By Keith Harris (ShinobiGatana), Guest Writer
Tekken 6. A fighter to end all fighters? Maybe. It was a fierce entry into a genre of already amazing fighters already on the scene including its own predecessor, Tekken 5. But Tekken 6 brought with it things that made this gamer want to squeal like a little girl at a boy band concert. And just like those larger than life idols, Tekken 6 brought the fire!!
Okay, now that I have allowed my much younger 29 year old self out for a minute, let’s put the big boy pants back on and talk about the fighter that is Tekken 6.
In 2007 Tekken 6 hit the scene by crashing into the arcades of Japan with the force of a freight train. It took the best parts of Tekken 5, and instead of adding a little spit and polish, but gave it an overhaul like no other. Game developers took each character, first keeping what they thought was great while incorporating new moves. This is nothing revolutionary in fighting games, but the developers also made sure to incorporate the move sets into the game engine to make sure each move was as polished as possible. The end result was that each move flowed into the next, forgoing the lag associated with both moves and the game engine. This meant each move flowed into the next. Skill was still needed of course, and it made the combinations flow far more synchronized, but only after you mastered the new timing system.
Tekken 6’s input initially felt as if it was lagging, in this humble gamer’s opinion. Having played every Tekken game I possibly could (on every Playstation platform) gave me a general idea of what Tekken was supposed to be despite the radical speed increases from Tekken 2 to 3. Specifically Tekken 3, then tag, and so on. When Tekken 6 hit the Playstation 3, I was excited beyond all reason, and ended up playing late into the night, much to my wife’s annoyance for that first week, but that’s a story for another time. What really matters now is how no matter how much I used to be able seamlessly do Ling’s X Marks The Spot, or even counter throws, it just felt off. I loved the visuals and a lot of the new elements added to the game, but I felt I was losing my edge. I did a little bit of research and some gamers online even recommended playing with a cord connected to the controller for better input control until used to the new input lag without it. This was interesting to me, mainly because I was desperate not to be known as a scrub Tekken player, never that. But truly, would that help? It did.
After many hours of practicing in arcade mode, I finally managed to find my stride. I was finally ready to enter into the foray of what could be known as Mode Of The Living Nightmares… or its more accurately known title: Scenario Campaign.
Scenario Campaign is essentially the story mode for this game that follows the illegitimate son of Heihachi Mishima, Lars Alexanderson. Lars is a captain in the Tekken Force, the security wing of the Mishima Zaibatsu, The company known to be owned on and off through hostile takeovers by Heihachi Mishima throughout the franchise. Lars comes across Alisa Bosconovich, the android daughter of Doctor Bosconovich, a doctor known for his… unorthodox way of making physical alterations to himself and others. They embark on a journey to essentially save the world from a massive, global threat.
Unlike Heihachi, Kazuya, and partially Devil Jin, Lars does not utilize the Mishima family school of martial arts. His style seems to be his own. Numerous kicks, flips, and deceptive strikes makes Lars just as formidable if not more formidable than his more well known family members. Not a lot is focused on family wise in this Tekken as there is a worldwide issue that holds the focus of the story where, for once, Jin seems to be the villain, and a new hero had to be ‘born.’
A close friendship is made between Alisa and Lars during this ordeal, so much so that one might even say that the two fell in love. That’s just this humble gamers opinion. Who am I to say a man and an android girl with detachable limbs can’t fall in love and live happily ever after. I mean, look at Krillin and Android 18 from the Dragaonball Z and Super sagas. But I digress; on this mission, Lars and Alisa find themselves going through 30+ stages of varying foes. From street thugs, armored troops and various aliens, Scenario mode had it all. It is typical of your standard beat’em ups where a group of antagonist surrounds said hero, and said hero lets loose and kicks ass. The game mechanics are similar to a normal one on one battle, but with the added ‘targeting’ of your foes. If you don’t turn fast enough, or duck, block, parry, or flip out of the way, you can still be demolished. You can be attacked from four or five directions at once. What can you do?
Well, here’s something neat about Scenario Mode: You get access to toys! If you happen to defeat a fortuitous enemy, or come across a box filled with ‘loot,’ your problems are cut in half for a bit. I have come across flamethrowers, machine guns, heck, even a chainsaw and a pole or two. Time it right, and you can take out a large contingent of NPCs (Non Playable Characters) faster than you can count them. Once you finally make it through the dregs, the scum of the Tekken underworld, you make it to the end of stage bosses. Most, if not all stages have a boss, and this boss is generally one of the actual Tekken characters we all know and love. I for one did not want to face off against Nina, the Ninja (or more accurate, assassin) without the J in her name. Why? Because she doesn’t fight fair, nor do any of the other bosses. They bring backup. So not only do you have to face a boss at the end of the stage, but it could end up being ten, twenty, or maybe even 40 extra enemies trying to stop you from defeating the stage boss.
While I can’t quite place why the stage Ninja, oops, I mean Nina causes so much trouble, it’s nothing compared to the hellish experience of my waking video game horror. The thing that made me late to work 4 times because I was determined not to let it beat me. The stage…’Nightmare Train.’
I arrived on that venomously vile and evil stage starry eyed and bushy tailed confident in my abilities, but I knew after less than fifteen seconds of entering the stage and dying a very embarrassing death I’d come back with a determination like no other in me that I had not had since learning to play the Tekken in the first place. Hell or high water, I would make this stage, this Nightmare Train, my bitch.
After many, many hours of painstaking, back breaking, soul crushing moments of agony, I finally beat Nightmare Train, and was even rewarded with Devil Jin as a playable character. Wasn’t worth it. Not to me anyway. To know I went through all of that trouble… and it wasn’t even the final stage. There were maybe two or three more truly difficult stages, but none that would haunt my gaming dreams for years to come as Nightmare Train did.
This is not a perfect game. There are flaws just like any other game, but there are other aspects of Tekken 6 which make it a gem amongst pebbles. It has an engaging story, an arcade mode where you can fight against a giant bloody mech named Nancy-mi847j. A new girl Zafina who’s movements are either reminiscent of a spider, or she’s got the moves like Jagger. Either way, if you haven’t gotten a chance to play Tekken 6, and not only want a challenge, fierce game play, and a beat’em up mode to ignite your gamers’ fighting spirit, this game might be for you.
Stay frosty gamers, and remember to keep the fighting in game.