Old school reviews:Tekken 3
Story : Set fifteen years after the King of the Iron Fist Tournament 2, the story starts with Jun Kazama, who has been living a quiet life in Yakushima with her young son, Jin, who is the son of Kazuya Mishima. Heihachi Mishima, meanwhile, has established the Tekken Force, an organization dedicated to the protection of the Mishima Zaibatsu. Using the company’s influence, Heihachi is responsible for many events that have ultimately led to world peace. However, while on an excavation in Mexico, a squadron of Heihachi’s Tekken Force is attacked and vanquished by a mysterious being. The only surviving soldier manages to relay a brief message to Heihachi, describing the perpetrator as an “Ogre” or a “Fighting God”. Heihachi and a team of soldiers investigate, with Heihachi managing to catch a glimpse of the culprit. After seeing the Ogre character, Heihachi’s long dormant dream of world domination is reawakened. He seeks to capture Ogre to use him for this goal.
Soon after, various martial arts masters begin disappearing from all over the world, and Heihachi is convinced that this is Ogre’s doing. In Yakushima, Jun starts to feel the presence of Ogre approaching her and Jin. Knowing that she has become a target, Jun tells Jin about Ogre, and instructs him to go straight to Heihachi should anything happen. Sometime after Jin’s fifteenth birthday, Ogre does indeed attack. Against Jun’s wishes, Jin valiantly tries to fight Ogre off, but Ogre brushes him aside and knocks him unconscious. When Jin reawakens, he finds that the house has been burned to the ground, and that his mother is missing and most likely dead. Driven by revenge, Jin goes to Heihachi and tells him everything. Jin begs Heihachi to train him to become strong enough to face Ogre again. Heihachi accepts.
Three years later, Jin grows into an impressive fighter and master of Mishima Style Karate. On Jin’s nineteenth birthday, the King of the Iron Fist Tournament 3 is announced, and Jin prepares for his upcoming battle against Ogre. He is unaware, however, that Heihachi is merely using him and the rest of the competitors as bait to lure Ogre out in order to capture him. Eventually, the tournament leads to the final confrontation between Jin and The God of Fight. Paul Phoenix was successful in defeating Ogre, however, he leaves after winning the match. Unknown to him at the time, Ogre is able to transform into a much more powerful “true” from, known to the players as “True Ogre”. When Jin arrives, he is confronted by this True Ogre form and begins the fight. The battle rages for hours, until Jin finally emerges the victor and Ogre completely dissolves. Moments later, Jin is gunned down by a squadron of Tekken Forces led by Heihachi, who, no longer needing Jin, finishes the job personally by firing a final shot into his grandson’s head.
However, Jin, revived by the Devil Gene within him (because after Jin’s mother had gone missing following an attack from Ogre, Devil returned, branded Jin’s left arm with a mark, possessing him), reawakens and makes quick work of the soldiers, turning his attention to Heihachi and literally smashing him through the wall of the temple. Heihachi survives the long fall, but Jin, in mid-air, sprouts black, feathery wings and strikes Heihachi one last time. He then flies off into the night, leaving his bewildered grandfather staring after him.
Review : The third installment to Namco’s hand-to-hand fighter takes place a whooping 15 years after Tekken 2… As many of the veteran Tekken characters look notably older. Tekken’s gameplay hadn’t changed a whole lot from Tekken to Tekken 2, but Tekken 3 introduced some key gameplay elements that refreshed the gameplay, including the God-send known as the “sidestep”… Finally, Tekken not only looked 3D, but played 3D as well. Along with better character control and noticeably smoother character animations, the most notable addition to the core gameplay this time around is side stepping, which allowed for a new way to dodge attacks. Tapping up or down on the D-pad allows fighters to move around the 3D environments, and dodge their opponent’s attacks if timed properly. The sidestep truly re-invented Tekken’s gameplay system, introducing new strategies like the awesome looking “side throws”. The side throws differed depending on if you caught your opponent on their left or right, and were some of the coolest (and most painful) looking moves in the game… Can you say ouch factor?
Now that the core gameplay was evolving from a 2D plane into a 3D plane, the character development was also able to take a noticeable step forward in Tekken 3. Some intricately designed new fighters have joined the cast, each representing their own unique brand of authentic martial arts. The new characters include a young Tae Kwon Do expert Hwoarang, a cool Capoeira martial artist Eddy Gordo, and a fast and agile Chinese female, Ling Xiaoyu… And finally, Jin Kazama took the place of his father, Kazuya, fighting a lot like his father did in the prequel, but also sporting his fair share of unique moves.
The home version of Tekken 3 for the Sony Playstation was an awesome package and another instant hit, receiving tons of positive reviews from mainstream gaming magazines (including a few perfect 10’s). Not only did the PS1 version of Tekken 3 have slightly sharper visuals than it’s arcade counterpart, the home version was packed with some great bonus modes: ‘Tekken Force’ (a 2D/3D side-scroller beat-em-up where all characters were playable) and the entertaining ‘Tekken Ball’ mode (similar to volleyball, where fighters exchange the ball by using attacks). The home version also featured an epic intro, and a cool Theater mode where you could watch the FMV character endings and also listen to two full soundtracks of the game: Original & Arrange!
Closing Comment: Tekken 3’s PS1 intro is still among my all time favorite intros of any video game… It flowed brilliantly from beginning to end and the music & graphics were simply awesome for the time. The FMV character endings were equally visually impressive but also well thought out, fleshing out Tekken’s cool characters even further. The bonus modes offered a nice break from the intense arcade & VS modes, and all in all Tekken 3 was one of the best (if not the best) console fighting game ever made at the time of it’s release.