Review by KasketDarkfyre

""I'll break your face!""

The Tekken series has always brought the fight to the home system gamers and kept the button mashing to the maximum. Fun and excitement in throwing a character to the ground and twisting them into a pretzel with King, or whipping up on someone Bruce Lee Style with Law has always been something that I’ve come to enjoy over the years. However, the fighting has now changed with the latest release to the Tekken series and you have to wonder if it is for the best. Mixing story with fighting and adding in some really interesting characters only goes so far in saying that the series is starting to run out of ideas.

The story line that you find here is 20 years after the first King of Fist Tournament and centers around Jin, Heihachi and Kazuya in which the Devil Gene is sought after for whatever reason. Heihachi sends out his Tekken Force in order to retrieve some data information from a laboratory and the Force ends up running into an apparently alive and well Kazuya who immediately annihilates most of the Force. Heihachi is beside himself in which he though he chucked his son into a volcano oh so many years ago, only to see him now and this prompts the creation of the fourth King of Iron First Tournament in order to lure Kazuya in as well as his grandson Jin.

The Game Play

Okay, with the shortened roster, you now have fewer characters than you did in Tekken Tag. You have a fair amount of returning characters such as Law, Lei and King and then you have some new characters such as Christie and Marduk. However, with the new characters, what you effectively have is copies of characters that we’ve already seen and played with in one form or another. Characters are now over-powered or under-attributed depending on whom they fight against and even the play mechanics are off in some senses.

Where you had depth before in having to learn a character, now you simply have to press them up against a wall and keep pounding on them until the power bar depletes completely. Your computer opponent has a wild way of stomping on you no matter what you do in the later stages and unless you know the old tricks of Eddie Gordo, then using Christie is an exercise in futility. If you’re catching the hint, this is not the same Tekken that most of use have played and practiced on, but more of a ghost of its former self!

Some of the more updated features that the game has to offer on the other hand come with the amount of playing modes that you can deal with. You have a standard Arcade and Versus Mode, though the Story Mode is where you can get all of the stories on your characters as well as the more detailed epilogues. One of the coolest features that I found with Tekken 4 however is the Tekken Force mode, which first appeared in Tekken 3 and allows you to play through in a Final Fight style arcade game. Though that is really the highlight of the added features, there is more than enough here to keep you moving.

The control that you find here is the same as it always as been, with most of the moves requiring a button combination in conjunction with the directional stick. Once you get into the mode of getting a few moves down, then you’re pretty much ready for battle, but don’t do this during a match, or you’ll have your ass handed to you. The move lists for all of the returning characters have pretty much remained the same with only some minor changes, but until you’ve played with the new characters a little bit, its all a mystery.

But now with the control, you can set up your own personal combinations and save them to the game for use later on. Consider this taken from Virtua Fighter 4 in which you can create your own custom combinations and save them for later use in the game. Small variations like this really do make a difference in which you will have to relearn how to use the Tekken control interface. Though you won’t find too much here that will keep you from enjoying the game, you will find that with some of the characters that the moves and combinations that are there tend to be a little difficult to use at first.

The Visuals

Another part of the game that has been changed in a bad way in the respect that the characters no longer look life-like but rather animated to the point of belonging in an anime video. The shading that was there before has been replaced with bright cell shading and although the backgrounds are detailed and pretty to look at, they occasionally hinder the battle. Once you look past the fact that the game looks completely different, then you’ll find that the speed of the game has been tweaked up enough with some pretty impressive visual movements by the characters as they perform.

The Audio

The audio here comes across as dance type music set in a fast paced fighting game. Each stage has its own personality that is set up by the stage music. While it doesn't interfere, or take away from the action, it merely accentuates the fight you're in. The sound effects range from your basic thuds and crunches to the ever popular bone snaps that sound truly sickening and add a bit of flare to fights! With that being said, most of what you hear is nothing that will detract from the game play and will actually get you more into the mood when you hear the announcer tell you to start fighting.

The Verdict

You’ll find that Tekken 4 is something that is widely different from Tekken Tag and in all reality not as much fun that that title. With some sporting new characters and really neat moves and fighting styles, Tekken 4 is a game that you have to learn to get into rather than a game you can just pick up and play. Although the extra modes are nice, they don’t substitute for a Tekken Tag and most Tekken fans will probably stick with the TTT rather than moving onto Tekken 4. However, if you’re a fan of the series and want to check out the new characters and styles, then this is a wonderful addition and worth a weekend rental to start.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 09/27/02, Updated 09/27/02

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