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Tekken Tag Tournament
Preview By: Joe Rolfe
Developer:    Namco
Publisher:    Namco
Genre:    Fighting
Est. Release Date:    10-26-00
Date Posted:    8-28-00

Back in 1995 when the PlayStation was first launched in American soil, a little known game called Tekken made itís appearance on Sonyís first console. Becoming fairly popular in the arcades, publisher Namco knew it would be smart to bring this title out along with their other arcade hit, Ridge Racer, to help out Sonyís vie for the console crown. Both games went on to become classics, and both spawned multiple sequels as well. Tekken, however, seemed to have more impact on the gaming industry than itís racing cousin. There were always debates about which was better Ė the Tekken series or Segaís own Virtua Fighter games, a discussion that is still going on today. The point of it all, though, is that the Tekken franchise is still going strong today and is still popular among PlayStation and arcade gamers alike. Sony is on the verge of launching itís heralded PlayStation 2 this fall, and what better license to call on for a blockbuster game than Tekken itself.

Tekken Tag Tournament (TTT) is set to coincide with the PS2 launch on October 26th of this fall, and while itís by no means the true sequel that Tekken fans are asking for, fighting purists should still not miss this one. Running on the old System 12 arcade board, Tekken Tag retains the same formula of itís past fighters: attack, block, attack, and juggle like hell. Not that itís necessarily a bad thing since all Tekken games have been enormously fun since Day 1.

The main draw of the PS2 incarnation is, of course, the Tag mode. In somewhat of the same vein as Dead or Alive 2, you pick a partner for your character and square off against another team. Being able to swap players in and out (which in turn retains energy) will give much more longevity to a fight than a normal one on one bout. Learning how to use double combos is key here, as swapping players in and out, one after anotherís combo can end in your opponentís life being deleted in a matter of seconds. Those who do not like juggling should stay away from Tekken Tag.

TTT will obviously have a graphical push as well. Remember Tekken 3? Well, forget that game immediately since Tekken Tag blows it out of the water in the visual department. Lush colors and incredible textures illustrate the Tekken world like only Namco can do.

For the first time on a home console the backgrounds will remain faithfull to itís arcade counterpart, but even better in some instances. Now multiple bystanders will cover the scenes behind the fights without even a slight drop in frame rate. Realistic lighting effects will be able to beautifully convey street lights and darkness wherever the battles may take. Saying that TTT is arcade-perfect is quite the understatement.

Tekken Tag Tournament will be one of Sonyís main marketed launch titles, and it should be. Keeping the old gameplay and introducing a great new tag team mode plus a graphical overhaul can only mean good things for the series. If youíre searching for a Tekken 4, this ainít it. But those looking for a good launch fighting game should pick up Namcoís latest entry into itís famed fighting series when they head to a local retailer on October 26th of this fall.

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