|Programmer(s)||Masanori Yashinari Mizushima|
20 March 1997
|Arcade system||Namco System 12|
|Display||Raster, 368 x 480 pixels (horizontal orientation)|
Tekken 3 (Japanese: 鉄拳3) is a fighting game, the third installment in the Tekken 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. The game was re-released in 2018 as part of Sony's PlayStation Classic.
Tekken 3 features a largely new cast of characters, including the debut of several now-staple characters such as Jin Kazama, Ling Xiaoyu, Bryan Fury, Eddy Gordo 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 has been cited as one of the greatest video games of all time. With over 8 million copies sold worldwide, Tekken 3 is the fourth best-selling PlayStation game. A non-canonical sequel was released in 1999 and 2000 in arcades and then on the PlayStation 2, titled Tekken Tag Tournament. It was followed by the canonical 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. 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 characters to sidestep in or out of the background. Fighters now jump more reasonable heights as opposed to the previous games, making them less overwhelming and putting more use to sidestep dodges, as jumping could no longer dodge every ground attack. New improvements included quicker recoveries from knockdowns, more escapes from tackles and stuns, more moves with juggling enabled, and newly created combo throws.
Tekken 3 introduces a beat 'em up minigame called "Tekken Force", which pits the player in various stages against enemies in a side-scrolling fashion. The concept was expanded on in a minigame for Tekken 4, and succeeded by the Devil Within campaign mode in Tekken 5. Another minigame is known as "Tekken Ball", similar to beach volleyball, where one must to hit the ball with a powerful attack to pulverize the opponent, or cause them penalty damage them by letting the ball fall into the opponent's territory.
Due to the game taking place 20 years later, only six characters from the prequels return from Tekken 2: Anna Williams (who is a palette swap of Nina in the arcade version), Heihachi Mishima, Lei Wulong, Nina Williams, Paul Phoenix and Yoshimitsu while not including Marshall Law, Jack-2, Baek Doo San, Armor King I, King I, Kuma I, Bruce Irvin, Roger, Alex, Lee Chaolan, Kunimitsu, Wang Jinrei, Devil, Angel, Michelle Chang, Kazuya Mishima, Jun Kazama and Prototype Jack.
The game introduces 15 new characters: Bryan Fury, an enhanced kickboxer sent by mad scientist Dr. Abel to kidnap rival scientist 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 (who he heavily resembles and fights like), now competing to earn money to help him out; Gun Jack, the third model of the Jack series sent by his creator, Jane, to retrieve Jack 2's memory data; 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 the 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 every 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 lastly Ogre, a mysterious immortal humanoid known as the God of Fighting. Ogre is the main antagonist and final boss, responsible for the disappearances of numerous martial artists and has a second transformation known as "True Ogre."
The PlayStation version made Anna fully playable and separate from Nina, complete with her own moveset, voice, and ending, as well as introducing two new bonus characters: Dr. Bosconovitch, the silly, elderly genius scientist who is Yoshimitsu's friend and a prisoner of the Mishima Zaibatsu (as he was forced to create several projects for them, 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. One day, a squadron of Tekken Force soldiers search an ancient temple located in Mexico under the premise of an excavation project. Soon after arriving there, Heihachi learns that they were obliterated by a mysterious and malevolent creature known as Ogre. Heihachi, having captured a brief glimpse of Ogre before its immediate disappearance, seeks to capture Ogre in the hopes of harnessing its immense fighting power for his own personal gain. Soon after, various known martial artists end up dead, attacked, or missing from all over the world, with Ogre behind all of 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 sense Orge's encroaching presence and knows she is now a target. Jun instructs Jin to seek Heihachi should anything happen. Sometime after Jin's fifteenth birthday, Ogre 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 his grandfather, Heihachi, explaining his situation and begging him for training to become strong enough to face Ogre. Heihachi accepts and takes Jin under his wing, as well as sending him to Mishima High School where Jin meets 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 Iron Fist Tournament 3, and Jin himself prepares for his upcoming battle, having no idea that his grandfather is secretly using him, Xiaoyu, 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 and the tournament continued after Paul's departure. Jin finally confronts True Ogre and defeats him who completely dissolves. However, Jin is suddenly gunned down by a squadron of Tekken Forces led by Heihachi, who, no longer needing use for him, personally fires a final shot into his grandson's head. Jin, however, 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 (sparing him), and he looks up to see Jin sprout feathery wings and fly off into the night.
Development and release
The original port of Tekken 3 to the PlayStation featured two new hidden characters: Gon and Dr. Boskonovitch. Anna was made into her own separate character, given her own character select spot, voice, unique attacks, and ending. 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 downgraded: the backgrounds were re-made into 2D panoramic images, the number of polygons used for each character were slightly reduced, sound effects played at a high pitch, 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. The PlayStation version of Tekken 3 was included among 20 "generation-defining" games on the PlayStation Mini, slated for release on December 3, 2018.
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.
Next Generation reviewed the arcade version, and stated that "Tekken 3 isn't quite the artful masterpiece that [Virtua Fighter 3] is, but is still awesome in its own right, and has moved the series even further form its 'me too' roots. The fighting system has evolved nicely, resulting in some wild and effective moves and new characters, a faster responsiveness, and an impressive 3D fighting experience." GamePro gave it a 4.5 out of 5 for graphics and sound and a 5.0 for control and funfactor. While noting that it was visually not up with its competitor Virtua Fighter 3, the reviewer said it was stunning in its own right and features phenomenally responsive and easy controls.
Next Generation reviewed the PlayStation version of the game, rating it five stars out of five, and stated that "There is no better fighting game, on this system or any other. It's clearly superior to the previous games in the series and a stunning value for Tekken aficionados."
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 No. 10 on the magazine's list of "Final PlayStation Top 10". It was also No. 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)."
PC Data, which tracked sales in the United States, reported that Tekken 3 sold 1.11 million copies and earned $48.5 million in revenue during 1998 alone. This made it the firm's third-best-selling PlayStation release of the year. It received a "Gold" award from the Verband der Unterhaltungssoftware Deutschland (VUD) in November 1998, for sales of at least 100,000 units across Germany, Austria and Switzerland. At the 1999 Milia festival in Cannes, it took home a "Gold" prize for revenues above €36 million in the European Union during the previous year. The VUD raised it to "Platinum" status, indicating 200,000 sales, by the end of August 1999. According to Tekken series producer Katsuhiro Harada, Tekken 3 sold 8.3 million copies during its initial release on the original PlayStation.
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