Review by DarthHomer

"Ambitious...But an Awesome Game..."

When one hears the word Tekken (meaning Iron Fist), one immediately begins to think of one of the most fun and deep fighting series ever created. When the series first launched in 1995, to try make some money off the success of Segas Virtua Fighter (the first 3D fighter), I doubt that Namco themselves would've imagined they would the kind of success that Tekken had. In fact, the early success of the original Playstation console could be attributed the fact that the original Tekken was released on it, and later Tekken games were built around the Playstations technology.

But in 1999, after the release of Tekken 3, Namco decided to take Tekken to the next generation, and create a truly different Tekken. The result of this was Tekken Tag Tournament, and had great success in the arcades. When Sony announced the release of their Playstation 2 console, Namco decided to release Tekken Tag, along with Ridge Racer V, at the consoles launch. Namco has had great success when porting the original games to consoles, and this one is no different.

Tekken Tag plays like any other fighter, except with one huge difference, you select another fighter so you can tag in at anytime. If you think of the system that Capcom have used for their classic Versus games, then you're sort of correct. The only difference between these two is that there are no hyper combos that both of your characters can pull off at the same time. Tagging is easy, all you need to do is press one of the shoulder buttons, and out goes one character, in goes another. If you're good enough, you can muster in a quick and sneaky move when you tag in.

One of Tekken Tags strengths, apart from the Tagging system, is the roster. All of the newer characters that were introduced in Tekken 3 are in this game, and everyone from Tekken 2 is in the game, bringing the roster upto 30+ characters. This makes for some great competition, as you have not only your best character from say, Tekken 2 to play as, but your best Tekken 3 character to play as on the same team.

There are all sorts of modes for you to play as. Theres the standard Arcade, Vs, Team Battle (which is 2 on 2 fights), Time Attack and Practise. Strangely, you only need to beat one of the people on the team to win the round, unlike other game with a Tag feature, where you need to beat all the members. There are also single variations of the match types, where you play as 1 person instead of two. Finally, theres a hidden mini-game in the form of Bowling. I kid you not when I say this. And it's really fun to play with, as each character has different strengths that you need to exploit. It's even better when you have friends to play with.

The game itself, thanks to the tag addition, becomes even better. The great thing about Tekken is that you don't need a lot of experience to play it, theres one character that everyone can be good at, and you can have some experience with all the characters in the game. Like all fighters, the game gets better when you have friends to play with. And the game allows 4 people to play at the same time, so fights can now become more frantic and fun.

But for a game like this, sadly, there are some problems. The major problem with the game is that it feels slow. This is by all means not a huge problem with the game, not at all. You can say that Namco were experiementing with the latest technology, and didn't really fully know how to utilize it, this resulting in the slower paced battles. But if you can ignore that, you are really going to enjoy this game. The other problem is that of the endings. For the majority of them, they are all short little scenes, done in the game engine, which are very bare and don't exactly tell much. The only CG ending in the game is for the final boss. I can understand why Namco didn't do CG endings for everyone, but you shouldn't be expecting much in terms of endings in this game.

The games graphics are great. For a launch game (released in 2000), the game looks beautiful. Backgrounds are vast and, for the first time, have spectators watching you fight, adding to the realism. Character models also look great, and those who had been in Tekken 2 no look much better. The problem with this is that, it feels like a little improvement that a massive one, especially if you look at the Tekken 3 characters.

The game also sounds great. The music is good, but it's definitely not that best of the Tekken games released at the time, when you compare it to Tekken 2 or Tekken 3. The sound effects are also great, and sound like those moves would definately hurt.

So all up, is it worth getting, or at least playing? The answer is a solid yes. Featuring an excellent game engine, bettered with the addition of Tagging, and the great selection of characters to use, make this very worthy of playing. The presentation isn't too bad, but you shouldn't really take too much not of it, especially when you have a great game to play. This is very well worth your time, and if you can find this game, I very much highly suggest it.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 05/31/05

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