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Flashback Friday: Tekken 1 Review

Let’s pretend it’s 1995 and the very first Tekken game has come out!

It’s 1995…  I know it’s not really, but I want you to pretend it is while you read this article. Forget the existence of smartphones and a world filled with wifi. We’re traveling back to a time where pay-phones dominated, when television show Friends had just started Season 2, and when many of us were first introduced to the PlayStation.


Namco’s Tekken is a fast paced, action packed, 3D fighter, and the latest game to be added to the recently launched Sony PlayStation, after being released in the arcades last year. The back of the box reads: 

“This is the one that’s got the press salivating. The one that’s got gamers hyperventilating. This is TEKKEN. Eight deadly fighters engaged in the ultimate battle for supremacy. Winner goes home filthy rich. Loser goes home in a pine box.”  Does it really live up to the hype? I played Tekken to find out!

Tekken introduces us to eight highly skilled fighters who take part in the King of Iron Fist Tournament, an internationally based fighting tournament. Sponsored by financial giant Mishima Zaibatsu, a huge cash prize will be awarded to the contender who can defeat the ruthless and powerful leader Heihachi Mishima, and be crowned the King of Iron Fist Tournament. However, there is one contender who is there purely for revenge on Heihachi; his son Kazuya Mishima.

It turns out that when Kazuya was just five years old, the twisted Heihachi threw him off a cliff. Say what? Heihachi did this because he wanted to see if his son could prove himself to be his worthy successor of the Mishima Zaibatsu. Not only did Kazuya have to survive the fall to prove himself worthy, he also had to climb back up. Getting grounded by your parents for that long distance phone call doesn’t seem so bad now does it? But by some devil infused miracle, Kazuya survived. 21 years later, Kazuya is still fueled by hatred and anger for his father, so he enters the KOIFT to finally get his revenge.

When you start up the game you’re able to select one of the eight characters and battle through each stage, and then face Heihachi to complete the game. Each character has a sub-boss, with Heihachi being the main boss for each character. Unlike the arcade version of the game, each of the sub-bosses can be unlocked once you complete the arcade mode with the relevant characters. Heihachi can also be unlocked, however this is slightly more challenging as you need to complete the arcade mode in under 5 minutes and 30 seconds, without needing to ‘continue.’ There’s also another secret character who can be unlocked; ‘Devil.’ Devil is Heihachi’s final boss in the game, however completing arcade mode with Heihachi won’t unlock Devil. After some digging, it turns out that Devil can be unlocked by completing all 8 levels of the mini-game Galaga, which you can play while Tekken is loading. Sneaky Namco!

One of the elements that really impressed me when I played Tekken was the amount of characters in the game. Each one has their own unique personality and realistic look which really stands out. All characters also have an interesting story which really helps to keep you invested in the game. When you complete the arcade mode with each character you’ll get an ending movie to watch.

Tekken’s controls are smooth and fun to use, and the attention to detail is second to none. One of the best things about the game is how each button represents a character’s limb, so this means the player can control their character’s limbs independently; so pressing X would make the character execute a kick, and pressing Triangle would execute a punch, and so on. This is something we don’t usually see in fighting games, so it’s an awesome feature! The character’s all have a different set of moves, which are unique to them. For example, Law, who somewhat resembles Bruce Lee, has a powerful somersault-kick, and Yoshimitsu, the sword wielding Ninja, is able to use his sword to his advantage. Each character can deal up to 10-hit combos, and although some moves are a little complex to pull off and master, with practice, it’s definitely something you can achieve!

The default settings allow players to fight for two rounds, however players can edit this in the settings and choose to have one to five rounds, as well as changing the time limit. As well as this, there’s also a two-player mode which allows you to battle it out against your friends!

Another element which I really enjoyed when I played Tekken is the powerful soundtrack. Each track fits the style of the game perfectly and really enhances your playing experience. My personal favorite track is the one used for the Marine Stadium stage.

Tekken is a game which keeps you coming back for more; you want to master each character, and believe me, it’s so rewarding when you do so and unlock the hidden characters! The game looks and feels great to play, and it’s definitely one of the best arcade to home transformations I’ve ever seen. If you’re lucky enough to own a Sony PlayStation, I definitely recommend trying out Tekken. It’s one of the best fighting games of the modern day!

Advocate of the Tekken community and self-proclaimed Queen of the Iron Fist Tournament, gaming has been a main hobby of Zoë's since she was a kid. Her favorite genres are fighting and action/adventure. Her other passions include football (soccer - Liverpool FC to be exact!), fashion, music, and eating far too much pizza! Lastly, one name for you - Nina Williams.


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