Fun, beat em' up, fighting game. Lets you got through a tournament beating the shit out of various other characters.
Has a variety of fighters, each specializing in different martial art. Some are fast, some are strong, but in some way they can all win. There are several different game modes. Force Mode is a beat em' up game like Double Dragon and those kinds of games. Ball mode is another mode useing balls for some reason. Tekken 3 is a fun game. It isn't the best game ever or anything. But it is one of the best fighting games ever.

How can anybody like this game? Ok, stupid question, lots and lots of people do like this game, the sales figures (not to mention the previous two writeups) say it all... I suspect I'm in a minority here...
(The following rampant criticism is based on the PSX version. It may just be that it doesn't compare favourably with arcade games)

Why I intensely dislike this game:

- It may have 21 characters, but 13 of them are hidden. That's more than half. So you have to complete the game 13 times to get them all. Fun.
- The move to block high is to do nothing, but to block low you must pull down. Stupid and inconsistant. Every fighting game since blocking was invented has forced the player to actively block. That was the point. Even Mortal Kombat had a block button. Having to actively block one type of attack, but passively block the other isn't even consistant within the game.
- It's possible to beat the crap out of the AI by using the same move over and over again. It's even possible to beat the crap out of experienced humans by the same method.
(nice ones to try... (pick Hwoarang and hammer either kick button, occasionally walking forward. pick Yoshimitsu and try (-O -O kick)x5 - perfect)
- Combos in tekken don't come about as a side effect of the engine, waiting to be discovered. They're all pre-programmed, with special animations if they're tapped in correctly. Half game, Half Typing Tutor.
- It doesn't look good to a third party. In the hands of anything but the AI, the characters lurch and stumble like they're drunk or stoned or something. They're meant to be the best fighters in the world! They should look impressive from the word go, and get even better with practice (see X-men vs Street Fighter).

For a good 3D timing-based fighter that doesn't throw years of convention out the window, and actually looks impressive to onlookers, play Rival Schools.

I used to like Tekken 3. Lei I'm-not-Jackie-Chan-honest-please-don't-sue Wulong was my favourite character. I knew all the moves, the Karate Kid Crane-thingy, the Bruce Lee posey stances (I detect a theme here), even the great lurch around like you're drunk to confuse the opponent attack (no, really, it's an actual move; it's called the "drunken master", and leads into a powerful punch). I kicked ass. I did occasionally get beaten by girls who had never held a gamepad before who worked out that if they took Hwoarang and hit circle lots they could win (no offense - they did tend to be female). I just put that down to one stupidly unbalanced character. I had played Street Fighter, but not for years. It was old hat.

Then lj got his nice shiny new laptop and started sitting around the living room playing X-Men vs. Street Fighter and Street Fighter Alpha 2 (He was using Final Burn, but he has the system boards, honest... *cough*). I was intrigued. Here was Street Fighter, but new and sexy, with big sprites and even Wolverine at times. I got him to bung me a copy, and borrowed one of his sidewinder pads. I loaded X-Men vs. Street Fighter. I hit insert coin, then start. I picked Ryu ("mr boring") and Cyclops ("the most boring X-man"). (you get to pick two characters, and switch between them. The fight lasts till both drop, one round only.) The old fireball came naturally, the hurricane kick too. Pretty soon I found I could combo. Real combos; ones that took skill and timing, like in Tekken, except that they felt more natural, like you were improvising rather than following a script. Cyclops was easy to use too, fireball for his laser-vision, and just improvise whatever else. I was hooked. I can Dragon Punch now. Sure, I can't make Ryu stumble around like a drunken fool, and he isn't Jackie Chan, but he screams "Hadoken!" like he means it, and nothing beats seeing a dragon punch connect with Guile's chin and his limp body fly across the screen in slow motion as you beat his ass into oblivion.

Tekken is good, but Street Fighter has yet to be beaten. I haven't touched my Playstation in months, but lj would have to fight to get his gamepad back. Not IRL, obviously. We have Street Fighter for that.

One of the cooler aspects of Tekken 3 are the variety of options you have to counter an opponent's attack. In fact, this is one of the first things to learn if you wish to become good at Tekken.

Blocking is fine, if you just want to stand there and wait for your opponent to do a move that'll give you a frame advantage. In that case, please use active blocking (Street Fighter II-style, pulling back or down-back). Passive blocking (holding neutral or down) just doesn't work against certain attacks and attack combinations.

A Tekken god, however, will poke at you incessantly, forcing you to block blow after blow until you screw up and suffer damage, or get on the recieving end of a multithrow since you're turtling so much.

So, what are your other options? Well, there are several:

  • back dash: double tap back, and your character will take a short hop back. Good against close range attacks. (e.g. Jin's Twin Pistons) Poor against long ranged attacks. (e.g. Hwoarang's Torpedo kick) Once your opponent attacks the air futilely at the end of his string, dash in and attack.
  • Sidestep: tap up or down, and your character will take a step to the left or right. Good against straight forward attacks (e.g. Lei's punch rush) Poor against attacks with good tracking. (e.g. Law's Dragon Tail)
  • Reversal: some characters have a reversal move, specific to that character and to the type of attack and attack range. Unfortunately the very best players can execute a move known as a "chicken" which will reverse your reversal.
  • Parry: Similar to a reversal, but is unchickenable and does not attack back automatically. Still puts your opponent off balance, though, and can usually be followed up by one of the faster attacks.
  • Counterhit: Most moves and combinations can be countered by pulling out a quick attack that hits the opponent first. A crouching left hand punch is one such move, but there are plenty of others. In fact, a lot of moves actually change when they land as a counterhit, such as Yoshimitsu's Blade Rush.

There are others, but they are mostly character-specific. (Sway, backflip)

Once the above is mastered, you can go on to range-based play, in which you constantly shift distance and orientation to your opponent to try to force an opening, or poking play, in which you experiment around for quick chains of mixup attacks to confuse and disorient your opponent.

The problem with this system is that once you've learned everything I've discussed above and figured out three to five different ways to deal with each and every attack in everyone's repetoire, and probably wasted three to five years of your life, you'll find that no-one wants to play against you anymore. Well, except the aforementioned Tekken gods, who've risen to juggling play, where they launch you in the air and pound you before you hit the ground.

That's the real problem with Tekken 3. The first step takes more effort than the whole rest of the game.

Name: Tekken 3 (鉄拳3)
Format: Arcade (Namco System 12) and Playstation
Developer: Namco
Publisher: Namco, SCEE (Europe Playstation)
Release Dates: 1997 (Arcade), 3/26/1998 (Japan Playstation), 4/29/1998 (US Playstation), 9/1998 (Europe Playstation)

From the manual:

One day, fifteen years after "The King of Iron First Tournament 2," a communiqué was sent to Heihachi Mishima, the leader of the Mishima Financial Empire. The report brought the ominous news that his "Tekken Forces" had been obliterated after encountering a mysterious being called "Ogre".

Soon after receiving this news, martial arts masters from around the world began disappearing. In the midst of Heihachi's concerns about the missing fighters and Ogre, a young man appeared before him.

His name was Jin Kazama. He claimed to be the son of Kazuya Mishima, whom Heihachi himself had taken to the grave during the last tournament. In a more startling revelation, Jin said that his mother, Jun Kazama, had been attacked by Ogre and vanished.

All of these events convinced Heihachi that Ogre thrived on the powerful souls of the vanished masters. He also believed that harnessing Ogre's powers could bring immense strength to the Mishima Empire.

And thus Heihachi taught the art of Mishima Style Fighting Karate to young Jin. Jin's discipline and abilities were strengthened like steel under the intense training, driven by the desire for revenge upon the beast that took his mother's life.

Four years have passed, and Heihachi acknowledges Jin's impressive fighting prowess.

And now, he announces "The King of Iron First Tournament 3" - with Jin as a lure to draw Ogre out into the open.

The Plot:

Much time had passed since the last tournament and there never would have been a third one if Heihachi's excavations in Mexico had not awakened the "God of Fight." The mysterious creatures wiped out the excavation team and the rescue forces sent in. Heihachi had hoped for containment but knew it couldn't be done with guns and soldiers.

Many masters could sense the impending danger, the demon hunting for their souls. Jun Kazama was one of them. She told Jin that if anything happened to her, to seek out his grandfather and train with him. Within that month, on a cold, stormy night Ogre came to their isolated mountain home. Jin ran into the forest, hearing only his mother fighting the demon. He ran and ran until he knew little else. Darkness and cold engulfed him. He woke in the morning, shivering and wet, to find that where his house once stood was now a blackened scar upon the earth. His spirit burned for revenge and so he went to his grandfather.

After four years of training, Jin is 19 years old and ready for the next tournament. Heihachi claims that the creature that killed Jin's mother will be there. Heihachi fails to mention that Ogre will only be drawn there to consume them all.

The prize: The Mishima Family Empire itself. The cost: Your life.

The Main Characters:

Each character fits into the main plot in some way. Most have lost their previous drive or replaced by their offspring but they all have their reasons for entering the tournament.

  • Jin Kazama: Son of Kazuya Mishima and Jun Kazama. Wishes to avenge his mother by defeating Ogre.
  • Ling Xiaoyu: Wants to win the tournament to build an amusement park in China.
  • Hworang: Wants to avenge his master, Baek, who was killed by Ogre, and defeat Jin who beat (and embarassed) him in a previous fight.
  • Eddy Gordo: His father was killed and he was framed by an organized crime syndicate. Eddy wants to gain control of the Mishima Empire to fight the "Organization."
  • Forest Law: Son of Marshall Law. Got dragged into the tournament by Paul Phoenix but now looking forward to proving himself.
  • Paul Phoenix: Lost in the second tournament and still hungry for a retry at age 46.
  • Lei Wulong: Detective investigating a possible link between the disappearances and the tournament.
  • King (the 2nd): Raised in an orphanage owned by the original King, he also fights to avenge his master's death at the hands of Ogre.
  • Nina Williams: Awakened from cryostasis by Ogre's presence, she remembers little and wants only to assassinate Jin Kazama and end the Mishima bloodline.
  • Yoshimitsu: Needs Ogre's blood to save Dr. Boskonovitch who saved his life previously.
The side characters:
  • Kuma: Wants to kill Paul. Gets very aggravated by the sight of Paul's red karate gi.
  • Panda: Bodyguard of Ling Xiaoyu. Kuma has a crush on her but she doesn't feel the same way.
  • Julia: Raised by Michelle Chang. Traveled to Japan to find Michelle after her disappearance.
  • Gun Jack: Assembled by Jane who was rescued by Jack-2. She needs files from Mishima to restore his kindness and so brought the prototype Gun Jack to the tournament for "testing."
  • Mokujin: Training dummy made from 2000-year-old tree. Began moving on his own when Ogre arrived.
  • Bryan Fury: Once an international cop, his corpse has been reanimated by Dr. Abel, rival of Dr. B. He has been sent to the tournament to kill Yoshimitsu.
  • Anna Williams: Was frozen alongside her sister but retained all her memories. She wants to help her sister remember her past life.
System:

Tekken has a very complicated fighting system. I'm not sure where it stands relative to Virtua Fighter since I've haven't played it much but I believe they are both definitely in the same area. There are no super chi blasts here and button mashing will not be tolerated.

Basics: You have a joystick that generally controls movement and four attack buttons, Left and Right Punch and Left and Right Kick. A variety of moves result from various button and joystick combinations.

Movement: Your character can inch, walk, dash, or run. It all depends on how you handle the stick. A momentary press will allow you to subtly close the gap while an imperative tap will send you careening into battle. You can also crouch and move while ducking (crouch-dashing is very important in this game) as well as hop forward or back. Tekken 3 was the first in the Tekken series to give every character a distinct sidestep move by tapping down or up. Previously, only a boss character had a sidestep and others had to rely on slight movements from various spinning kicks and such.

Combat: Here's where things get rather messy.

  • The game distinguishes between holding the joystick and tapping the joystick. Some characters have one move when you tap towards and right punch and a different one when you hold towards and tap right punch.
  • Timing makes a difference. Tapping towards, waiting a moment, then pressing an attack is different from tapping towards and attack at the same time.
  • Different characters react differently. Not all of them are the same size. Some hold larger areas of personal space than others. This affects collision and thus comboing.
  • Many characters have different stances they can take which allow for different moves. Lei Wulong is famous for being the multi-style kung-fu master of the game.
  • Moves can not only carry your forward and back but side to side as well. You may find a combo that when it misses, takes you to an opponent's side so that if they counter too soon they will run right past you.
  • Some characters have counter moves. They will grab the opponents offending limb and injure it. Some can counter these counters.
  • Certain moves will launch a character into the air allowing them to be pummeled mercilessly before they hit the ground.
  • Opponents can be staggered causing them to stumble backwards, which may give you precious moments for your next attack or it may nudge them out of range of your swings.
  • Many movements can be cancelled in mid-execution to throw your opponent off.
An interesting bit that is was unique to the Tekken series is that all characters have a neutral guard. If the joystick is not being pressed and your character is not performing a move, you will block most punches and kicks. However, some moves require an active block to defend which is done by holding back on the joystick. A low block corresponds to back and down on the joystick. A standing block covers high and mid attacks and a crouching block covers only low attacks. Some attacks are unblockable!

Combos: All characters have at least one pre-programmed combo, usually referred to as a ten-string, memorize these for defensive purposes, then (almost) never use them. Most have delays in them that allow them to be countered if your enemy knows how the combo progresses.

The most useful type of combo is the juggle combo. One move knocks your enemy into the air allowing you to hit them with moves that would never combo normally. A good player can usually do close to 50% damage regularly. This is limited by the fact that the physics engine is designed so that each successive hit bounces the person farther along as the damage racks up.

Some Playing Lingo: (not necessarily unique to Tekken players)
Turtling: Playing defensively and only striking after your opponent misses an attack.
Poking: Using jabs to interrupt your opponent’s attacks. Usually gives you a moment to combo them for more damage. Or you could kill them solely with jabs to be an ass.
Jinking: Dancing around using the dashes and sidesteps. You are hoping that your opponent will miss since you may be so busy dodging that you won't be ready to block when necessary.

At lower skill levels most of the strategy and nifty moves are unimportant. You need to know basically what your character can do, the range of their moves, what your opponent can do, and when they are vulnerable. At higher levels, you will have specific strategies for use against certain CPU characters. However, in high-level matches between to humans, both people are fully capable at using their character and are fully knowledgeable of what their enemy can do. This brings the game to a new level. Each player must out-think the other since they can't out play each other on a reflex/reaction level. Much in the way a good chess player will limit your options and control the game, each Tekken master tries to force the other into bad situations.

Epilogue ("spoiler"):

In the ziggurat where Ogre was first released, Jin strikes the final blow to Ogre's monstrous true form and as he takes a moment to catch his breath, Ogre's body begins to disintegrate, releasing the souls trapped within. He only gets a few seconds to enjoy the feeling that his mother is avenged before Mishima soldiers open fire. Heihachi, who has recovered thanks to Ogre's defeat, fires the final shot into Jin's body. Heihachi begins to leave to let his men gather up the body and wait for the research teams to arrive. A soldier sails through the air past him and into a stone column. Heihachi steels himself and turns to face Jin whose Devil blood from his father has been awakened. Jin charges Heihachi with blinding speed, grabs his face as if his head were a basketball and sends him through one of the temple's stone walls. Heihachi plummets to the ground below as Jin grows wings and dives after him. Jin knee-drops onto his grandfather and sails off into the night, leaving Heihachi to salvage his plans for world domination.

Names:

Tekken (鉄拳): literaly "Iron Fist". The last character is the same "ken" from "ha-do-ken" and "sho-ryu-ken."
Jin Kazama (風間 仁): His first name means "virtuous" and his last name "time of wind."
Heihachi Mishima (三島 平八): His first name can mean "peaceful eight" or "even eight", I don't know what the eight refers to. The last name means "three islands."
Toushin (Ogre) (闘神): "Fighting God"
Mokujin (木人): "Wooden man"

Extras:

The Playstation version offers new play modes, new characters, and new costumes. Tekken Ball allows you to play a combination volley ball/dodge ball with a friend or CPU opponent. You kick and punch a bouncing ball back and forth and take damage if it strikes you or if it hits the ground in your court. Tekken Force mode recreates some of the joy of old beat 'em ups (Streets of Rage, Final Fight) but is hampered by unruly controls. If you beat Tekken Force mode repeatedly, you can unlock Dr. Boskonovitch as a playable (but very strange) character. The lovable dinosaur Gon can be unlocked through play. You will be frustrated by his small size and amused by his farts and fireballs. Also, Eddy can be played as disco king Tiger complete with giant Afro.

Tekken 3 is one of the only Playstation games that can be played on the Dreamcast using the bleem! emulator. You must have a copy of bleemcast! for Tekken 3.

The game can be very complex and intimidating but a well-played round of Tekken is like watching your favorite martial arts movie with all the bone-crunching sound effects and shiver-inducing limb breaks.

Sources: gamefaqs.com, tekkenzaibatsu.com, klov.com, playing the game for way too long.
Feel free to throw your two cents my way via a /msg. Do not get angry if I keep your two cents and use them to make a wish in a fountain.

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