Tekken 3 - A Review

The fighting game equivilant to a matured wine.


The series that sold the PlayStation to the world makes its third appearance...

It may not be arcade-perfect, but it more than
makes up for that.

The original 'Tekken', released in 1994/5, was immediately hailed as one of the most important games available for the young Sony Playstation. Fully-3D, with textured, polygonal characters beating each other senseless over an infinately scrolling arena, was good to look at, fun to play, and remarkably deep. This was, of course, followed soon after by Tekken 2, another excellent arcade port that was 'better than perfect' - it was actually better on the PlayStation than on the original arcade hardware.

By the time Tekken 3 became available in 1998, however, Namco had moved on. Now using their System 12 arcade board, with more memory than the PlayStation, an exact port would be impossible. Pundits claimed that Tekken 3 would never see release on Sony's wunderkind.

Namco proved them wrong.

Tekken 3 is a truly wonderful game to play. It may not look as good as its arcade forebear - the backgrounds, for example, are flat as opposed to the 3D loveliness of the original, and the characters are more blocky - but it still manages an improvement over Tekken 2. The moves are fully motion-captured, making the characters seem tremendously realistic for the time - this was before consoles such as the Dreamcast came along, so for its time, Tekken 3 really did look special.

The entire roster of characters from the arcade version are present here, and two PlayStation-exclusives are also present - Doctor Boskonovitch, and Gon. This gives the game an impressive collection of 21 unique characters, many of whom need to be unlocked over time. Sadly, some of the best characters from the previous game in the series are missing - Jin Kazama may be good, but we do miss Jun and Kazuya. In any case, every character boasts an impressive range of moves - the returning cast boasting a nicely-expanded moveset.

Few fighting games have a particularly good story to them, and Tekken's is difficult to understand and equally poorly explained. While the huge number of FMVs help, there are large areas of ambiguity or plainly nonsensical explainations. The manual is of little help, so it may be best to ignore the storyline for now. However, said FMVs certainly are impressive, and so much so that Tekken 3 includes 'Theatre mode' - allowing you to not only view all the videos from the game, but to swap out the CD for Tekken 1 or 2, and view theirs. Result.

Other nice additions to the game are 'Tekken Force' and 'Tekken Ball'. The first is reminiscent of the classic Double Dragon, as you take your chosen character through a set of side-scrolling stages, beating up the generic enemies and fighting the bosses. A little simplistic, but still great fun, although sadly a one-player only affair. Tekken Ball is equally amusing, as it turns the game into a game of Volleyball - with a twist. The players beat the ball to one another, with special attacks surrounding the ball with a glow that will deal damage to their enemy. Knockouts can only be performed using the ball, giving the game a nice little twist, and this mode can be great fun at parties.

Tekken 3 is certainly the best of the three releases for the original PlayStation, and will provide hours of amusement for the dedicated beat-'em-up fan. It can be a little difficult to get into, however, so I honestly would not recommend it to the casual gamer - there are too many unique moves to try and remember for any but the most obsessive of fans to try and remember. There are better fighting games available, and while a PlayStation gamer might find this to be the finest on their system - some might disagree - a PS2 gamer would find its sequals to be a better choice. On release, I would have considered Tekken 3 to be perfect, but today I give it 8/10.