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Retro Recap: Tekken 2

Only one can be the King of the Iron Fist

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When you mention beat ‘em ups, do you think of Street Fighter? Or maybe Mortal Kombat? Of course not! You think Tekken, or more precisely, you think back to the days of this week’s Retro Recap, Tekken 2.

After Kazuya defeated and disposed of his father at the end of the of the last King of the Iron Fist tournament, 2 years pass until a mysterious message gets passed around. A second King of the Iron Fist tournament is about to begin, but this time, a prize of a thousand time that of the last tournament is up for grabs. All of the old characters from the first Tekken game make an appearance in the sequel, with 8 new fighters added, bring the total up to 25 playable characters available for selection. Of course, what would a fighting game be if all of the characters were available from the get go? Initially, you have a small number to choose from, but beating the arcade mode with each character and completing their unique storyline, new and more exciting fighters become available (Roger / Alex anyone?). Despite being simplistic in its approach to a story, Tekken 2 became one of the bestselling PlayStation One games of all time, selling well over 3,000,000 copies and even breaking the then release day record of 250,000 units sold.

Aside from the crux of Tekken 2, the arcade mode, players were also given access to a practice mode. A place where you could take your favourite character and simply go to town on a motionless AI. For those with veteran gaming instincts, practice mode was the place where you honed your combo skills. Tekken 2 broke away more from the old technique of the button mash, and favoured those with the ability to dish out the complicated string of combo manoeuvres we are all familiar with today. Which kind of player were you?

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Here are some fun facts about Tekken 2:

  • The Japanese version contained a Theatre mode, something which wasn’t seen until Tekken 3 in western releases
  • Tekken 2 is the only version which contained a remixed intro to the arcade mode
  • If the player stands still long enough in practice mode, a speech bubble with Pac-man or Pac-man ghosts appear above the player. If the player pauses practise mode for a long enough time, the game returns to the title screen

Personally, Tekken was a fun game to play, but you had to be committed to get through the arcade mode multiple times. Sure in its heyday, Tekken outshone a lot of the competition in terms of graphics and general gameplay, but once you had gotten over the novelty of beating up the AI opponents, it was difficult to get back into again (well at least until the release of Tekken 3). Even so, Tekken 2 still deserves the honour of the nostalgia badge, despite my convictions towards the game. It still does excite me when people mention it in the context of old school games. Whilst not my favourite, it does come from the era of many, many classic title, many of which have been written about in previous Retro Recaps (you’ll have to take a peek at them to see which one’s I’m referring too!) Better yet, Tekken is available on the PlayStation Store, so if you fancy a nostalgic time button mashing (or expertly combo-ing), give Tekken a crack, it’s worth it, I swear!

What did you think of Tekken 2 back in the day? What are your thoughts on the Tekken franchise now? Let us know what you think in the comments section below!

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