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Tekken Tag Tournament
Review By: Joe Rolfe
Developer:   Namco
Publisher:   Namco
# of Players:   1-2
Genre:   Fighting
ESRB:   Teen
Date Posted:   11-16-00

Growing up with the fighting game genre, I’ve usually enjoyed the flash over the substance more often than not. Though Street Fighter II and its sequels were definitely deeper, I still preferred Midway’s gory Mortal Kombat games. In the next-gen war, Tekken was always held higher in regard in comparison to Sega’s Virtua Fighter titles for me. Despite the knowledge that the VF series are unquestionably light years ahead when it comes to pure skill and gameplay physics when measured up to Namco’s beat em’ up, the flashy, easier to get into Tekken series appealed to me much more than Yu Suzuki’s strategic fighters. Now, that doesn’t’ necessarily mean that Tekken and the following games were pushovers; each offered unique characters, fun (and frustrating) gameplay, and hours upon hours of multiplayer enjoyment too boot. Yeah, the game can be viewed often as a button smasher filled with dial-a-combos, but nevertheless the overall challenge was still persistent. After 6 long years since the original Tekken debuted, this long running franchise has now appeared on Sony’s new PlayStation 2 in the form of Tekken Tag Tournament. While the end product neither innovates greatly nor does it really stand out, as a true update to the series, TTT is still a solid game that most fighting game fans should definitely check out.

TTT1.jpg (5118 bytes) TTT2.jpg (5096 bytes)

It can be easily said that if you’ve played any of the past Tekken games before then you’ll know exactly how TTT plays. For the most part, that’s very true. The basic gameplay mechanics comprise of arcadey punch-punch-kick-kick fighting, along with crafty (yet sometimes cheap) combos. Each fighter has their own diverse fighting style to master, so newcomers to the series should have plenty of work to do (especially considering the 30+ characters feature in the game). The newest addition to the title, however, is the vaunted Tag mode. Like the name implies, Tekken Tag Tournament is centered around two on two fights, with the ability to branch off into more and more characters per team as a handicapper. Despite this advancement to the series, the Tag characteristic doesn’t really add much to the series; in fact, the team play in Tecmo’s Dead or Alive 2 feels tighter and a tad more complex than the one found in TTT. In essence, Namco basically gave us the bar bone minimum of options when tagging – primarily the ability to have a teammate do a ground attack or slightly juggle the opponent. Where’s the innovation in this? The next step in Tag modes should be cooperative throws and attacks like seen in Capcom’s older title, Rival Schools. Why no other developer has really expanded upon this possibility is beyond me...

Even with this plain vanilla mold, there is still a lot of fun in Tekken Tag. All the fighters have tons of moves to learn, plus playing with a few buddies is still entertaining as ever. The diversity in modes may not shock many, but it is nevertheless a solid make up.

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