Review: Tekken 3 (~5 hours)

Tekken 3 is my first exposure to the Tekken series, and put briefly, it’s fun. I didn’t realize what a big deal this release is. Tekken 3 the third best selling fighting game of all time, behind Super Smash Bros. Brawl and Super Smash Bros. for 3DS. Having spent ample time with Smash Bros., Street Fighter, and now Tekken, there is no wrong way to make a fighting game.

Tekken 3 takes place in a 3D ring. A simple tap up or down on the D-Pad has you side step into the third dimension. Moves are simple to execute, especially compared to a game like Street Fighter. You have two punch buttons, and two kick buttons. Press a punch and a kick at the same time, and if you’re close enough to your opponent, you do a throw. Combos are made by either pressing a button more than once, or by making a button press before another button press. It’s really simple.

As someone who spent a lot of time with Super Smash Bros. Melee, I can say Smash Bros. is a more technical game than this. There’s a light attack, heavy attack, jump and double jump, a throw button, and a block button. Items add a new modifier to the mix. I think Smash Bros. is more fun, but I do have fondness for the characters. I’m making a paragraph about this because if your thinking of playing a fighting game, especially with at least one friend, weigh your options.

I played Arcade Mode with every one of the ten main characters. There isn’t a lot of distinction between how they play, but I found Law to be the best fighter to play as. Arcade mode is ten matches. The first eight are selectable characters, the ninth is Heihatchi, and I’ll leave the tenth a mystery. Each character has their own FMV (full motion video) sequence after Arcade Mode is won. Playing Arcade Mode unlocks new characters. Just make sure you’re saving in Options so the game remembers.

There are a lot of unlockable characters, including Heihatchi. I unlocked every fighter in Arcade Mode, save for one, which was in a different mode. Of course, there’s a Vs. Mode for two players, and a Practice Mode to work on moves. Beyond this, modes get really boring. There is a Team Battle Mode, where you select how many players are on a team (between one and eight), and face equally as many players randomly. There’s Survival Mode, which tests how far you can go on one bar of health.

Here are the two interesting modes. Tekken Ball Mode, which is beach volleyball with punches and kicks. Gon (the dinosaur), the only character I hadn’t unlocked yet, made an appearance. On my third try in the mode, I defeated Gon, and the Tekken 3 roster was complete. Finally, there’s Tekken Force Mode. Wouldn’t you know it, they made a side-scrolling beat-em-up like Streets of Rage or Final Fight. Enemies are named Hawk, Falcon, and Owl, and you stumble upon chicken dinners to boost health. There are four levels, and a final boss. Not as fun as the classics, but I appreciate the attempt.

As of the date of this post, we are up to Tekken 7, and it’s no longer exclusive to PlayStation. I’m glad it’s still around. In playing Tekken 3, I didn’t have to memorize button combinations like in Street Fighter, and balancing issues aren’t as problematic as they are in Smash Bros. At the same time, the combat is pretty basic, and there’s a lot of fluff with boring modes. Sooner or later, you’ll want to put the controller down.


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