Tekken (1994)

by Christopher
5 minutes read


Tekken revolutionized the fighting game genre with its 1994 release, introducing players to a world of 3D combat, a roster of memorable characters, and the beginning of a legendary series.


Discover the origins of the legendary fighting game series with Tekken, released in 1994 by Namco. A pioneer in 3D fighting games, Tekken set new standards for the genre with its detailed characters, complex gameplay, and engaging storyline.


The game is set in a worldwide martial arts tournament sponsored by a giant financial group, the Mishima Zaibatsu. A large purse of prize money and the King of the Iron Fist title are the rewards. However, a competitor must defeat the Zaibatsu’s ruthless leader, Heihachi Mishima, to win. There are eight fighters that remain after winning death matches all over the world.

Players choose a character from a lineup and engage in hand-to-hand combat with an opponent. Tekken allows the player to control each of the fighter’s four limbs independently. The player can watch the animation on screen and figure out the appropriate command. By default, there are two rounds of combat. However, the players have a choice from one to five rounds, as well as options for the time limit of each round. If the time limit for the round expires, the character with more health remaining will be declared the winner; if one does not exist, the round will be a draw.

The locations are representations of real places and included Acropolis, Angkor Wat, Chicago, Fiji, King George Island, Kyoto, Marine Stadium, Monument Valley, Sichuan, Venice, and Windermere. In addition, unlike most fighting games of the period, the locations are not linked to a specific character, being randomised during gameplay with no ability for players to select a stage in Vs mode.

The original arcade version features eight playable fighters. Each has a special “sub-boss” associated with them, who will be fought in Stage 8, followed by the final boss, Heihachi Mishima. The sub-boss characters are clones in terms of moveset, with only a handful of moves distinguishing them from the original. All sub-bosses and Heihachi were never made playable in the original arcade version. When the game was ported to the PlayStation, however, they were made unlockable by clearing Arcade Mode using different characters.

In addition, the console version also adds Kazuya ‘s alter ego, Devil, who serves as Heihachi’s final boss; and can be unlocked as a costume for Kazuya by completing the Galaga -based minigame. A total of 17 playable fighters exist in the console version. A cutscene is unlocked when the player finishes the home version’s Arcade Mode with each of the original eight characters.


Featuring a diverse cast from the powerful Kazuya Mishima to the agile Nina Williams, Tekken’s characters offer a wide range of fighting styles and personal backstories.


Tekken introduced players to 3D fighting with a deep combat system that includes combos, special moves, and character-specific techniques, challenging players to master their chosen fighter.


Tekken remains a landmark title in the fighting game genre, remembered for its contributions to gaming and its enduring legacy.

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