Blast from the Past: Tekken 3 (PS1)
Before the King of Fist Iron Tournament went multi-platform you could only find it on one home console, and that was the PS1. The first two initial games did great things for the leap forward of the extra dimension in fighting games, but it wasn’t until Tekken 3 launched that we finally had a fighter that ended up being near flawless. So, how has it aged?
In short – really, really well.
Also the king of extras
As soon as you slip Tekken 3 into your PS1 your nostalgia goes into overdrive mode. The music, the menu sound effects and just everything about it feels so familiar, so great and just so exciting. Head into Arcade Mode and you’ll have access to only 10 characters. Want the other characters? There’s no DLC here, so you best move ahead with the old-fashioned way of unlocking each character by playing through Arcade Mode using various fighters. The presentation has held up incredibly well and all the love Namco put into this PS1 classic still feels alive by standards set in the modern era.
After playing it to death for the last few days I still consider this the best Tekken game of the lot. The fighting is precise and the overall balance is just perfect. It’s as close as you’ll get to the perfect balance in a fighting game without it requiring a single patch. At the time there were many firsts for the series. Eddy (or Tiger), Xiaoyu, Hwoarang, Jin, Devil Jin, Bryan, Forest Law, Ogre, Gon, Julia, Dr. Bosconovitch and Mokujin were all new characters introduced into the series that have now become some of the all time greats in the Tekken universe. For the first time you could sidestep and counter in a Tekken game. Combos also became more complicated and should you get the juggling just right you could end a fight without your competitor even touching the ground. At the time it was also the first Tekken to make use of the Dualshock’s vibration feature that brought more than just the sense of vibration.
Tekken 3 has a strong presence, more so than in any modern-day Tekken game. There seems to be more weight to each punch and kick than that of modern Tekken games. It’s as if I can just about feel each punch and kick. The visual and sound feedback, along with the vibration, just makes such a huge impact that it provides players with that God-like feeling in any fight. Tekken 3 also came bundled with so many extra modes – Survival, Time Attack, Tekken Force, Vs. Mode and of course the very popular volley ball mode, called ‘Tekken Ball’.
Once completing all the ending cinematics for all characters you also get access to Theater Mode. Here you can listen to all the music and watch those ending cinematics as and when you please, and should you by chance own the original Tekken game on PS1, or the sequel, you can listen to the music or watch the cinematics in Theater Mode too by using a simple disc-swapping technique. It’s all these extra little bits that made Tekken 3 just such a phenomenal game that has stood the test of time so well.
Why is everything ‘tekken’ forever?
I do have one problem though, and it’s a personal one only a few might have experienced locally. I grew up playing Tekken 3 on an NTSC console and moving from 60Hz to 50Hz slows everything down dramatically. When trying to perform a combo your button presses are milliseconds out, because it’s just so slow here in our PAL territory. If you grew up (like most) playing it on PAL consoles you’d have no issue whatsoever, but for me it has taken some time to get used to the speed difference.
I urge you, return to your game of Tekken 3 (or pick it up) and be reminded just how glorious games once were. Tekken 3 is a prime example of older games showing the modern age how it’s done and is surely the King of the Iron Fist Tournament.