Tenchu: Shadow Assassins
$49.99 for Nintendo Wii. Rated Mature *** (3 STARS)
Unlike the one-man army Ryu Hayabusa of the Ninja Gaiden games, the silent killers of Tenchu: Shadow Assassins must avoid detection to carry out their missions. It's more a puzzle game than an action game, with each level a conundrum of guards and hidden routes to solve.
The ninjas of Shadow Assassins skulk through the game's missions and strike from concealment. Various tools, such as bamboo tubes, allow them to make conditions more favorable by knocking unaware enemies into wells or extinguishing candles and lanterns. Areas of shadow appear as inky clouds, showing the player the best place to hide.
Unlike the modern Metal Gear Solid hero, they don't have the benefit of firearms. They have to get close enough to dispatch an enemy in a single blow, often without being armed.
Guitar Hero on Tour: Decades
$49.99 for Nintendo DS (bundled with Guitar Grip). Rated 10-plus *** (3 STARS)
Aside from its track listing, Guitar Hero on Tour: Decades differs little from the first On Tour.
There are almost 30 songs by groups ranging from 1970s-era Blondie to the newest incarnation of the Smashing Pumpkins. Two players with mismatched copies of the first On Tour game can share many of the songs wirelessly. A player can go through a new career mode as a guitarist or bassist, and partake in guitar duels as well.
The game play is again facilitated by a packed-in Guitar Grip attachment that plugs into the bottom of the DS and provides four fret buttons to press while "strumming" the DS screen with a pick-shaped stylus. The gadget works well, though it's pretty hard on the player's hand.