When the original PlayStation first came out, Tekken was one of the crown jewels in its launch lineup; it was unsurprising therefore that the PS2 brought with it a sequel, Tekken Tag Tournament. Unfortunately, it wasn’t very good, or at least not as good as its predecessors. This matter is about to be addressed, though, with the imminent release of Tekken 4.
Being a beat-’em-up, Tekken 4 doesn’t have the most complex of rule sets: you punch and kick your opponent until they fall down. But what separates the wheat from the chaff with this sort of game is how easy and instinctive it is to pull off the various gravity-defying moves and how much tactics there are once you know exactly what you’re doing.
Tekken has been accused of having too much of the former and not enough of the latter, but this newest version is a touch more technical; indeed, it seems to take on some of the features which the more complex Virtua Fighter series has discarded, namely enclosed, variable-height arenas and more emphasis on 3-D movement via the dodge button. The whole package makes for a very worthy sequel with some excellent graphics and even interactive scenery (you can punch some of the crowd watching you “by mistake”).
Some of the new characters are excellent, too, particularly Steve the boxer who has no kick moves but a custom set of ducks and weaves instead. In a genre that is usually a bit of a wasteland of originality, Tekken 4 has a pleasing amount of new ideas and together with the top graphics it should entertain even the most resolute of pacifists. —David Jenkins