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SummaryA giant step forward for the Tekken series
The GoodThe gameplay is really great. Unlike the previous games in the series, which are quite clunky, Tekken 3 is very fluid and makes moves and combos very easy to execute. There's lots of ways of moving around, especially since this installment added a sidestep, some characters even have moves they can do out of a side step. One thing unique to Tekken is that the buttons are assigned to limbs rather than attack types like punch or kick. This puts the focus more on button combinations rather than complex joystick motions, which is great in my opinion. There's more to defending than your usual blocking or evading, it's possible for some character to parry or counter moves and some characters even have special parries in their moves, for example when Lei goes into drunken stance, he parries mid/high punches, while his panther stance parries low moves and his tiger stance parries mid/high moves. Some moves also have special properties, making Tekken 3 a really deep game, though not as deep as say the Virtua Fighter games.
Tekken also has a character for any type of player. Scrubs will pick Eddy and mash, but just as any other good fighting game, anyone who is proficient at the game can easily beat mashers. There are characters who are good for beginners like Paul, Jin or Law, characters who are for people looking for a steep learning curve like Lei or Yoshimitsu and middle of the road characters like King or Nina.
Players with different play styles will also easily be able to pick their characters, with powerhouse characters picking Paul or Gun Jack, pokers picking Nina, Anna or Xiaoyu, grapplers picking King who not only has a lot of throws, but along with Nina and Anna has quite a few chain throws as well. There's also the unique Yoshimitsu, who has a lot of unblockables due to having a sword, who can sit and jump around on his sword, fly short distances with his helicopter attacks, regain his health by doing a sitting dance and burp poison mist into their faces! For the most Yoshimitsu fun, I recommend teleporting behind your opponent and back throwing them OR doing his seppuku move which can take his opponent down with him! Most of these moves are impractical though, but when you do manage to pull them off however...
All characters also have a lot of moves, the most impressive move set being that of Lei Wulong, who has unique moves spread through 5 Animal stances, drunken stance, phoenix stance, 4 grounded stances and back turned stance.
The game also offers a lot of modes. Arcade and Vs modes being your standard modes, Team mode which allows for 8vs8 character fights, Survival mode which tests your skills to see how many characters you can beat with only one life bar, Time Attack which tests your skills to see how much time you need to finish the game, Tekken Ball where two characters battle it out by hitting a beach ball against each other that is powered by launchers and Tekken Force, which is a short beat-em-up mini-game.
The graphics are one of the best on the Playstation, with excellent animations, detailed fighters and arenas, even though the arcade version is slightly better in that respect. The CGI cutscenes are also very impressive for it's time.
The sound design is very well done, the sound effects really help make powerful moves seem powerful. The music, while in my opinion nowhere near as good as Tekken 2, is still very well done and songs fit their respective characters really well. You also have an option to switch from the rearranged music to the original arcade music, which I myself find better.
The BadThe plot is your standard fighting game excuse plot, some god awakens and several martial arts masters go missing, so Heihachi organizes a tournament to find out who can beat him or whatever. Then again why would anyone play a fighting game for the plot? No seriously, if you want a good plot go play Silent Hill 2.
The Tekken Force mode, while it is very interesting and would lay a foundation for the sequel's similar modes, has it's faults. First of all you can't go back more than the position in which the screen has scrolled. Second of all, you can't choose which character to face, so if you get attacked by two guys from different sides, it's impossible to defend from the one behind you. Third and last of all, the boss at the end of the stage can go off screen, which means that you can't hit them there until they come back.
I also dislike the 2 extra characters that aren't in the arcade version, Gon and Dr. B. Gon, while short has slow and useless attacks which make him easy to beat and Dr. B is the only character the AI makes challenging because he can most of the time only be hit with moves that can hit grounded opponents and he's really slippery. Dr. B is also impossible to control yourself and I've yet to see anyone, in real life or on the internet, who can control him reliably.
The AI isn't too great either, it can be good when you're new to the game, but it's way too predictable and easy to punish once you master it. In the arcades, nobody wants to play against the AI, it's better just to learn from experience with someone else or if you really have to practice some moves or combos, there's practice mode. So the only time you'd play against the AI is to unlock all the characters. Speaking of which, Tekken 3 has the worst boss AI in the series, especially True Ogre who can easily consistently be perfectly beaten once you know how to punish the fact that he's a big guy.