(Namco, September 2002)

After nearly a 4 year wait Tekken 4 came exclusively for the Playstation2 only and unlike the Tekken Tag Tournament game the story actually continues where the mega popular Tekken 3 left off. Almost everybody loved the Tekken games for the Playstation and those fast paced fighting games sure helped to get the Playstation noticed plus it also helped to kill off the competition like Sony's rival the Sega Saturn and their 3D fighter Virtua Fighter. Now here we have the 4th edition of this legendary beat em up. Tekken 4 has some brand new feature to the aging series like new interactive backgrounds, a couple of new fighters, and more but is it really a better game though? Sadly, Tekken here hasn't aged well.

In Tekken 4, that old Japanese wind bag Heihetchi is at his dirty tricks again because he is holding another fighting Tournament to get both his reanimated son (Kazuya) and his devilish grandson (Jin) out of hiding. Not only is the dysfunctional Mishima family at it again but there are several other characters here and each has their own stories in Tekken 4 as well. Here are the new comers to the series:

Steve Fox is a British boxer has a huge scar on his arm. Fox was once a famous Middleweight Champion until one day he was ordered by the Mafia to lose a fight but he refused and won the contest instead. Because of this the Mafia has a price on his head and Fox went underground. Fox enters the Tekken Tournament to get his name in the open and hopefully scare away any hit men by getting into the spotlight. Fox's style is basically just boxing and his punches are super quick plus his kick buttons are most used for evasion type moves.

Christie is another new face to the series. Christie is the grand daughter of Eddy Gordy's teacher and since Eddy is missing in action because he's still looking for his father's killer so the beautiful Christie enters the tournament by herself and maybe she'll find Eddy on the way. Like Eddy, Christie is a master at the art Caporia and she can link her kicks in various combos, she's a little faster than Eddy and has more moves but she's not as powerful. She's also the J'lo clone here and she's not afraid to dress less either.

Chaig Murduk is the Bill Goldberg (a pro wrestler famous for having a fake 173 - 0 record in defunct WCW) clone. Chaig was once an undefeated fighter (surprise, surprise) but he was sent to prison after he beat Armour King to death at a bar. In an unusual move, King paid Chaig's parole so he could get his revenge on him but is the giant Chaig even too much for the masked one. He's a huge and powerful 6,6ft and he's good at in close fighting too but his style looks a little boring.

Who do these guys look like?

A lot of returning characters are also in Tekken 4 and maybe some of you fans remember this guy? Kazuya was killed off in Tekken 2 but he was reanimated by the G Corp in hopes of finding the Devil gene that consumed him. Heitachi knows his son Kazuya is still alive and he wants really finish him off again but when Kazuya enters the fourth tournament will he get him instead? Kazuya packs a lot power but he's nothing new.

Hwonang is back too but now he was drafted into the Korean army and now he misses the good old days of raw fighting. He enters the Tekken contest to get his juices flowing again and hopefully fight his arch rival Jin again. Hwonang still rules his lethal and super quick kicks. Ling Xiaung also returns from Tekken 3 and this cute Chinese girl is a little older now and has some more tricky moves to use. Ling want Heihetci's big fortune if she wins. Paul Phoenix actually won the third Tekken tournament but not before Ogre transformed into True Ogre and was beaten by Jin. Since his victory was in question Paul had trouble getting any respect, he's now fighting here to prove he's really the best. Paul seems to be weaken in this edition and his combos don't work has well as they use to.

Marshall Law finally returns to the series after his restaurant goes under. Law finds a new sense of purpose in fighting and he even has some new moves to use to win. He has always been a favourite of mine but what happened to his
son Forest ? King is back to but thanks to Chaig, his mentor Armor King is dead. King lured Chaig to Tekken so he could finally get his revenge on his enemy in combat and all that junk. I really think that Namco producers are old WCW fans because I seen King do the Vetera Breaker, one of the most dangerous looking moves in wrestling history (so dangerous that the wrestler Gregory Helms rarely still does it anymore). Yoshimitsu makes his return and he changes his get up yet again. He wants Heihetci's money to keep his gang of thieves in business. There is nothing really new with him other then some flying techniques though.

That's enough about the wacky stories though. You can unlock 10 different other fighters in Tekken 4 but that only takes a few mere hours to get everyone and then that's it. You can earn guys like Lei, Nina, Lee, Jin,
Bryan, and there is even a new guy called Violet to master so at least there are some new secrets here (although Tekken fans will notice that he is really a renamed character) but the game gets really boring once you see it all. That's really the biggest problem here in Tekken 4; the game adds barely anything new to the already tired one on one fighting trend. Heck, the game even controls the same as before! There are some new additions like now the Tekken fighters have not worry have to about the other fighters but they also have to worry bang into walls n' stuff. These new interactive backgrounds are nothing special though.

My lists of complaints don’t end there because Tekken still feels like a button masher especially when compared to Sega's superior Virtua Fighter 4. You can easily mash a few buttons near a wall to drain lots of life fast on opponents and that feel a little cheap. You can forget about the all new Tekken Force here too. The game started out good has you beat up under paid grunts and collect items but the camera angles are so bad that it too easy to get lost, not to mention the dizziness you have to endure as well. As a fighting engine this is pure garbage!

The graphics are great as usual but some of the backgrounds look pretty stale and they may be interactive this time but they are not as good as some of the ones found in game's like Dead or Alive 3 for Xbox. Those telephone booths look horrible when they break and I expected a lot more from the masters at Namco. The characters look real enough but some their outfits leave a lot to be desired. I hate Chaig's bright green get up; he hardly looks like the killer he was hyped up to be plus King doesn't look so tough either in his outfits. I do like the way Xiaung looks in a pink dress plus Christie and Nina (I even seen Nina's butt cheeks giggle a little) are excellent too but half naked females is new nothing new to fighting games, eh? The music in Tekken 4 is certainly nothing memorable either. The characters all have their own grunts and trash talk but since there are only 20 playable fighters here, the sounds get old very quick.

Like I said earlier; the main problem with Tekken 4 is that it plays just like all the last Tekken's before it but now the arenas are mostly enclosed now; big freaking' deal! I really can't find too many improvements here but at least the graphics have changed somewhat even though I was expecting more. You can't even tag in and out anymore and the bowling's gone too plus what's the deal with all of the past characters like Jack, Roger, and more making no shows. You know what the saddest thing is that we all waited nearly four years for a true sequel to Tekken 3 and Namco barely ever lets us down but Tekken 4 is truly a routine fighter in every way. This makes a good rental but T4 makes an awful full price purchase. The end boss is wearing a diaper, it doesn't get much lamer then that.



overall rating: 59/100
Find this game on eBay here!

For 1 or 2 players
Rated (T) for Teen

graphics: 7/10
sound: 7/10
gameplay: 4/10
replay: 6/10

(Ryan Genno) 2003

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