Number 4 in a series is always the risky one.
- Tomb Raider 4.
- Crash Bandicoot 4. (Albeit made by another developer.)
- Indiana Jones 4.
It could improve or hinder the series. But with Tekken 4, it was mostly disappointment for me.
I loved the previous Tekken games. The second one I remember playing as a demo for months until I finally received the full version.
Tekken 3 was a game I was following constantly through GamesMaster magazine, while its exclusive demo disk by Playstation magazine made the wait feel longer.
It was a release that I remember it being everywhere for a week or so. Constantly there in Electronics Boutique, in newspapers and all of the gaming magazine front covers. Only Tomb Raider had more awareness at the time than Tekken 3.
With Tekken Tag, it brought all the characters together, with graphics on the PS2 that I still think hold up today, it was only a matter of time before the fourth entry would appear.
And it did.
I spotted it being announced on IGN around May 2001, with a concept art of Yoshimitsu and the boxer, Steve being shown.
Alongside this, the only details that NAMCO would give that I had seen in a magazine, was that it was to be a sequel, but also a rethink of Tekken.
Eventually, in the style of they still do today, it was released in Arcades, followed by a Playstation port in 2002. A game I paid full price for, when usually I wait a few months for it to go down from £44.99.
As I did with Tekken 3 in 1998, I completed the majority of it over the weekend, but in the end, I felt disappointed.
It felt easier in some ways, but puzzling in others.
For one, much less characters to choose from. But alongside this, unlocking the secret characters was done only by beating Arcade mode a number of times, and not dependent on which character you fought as.
So instead, you could play as Yoshimitsu 10 times over and unlock all of the characters and modes.
That was disappointing, and what made it worse, was that the majority of the secret characters weren’t much fun to play.
There was no ‘JACK 4’ model, no Devil, not even a Tekken Ball/Bowling mode. Just Theatre View.
Combot was just a copy of Mokujin, alongside Christie being a copy of Eddie Gordo, of who you could select by pressing triangle on Christie at the character select screen.
If you bothered to complete Tekken Force, you’d unlock a Dojo stage. No keys and then Doctor B. as it was in Tekken 3, just a stage you could access in versus mode.
Finding it in Gotham Games last year and completing it a few times over, I still feel the same. It’s the one you play to only use up some free time for, not really for fun or because it has massive replayability.
Another reason are the stages. Because they’re mostly uneven with the terrain and floors, you aren’t able to connect the combos as well as before, alongside having to double tap UP to jump, otherwise you’ll press it wrong during a special move and you’ll only shuffle forward.
That’s the bulk of why Tekken 4 just feels underwhelming to me.
This time, I wanted to feel out some opinions on it, and here’s what I received by a couple of kind readers:
It hasn’t been fondly remembered, and the opinions above only show why this is.
After a couple of years, Namco seemed to have listened to the feedback of Tekken 4, and returned the new entry to what made Tekken fun again, with Tekken 5 in 2005. But alongside this, they spared no expense for extra content on the home release.
- Devil came back in the form of Devil Jin.
- Arcade ports of Tekken 1, 2 & 3 were all there, ready to play.
- ‘Devil Within’ was a fun mini game which felt much more expanded than modes before.
- Stages were all level, with no chance of a combo being messed up by where you were standing.
With Tekken Tag 2 released on 2012 and the seventh entry being released next year, the series has definitely recovered since 2002’s Tekken 4 release.
It is looked as the black sheep in Tekken. No one mentions it, and if they do, not much is said.
I have tried to find some opinions on Tekken 4 from Katsuhiro Harada, a producer of the Tekken series, alongside the developers. But so far, nothing has appeared in any form.
If you want to try out Tekken, start with Tekken 5. Try the arcade ports in the ‘Extra’ menu, and enjoy.
But play Tekken 4 if you’re curious to see what a disappointment it was in 2002.
(All images credited to GamesPress)