Microsoft dates trio

Sylpheed, Rain, Tenchu Z.

Microsoft has finally rubber-stamped Project Sylpheed, Vampire Rain, and Tenchu Z for release in Europe on 29th June.

Project Sylpheed is a space-shooter that gives a big nod to several classic side-scrolling arcade shooters. Game Arts created the title in Japan and Square Enix published it. As you might expect (if you're weird and prescient), it has a fair chunk of RPG elements, including an immersive storyline and the ability to customise and upgrade your ship. There's also over 50 minutes of cut-scenes to help tell protagonist Katana's story.

Vampire Rain on the other hand is a squad-based tactical shooter that charges you with ridding the streets of super-powered vampires. The only obvious weakness these creatures have is water, so you'll have to pop your Necrovision goggles on to discern if a person is a vampire, and pray for rain.

It's far from developer Artoon's normal outing, but looked pretty promising when we saw it at the Tokyo Game Show last year. Head over to our first impressions of Vampire Rain for more information.

Last but not least is Tenchu Z from K2 and From Software. It's set in feudal Japan and is based around Ninja mythology. You'll have to use a mixture of stealth and guile to overcome your enemies, as well as the obvious sword play - factoring in aspects like noise, visibility and even smell.

So, once again it was Europe at the bottom of the pile for these Japanese games, but it's encouraging to see them actually appear. Look out for more information as we get closer to launch.

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