Tekken 4 - Review
When the PSOne came out there was one game that I wanted more then any other, Tekken. The game put Sega's Virtua Fighter on Saturn to shame and while it didn't have the same graphical flare as Toshinden the gameplay was infinitely better. Two sequels followed, each of which improved on the previous game substantially. It was little surprise then to see the launch of the Playstation 2 being accompanied by another Tekken game, this time Tekken Tag Tournament. Sadly, while the gameplay was still fun the PAL conversion was horrendous with no 60Hz mode, and few optimisations. Two years later and Namco has released Tekken 4, a true sequel to Tekken 3 on PSOne.
|Fighter detail is very impressive.|
Tekken 4 has several changes to the gameplay which has changed the feel of the game somewhat. The biggest change from previous versions is that the game is no longer stuck on a 2D plane with fighters able to circle the opponents by pressing up or down on the controls. This allows you to sidestep opponents' attacks a lot easier. The second major change is that many of the arenas where the fights take place, such as the laboratory, are now restricted in size. One of the stages sees the fighters circled by spectators, some of which can be knocked over during the fights. By reducing the size of the fighting arenas Namco has stopped the tactic of moving back and running in to attack from a distance. The importance of counter-attacks has also been significantly increased.
|Fighting under the jet plane.|
Actually playing Tekken 4 is as enjoyable as ever before. The controls remain faithful to past games with two buttons controlling the left and right punches while two other buttons control left and right kicks. Combos still remain a major part of the gameplay and can easily turn a losing fight into a winner. It must be said that while fighting the computer is fun, it is nowhere near as enjoyable as taking on another human, especially if they are at the same skill levels as yourself. If they aren't Namco have included an option to adjust your power meters so the weaker player can have more energy making it a closer fight.
Gameplay-wise, this is possibly the most balanced game in the series with each of the fighters seemingly having the same levels of impact in the fights. There is no single character of the 20 that stands out as being dominant over the rest.
Speaking of the twenty characters they include many that fans of previous versions of the game will recognise - such as Jin and Heihachi - and others who are new to this release - like the beautiful Christie Monteiro who has been trained by Eddie and the powerful wrestler, Craig Marduk. All of them, of course, have their own fighting styles according to their martial arts expertise, along with their own range of special moves and combos.
|A scene from the spectacular intro.|
There are very few things to dislike about this game. If I were to pick one thing that came as a disappointment it's the removal of the "tagging" type gameplay from the previous game. It would have been nice to see a separate game mode to include this, perhaps as an unlockable feature. The other niggle is that this game is more of an evolution rather then an evolution. It always feels like that despite the changes you've seen it all before.
The first thing that hits you with the graphics in this game is the stunning intro movie. Namco have produced and intro that is high enough in quality for a theatrical release. This quality also extends to the cut scenes used after completion of the game with each character.
|Law returns and looks deadly.|
Those concerned about another botched PAL conversion need not worry. Not only have Namco included a PAL 60Hz mode to ensure the game runs full screen and full speed but have also include a Progressive Scan TV mode. Few people would have a progressive scan TV here in Australia, but the game looks absolutely stunning on one. Well done Namco and Sony on the port of this game, it exceeds all expectations and rights the wrongs done with Tekken Tag Tournament.
Sound is one of the most interesting parts of this game. You'll either love or hate the music. Personally I quite enjoy the music which has quite a variety in styles. In some arena's the music is quite upbeat and industrial while in others it's more orchestral. One thing that is certain is the quality of the sound effects. The punches and kicks, while not bone-crunching, are impressive and impactful - just what you need for a fighting game.
Although I have given this game a lower overall score then Tekken Tag Tournament, this is not necessarily an indication of a lesser game. Two years have passed since Tekken Tag was released, in which time the Playstation 2 hardware has been pushed further and other excellent fighting games have been released. It's sad that the tagging mode didn't make a re-appearance in this game but overall if you're a Tekken fan then this game will certainly keep you very happy. Thank god Namco and Sony included a 60Hz mode, and extra credit to them for including a Progressive Scan mode for those with TV's capable of displaying the super clear image. This game is excellent.
|Yoshimitsu cops one.|
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|GRAPHICS||Stunning cut scenes, slick in-game graphics, with a 60Hz mode.||89%|
|SOUND||The effects are solid enough, but the music still sounds weak.||80%|
|GAMEPLAY||More balanced fighters, smaller fighting arenas = lots of fun.||88%|
|VALUE||Fighters and modes to unlock will have you back until complete.||92%|
|OVERALL||Tekken 4 is another great game in Namco's legendary series. There have been a few changes to the game, which keeps it fresh, and the graphics are stunning. With the poor PAL port of Tekken Tag, this is the game of choice on the PS2, despite no tag mode. Get it now.