Discovering a Classic
When I was 14, I had two options: spend my last childhood summer making everlasting memories or get a job. Luckily, the arcade / drug den down at the mall was willing to take on a 14 year old kid, along with a toothless ex-prostitute!
While this experience certainly altered the course of my life forever, one of the more subtle impacts it had on me was being introduced to the King of Iron First Tournament, otherwise known as Tekken.
Before getting my first job wearing a stank-ass purple shirt and dishing out candies to children in exchange for Skee-Ball tickets, Tekken was always that cheap looking machine at the movie theater that was just looking to cash in on the 3D craze. During the 16 bit era, the fighting scene was extremely saturated after the successes of Street Fighter II and Mortal Kombat. When the jump to 3D came, this looked to be just more of the same.
One of the perks of working in this shit-hole was a daily allowance of tokens, about two dollars worth, to try out the machines we pimped out to kids and creepy adults. Most of the time, I would drop these into Daytona USA and NFL Blitz, consistently overlooking the Tekken 3 machine.
One day while my friend and I were farting around Toys R Us, he started playing a demo of Tekken 3 on the PlayStation. I played against him, and everything about Tekken finally clicked for me. I took home a copy of the game which has remained in my collection to this day.
As time moved on, I started playing the Tekken 3 cabinet more and creamed my pants when they unleashed Tekken Tag Tournament. A PS2 had been on my radar, but when TTT was announced as a launch title, it became a must own.
Today, my favorite fighting game of all time flip-flops between Street Fighter II and Tekken 3. Both are standards of when either the 2D or 3D fighting game truly showed its capability.
There were plenty before them and there were technically superior titles afterwards, but these two reached gaming Nirvana without being bogged down by the numerous bells and whistles that are added to keep the experience “fresh” in the eyes of gamers.
Counting To Five
When Tekken 4 came out, it was decent enough, but lacking any real WOW that made the third installment so memorable. The only thing I remember from this one, in fact, was fighting an old man in a diaper.
A few short years later, Namco realized the errors of their way and released Tekken 5 for the PS2, a kick-ass fighting game in its own right that also contained arcade ports of the first three games in the Tekken series.
While the first Tekken game is a relic of a long ago time of primitive 3D graphics, the second installment is a considerable step-up, and, as I previously mentioned, the third is an effing masterpiece. Furthermore, the arcade version of Tekken 3 is thankfully free of the stupid dinosaur and old man character that stick out like a speck of clean flesh in my otherwise shit-stained ass-crack.
Along with three arcade perfect ports of these games, gamers are treated to playing StarBlade during the loading screen, and this title can also be unlocked via the “Devil Within” mode which is a Streets of Rage style beat-em-up using the characters from the main game. “Devil Within” is a fun diversion but not fluid enough to make revisiting it worth your time once you’ve unlocked what you can from this mode.
Discounting the four arcade games available on the disc, the main game would be worth the price of admission on its own. As with most fighting games, there is a Story Mode for each character, and with these game featuring over 30 characters in total, players will be spending a lot of time in this mode if they want to see every cut scene and unlock every available character.
The most welcome addition to this version is Arcade Mode and was ripped off from the previous Virtua Fighter games. In this mode, players level up their character by fighting increasingly harder opponents.
As they gain in level, the earnings from each victory also increase, and the in-game currency can be used to modify the character’s appearance. It does a good job of simulating the arcade experience in a game lacking online support. When this game was released, online support may have been preferable, but in today’s world where the servers would have been long ago shutdown, this is a great option.
Graphically, few games are going to look as good on the PS2. When Tekken Tag Tournament launched with the system, I was blown away by how improved the game looked from Tekken 3 on the PlayStation One. However, compared to Tekken 5, TTT’s graphics are bland and uninspired and shows are developers learned to fully harness the system’s power of its lifespan.
Overall, if you have ever played a Tekken game before, you’ll feel right at home playing this one. The moves most associated with particular characters are still present. If there are any drawbacks, it might be that the new characters get lost in the shuffle. I can’t recall if the Blade ripoff made his first appearance in this game or not, and Eddy Gordo has been gender swapped for Christie, another Capoeira fighter with a minimal amount of clothing covering her breasts.
Cash In Those Pennies
Oddly enough, Tekken games do not tend to hold much value, despite being some of the best games on their respective systems. Today, a copy of Tekken 5 can be picked up for about ten bucks for the PS2 which is a steal on the level of that fat bitch Pam down the road and my heart. Given that Tekken 3 goes for roughly the same price, it’s a no-brainer to pick up the PS2 version and have arguably the three best games in the series on one disc.
If you’re a cheap-ass gamer like me, this disc will give you hours of playtime. I justify my video game purchases using a formula I developed while working in the arcade. Back then, my minimum wage salary was a little over $5.00 an hour, so if I spent $40.00 on a game, I would need to play it for at least eight hours to feel like I had gotten my money’s worth. In the last few weeks I have put in a good chunk of my playing time on Tekken 5, recouping my “investment” on this game multiple times over.