Retro Monday – “Tekken 4”

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I think it’s becoming a staple of me starting with a burst of news so might as well make it a thing. If you want to skip it, scroll down to the usual ‘Retro Monday” list heading.

Hearing that Microsoft is cutting loose 18,000 people is very said. That’s a lot of people out of work. But hearing that a chunk is coming from the recently acquired Nokia is interesting. Well their HTC’s are selling badly decapitate the dead horse? But also hearing that they are closing Xbox Entertainment Studios I can’t help but have a giggle. I come from a film trained background so seeing that the studio that was tasked to create original Xbox/TV content is closing because of a lack of organisation and funding (no major TV/film studio bought into the studio because of the ‘games first’ attitude last E3) is funny yet also sad. Organisation and funding are the two corner-stones to making a studio. Although, they are still making the HALO series’ because the studio was designed to make them in my eyes. It was why the studio was created in the first place. It was how they announced the studio, proclaiming that a Stephen Spielberg and Ridley Scott series of HALO would come out. So as the studio dies, and as other sections of the Microsoft empire are lost as well, HALO lives on. Because HALO with always live on. Even when it just not very good.

Title: “Tekken 4”

Developer: Namco

Publisher: Namco

Released: July 2001 (Arcade Box)

Spring(JP)/Fall(US/EU) 2002

When I saw the “Tekken 7” trailer I couldn’t help have a tinge of excitement. Tekken is a series that I played a lot in the teens so seeing a new one coming out makes the mid 20’s me feel young again, (yes, I feel old at 24). So with that game coming let us have a look back at the Tekken everyone wants to forget.

Tekken 3” was pretty hard. Beating Ogre was a task and made the made the ending feel earned. Each character had an ending but the ending that carried on to the sequel was the lead of the series Jin Kazama who unlocks his ‘devil gene’ when he turns into a black winged demon which he got from his father who turns out is not dead and my brain hurts. The plot of the series is a story that I really like (and it’s the plot that has never been used in any Tekken adoption which pisses me of to no end because it would be awesome and actually good) but it spans the who series. Minus the tie-ins and spin-offs. So It doesn’t include the decent “Tekken Tag Tournament 1/2” and the great “Tekken X Street Fighter”. So to fill those of you who don’t know in;

  • Jin Kazama (good, tortured, hero guy) is the lead,

  • Kazuya Mishima (Jin’s anti-hero/bad guy father who was thought dead) comes back with evil ideas,

  • Heihachi Mishima (Kazuya’s evil father who ‘killed’ him, Jin’s super villain grandfather) heads the eponymous Tekken ‘King of Iron Fist Fighting Tournament‘ again trying to bring Jin and Kazuya out of hiding,

  • Everyone else revolves around or is not connected to the main plot so sod the rest,

There are a lot more intricacies to the main plot (like the ‘devil gene’ superpower from earlier) but I think most would scream “NERRRD” if I went on any longer. All you really need to know is who is the bad guy at the start. There are prologues and epilogues for each character, even the bonus characters, so you’re not going to get to lost story wise. That was one of the big things about the game was to move the series plot along and it did just that. 1 through 3 was a set up of sorts. It set up the characters and the elements of the plot that the series was going to be built around. 4 was the start of al the threads being merged together. It helped the series feel more like a whole rather than a collection of characters with different, contradictory endings. But now all the ending can be worked together. There is still one ending that is the ‘true‘ ending (it’s Jin’s if you didn’t know) but all the other characters endings can be wrapped into it. Except Kazuya and Heihachi’s. They both end the world so they are an exception because they head for an ‘everybody dies‘ ending where no one wins. Their ending feel rather anti-climatic and don;t work very well. It wasn’t just the story that move on in strides, it was the graphics too. “Tekken 3” was on the PS1 so they had what you would expect from a PS1 game in 1998 in the graphics department. Square heads and all. “Tekken 4” evolved all the way to the full and jiggly PS2 graphics. It looked great.

With one on one fighters, there are two modes of playing. The campaign mode against the AI for story and player verses player locally or online. The game came out before the advent of online matches so there isn’t an online mode but there was local multiplayer so you could fight your friends. There isn’t really a set difficulty going up against friends. The combo’s are easy enough to pull off. The longer ones are more complicated and harder to pull off so you can rest in the thought that you have chance when fighting other people.

But against the AI in the campaign mode just feels too easy. Granted, I’m not that good at fighting games so I’m not the best judge but to me it always felt flaccid. Yes, I was talking about the game you dirty minded people.

There is an added “Tekken Force” mode where you choose a character from the roster and fight the replicating hordes of the Tekken Force (the foot solders of evil plot-centred company, the ‘Mishima Zaibatsu’). I say ‘replicating hordes’ because the amount of character models for the mode can be counted on your fingers. There is a roster character boss at the end of each level but that’s just with the normal fighting AI.

Where I had the most fun in the game was playing the “Tekken Force” mode. The campaign mode just felt short and too easy when compared to it predecessor. But once on a holiday trip many a year ago, I played “Tekken 4” in an arcade, played my usual character (Hwoarang if you must know), and I managed to garner an audience of a couple of people. I was only playing the story mode but I managed have a few followers. I think this is how You Tubers are made. So the game must be too easy. Or I’m better than I think I am. I avoid playing others because I usually lose but if I can go up to a cabinet and get half way through the campaign on £1 (lucky Americans only have to pay 25 Cents!) something is certainly askew. Either I’m mentally challenged or the game is. Looks good though.

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