|Programmer(s)||Masanori Yashinari Mizushima|
March 20, 1997
|Arcade system||Namco System 12|
|Display||Raster, horizontal orientation|
Tekken 3 (Japanese: 鉄拳3) is the third installment in the Tekken fighting game series. It was released in arcades in March 1997, and for the PlayStation in 1998. The original arcade version of the game was released in 2005 for the PlayStation 2 as part of Tekken 5's Arcade History mode.
Tekken 3 was the first game released on Namco System 12 hardware (an improvement over the original two Tekken games, which used System 11). It was also the last installment of the series released for the first PlayStation. The game features a largely new cast of characters, including the debut of several now-staple characters such as Jin Kazama, Ling Xiaoyu, Julia Chang and Hwoarang, with a total of twenty-three characters. The home version included a new beat'em up mode called Tekken Force, as well as the bonus Tekken Ball mode.
Tekken 3 is widely considered one of the greatest games of all time. With more than 8.5 million copies sold worldwide, Tekken 3 is the second best selling fighting game of all time, second to only Super Smash Brothers Brawl, and the fourth best-selling PlayStation game ever. A non-canon sequel was released in 1999 and 2000 in arcades and on the PlayStation 2 respectively, titled Tekken Tag Tournament. It was followed by the canon sequel Tekken 4 in arcades and on the PlayStation 2 in 2001 and 2002, respectively.
Tekken 3 maintains the same core fighting system and concept as its predecessors, but brings many improvements, such as significantly more detailed graphics and animations, fifteen new characters added to the game's roster, more modern music, and faster and more fluid gameplay.
Perhaps the most noticeable change from Tekken 2's fighting system is movement reform – whereas the element of depth had been largely insignificant in previous Tekken games (aside from some characters having unique sidesteps and dodging maneuvers), Tekken 3 added emphasis on the third axis, allowing all characters to sidestep in or out of the background by lightly pressing the arcade stick (or tapping the controller button in the console version) towards the corresponding direction. Another big change in movement was that jumping was toned down, no longer allowing fighters to jump to extreme heights (as was present in previous games), but keeping leaps to reasonable, realistic heights. This made air combat more controllable, and put more use to sidestep dodges, as jumping no longer became a universal dodge move that was flying above all of the ground moves. Other than that, the improved engine allowed for quick recoveries from knockdowns, more escapes from tackles and stuns, better juggling (as many old moves had changed parameters, allowing them to connect in combo-situations, where they wouldn't connect in previous games), and extra newly created combo throws.
Tekken 3 was the first Tekken to feature a beat 'em up minigame called "Tekken Force", which pitted the player in various stages against enemies in a side-scrolling fashion. If the player succeeds in beating the minigame four times, Dr. Bosconovitch would be a playable character (after the player defeats him). This was continued in Tekken 4 and succeeded by the Devil Within minigame in Tekken 5, but Boskonovitch was dropped as a playable character after Tekken 3 until the release of Tekken Tag Tournament 2. There is also a minigame "Tekken Ball", similar to beach volleyball, where one has to hit the ball with a powerful attack to hurt the opponent or try to hit the ball in such a way that it hits the ground in the opponent's area, thus causing damage.
Due to the time skip in the story, the game features only eight characters from the previous two games: Anna Williams (who serves as palette swap of Nina in the arcade version), Heihachi Mishima, Lei Wulong, Nina Williams, Paul Phoenix and Yoshimitsu while removing Marshall Law, Jack-2, Baek Doo San, Armor King, Bruce Irvin, Roger, Alex, Ganryu, Lee Chaolan, Kunimitsu, Wang Jinrei, Devil, Angel, Michelle Chang, Kazuya Mishima, Jun Kazama and Prototype Jack. However, some of the new characters can be considered as replacements for the missing ones, with a few even having the same move list as the originals.
The game introduced 15 new characters (alphabetically listed here): Bryan Fury, a kickboxing cyborg sent by his creator Dr. Abel to kidnap Mishima Zaibatsu's Dr. Bosconovitch; Eddy Gordo, a Capoeira prodigy seeking revenge against the Mishima Zaibatsu for having assassinated his parents and ruined his family's business; Forest Law, the son of Marshall Law also practicing the same mixed martial arts and is joining the tournament at the behest of Marshall's friend, Paul Phoenix; Gun Jack, the third model of the JACK series sent by his creator, Jane to retrieve Jack-2's file containing his memories; Hwoarang, a Tae Kwon Do student of Baek Doo San wanting to take revenge against Ogre for apparently murdering his teacher; Jin Kazama, the grandson of Heihachi Mishima and son of Kazuya Mishima and Jun Kazama practicing both his parents' martial arts who seeks revenge against Ogre for having supposedly killed his mother; Julia Chang, the adopted daughter of Michelle Chang sets out to rescue her kidnapped mother from Mishima Zaibatsu; King II, the successor of the original King who participates to save his predecessor's orphanage; Kuma II, the son of the original Kuma also serving as Heihachi's loyal pet and bodyguard; Ling Xiaoyu, a Chinese teenager practicing Baguazhang and Piguaquan who wants to build her own amusement park by winning the tournament; Mokujin, a 2000-year-old wooden dummy who comes to life as a result of Ogre's awakening and is able to switch between the other characters' fighting styles; Panda, Xiaoyu's pet and bodyguard and is Kuma's palette swap; Tiger Jackson, a disco man with an afro who is Eddy's palette swap and Ogre, a mysterious immortal humanoid known as the God of Fighting who is responsible for the disappearances of numerous martial artists around the world and also serves as the final boss of this game along with his true form, True Ogre.
The PlayStation version made Anna fully playable and separate from Nina, complete with an updated move set and appearance, as well as introducing two new characters: Dr. Bosconovitch, the elderly scientist of Mishima Zaibatsu and a friend of Yoshimitsu responsible for creating many of their projects, including the genetically altered animals Roger and Alex; and Gon, a special guest character from the manga of the same name.
Fifteen years after the King of the Iron Fist Tournament 2, Heihachi Mishima has established the Tekken Force: a paramilitary organization dedicated to the protection of the Mishima Zaibatsu. Using the company's influence, Heihachi is responsible for many events that have ultimately led to world peace. A squadron of the Tekken Force searches an ancient temple located in Mexico under the premise of an excavation project. Soon after arriving there, Heihachi learns that they have been obliterated by a mysterious yet malevolent creature who is known simply as Ogre. Heihachi, having captured a brief glimpse of Ogre with his own two eyes before its immediate disappearance now seeks to capture Ogre in the hopes of harnessing its immense fighting power for his own personal gain. Soon after, various martial artists end up dead, attacked, or missing from all over the world, with Ogre behind it.
Jun Kazama has been living a quiet life in Yakushima with her young son, Jin Kazama, fathered after the events of the previous tournament by Heihachi's son, Kazuya Mishima. However, their peaceful life is disrupted when Jun begins to feel the encroaching presence of Ogre. Jun is now a target and instructs Jin to seek Heihachi should anything happen. Sometime after Jin's fifteenth birthday, Ogre indeed attacks. Against Jun's wishes, Jin valiantly tries to fight Ogre off, but he knocks him unconscious. When Jin awakens, he finds that the ground surrounding his house has been burnt and his mother is missing and most likely dead. Driven by revenge, Jin is confronted by the Devil, which brands Jin's left arm and possesses him. Jin goes to Heihachi, explaining his situation and identity and begging him for training to become strong enough to face Ogre. Heihachi accepts and takes Jin in, as well as sending him to school to where Jin befriends a classmate named Ling Xiaoyu and her pet Panda.
Four years later, Jin masters the Mishima karate style. On Jin's nineteenth birthday, Heihachi announces the King of the Iron Fist Tournament 3, secretly intending to lure out Ogre, while Jin himself prepares for his upcoming battle, having no idea that his grandfather is secretly using him, Xiaoyu (who seeks the tournament's prize money in order to build an amusement park), and the rest of the competitors as bait in order to lure Ogre out into the open.
In the final round of the tournament, Paul Phoenix enters a large temple, defeats Ogre and walks away from the tournament, thinking he is victorious. However, Ogre morphs into his second form: True Ogre. The tournament continued for one fight after Paul's departure and Jin finally confronts True Ogre. Jin battles and defeats him, and he completely dissolves. However, Jin is suddenly gunned down by a squadron of Tekken Forces led by Heihachi, who, no longer needing him, personally fires a final shot into his grandson's head. However, Jin, revived by the Devil within him, reawakens and dispatches the soldiers, smashing Heihachi through the wall of the temple. Jin catches Heihachi right before he hits the ground, and he looks up to see Jin sprout feathery wings and fly off into the night.
The original port of Tekken 3 to the PlayStation featured two new characters: Gon and Dr. Boskonovitch. Anna was also updated and given her own character select spot complete with a unique portrait, voice, stance, a few of her own unique moves (as well as her moves from the first two games, some of which were given to Ogre), and her own ending, as opposed to previous installments where she was basically a model swap of Nina (still, she reused a lot of Nina's strikes and throws). She was further developed in Tekken 5. The PlayStation version features new "Tekken Force" and "Tekken Ball" modes, as well as all modes present in Tekken 2. Due to the PlayStation's hardware limitations (less video RAM and lower clock speed), the visual quality was reduced: the backgrounds were re-made into 2D panoramic images, the character poly-count was reduced, and the game ran at lower overall resolution. The music for Tekken 3 was written by Nobuyoshi Sano and Keiichi Okabe for the arcade version, with the PlayStation version featuring additional themes by Nobuyoshi Sano, Keiichi Okabe, Hiroyuki Kawada, Minamo Takahashi, and Yuu Miyake.
A PlayStation emulator known as Bleem! was released for the Sega Dreamcast that allowed Dreamcast owners to play a graphically-enhanced version of Tekken 3 if they had the PlayStation copy of the game. The PlayStation 2 release of Tekken 5 features the arcade version of Tekken 3.
According to Metacritic, Tekken 3 has a score of 96 out of 100, indicating universal acclaim, and is ranked number 2 on their list of greatest PlayStation games. As of April 2011, the game is listed as the twelfth-highest-rated game of all time on the review compiling site GameRankings with an average ratio of 96%.
Tekken 3 became the first game in three years to receive a 10 from a reviewer from Electronic Gaming Monthly, with three of the four reviewers giving it the highest possible score (Tekken 3 was the first game to score a 10 under EGM's revised review scale in that a game no longer needed to be "perfect" to receive a 10; the last game to receive a 10 from the magazine was Sonic & Knuckles); the only holdout was the magazine's enigmatic fighting-game review guru, Sushi-X, who said that "no game that rewards newbies for button-mashing will ever be tops in my book", giving the game 9 out of 10. GameSpot's Jeff Gerstmann gave the game a 9.9 out of 10, saying "Not much stands between Tekken 3 and a perfect 10 score. If the PlayStation exclusive characters were better and Force mode a bit more enthralling, it could have come closer to a perfect score." He also praised the sound effects, music and graphics.
According to PlayStation: The Official Magazine in 2009, Tekken 3 "is still widely considered one of the finest fighting games of all time." In September 2004, for the tenth anniversary of the PlayStation brand, it ranked #10 on the magazine's list of "Final PlayStation Top 10". It was also #177 on Game Informer's 2009 Top 200 games of all time.
In 2011, Complex ranked it as the fourth best fighting game of all time. Complex also ranked Tekken 3 as the ninth best arcade video game of the 1990s, commenting that "this now classic fighter served as a welcome palette cleanser to the Mortal Kombat/Street Fighter dichotomy that dominated arcades in the 90s." Complex also ranked Tekken 3 as the eighth best PlayStation 1 video game, commenting, "When Tekken 3 finally moved from our local arcade and into our living room, we knew nothing would ever be the same. With an assortment of attacks and combos to learn, along with good controls, graphics, and sound, Tekken 3 was much more polished and smooth than its predecessors."
WhatCulture ranked Tekken 3 as the "best video game of the 90s", commenting "for the minute-to-minute playability of Tekken 3, with every single part of it contributing to make it the complete package, there's just nothing better." WhatCulture also ranked Tekken 3 as the "16th best PlayStation video game", commenting "Tekken was the first word that came to mind when you even thought of the genre, and although the first and second iterations had within them one of the most revolutionary and tactile game engines seen to date, it was 3 that knocked it clean out the park." WhatCulture also ranked Tekken 3 as the "greatest beat 'em up video game of all time", commenting "While the entire Tekken series has been extremely successful, Tekken 3 is widely considered the best of them all and is arguably the greatest fighting game ever." WhatCulture also included Tekken 3 among the ten "PlayStation you must play before you die", adding "Ranked as one of the Best Video Game of the 90s, Tekken's second sequel matched all the beats its predecessors were aiming for – and then outdid them in every respect." The website also placed Tekken 3 on 2nd place in their article "10 Greatest Fighting Game Rosters Of All Time", adding "It's a true joy to explore each character and discover their unique styles of play." and concluded "It's an accomplishment the series would never again equal." They also named Tekken 3 as one of the "25 PlayStation Games You Must Play Before You're 25", commenting "It really hasn't aged a day – even the graphics are just endearing, rather than anything unpleasant – and the Tekken Ball and Force side modes are simply genius. There's a damn good reason this is often cited as one of the best games of the 90s, if not all time." They also named Tekken 3 as the "5th PS1 Classic That Deserves Remake", with comments " If fighting game fans had the ability to choose any fighting game to be remastered, there's no doubt that Tekken 3 would be in contention, if not even top the list."
Tekken 3 has also been listed among the best video games of all time by Electronic Gaming Monthly in 1997, Game Informer in 1999, Computer and Video Games in 2000, GameFAQs in 2005, and Edge in 2007. ArcadeSushi ranked Tekken 3 as the "20th Best Playstation Game", with comments "Tekken 3 changed everything. Friends became bitter rivals. Bitter rivals became even more bitter rivals. Tekken 3 was the game you played with friends you didn't want to be your friends anymore." The same site also ranked it as the "17th best fighting game", commenting, "Tekken 3 was easily one of the best Tekken games ever created. Before the series became obsessed with wall splats and ground bounds, it simply had huge open 3D arenas with massive casts that may or may not have included boxing raptors." In 2015, GamesRadar ranked Tekken 3 as the 59th "best game ever", as "it possesses one of the finest fighting systems ever, the series' well-known juggle formula percolated into a perfect storm of throws, strikes, and suplexes." In 2017, Tekken 3 was named by TheRichest as one of the "8 classic 90s games that needs to be remade (and 7 that have been)."
According to Tekken series producer Katsuhiro Harada, Tekken 3 sold 8.3 million copies during its initial release on the original PlayStation. It makes it the second best-selling fighting game of all-time, second only to Super Smash Bros. Brawl.
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