Tekken Advance (2001)

by Nish
6 minutes read


Tekken Advance (2001) stands as a landmark title for bringing the intense fighting action of the Tekken series to the Game Boy Advance, offering a unique and memorable experience for fans and newcomers alike.


Tekken Advance (2001) represents a pivotal moment for the Tekken franchise, bringing its iconic fighting gameplay to the Game Boy Advance and Nintendo platform for the first time.


“Tekken Advance” is a unique spin-off game from the renowned “Tekken” series, released for the Game Boy Advance in 2001. This game marked the first time a “Tekken” game was available on a Nintendo platform.

The plot of “Tekken Advance” is non-canonical to the main “Tekken” storyline, but it follows the events of “Tekken 3”. The game features most of the starter characters from “Tekken 3”, with the exceptions of Eddy Gordo and Lei Wulong. Gun Jack, who was unlockable in “Tekken 3”, is playable from the start, with Heihachi Mishima being the sole unlockable character and final boss in lieu of Ogre. The playable characters include Ling Xiaoyu, Yoshimitsu, Nina Williams, Forest Law, Gun Jack, Hwoarang, Paul Phoenix, King, Jin Kazama, and the unlockable Heihachi Mishima.

The gameplay in “Tekken Advance” is similar to other games in the series, but because it is on a portable system, the inputs were simplified or removed altogether. It utilizes a single-input system, with kick mapped to the A button, punch to the B button, and the left and right triggers used for tagging and throws, respectively. The game also included a side-step feature. Despite the simplification, “Tekken Advance” introduces new mechanics by implementing a wide range of “stun” variations such as “pop stuns”, “crumple stuns” and right/left stuns.

The game’s sprites are based on “Tekken 3”’s 3D models for its characters, but the overall menus, fonts, and art-style are all modeled after “Tekken Tag Tournament”. The sprites are pre-rendered 3D, captured from the characters’ 3D models and heavily downsized. The game has a sidestep mechanic that gives the illusion of 3-D graphics.

“Tekken Advance” offers several modes including Arcade, VS Battle (link cable required), Time Attack, Survival, 3 On 3 Tag Arcade, 3 On 3 Tag VS Battle (link cable required), 3 On 3 Team Arcade (unlockable), 3 On 3 Team VS Battle (unlockable, link cable required), and Practice.

Despite the limitations of the sprite-based engine, side and back throws are not possible, and characters can only be facing directly towards or away from their opponent. There are also problems related to the game judging 3D space for attacks while one character is sidestepping. All characters’ movelists are greatly shortened due to the removal of two attack buttons and the limitations of the sprites.

“Tekken Advance” has generally received positive reviews. It received an 8.5 out of 10 from IGN, and an 8 out of 10 from GameSpot saying “It looks and feels close enough to its counterpart to succeed”. GameSpy gave it a much more favorable score with 88 out of 100, calling it an impressive game for the Game Boy Advance.

“Tekken Advance” is a notable entry in the “Tekken” series, bringing the franchise to a portable platform for the first time and offering a unique take on the classic “Tekken” gameplay. Despite its limitations, it was well-received and is remembered as a significant part of the “Tekken” legacy.


The game features a roster from Tekken 3, including fan favorites like Jin Kazama, Ling Xiaoyu, Hwoarang, and Paul Phoenix, each with their unique fighting styles and moves.


Tekken Advance introduces a streamlined fighting system to fit the Game Boy Advance’s controls, including unique attacks and a simplified combo system. Modes such as Arcade, Team Battle, and Time Attack offer varied play experiences.


Despite its limitations, Tekken Advance is celebrated for its ambitious attempt to translate Tekken’s complex fighting mechanics to a handheld device, paving the way for future iterations of fighting games on portable platforms.

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