninja Action Drama: Tenchu") suggested TV culture.

Later in the franchise, Tenchu Kurenai (Tenchu: Fatal Shadows) would take that concept to the extreme and start introducing stages with TV-style teasers to the effect of "Next time on Tenchu..."

Similar to Revenge of Shinobi, we've got Japanese flutes and drums paired with Western brass, strings and guitars — but this time, all the instruments are real.

Slightly off the topic of the music, but look at the horrendous localization treatment this game's box art was put through for its US release.

No comments: