Monday, February 17, 2014

RETRO REVIEW SERIES: Tekken 2 for the Original Playstation!


 I’m sure most of us children of the 80’s and gamers of the 90’s all remember when fighting games first became popular. Who could forget? The arcades were raking in big bucks on popular fighting titles like Street Fighter 2 and Mortal Kombat as people crowded around the machines in hopes to see somebody pull off a special move. It was a glorious time to be a gamer. In fact, those two games ruled the fighting game landscape during the 16-bit generation with their amazing home console releases that helped Nintendo and Sega move quite a few of their consoles off of store shelves. But that was just the beginning. In the mid 90's arcades were seeing more and more 3D fighting games with hits like Virtua Fighter and Tekken that raised the bar of how fighting games looked and played. People were exposed to a much more flowing style of one on one combat in digital form and the gap between 2D and 3D fighting titles in both arcades and home consoles slowly started to close. And today, one of those classic 3D fighting games that helped to achieve such a feat I'm going to discuss right now, and that would be Tekken 2.
    Now, I didn't actually own Tekken 2 during the height of it's popularity, instead a friend of mine who was getting the original Playstation along with this game was the one who brought it to my attention. I had seen the ad's for the original Tekken and noticed the machine at the bowling alley a time or two, but I was too caught up in Battle Arena Toshinden to pay it any mind. Both games were considered heavy hitters in the 3D fighting genre at the time but when Tekken 2 hit the arcades and then landed on the Playstation in late 1996 it helped to push the Tekken franchise forward and away from the rest of the 3D fighting world. It would go on and become the premiere fighting franchise of it's time until Tekken 3 hit store shelves, of course. It was just head and shoulders better than the first Tekken and sported slightly better graphics and a cast of fighters that had a crazy amount of flexibility to them while playing the game. Sure, Tekken 2 would soon be trounced by Tekken 3, which was a far superior game, but for it's time Tekken 2 was considered the end all of home fighters and helped to move it's share of Playstation consoles into living rooms around the world.     
My friend was so in love with this game that when we talked about video games he often talked about Tekken 2 and how much he was playing it and how much it meant to him as a gamer. He must have played this game non-stop (along with NBA Live '97) on his Playstation for the better part of the year until he started getting more stuff to play, but I'll never forget how excited he was to be getting Tekken 2 and his Playstation for Christmas of 1997. Oddly enough, I had still yet to play Tekken 2 at that time and my only real exposure to the Tekken franchise was through a Playstation demo disk I had that gave you two fighters to choose from in a one round fight format. And I’ve seen people play it at a local bowling alley but I’d yet to pump a quarter into the machine nor did I have any real interest at the time. But still, I had to respect that the game was a serious contender for best fighting game on the market and that the Playstation was the better for having exclusive rights to it.
     Honestly, I didn't own Tekken 2 until I eventually re-purchased a Playstation out of nostalgia in the summer of 2007. At that time I had also purchased Tekken 3 and heavily prefer it to Tekken 2, though both are really great games to own if you have a Playstation console in your possession. It was during this time that I would fall in love with the PS1 and would spend time playing a large number of games for it that I've never experienced before, mainly the Tekken series and Final Fantasy VII, and I finally began to put it on a pedestal alongside consoles like the NES and SNES. It's funny too because I owned a Playstation upon launch in 1995, then I had re-bought one sometime in 2000 (getting rid of it soon after), and then got one again in 2007 due to nostalgic reasons. It was the 3rd time owning the console that did it for me and I've been playing it quite regularly since then. It’s funny to think that my interest in the original Playstation was at an all-time high some 12 years after it’s initial release. I guess things just happen like that sometimes…..    
 Anyhow, with that out of the way it's now time to discuss Tekken 2 as a game and see how it stacks up. To kick things off we’ll take a look at the controls and see how it feels while playing through it. All in all the game controls pretty smooth and has a nice breezy feel to it, I would rank this among one of Tekken 2's bright spots as it gives you a nice free flowing experience while engaging in combat. I wouldn't say the controls are perfect but it's certainly something that stands out when playing the game. Graphically it was probably a lot better looking back in 1997 than it is now in 2013, but that doesn't really matter one bit as I'm enjoying playing it again after quite a while and graphics NEVER sway my opinion on a game. It's blocky but it looks a lot better than the other 3D fighting games it was up against at the time like Virtua Fighter and Battle Arena Toshinden, both of which didn't have sequels as of yet when this game was released. Sure, the graphical difference between Tekken 3 and 2 are pretty vast but so were the differences between part 2 and the original, so it's definitely improved upon the previous game and that goes a long way. The music in this game is pretty standard fare as well as the sound effects, nothing really shines in this department and all in all I'd say it's nothing special and was even beat out by earlier PS1 fighters like Toshinden. That's a complaint I've always had with the Tekken games on the PS1, they just never nailed down a good audio track or provided us with some sound effects worth writing home about, they seemed to really want to deliver a pretty looking game that was fun to play and that was it. The music, if you're wondering, was not much more than cheesy sounding techno music that played while you were in combat.
     But the game is fun, and at the end of the day that's really all that matters when it comes down to it. I enjoyed it, my friends enjoyed it, and it still holds up among retro gaming fans who still love to fire up their original Playstation systems. And as long as gamers are still retrogaming on their beloved original PSone's than Tekken 2 will always have somebody to play it. A timeless classic? No, I wouldn’t say that. But it's a good fighting game that was a huge system seller back in the day and a title that was a part of a franchise that helped the PS1 dominate the gaming scene in the late 90's. And that's all it needs to be.

Graphics/Visuals - 7.5
Sound/Music - 6.5
Control/Handling - 8.5
Fun/Enjoyment - 7.5
Overall - 7.5

© B-Sly The Gamer Guy


  1. I was the king of this in arcades and on my ps1, and then 3 came and I stopped playing 2. Haven't played it since 1998 or so.

  2. Part 3 and Tekken Tag were my favorite Tekken games, but 2 was good also. Haven't played it in years but I liked it. Good review.

  3. This game was the main reason I purchased a playstation over a Saturn and 3do. I played it a ton in the arcade and once I found out it was getting released for the psone I just had to own it. So much fun and back then it was truly the king of fighters. Learning everyone's combos and grappling techniques was hours of fun and of course you wanted to see the ending cinema for every character so I beat it with every playable character. Tekken 3 was superior but 2 will always hold a special spot in gaming history for me

  4. Thanks for the great comments, everyone! Oddly enough this post is looking to dethrone the previous two as most read!

  5. This was the first game I bought in 1998 for my PS1 because Toys R Us had it on sale for $19.99 and Tekken 3 was a full $49.99. Loved it as a teen and it's still enjoyable today despite the graphics not holding up. Good read.