Review by Tosh

"Is Tekken Tag Tournament the best PS2 title to date? Yes!"

On Wednesday afternoon a belated UPS truck pulled into my driveway. Inside its chambers was none other than Tekken Tag Tournament for the PS2. This being only my third PS2 title, you can imagine my excitement. I tore into the padded manila envelope and pulled out Tekken. I then proceeded to turn on the TV and slide the game into the tray. What happened next was nothing short of amazing...

From the opening intro to the very last ending, this game never disappoints. The intro has some of the best rendering I have ever seen. The car wreck... the eyes... the guns... everything is amazing. The gameplay graphics are also wonderful. Every character looks incredible. Their outfits move very nicely, accurately displaying what type of clothing it is - be it leather, silk or cotton. The game's graphics thrive on these kinds of details. You can see their teeth through their sometimes open mouths, watch their hands clench and un-clench and have your character's hair blown in the wind when a move is performed. Just try King's figure-four-leg-lock on somebody and watch the cringe on the receiving parties' face and you will know exactly what I am talking about. The stages have a lot of details also. In some stages there are crowds cheering you on. In another there is a huge martial arts class taking place in the background (very Enter the Dragon). There are also different climates in stages. Fights will take place in the sunset, a snowstorm (of varying degrees), at night and there even lightning flashing in one of the backgrounds.

The only disappointment is the music. The music tracks are at some points inappropriate. It just seems very uninspired throughout. The quality of the sound however, is very high. The sound effects are also very nice. Very crisp hit connection sounds and different sounds for different environments. For instance, with Jun, walking on the floor in the dojo will yield a heel on wood sound. Whereas when you knock someone down on the steel, it sounds as if they are actually landing on steel beams. In the temple stage, footsteps and yells from the fighters echo down the hall. Again, like the graphics, there are many details in the sound effects.

I don't think there is much to say about the control. In a word, it is perfect. It plays as well as you would imagine. I really wish that I could say more about the game's control, but it is just that good. However I would suggest getting one of Namco's arcade sticks. They are of very high quality and I prefer it to the Dual Shock 2. Of course, this is a matter of preference.

Game modes include; Arcade, Vs. Battle, Team Battle, Time Attack, Survival, One on One, Practice, Tekken Bowl, Theater and Gallery. One on One is simply TTT without the Tag element. Bowling and Gallery will be discussed in the next paragraph. The practice mode is quite nice. You can select from ''Freestyle'', ''vs. CPU'', “Chain Training”, and “Combo Training”. All but chain training are self-explanatory. In chain training, the CPU displays a move on the screen. When you successfully complete the move, it displays another. After ten or so moves, the training is done and you get a time reading – similar to time attack. It isn't very in-depth, but it is good for beginners or if you want to learn a few moves for characters you don't normally play.

For all of you out there who need secrets/unlockables in a game, this is your game. When first turned on, only 20 of the available 34 characters are selectable – this number does not include the Kuma/Pandas, the Mokujin/ Tetsujins etc. You need to earn all of the other characters by beating the game in arcade mode. When you are half way through with the original cast, you also earn bowling mode. It isn't terribly deep, but it is good for a little break in the action. Each character has different bowling styles. Some even have a laser-sight; Bryan and Gun-Jack come to mind. Unknown, the last boss, also becomes a playable character. At some point you also get gallery mode. This mode allows you to take a screenshot anywhere during gameplay when the game is paused and then go into the gallery to look at your photographs.

In the end, I would say that this is my favorite PS2 title to date. One word of caution though. This is a Tekken game. So if you did not like any of the previous incarnations, you won't like this one. It plays extremely well and is possibly the most graphically advanced game for any home system. So, if you have a PS2 and don't have this game - what are you waiting for? Go out and buy this game right now.

If you would like a numeric breakdown of my review, well here it is…
Gameplay – 10… Graphics – 10… Sound – 6… Replay Value – 8… Overall – 9

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 04/11/00, Updated 04/11/00

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