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Why Tekken Is One Of The Best Beat Em Ups

Why Tekken Is One Of The Best Beat Em Ups
For one moment, cast your mind back to the great year of 1994 where we saw the release of Sonic & Knuckles, Earthworm Jim and System Shock. You'd also remember a beat-em-up that still, to this very day has been churning out awesome sequels, has a huge following and rivals the greats such as Street Fighter, Dead or Alive and Virtua Fighter. It's had several animated films, one live action adaptation, and comics as well as its own museum in Osaka-Japan. Yes, we're talking about Tekken or as the Japanese named it '鉄拳' meaning "Iron Fist" as some of you might already know.

Why Tekken Is One Of The Best Beat Em Ups
Who was yours?

1. Pick Up and Play
Tekken is one of those games where you can introduce it to someone who hasn't played it before, or even someone who doesn't even play video games, and still be given a challenge when facing them. Yes, we're talking about the glorified button bashing frenzy we've all experienced one way or another. Even though most would say it’s the cheapest way to play fighting games, we say it creates a pick up and play accessibility for newbies and those who are inexperienced. From personal experience, playing against people who were new to the game we've faced challengers using uncoordinated moves, random combos and still be beaten. Thanks nan.

The fact that the game series can be easy to play and learn is one of the reasons behind its success. Other beat-em-up games on the market usually require prior knowledge of the characters and their move sets, along with more technical aspects such as the use of "zoning", "hit boxes" and "cross ups" and more complicated button inputs to do decent attacks. Tekken has the simple layout of 4 buttons that corresponds to the 4 limbs of your character. Place your thumbs accordingly on them and get the party going.

Why Tekken Is One Of The Best Beat Em Ups
The button bashing days.

2. Characters
Always spoiled for choice, Tekken delivers a diverse cast with a variety of ethnic backgrounds and fighting styles. School girls, assassins and robots to name are among the more traditional martial artists who use Kung Fu, Judo, Wrestling and even Capoeira. What more could you want from a fighting game? There are several animals too, originally for comic relief but now more dangerous than ever. With the most recent release Tekken has been home to well over 35 individual characters. That's over 35 fully customisable playable fighters with hundreds of unique punches, kicks and throws, eccentric costumes, hair styles, back stories and ending videos, all rendered beautifully on all formats. And best of all every one of them are balanced.

Each game in the series features at least one or two quirky characters to have a bit of fun with. For those that played Tekken 3 you might remember Gon, the tiny dinosaur that unfortunately hasn't made a return in recent games. Adorable as he was, had tiny arms and was able to pass wind entitled 'Gon with the wind. As great as it is that Tekken can mix up the variety of characters, Namco didn't skimp on the bosses either. Tekken 3's boss, Ogre, transformed into a fire breathing beast once beaten, and Tekken 6's featured the ancient Azazel, who is the tallest Tekken boss in history. Fearsome as they all were they delivered that toughness you expect from an end of game fight right before being rewarded with your character's ending video. It might sound simple on paper but many control pads had been thrown across rooms and buckets of tears had been collected.

Why Tekken Is One Of The Best Beat Em Ups
Making Gon do the impossible

3. Story
Story lines in most video games usually revolves around revenge, rescuing loved ones, seeking money and/or power, Tekken follows this trend which gave each character a believable motive. The ongoing story is about the 'King of the Iron Fist Tournament' and whoever wins has control over the company that runs it. Even though the main canon storyline is centered on the Mishima family and their several generations at war with each other, there are other important key figures outside of this feud with just as interesting journeys. Nina Williams, the deadly and serious assassin, and her sister Anna have been at each other’s necks for years. Forest and Martial Law, father and son, compete to build a successful restaurant empire. Yoshimitsu, the noble and humble Robin Hood-like samurai is known for sharing the prize to the less fortunate.

From a fighting game you don't need that much of a captivating storyline. A bit of back story here, motives there and you're usually set to go. What Tekken does beautifully is have that main plot but isn't afraid to have fun with it. Where else will you come across a bear that's a pet and a bodyguard?

Why Tekken Is One Of The Best Beat Em Ups
Can't we talk it out?

4. Mini games
Over the years we've seen numerous alternative game modes within video games that make a fun break from the norm. Tekken Force mode took you away from the conventional fighting arena to make you battle your way through street filled gangs in a side way scrolling platformer. Not to be taken seriously you're tasked with having fun as you use characters from the game and take out gangs of foes, some even have weapons and require a different tactical approach.

Tekken Ball mode and Bowling were both onetime only mini games which featured a volleyball approach and yes you guessed it, a bowling game. Both available to play with your favourite characters, these additions passed the time if you had a friend over. Without a shadow of a doubt, Tekken 5 had the best mini game which was the arcade modes of the first 3 Tekken games. Nostalgia had never been so sweet. We were able to settle years of fighting talk all on one disk.

Why Tekken Is One Of The Best Beat Em Ups
Keep your eyes on the...

5. Spin offs
With most successful mediums out there, whether it be TV shows, films and games, spin offs aren't always as successfully. Tekken, on the other hand, released its first Tag game for the PlayStation 2 which was a memorable addition to the series. For the first time in Tekken history, you could partner up with one other character and battle your way through pairs of fighters, and you could even play cooperatively with another player. With the biggest roster at the time, this hit has come around again with the spin off's own sequel Tekken Tag Tournament 2 pushing new mechanics, character tweaks and additions, greater customisation of attire as well as music selection from the previous games to download. One of Namco's finest outings, Tekken Tag Tournament 2 is a great example of the fans being heard and even released free content and characters, which rival games haven't done yet. We have to mention Nina William’s' 'Death by Degrees' spin off action adventure too before anyone points it out. Even though it wasn't a great game, it was nice to see a spin off journey of one of the characters.

The current project of Namco crossing over with Capcom's Street Fighter has already begun with one half of the cross over games out to buy. Street Fighter X Tekken, set in the 2D world of Street Fighter, features the guest Tekken characters fighting their rivals and counterparts. When the news arrived that these games were being developed, we were all in awe. A chance to see both companies bringing fighters from both rosters together so we could settle who the best truly is. Ryu vs Jin, Chun Li vs Nina, Cammy vs King all within the same game, stuff dreams were made of. And with the second half of the cross over still to be released from Namco's side this partnership is truly a true gift from the gaming gods to settle old and current rivalries.

Why Tekken Is One Of The Best Beat Em Ups
Flash Kicks will look awesome.

So there we have it, Our 5 main reasons from the possible many that explain why Tekken is one of the best beat-em-up franchises out there. With a Tekken game out on virtually every console on the market I think it is safe to say that it's here to stay.

Agree with what I have to say about Tekken? Or do you have a different opinion? Let us know in the COMMENTS section below or tweet me on TWITTER - @SeanLabode


  1. Kombat rulzzz them all, flawless victory

  2. no, go sit in the corner and think about what you just said

  3. Tekken is way better than Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter.