Four years ago, a company set out to release a fighting title which upon awareness to the public lifted the newly developed system known as Playstation. Entitled Tekken (or The King of Iron Fist in Nippon). The game received instant appraisal for its lush graphics and uncanny gameplay. It marked the first game to offer buttons which controls the players hands and feet respectively to left/right functions. The precedence of Tekken's release came at a point where the fighting market was swamped with very little innovation in current fighters, and gamers were looking for a original concept. Perhaps it was this incentive alone that racked up the user base on the PlayStation?
As many gamers know, it was the character designs, the moves, and the overall feel of the game which captivated the hearts of many. Namco was well aware that they had a gem, and released Tekken 2 a half a year later. Due to the similar technology aspects between the System 11 hardware and PlayStation, a flalwess conversion was produced. Namco produced a genuine, authentic conversion that went the extra mile with added features outshining its arcade counterpart. Upon the release of Tekken 3, fans were in complete hysteria. As the series was introduced to Namco's System 12 board and received an unspeakable graphic overhaul, bitchin tunes, and purely stood out as the most popular fighter for its era. The question of a home conversion was eventually raised. When is a home version coming out? How will this be ported in its entirety on Playstation? There, sat the thoughts we pondered. Namco, unwilling to disappoint was well aware of what to do; thus, the hype began. Fast forward to present day as Tekken 3 arrives on PlayStation in all its glory. Can it be that Namco has once again developed another fighter of excellence? A closer look outlines the following.
Tekken 3 is purely, an awesome conversion, and not just because I own it. Ask any fan, no doubt; they'll agree. Namco's development on this game answered and silenced many questions from the skeptic and the curious. How many truly expected that a system which is constantly mocked for its limited RAM capacity would be able to handle such advanced circuit board of techonolgy as the System 12? Obviously, Namco was truly behind the project of making sure that all would truly see, not only their programming ingenious, but just how much potential the system really has. From the opening intro to the fighting arena, and throughout the several personalized endings sequences screams 'pure quality'. I personally can not play the game without viewing the intro each time. All of the bells in whistles from it's arcade cousin are here. The characters, the combos, the music, and of course...Nina Williams. ^_^ Does this constitute a 100 percent accurate conversion in comparison to Saturn's X-men vs. Street Fighter??? Not exactly, Namco DID make a few sacrifices. Namely, you won't find 3D backgrounds as your playing the home version. In order to account for the system's hardware and memory, 2D bitmaps were implemented instead. Total loss? Hardly, but it can affect a person gameplay when it comes to rolling. You'll get the impression that your players are fighting in a pseudo 2D/3D box, resembling Toshinden 3. The evasion aspect is a variable most players will ignore and rarely notice unless you are a purist at heart.
All the characters' fine details were transferred accurately to the home system. I'd go even as far to say due to the 3D background omission, that they're actually sharper. Just do a side by side comparison for your own test. There isn't a significant polygon lost that will turn off even the most scrutinizing fan. The backgrounds though are what many were concerned about. Fans of the series will quickly become adjusted to the game's controls as they were tweaked and made much tighter in contrast to the arcade. Namco is even selling a Tekken 3 joystick which should be available by now at your local gaming store. Personally, I find the stock pad much easier, as did many gamers I spoke with. I am actually happy that they took the time to improve the control's responsiveness with the pad, as a certain "tap" was required in previous versions to crank out the 10-hit combos and juggles. The hidden characters such as Gon, (and Dr. B) are in the game as promised. Just briefly, Gon's development on the PlayStation was really ingenious. His humorous antics and tough attitude reminds me of some of the 200 characters found in Tobal 2; only Gon offers more innovation and he's more fun. The music also shines through thanks to the systems audio chip, remixed and arcade versions like their predecessors are present.
Looking briefly at the characters, Namco has made them not only older, but have given them more personality than they possessed in previous versions. The intro and endings will testify to that, as well as the various win poses. Simply take a look at Nina Williams or Julia Chang when they defeat you. Do they seem a bit...well, appealing? (Hopefully, not too appealing, they are just polygons after all.) More towards the attitude in which they are animated. Whereas other characters such as Yoshimitsu, a favorite of mine sounds like he has issues to settle on one particular pose. He gives me that 'manic depressive' vibe. Then of course, there's Eddy Gordo, the Brazilian fighter that uses the deadly fighting style known as Capoeira. Namco spent an abundant amount of time designing all the details and attributes of the characters down to the very last pixel. The characters outfits for example are rendered very well, most making it difficult to tell if they were actually constructed from polygons; they look that good! Then of course, there's the moves. I never tired of watching Ling or Eddy in action, Hwoarang, Forest Law, and Lei respectively are also awesome in their amount of moves which inflict plenty of damage. Yet, it's the realism in which they animate, 60fps. The animation
is very fast, fluid and lifelike. Observing the movement of these characters on-screen are as Namco proposed: A varied real-world martial arts pumped out by a rapid fighting engine.
What would the home conversion be without a abundant supply of new features? Standard features such as the Training move were significantly improved; where button presses of moves when practicing combos result
in a low beep that's reminiscent of Simon Says SFX. The Tekken Force Mode was something that I hadn't expect no matter how many scenarios I would've imagined Namco would have come up with. It's basically like playing Streets of Rage, with Tekken characters. I chose Ling Xiayou on the first go, and watching here in action on the first stage reminding me of one of those B-rated Japanese movies. But, I loved it, I simply couldn't get enough. The other added feature is the Tekken Ball mode that I found also to be quite original in which Namco deserves praise. This mode is basically a volleyball mode in which two players utilize their moves to knock the ball to the other side. Hitting your opponent is accepted too, as this is where you'll first meet Gon by the way; and you'll have to
defeat him in order to get him. Well, that's my code for the month. I was quite found with the quality of the CG movies...many which will have to be viewed over, and over just be certain, it's a game. A few leave some unanswered questions, hopefully which will be cleared up in Tekken 4, overall, they're worth the price of admission.
The "Theater" and "Sound" modes are also a nice touch, but won't be available when you power up your system...alas. There are a few other features, each which I will leave to you to discover. Endings such as Mokujin, Eddy Gordo (whose ending makes me think of a Colt 45 commercial in the opening segment), and others are the best from all three fighters. Many endings though leave you speechless, not because they're impressive...but rather the abrupt fashion in which they end. Most have you answering more questions then what you started with. Perhaps, this was done intentionally to pave the way for Tekken 4? Sadly, a few were altered, I guess Namco felt we couldn't handle a subliminal suggestion in Nina's ending? Finally, one of the coolest features has to be the Force Feedback. Thanks to the Dual Shock controller, attacks can now be felt through the vibrations of the new Sony pads available in stores. The effect takes some time to get adjusted to, some may feel distracted by it (as I was). However, credit has to be given to Namco and Sony to utilize Force Feedback, it's laid the foundation for other fighting games alike to incorporate this system; and expand upon it.
Overall, you'll find that the entire package is definitely a worthy purchase. I'd go into other great things that I loved about this game, but then you won't be able to appreciate it as much as I did. However, I will note that, I wasn't a fan of the arcade version, but with all the hype surrounding the game, and my desire to break out of the Street Fighter mode. Tekken 3 swept me up as a game that offers plenty of replay value, challenge, and enough scenarios to keep you engrossed, even when you do become master over the game. I hope that all Tekken fans and newcomers to the series appreciate this game. It's a game of magnificence and is certain to sell systems due to it's overall quality and content.
· · · Bahn