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Tekken 5, the latest installment of the legendary series, has returned with an upgraded attitude, and faster and stronger combinations.
Fans will not be disgruntled by the latest martial art, one-on-one fighting game, following the disappointing Tekken 4, which failed to live up to its predecessors’ reputation.
Tekken 5 has improved its impact blows, which was one of the few impressive features from Tekken 4. The combinations have gotten faster and reverse attacks have improved, making it more difficult to have a completely one-sided victory. One of the outstanding features of Tekken is the unlimited backgrounds, unlike its long-time rival Virtual Fighter, which has a limited background, being set in a ring. This helps players try different attacks, including air combinations or additional punches when adversaries are pushed back against a wall.
The arcade mode has also added an interesting feature where players can customize their favorite fighters. Some have a fish hanging behind their back, while others wear skimpy outfits to distract male players.
The story mode is not bad either. In particular, during the final stage players get to meet Kazuya Mishima’s grandfather and Heihachi Mishima’s father Jinpachi Mishima, who also suffers from the fatal family curse. Each character gets to unlock a short animated film of what happens after they beat the monster, Jinpachi, which is quite interesting.
My personal favorite character is Paul Phoenix, who goes into space in search of stronger enemies.
Jin Kazuya’s transformation into Devil Jin is also introduced for the first time.
Following the family’s cursed devil gene, Devil Jin shoots lasers like his father, so players should be careful when attacking from a distance.
The pool of characters to choose from has increased with new members such as Raven, a ninja, and Feng-Wei, an expert in the Chinese martial art Kenpo, who for his own ambition has killed his mentor.
Despite the variety of characters that can be selected, the power or attack ability differences are so wide it seems the makers want players to focus on certain characters, including the Mishima family. Namco should work on trying to level the extreme gap between the weaker and more powerful characters.
The company has also installed a mini-game known as “Devil Within,” featuring Jin Kazama’s personal adventure.
It’s really hard to say if this is an adventure because all the players get to see is maze-like laboratory corridors with enemies coming out from all sides.
I think this little mini-game is something that players should avoid. The punch, kick and even jump controls are different from both PC and arcade mode, and it takes time to get used to them. But even when the controls become comfortable, the same old corridors and enemies just aren’t enough of a challenge to satisfy players. The game I presume is designed to just give a little variation to players who have mastered other modes.
Verdict: Namco really did a great job in Tekken 5, and the next version, that was previewed during the world’s largest video game convention, E3, in Los Angeles earlier this year, is just as exciting. Until the next installment is out, Tekken 5 ranks on top of this year’s best games list to date.

by Lee Ho-jeong
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