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Test : Tekken 3 on the PS1

Born in arcade kiosks in 1993 with Virtua Fighter, the 3D fighting game is now an honorable and emancipated member of the great family of the virtual mandal, uninhibited especially vis-à-vis his eternal big brother all sprites dressed. In parallel with its brilliant career in the gaming rooms, it is on the first Playstation of the name that this register has gained its nobility thanks to the various efforts of softs as prestigious as Tobal, Bushido Blade, Soul Blade or Bloody Roar. Everyone has used various arguments ranging from integrated quest mode to the possibility of turning his fighter into fierce animal … Somewhere in the middle of all this small world, Tekken. A series that, without having managed to be loved by all, the blame gameplay deemed bastard by the most picky, s’ is still imposed as one of the biggest bestsellers in the history of the console. A sure value with growing interest, until the advent of this third album holding both the record of sales and popularity among fans

Leaving behind two episodes founders but already aging, designers at Namco decide to make this third edition a worthy suite, a real revival for the series that would keep the spirit and the gameplayparticular. As a result, each of the subfunds of the title has been revised more or less important, always for the better. More nervous, richer, more varied and above all much more beautiful, Tekken returns to us transfigured. The gameplay itself, while remaining faithful to the principles inaugurated by the first opus (two keys dedicated to the attacks to the fists, the two others reserved to the kicks), makes a big leap forward in terms of rhythm and flexibility. Exit the jousting games,Forceps, the gain in dynamism impresses. And this despite being condemned to the very painful 50 Hz mode (this is one of the main criticisms we can make to the Playstation PAL version of Tekken 3). No doubt fans of the arcade terminal had to return to their stick … Still, even deprived of these ten valuable hertz, the game has a constant framerate and whatever one says, a speed considerably increased compared to his elders. Another major change, visual order: the scale of fighting seems to have been revised upwards, the characters now occupying a large space on the screen for much more striking clashes. Much more than a simple detail, it is a remarkable idea, perfectly implemented and in total adequation with the net renewal of vitality assumed by the camera.

The title screen of Tekken 3
The title screen and its different modes.

The combat system sees on its side the expected appearance of sidesteps. It is a side step that not only allows you to dodge an enemy attack with style, but also to trigger new ones that exploit this providential movement, which can also be performed on one side or on the other. ‘other. Finally, it allows two new types of choppes made from the left flank and right of the opponent, in addition to those that can be performed from the front or behind. If the mobility remains relatively small (far from a Bushido Blade for example), the clashes are no less real changed. On the other hand, we note the introduction of a multitude of combat poses, put at the service of some fighters such as Lei, Xiaoyu or Yoshimitsu. Specific postures whose use is often risky but which offer a panoply of new techniques often particularly vicious and disturbing, the counterpart residing in the fact of not being able to block the attacks while adopting one of these positions. For the rest, theGameplay own to the series remains fairly faithful to itself. It is indeed accessible and off-the-cuff for casual players thanks to many sequences and a grip rather instinctive, and rich enough and technical to satisfy the most demanding, especially in this third installment in view of the novelties discussed above . However, we regret the embarrassing absence of real challenge – even in difficult mode – noted when you acquire a minimum of control. Blame it on a predictable and inevitably limited IA . The two player mode is happy, however, is there to compensate for this deficiency.

Characters of Tekken 3 on the Playstation
Jin and Hwoarang, two of the 21 characters in the game.

No less than 19 fighters, plus two well hidden, are gathered in this opus and ready to give everything they have of technique and brute force to win the supreme title of the Steel Fist Tournament. A slightly lower total than that of Tekken 2 (which amounted to 23) but still very honorable. The casting has in any case the merit of avoiding to a large extent the recurring syndrome of the characters “clones”. These duplicates whose handling varies little and yet each occupy a place in the selection menu. On the other hand, it introduces many new heads and thus completely new fighting styles. Among these newcomers, some are content to retrain the panoply of blows of their parent or mentor, not without taking the trouble to enrich and revitalize it in passing. This is the case of Forest Law, Julia Chang, Gun Jack or King. When others do not hesitate to practice martial arts never seen in the series, or unprecedented in the world of video games. Here, we immediately think of Eddy Gordo, a fan of the exotic and spectacular sport of capoeira. Jin Kazama offers an interesting synthesis between the style of self-defense exercised by his mother Jun, and the traditional Karate of the Mishima lineage taught to him by his grandfather Heihachi. Hwoarang is the Korean taekwondoist of the group, flexible and powerful, it is inspired by the dusting of the technique of legs of his master Baek. Ling Xiaoyu, the frivolous schoolgirl, uses a combination of Chinese arts of Hakke Sho and Hikka Ken which makes it a protagonist rather technical and pleasant to handle, although rather weak. Finally, Bryan Fury combines speed and impact power with his impressive kick boxing.

Screenshot of Tekken 3
It is possible to prevent an enemy from touching the ground by beating him at a good time.

In addition to this new blood full of energy and ambition, we can always count on the strong presence of veterans Heihachi Mishima, Paul Phoenix, Lei Wulong, Yoshimitsu, Nina Williams and his sister Anna. Let’s also mention Ogre, the bossend of this episode which, having absorbed the souls of some of the most powerful warriors on the planet (including Baek and Jun), uses in combat a kind of compromise between their different styles with a formidable efficiency, not missing to add his personal touch based on supernatural powers. To finish with the chapter of the characters, let us present the most eccentric fighters we will be given to handle in Tekken 3. Let’s start with Mokujin, wooden rustic puppet animated by an unknown force and whose only occupation is to imitate randomly his peers with infallible accuracy. Even more improbable in the context of the tournament, Gon, the excellent dinosaur of the mangaka Masashi Tanaka whose smallness is matched only by the weakness of his reach. And then Boskonovich, prolific scientist with recurring appearances in the series – he is the creator of the first models of the robot Jack – whose difficult and clumsy control must not fail to cringe many players (the good doctor spending three quarters of his time lying down) on the ground). In this regard, a single address to get the most out of each protagonist: Practice mode, which for the occasion has been completely redesigned and now offers many additional tests and options. Freestyle, training against the computer, assisted rehearsal for sequences of ten shots, ability to make your own replays … Difficult to ask more.

In terms of content, Tekken 3 is pretty strong overall by offering a number of modes of play. The great classics first, with an Arcade mode quite faithful to the homonymous terminal where we connect the ten stages until the final confrontation (not so formidable that one might have expected although the first form of Ogre is surprisingly more dangerous than the second). Then, outside the Versus mode already mentioned, we find the famous Time Attack, Survival and Team Battle, the latter offering the possibility of organizing mini-tournaments with up to eight participants per team. Among the original modes, those which appear at the level of the novelties brought by this opus, is first of all the Tekken Force which takes the form ofvery nice, with four fairly short levels but well supplied by opponents and which always ends with a bossfight(each time one of the main protagonists of the game). In this mode, we will reproach a static camera especially in enemy encounters that often hinders the action. We also discover the Tekken Ball, unlocked after some victories in Arcade and we place on what is similar to a beach volleyball field to play a match of the said sport. The idea may seem absurd, let us point out that it is actually, as in a classic fight, to reduce to zero the bar of life of the opponent but by propelling him this time the balloon charged with energy to the hurt. The other way is to send it behind the opposing line without being intercepted. Fun time for a few sessions, this test is still rather anecdotal.

Tekken 3 - Screenshot
Tekken 3 – Screenshot

But beyond all that has been mentioned so far, what we will remember perhaps essentially Tekken 3 is the atmosphere it emits. Or more exactly, his strong character, rock in his soul, in sharp rupture with his two elders much colder and impersonal. This episode is then imposed as the episode “punk” of the franchise, the ugly duckling who freed himself without complex infantile inhibitions of his predecessors – symbol of the rebellious adolescence of the series in a way. A brutal awakening that shakes both the gameplay(as said before) and the scenario, since the game is set 19 years after the second tournament and presents a whole new generation of fighters. This revival of healthy vitality is also felt at the level of the graphic realization and the soundtrack (the latter wants to be very oriented rock, naturally). Also, the fairly neutral and often natural environments of the previous stages give way to a series of more urban and dirty decorations (vacant lot with tagged walls, industrial zone, HLM, street, carousel … in addition to the traditional landscapes, temples and other dojos). This makes us regret that more bitterly the absence of less and less tolerable animations or even the least spectator in these different places, against all logic. Nothing serious, that said. Especially since in the together, Tekken 3 remains undoubtedly as the game of 3D fighting the most graphically finished console, achieving a virtually flawless performance at the technical level. A new title, unassailable in most areas and which stands out as the authentic awaited since the very first Tekken.

The notes

  • Graphics 18/20

    Between an exceptional quality of animation, a modeling of an exemplary finesse and a fluidity with any test, Tekken 3 represents what is done of technically better in the fight against 3D on Playstation. One can still deplore the recourse, once again, pre-calculated backgrounds without limits and the least effervescence. This aspect also causes a rather conspicuous discrepancy between the ground (3D surface) and the background landscape, but it is rather the whim of a realization of this quenching. The cinematics in computer graphics, superb, have largely contributed to the reputation of Namco in this area. If you do not have to like it, the game has a real graphic identity.

  • Playability 17/20

    Without fundamentally renewing itself, the gameplay clearly moves up a gear in this episode, gaining both ease and intensity. The fact of finally being able to exploit the playing area in depth thanks to the steps of the side is obviously not for nothing, as is the ability to perform juggle combos (keeps the opponent in the air) really deadly . We will also appreciate the large number of martial arts represented as well as the list of shots ever wider. If it is still far from equaling the technicality of a Virtua Fighter or the originality of a Tobal, Tekken 3 remains the ideal compromise between these different approaches. Only downside, but size: 50Hz mode imposed.

  • Life time 15/20

    The big score of characters that the software proposes to embody already assures a practice of the modes Arcade, Survival, Team Battle and Training. Among these fighters, ten are available from the start while the second half must be unlocked via Arcade mode. Then, the beat’em up (Tekken Force) and beach volleyball (Tekken Ball) sessions try as much as they can to bring some variety to the ensemble, a laudable intention despite the imperfections they entail and their interest reduced over the long term. Finally, the two-player mode remains the essential engine of the life expectancy of such a game, especially if one looks for a challenge at the height (the three modes of difficulty being in this respect sufficient).

  • Soundtrack 16/20

    Successful cross between a gentile punk rock studded with bass guitar riffs and an electro light sitting on very fat beats, the music of Tekken 3 surprise the faith by their unity and their artistic coherence with the rest of the game. complex and catchy, giving a heavy and quite powerful sound. Without going so far as to cry out to genius, one can not decently reproach the game for its lack of audacity and inspiration in this precise field. The sounds related to impacts, more numerous than before, are they voluntarily exaggerated and accompany the games perfectly. Still no dialogues doubled on the other hand, even if it is a detail of which one goes easily.

  • Summary
    The scripting gap that exists between Tekken 2 and 3 (almost two decades) makes it possible to place a new generation of characters on the front of the stage, which also results in the disappearance of some important figures of the first two parts, Kazuya in the lead . The main thread, which revolves around the resurrection of a power-hungry Mexican divinity and in search of strong souls, perfectly fulfills its office and is accompanied as usual by the individual motivations of each participant. We especially appreciate the fact, it’s new, to be able to watch the many cinematic scenes of the title, available in the Theater mode as well as all the musical themes.

In retrospect, we could say that Tekken 3 is Tekken 2 what the fourth part is the episode Tag: a violent and saving slap, a title that has not hesitated to shake the small world of the 3D fighting game by imposing both his style and his dynamism. Charismatic game if any, this Tekken third of the name is the episode of maturity and renewal, thanks to less rigid mechanisms, a rich content and a more assured approach. Far from being a dusty relic, today Tekken 3 appears as dashing and playable as it has always been, a true concentrate of youth and electric violence. He remains remembered as one of the greatest exponents of his class until Soul Calibur shock, and probably the most memorable episode of the series in the eyes of many players. A summit of its kind.

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