Review by Mysterious_Bob
If you love fighting games and have a PS2, I'll assume TTT is already in your collection. If not, shame on you.
To celebrate the launch of Tekken 5 in the US, here is a review of Tekken Tag Tournament. (I still need to wait months before T5 is released here in the UK).
TTT was released back when the PS2 was new. It still plays as great as it did back then.
Tekken Tag isn't exactly a 'proper' Tekken game, more of an upgrade of Tekken 3. Tekken 3.5 prehaps. Beneath all the new characters, music and overall style of it, the fighting is exactly the same as T3 (which is a good thing). Compare this to Mortal Kombat Trilogy. That was pretty much UMK3 but with the characters from all 3 MK games before on top. TTT is the same. It's T3 but with the characters from T2 in it as well (T2 covered everyone in T1).
There is a huge roster of characters. It has every single character you've seen so far in the series. The only execptions are Dr.B, Gon (the T3 console exclusives) and Jack (it already has 3 Jacks which is more than enough). The characters that weren't in T3 have a few new moves to keep up with the rest. The new moves also help to differentiate the old characters from their replacements (eg Michelle and Julia). It's very well balanced. There is only one new character; Unknown. Unknown is a very mysterious character that Namco never wrote a storyline for (more on that later). She acts as the final boss but unfortunatly she doesn't have any orginal moves of her own, she is a Mokujin style move stealer. She is playable and unlike Mokujin, you can swap her move list to a new random one at will during the fight.
There is a new element to the gameplay. The key word in the title is 'tag'. You now have two characters and can swap between them at will. When a character isn't fighting they will slowly recover health up to the red area in their healthbar. Unlike, for example, the capcom VS series, a team will lose when a single character is KOed. This makes things slightly more strategic. There are few unlisted tag moves which you can execute. A very nice feature is that when the two members have somekind of relationship (rival, friend, family etc) they will have a special entrance to the fight. Tekken keeps the old style of controls. Four buttons, one for each limb. I like to configure the sholder buttons for button combonations and just the right analogue stick to tag. Tekken is immidiatly accessible to anyone. Beginners can play easily. If they practise, they can learn more moves and eventually become a Tekken Master knowing all sorts of advanced combos and counters. Tekken has a balanced fighting system which is both realistic and arcady at the same time.
The size of the leaning curve depends if you've played Tekken before. If you're familar with T3 then you're already familiar with this. If not, it may take a bit of time to get used the advanced moves. Once you have though, you'll feel like a master. There are a lot of different difficultly settings. If you want to learn how to play from scratch, start on easiest difficutly level and work your way up though each one until you get to the highestest. Trust me, it works very well.
As an early PS2 game, Sony wanted it to show off the new console's power. This was the first time ever when the Playstion Tekken game looked better than it's arcade version. The characters all look great. It's nice to see the older characters refreshed. In compensation for this, the stages are just simply 2D animations. They still look very good and there are some lighting effects so they seem more interactive with the fighters. The background often scrolls against the 3D floor which looks rather bizzare. Strangly enough, despite being a two-on-two game, the game never ever has more than two characters on screen ar once. Namco have managed to make this seem less obvious and it doesn't at all affect the gameplay.
The music is good but not as interesting as the eariler Tekken games. It is very ambiant and the staff roll music works incredibly well by combining the credits with the character's ending. As usual many of the SX have been recycled from before. Oh, and the characters are all still mutes.
Modes are plentiful. You get the obvious stuff like arcade, verses and team battle. There is also an extra arcade and verses mode for one-on-one fights without any tagging. You can unlock Tekken Bowl. This is a bowling game but with Tekken characters. Like TTT you have two characters you switch between. Characters like Jack-2 throw the ball with extreme power but with poor aim to reflect how they fight in the main game. Tekken Bowl is certainly fun but a more interactive mode like Tekken Ball would have been much better.
The only downside to TTT is that it was clearly a rushed game. For starters, there's no storyline whatsoever. TTT is more of a 'what if' game than anything else. This satifys Tekken fans who have always wanted dream fights like Devil VS True Ogre. The character endings are no longer prerended (apart from Unknown's ending). They now all use the ingame graphics instead meaning they are limited to the settings and characters that can be used in them. The endings don't even have orginal music or SX in them. This is a shame because the Tekken series usually has great prerednered endings. You'll forget this once you've seen the credits instead of just skipping them.
Tekken Tag is an outstanding game. Some may even call it the best Tekken game ever. Little stands between this and a perfect 10 score. Yes, I know a lot of fans like to give incredibly high scores to games in their community reviews. This isn't one of them, I give TTT a very high score because it deserves a very high score. The only downside are the dull endings, but they don't effect gameplay anyway. Tekken Tag is a must have PS2 game. It's now very old (for a console still alive) so you should be able to get a new copy very cheaply. The most it will proberly cost you is £19.99 which is still outstanding value.
It's excellent, it has a long lifespan and it's cheap. You can't lose.
Rating: 5.0 - Flawless
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