I want to start this review by saying that I wasn’t really a big fan of the Sony PlayStation. For the two and a half years the system was out, I felt that most of the games that were released were nothing but 3D eye candy.
Sure, there were some definite exceptions, but those tended not to be the norm. It was getting to the point that I vowed that I would never buy a PlayStation, and only a miracle would change my mind. That miracle just came true, and it’s name…TEKKEN 3!
The Tekken series already has a strong following on the PlayStation, but being a Saturn owner in the past, I had my own opinions about it. For instance, I found Tekken 1 to be pretty ugly, and even though Tekken 2 was a vast improvement (and a good game in its own right), I was more at home with both Virtua Fighter 2 and Fighting Vipers. But as usual, times change, and now with the demise of the Saturn –boo to Bernie Stolar– and the success of the PlayStation, I was able to test out Namco’s Tekken 3, and let me tell you, I am very impressed with what I’ve seen.
It’s so good in fact, that I ended up buying my own PlayStation for it.
Part 3 takes place about 20 years after the second tournament, and it shows, as most of the characters appear aged. Paul Phoenix (now 46), still has his Kid ‘n Play haircut, but has now added a beard, Heiachi (age 76) looks old, but still fights with punishing accuracy, and King is not really the King of old, but actually his descendant.
New characters added include the very popular Eddy Gordo, whose breakdance-style of Capoeria can easily confuse an opponent in seconds, and Hwoarang, whose variable fighting style actually makes him two characters in one.
Tekken 3 continues on the series tradition of adding tons of hidden characters that are unlocked when beating the game with different starting characters, unlike the arcade’s "time release system" which introduces a new playable character every week. Two new characters are added specifically for the PlayStation, but I will leave their identities a secret to be discovered.
Tekken 3 also has a large amount of various play modes to be experienced. Sure there is the usual Arcade/Time Attack, Practice, Vs., and Survival modes, but also a Tekken Force mode, which is sort of a Final Fight clone involving the main characters?
It’s a nice little diversion from the usual one on one fighting, but the only problem is that aside from the stage bosses, which are actual Tekken 3 fighters, the regular foes are just ninjas of different colors and named after different avian species — falcon, hawk, owl, etc.
But the most enjoyable mode of all is perhaps Tekken Ball mode. Set as a cross between Tekken 3, Volleyball, and Dodgeball, two fighters try to spike a ball of varying mass, and therefore damage, either at the opponent or past them. Either way, damage will be accumulated on the victim, and depending on the intensity of how hard the ball is struck, that’s how much punishment you will take if you get hit or fail to bounce the ball back. A true blood sport.
And what about the actual translation from the arcade? From what I can tell: perfect. The first two Tekken games were easy to reproduce. Running off the System 11 board, Namco could easily copy it onto the PlayStation, which itself is a System 11 board. However, Tekken 3 uses an upgrade known as System 12, and some people wondered what a translation would look like. I’m pleased to see that it wasn’t ruined at all. It looks good, it plays good…IT IS GOOD!
Sony, I guess you can thank Namco for a job well done. Because of them, you just added another PlayStation owner to your user base of 10 million plus. Games like that are worth their weight in gold.
Developers: Namco Bandai
Platforms: PlayStation, PlayStation 2