Once again, we’re in controversial territory. Are the late nineties distant enough to qualify as retro? Perhaps. We’re sure feeling nostalgic for that pre-receding hairline and middle-aged spread era of our lives. A liquid ocean discovered ‘neath the icy surface of one of Jupiter’s moons? Billy Crystal at the Oscars (again)? Disney World’s Animal Kingdom opening? What a time to be alive.
All we needed was batshit crazy English explorer and piss-drinker Bear Grylls to become the youngest Brit to climb Mount Everest. Which --hold on to your balls-- also happened that year.
But why bother yourself with trivial matters like the potential of actual goddamn life on distant planets, when you could be kicking a giant robo-man in the ass as an elderly doctor? Also in 1998, Tekken 3 arrived for the original PlayStation, and its blend of improvements to the formula, a generous array of extras and good ol’ fashioned madness quickly made it the best-loved game in the series. It still is.
Heihachi Michima --still sporting the most craptacular hair in video games, albeit now gray in the fifteen years that have elapsed since the events of the last game-- now has his own private army of studly lackeys, dubbed the Tekken Force. While cruising about in an ancient temple in Mexico, they inadvertently encounter a mighty demon-thing by the name of Ogre, which proceeds to rip the henchmen several convenient new bodily orifices. Heihachi, before even sending a basket of muffins to their widows, plots to capture the beast and harness its power.
How? With another melodramatically-named King of Iron Fist Tournament, that’s how. Which, naturally, is where we come in.
The combat in Tekken 3 was given a technical overhaul, to complement the no-longer-as-rough-as-a-badger’s-ballbag presentation. Gameplay was smoother, better animated and a little more realistic (those demented astro-jumps that sent you twenty feet into the freakin’ air were rightly excised). On top of this improved foundation, Namco added a heaping helping of crazy.
There were the likes of Tekken Ball Mode, the most hilariously violent game of beach volleyball you’ve ever encountered. There was the decrepit, playable Dr. Boskonovitch, who looks about as capable in a fight as a one-legged spider with a limp until you see him in flail-y motion. Gon, the tiny flatulent dinosaur, made his one and only Tekken appearance here too.
There was even the brief side-scrolling adventure, Tekken Force Mode. In all, Tekken 3 remains one of the best regarded fighting games ever made (reviews compiling site gamerankings, who presumably know their shit in these matters, list it as the eleventh ‘best’ game of all time), and certainly one of the biggest.
Finally, watch it flexing its nostalgia-muscles below:
Source of images: thefightingconnection.