[[quoteright:330:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/tenchu.jpg]]

''Live By Honor. Kill By Stealth.''

Tenchu is a series of [[StealthBasedGame stealth based games]] that features a {{ninja}} duo from the Azuma clan. It started in 1998 and has had several sequels across various consoles that expand its story. The story starts with a demonic sorcerer named Mei-Oh trying to take over the land of Lord Gohda whom the two ninja, Rikimaru and Ayame serve. The series is rather liked amongst those who have played it and some games contain a humorous dub version of the story that is completely different.

Aside from the games listed further below, the Tenchu franchise also include these titles:
* ''Tenchu: Time of the Assassins'' (2005), a {{PSP}} game set after Wrath of Heavens. Includes the [[LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters largest selection of playable characters to date]] and the return of the LevelEditor (with online-sharing capabilities).
* ''Tenchu: Dark Secret'' (2006), a NintendoDS game set after the second game. Deals with the titular ninjas trying to protect a DistressedDamsel from an EvilOverlord who she was [[ArrangedMarriage arranged to marry]].
* ''Tenchu: Shadow Assault'' (2008), a downloadable game. An [[GaidenGame unrelated]] [[GenreShift puzzle]] [[PuzzleGame game]] that borrows the series' setting and characters.
* Even though not developed by Activision, ''Return of the Ninja'', released by Natsume and Ubisoft (The former released for USA, the later for EUR) for GameBoyColor borrowed a lot of elements from Tenchu series. And the cards you obtain through playing through stages or trading with friends adds to this referencing!

!!These tropes are like you, weak and twisted. I fear them...NOT!:
* ActionGirl: Ayame, Rin and in Tenchu Z you can make a female character who would become this.
* AnotherSideAnotherStory / VillainShoes
* AristocratsAreEvil: Everyone except Lord Gohda.
* AnachronicOrder: ''Tenchu 2'', ''Tenchu DS'', ''Tenchu 1'', ''Fatal Shadows'', ''Tenchu 3'', ''Time of the Assassins'', ''Shadow Assassin'', and some unknown years after, ''Tenchu Z''.
* BackStab: The series' iconic stealth kills.
* {{Badass}}: Rikimaru, especially after [[spoiler: his ''shadow'' retrieves his katana, fights off his {{Rival}}, and [[LikeABadassOutOfHell summons his soul ''from hell'']].]]
* BearsAreBadNews
* BilingualBonus: Tenchu means "Divine Punishment", which is what you dish out.
* BrilliantButLazy: Ayame can easily master techniques, but gets bored with training.
* CaptainErsatz: {{Naruto}}'s creator has openly admitted that Kakashi is based off of Rikimaru.
** Tachibana Jubei, an obvious ersatz of YagyuJubei.
** Tajima also played the BigBad in Film/{{Yojimbo}}
* CaptainObvious: The Mooks. "I'm dying... Ohhhhh... I'm dying..."
* CoolBigSis: Ayame acts like this to Gohda's daughter.
* CoolSword: Izayoi
* CowboyBebopAtHisComputer: [[http://www.ugo.com/games/top-50-worst-ways-to-die-in-video-games?page=4 UGO]] referred to Rikimaru as "Tenchu".
* CorruptBureaucrat: A very common Tenchu enemy.
* CorruptChurch: Surprisingly they are corrupt ''Buddhists''. Don't see that often.
* DeadCharacterWalking: Original has a player-accessible DebugMode that can cause all sorts of amusing glitches when abused: If you jump into a BottomlessPit and then use the debug menu to teleport back to the beginning of the level after you drop to 0 HP, you'll be essentially invincible and all enemy attacks go through you. However, this also gives you the same SuperDrowningSkills the enemies suffer from, but thanks to the debug menu, you can teleport yourself out of the water as well and revive yourself on command: depending on how long you let your character drown before you revive then, their lower torso [[HalfTheManHeUsedToBe might disappear entirely]] or they might turn completely invisible with only their weapon floating in the air.
* DeadpanSnarker: Ayame
* DistressedDamsel: Kiku gets kidnapped once per game early on the series.
* DualWielding
* DullSurprise
* ExtremityExtremist: Onikage is all about kicks, only using his hands for special grabs in ''Wrath of Heaven'' and sometimes block.
* FinishingMove
* GunsAreWorthless: Used and [[AvertedTrope Averted]].
* HighPressureBlood: And plenty of it!
* HighlyVisibleNinja
* InvisibilityCloak: An unlockable item in ''Tenchu 2'', ''Wrath of Heavens'' and ''Fatal Shadows''.
* KatanasAreJustBetter
* KnifeNut: Ayame, and boy can she use them.
* LevelEditor: Tenchu 2. Later implemented in ''Shinobi Gaisen'' and ''Time of the Assassins''.
* MasterOfDisguise: An unlockable item in the earlier games. It allowed one to transform into a mook or innocent civilian for a short amount of time, or after delivering a kill. It and the InvisibilityCloak have the same effect with the difference that while the invisibility lasts for a shorter amount of time and you can only carry 1, it allows multiple kills for its duration while the disguise item lasts longer and you can carry up to 3 of them, but it wears off instantly if you kill someone with it active.
* NinjaLog: The Ninja Rebirth item.
* [[NinjaPirateZombieRobot Ninja Pirate Animal Demon]]
* OffWithHisHead: Totally random but happens frequently in the first game if an enemy is killed with a jump slash.
* OneSteveLimit: Averted, though in different games. There are two characters named Nasu: a [[AristocratsAreEvil corrupt aristocrat]] in Wrath of Heavens, and a DirtyOldMan that [[CovertPervert doubles as a massagist]] in Fatal Shadows. There are also up to three Echigoya characters in various games, and they're all fat corrupt merchants with a thing for harassing geishas.
* {{Pirate}}: The Baoliusung Gang from part 2 and the foreign pirates from the first game as well.
* RankInflation: Thug, Novice, Ninja, Master Ninja, Grand Master.
* RemixedLevel
* {{Rival}}: A SmugSnake to boot, that purple kicking bastard.
* RuleOfCool: Some of the stealth kills are ''ridiculously'' complicated. Ayame does things that make pro wrestling finishers look basic.
* ScarsAreForever: Rikimaru sports a scar over his right eye. And it's awesome.
* SecretCharacter: Each game in the series has a third unlockable character. Except the first one.
** Time of the Assassins has 5 different characters to play in story mode, and [[LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters many more]] for use in the LevelEditor.
* SimultaneousArcs
* SpellMyNameWithAnS: Go(h)da.
* StormingTheCastle Gohda castle has been stormed or infiltrated numerous times.
* TheGuardsMustBeCrazy
* WhatMeasureIsAMook: the player can often hear the mooks [[EnemyChatter utter some lines]] while hiding in the Shadows. That includes lines as "The doctor said I should stay away from dangerous business for a while" (said by a ninja of all people) and "I need to cut down on my drinking, or my wife will be mad at me again". Though that might not be intentional. You could feel sorry for mooks getting murdered seconds after saying "I'm sure tonight will be completely uneventful".

!!Tenchu: Stealth Assassins
''Tenchu: Stealth Assassins'' (1998), focused on an apparent series of unrelated missions carried over by Rikimaru/Ayame by orders of Lord Gohda. Half-way through, Onikage makes his appearances and the protagonists are dragged into [[BonusLevelOfHell hell itself]] to save Gohda's daughter from Onikage's master, [[{{Satan}} Lord Mei-Oh]]. The original Japanese version was an ObviousBeta with clunky controls and graphics, so the western version was [[RegionalBonus reworked, while adding two new stages and three different selectable enemy layouts]]. Eventually the Japanese market got an UpdatedRerelease under the subtitle ''Shinobi Gaisen'', and with the inclusion of a LevelEditor. ''Tenchu: Shinobi Hyakusen'' (1999), A [[NoExportForYou japan-only]] [[MissionPackSequel Mission Pack]] made of 100 fan-submited levels created with Shinobi Gaisen's LevelEditor.

* BreathWeapon: The fire-eaters scroll and the cultists.
* BilingualDialogue: Ayame seems to understand the Pirate Captain perfectly, unlike Rikimaru.
-->-'''Captain:'''
-->-'''Rikimaru:''' "Expect no mercy. Your life is over!"
-->-'''Ayame:''' "My feelings exactly, fish monger!"
** And then, post battle
-->- '''Captain:'''
-->- '''Rikimaru:'''"It must be sad to die so far away from home."
-->- '''Ayame:''' "You won't be seeing him where you're going.
* [[DebugRoom Debug Mode]]
* {{Cult}}: The Manji
* EvilWeapon: Mei-Oh's sword, Shichishito. Besides being a somewhat EmpathicWeapon with cursed powers, it also has [[ShockAndAwe electric attacks]].
* FlowerFromTheMountaintop: A mission was to obtain a flower that can cure Princess Kiku.
* GratuitousSpanish: Balmer, the foreign pirate. The english version is not ''that'' bad (though the thick Cuban accent certainly doesn't help), but the Japanese original on the other hand...
--> "Parece que has muerto. Te mato ahora!"
* PreAssKickingOneLiner: Ayame tells the ''King of Hell'' that she's not impressed with him, after [[{{Badass}} Backflipping into Hellmouth]]. Unless the Japanese version is different; she actually says, "SHUT UP AND TELL ME WHERE KIKU IS!"
--> '''Rikimaru:''' Your guards are dead. And ''you'' are next.
* {{Seppuku}}: One of the missions involves executing a corrupt minister, but if the player is using Rikimaru, he will plead with the minister to take the honorable route and perform seppuku, which he will and Rikimaru will assist by decapitating him. If the player chooses Ayame, she will insult and agitate the minister until he lashes out, resulting in a boss battle.
* SoundtrackDissonance: Features really quite pleasant and soothing classical guitar BGM, while you drop onto hapless mooks and decapitate them.
* StayInTheKitchen: Whereas Minister Kataohka will honorably commit seppuku if Rikimaru confronts him, he'll challenge Ayame, stating that he will "not allow a woman to scold (him)".
* StormingThecastle: Mission 9.
* {{Stripperiffic}}: The secret armor for Ayame.
* TeleportSpam: Mei-Oh. Hoo-boy does he loves teleporting around...
* UpdatedRerelease: A curious example. The first Tenchu released in Japan is quite unlike the one overseas gamer experienced. The overseas edition added many features, such as the mid-boss battle at the first stage, extra stages, opening movie, as well as the cheats. This was later remade back in Japan by the name of Tenchu: Shinobi Gaisen, featuring extra difficulty levels including the HarderThanHard [[DifficultyByRegion European Extreme]], as well as different language audios.
* WarmupBoss: Echigoya is reeeeeally slow both moving and shooting, telegraphs every attack he makes and has a rather mediocre life bar.
* WorthyOpponent: Senjuro Akechi.

!!Tenchu 2: Birth of the Stealth Assassins

''Tenchu 2: Birth of the Stealth Assassins'' (2000), {{Prequel}} to the first, focus on the two characters' graduation into ninjas and their first assignments serving Gohda. Introduced the LevelEditor mode (later used in ''Shinobi Gaisen'') and the traditional [[SecretCharacter third character]].

* AMillionIsAStatistic
-->'''Suzaku''': "We live in an age of war. People die every day."
* AmnesiacDissonance: Tatsumaru loses his memory and helps the Burning Dawn massacre his own clan. [[spoiler:He regains his memory but chooses to remain one of the bad guys out of guilt]].
* BackFromTheDead: [[spoiler: Suzaku]]
* BadassGrandpa: Master Shiunsai and the rest of the Azuma. Too bad they all die.
* BareFistedMonk: Wang Xaohai
* BittersweetEnding: [[spoiler:Rikimaru & Ayame are the only Azuma ninja left. Onikage is still out there]].
* BreakTheCutie
* CherryBlossoms: Cherry Tree Hill.
* ColorCodedForYourConvenience: The soldier mooks wear different colors to indicate who they serve. Green=Motohide, Purple=Toda, Blue=Gohda.
* CoolBoat / NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast: The Fire Demon.
* CrackOhMyBack: Urano Takehito.
* DarkerAndEdgier
* DigitalBikini: Of the "original outfit too risque" variety. Compare Ayame's [[http://www.gamefaqs.com/ps/198909-tenchu-2-birth-of-the-stealth-assassins/images/screen-4 Japanese]] costume to her [[http://www.gamefaqs.com/ps/198909-tenchu-2-birth-of-the-stealth-assassins/images/screen-3 US]] one.
* DoomedHometown: The Azuma village.
* DraggedByTheCollar: Part of your skill-set
* DragonWithAnAgenda: Kagami
* FallenHero: Tatsumaru
* FiveBadBand The Lords of the Burning Dawn
** BigBad - Kagami
** TheDragon - Seiryu [[spoiler: both the original and Tatsumaru]]
** TheBrute - Genbu
** EvilGenius - Suzaku
** DarkChick - Byakko
** TeamPet - Byakko's pet tiger, Kotaro.
* ForgivenessRequiresDeath: Poor Tatsumaru.
* TheFourGods: The Lords of the Burning Dawn.
* GenocideFromTheInside: [[spoiler:Suffering from AmnesiacDissonance and having become a Lord of the Burning Dawn, Tatsumaru wipes out his own clan, leaving few survivors besides Rikimaru and Ayame.]]
* GoOutWithASmile: Genbu
* IDontLikeTheSoundOfThatPlace: Demon Mountain.
* IncurableCoughOfDeath: Kagami.
* IslandBase: Kubon island, hideout of the Baoliusung Gang.
* JustYouAndMeAndMyGUARDS: Toda.
* LightIsNotGood: The Burning Dawn have rejected the life of darkness and embraced the light.
* MeaningfulName: [[spoiler: Suzaku]].
* MidSeasonTwist - It's in the 6th or 7th missions that Rikimaru & Ayame discover Tatsumaru's amnesia.
* MyMasterRightOrWrong: Genbu.
* NapoleonComplex: Byakko is supremely arrogant for someone so short.
* [[NotSoSafeHarbor Not So Secret Harbor]]
* PantheraAwesome: Byakko's pet tiger Kotaro
* PassingTheTorch: Master Shiunsai passes down the Izayoi to Tatsumaru, and with it, leadership of the Azuma clan...[[spoiler: This turns out to be a TenMinuteRetirement, as Tatsumaru makes a FaceHeelTurn shortly after.]]
** [[spoiler:Ayame later gives Izayoi to Rikimaru after Tatsumaru dies]].
* PreAsskickingOneLiner: Rikimaru makes one before every boss battle.
* TheReveal / TheStinger: [[spoiler:Suzaku is Onikage]].
* RewardedAsATraitorDeserves: Tohda kills Motohide after he kidnaps Kiku.
* SssssnakeTalk: Suzaku
* SmokeOut: Parodied by Genbu.
* SoftReset: By holding Start+Select.
* StarCrossedLovers: Tatsumaru ♥ Kagami
* {{Stripperiffic}}: Lady Kagami definitely.
* SwordCane: Master Shiunsai.
* SwordOverHead: Lord Gohda is engaged in a sword fight with his uncle, who has led a revolt against him. Being the good and noble lord Gohda hesitates after disarming him, and lowers his weapon. [[NoNonsenseNemesis His uncle then shoots him.]] It is then that the player controlled Rikumaru steps in, cuing a boss fight. After the fight, the trope occurs again, with Rikumaru poised over the uncle. Being a ninja, Rikumaru slashes, but Gohda leaps in and takes the slash to his back. The uncle, touched by this, proceeds to scamper off and kill Gohda's wife and kidnap his daughter. Nice guy.
** Later, during the battle against [[spoiler: Tatsumaru]], Rikimaru hesitates to strike down [[spoiler: his former friend]], who takes the opportunity to slash Rikimaru's face, scarring him for the rest of the series.
* TheOtherDarrin: Seiryu looks different in the US and Japanese versions.
* TheUnfought: Motohide is the only boss that doesn't get killed by the main characters.
* [[ThoseTwoBadGuys Those Three Bad Guys]]: The Snake, The Frog and The Slug.
* ThreateningShark: In the Secret harbor missions.
* VisionaryVillain: Kagami just wanted to free the ninja from servitude.
* YouHaveFailedMe: Suzaku kills Yukihotaru after she loses to Rikimaru.
* YouKilledMyFather: [[spoiler: Shiunsai reflects on how Tatsumaru killing him was fate after he killed his father]]. Slightly subverted in that he never knew it, so it was [[ItsPersonal not personal]].

!!Wrath of Heaven
''Tenchu 3: Wrath of Heaven'' (2003), direct sequel starting where the first game left out. Each character has its own individual and independent storyline, which are quite different and contradictory between them. It all boils down to the BigBad's attempt to rule Gohda's realm. Later got a remake for X-Box titled ''Tenchu: Return from Darkness'', with added stages and online capabilities.

* AsianRuneChant: as a method for learning new moves.
* BackFromTheDead: Rikimaru and [[spoiler: Tatsumaru]].
* BadassNormal: Tesshu is just a thug-for-hire, but can go toe-to-toe with the ninja main characters.
* ClockworkCreature: The specialty of Dr. Kimaira is his wooden robot army.
* DeadlyDoctor: Tesshu.
* DirtyCop: The mooks Rikimaru kills in the bonus mission "Through The Portal".
* FiveBadBand: The Group of Six
** TheBigBad - Tenrai
** TheDragon - The Jinnai brothers and [[spoiler: Tatsumaru]].
** TheBrute - Ganda
** The EvilGenius - Dr. Kimaira
** TheDarkChick - Kagura
** SixthRanger - Onikage
* FollowTheMoney: Some of the mooks Tesshu kills carry gold.
* GagDub: The B-side audio option, detailing Rikimaru's quest for the secret invention [[spoiler:toilet paper]], Ayane's possible modeling career and Tesshu's adventures as a homosexual.
* HoYay: The Jyuzo/Shou cutscene lends itself to some UnfortunateImplications.
* IncendiaryExponent: A PowerUp ki attack of Tesshu.
* InnocentInnuendo: Ayame hears Tajima telling one of the kidnapped villagers "What a nice pair you have, now let me show you mine!" They are, of course, playing poker.
* MadScientist: Dr. Kimaira.
* MagicalEye / DangerousForbiddenTechnique: [[spoiler: Rikimaru's Dohjutsu. Sealed in his right eye by Shiunsai because he "was not ready at the time", it allowed him to overcome Tenrai's evil power]]. Worth noting it seems to have been RetGone afterwards, as no further mention of this ability is ever done.
* MasterOfDisguise: Hyakubake.
* MurderInc: The Muzen (Tesshu)
* PlayingPossum: It's possible to feign death but doing so causes you to slowly lose health as you bleed, it's possible to ''actually'' die.
* PoisonedWeapons: A special hidden weapon for Ayame.
* RealitySubtext - The B-Side portrays Tesshu as homosexual. There is truth to this because [[Creator/CamClarke his English voice actor]] is gay.
* SillinessSwitch: The B-side dialogue option.
* TrappedInAnotherWorld: Explains how Riki survived the end of the first game.
* TwentyMinutesIntoTheFuture: The special "Through the Portal" mission put Rikimaru in a modern time setting against a CorruptCorporateExecutive [[spoiler:Who's also a cyborg]].

!!Fatal Shadows
''Tenchu: Fatal Shadows'' (2004), {{Interquel}} set between the first and third game, focusing on Ayame's mission on enemy territory and the exploits of a former ninja, Rin, looking for the ones who burned down her [[HiddenElfVillage secret ninja village]].

* DoomedHometown: Rin's village.
* HandCannon: Tesshu and Rin can obtain a one hit wonder ''bamboo'' gun. Suffice to say that a well-aimed shot makes MassiveDamage if not directly OneHitKill.
* MultiMookMelee: Red Blade mode, which lets one select a specific stage/mook variety to fight until death. It also includes a BossRush option.
* MurderInc: The Beniya and the Kuroya.
* ParasolOfPain: Jyuzo has as main weapon a sword hidden within an umbrella, which he uses in a battohjutsu style.
* WarmupBoss: Tatsukichi is pathetically slow and loves informing you when she's to attack. [[NeverHurtAnInnocent Not mentioning grabbing her ends the fight with a quick neck smack]].
* YouHaveFailedMe: Jyuzo kills his lover Tatsukichi if you spare her life.


!!Shadow Assassins
''Tenchu: Shadow Assassins'' (2008), finally continuing forward the plot. Got an UnexpectedGameplayChange, with fights represented in [[PointOfView first person]].

* DemonicPossession: Implied in the end that [[spoiler: Onikage has possessed Ayame]].
* InNameOnly: the play style is barely like the other games at all-- While stealth is key, combat amounts to "''If'' you have a sword, play a minigame, if you don't have a sword, don't get seen again, or it's game over."
** Perhaps it's subjective, but the sword fighting mini game on Wii is so ABSURDLY difficult that you might as well just press restart. You get under a second between the indication of the sword's direction and the time in which you have to block, if you get hit once you lose, even on early levels enemies seem to have an unreasonable amount of health, and if you don't block exactly perfectly more than a couple of times your sword breaks and you also lose. NintendoHard doesn't begin to describe it. Then there's the X-Box Live DLC game Shadow Assault, being a PuzzleGame with nothing but the setting and characters from the series.
* KillTheCutie: [[spoiler: Kiku]].
* KillUsBoth
* TheMole: Someone within Gohda castle appears to be acting as one for the BigBad
* WhatTheHellHero: Rikimaru [[spoiler:is forced to stab through Princess Kiku to get to [[TheDragon Onikage]], who was holding her hostage. Princess Kiku more or less orders Rikimaru to it]], but it's implied Rikimaru is now no different from his mortal nemesis.

!!Tenchu Z
''Tenchu Z'' (2006), a [[TimeSkip distant sequel]] set some unknown time after the other games. Rikimaru is now a {{NPC}} and ''your'' teacher, since you can create the protagonist. Only game in the series to make use of a [[VirtualPaperDoll character creation]] system. Also the only one Ayame has missed the cut.

* {{Bishonen}}: Shigi.
* OutOfTheInferno: Shigi.
* TakeThat: Foreign {{Pirate}}s are effeminate, and fat.
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