After a long hiatus I'm back at it again and we're firing back up our goal of reviewing all the main series entries of Tekken .
Tekken 3 isn't necessarily my favorite entry in the series, but nonetheless I do believe it is probably the most important. In the storyline 20 years has passed since Tekken 2. This was essentially Namco's excuse to introduce a new protagonist and make him old enough to fight in a tournament. That protagonist is Jin, the son of previous series protagonist/antagonist Kazuya, and the Tekken 2 newcomer Jun Kazama. Heihachi's Tekken Force uncovers an ancient fighting alien named Ogre who goes around slaughtering worthy fighters (including Jin's mother), so he seeks out Heihachi and together they plan to use the King of Iron Fist 3 to lure Ogre out and defeat him. Of course Heihachi has his own sinister motives, but that's a whole thing altogether.
Tekken 3 was sort of a "refining" Tekken. Due to the 20 year time jump alot of characters were simply too "old" to fight or just disappeared altogether. Most of the clone characters like Kunimitsu and Wang simply disappeared, and most of the Tekken 2 newcomers save Lei Wulong disappeared as well. Because of this we also see the introduction of what are now series mainstays such as Jin, Hworang, and Bryan Fury.
The series physics have also undergone a major overhaul as well. The more rigid stiff fighting system of Tekken 1 and 2 has been replaced with a more fluid form of movement, as well as even more potential for juggles and the deeper tactics we see in Tekken today. This sharper system combined with newer slicker graphics drew in the players and made Tekken more mainstream than ever.
Though still not my favorite Tekken alot has to be said about the Playstation port of the game. It effectively builds on the modes and features of Tekken 2's home port and delivers a very meaty home experience. Along with your standard, arcade, practice, and time attack modes, modes like the beat em up styled Tekken Force, and the addition of a theater mode (that lets you use the Tekken 1 and 2 discs if you have them) for in game movies and music are welcome additions that really give you bang for your buck, espeically if you picked the game up for 15$ like I did. There are also two console exclusive characters, but they are very gimmicky, and haven't returned as playable characters since.
All in all Tekken 3 is a very solid entry and a very important one in the series. The only real problem I have (besides from my bias at my old favorite Lee being absent in this one) is that it just feels slightly bland, perhaps because Namco has put so much effort into selling Jin as a character. To be fair Tekken really didn't have a protagonist until 3. Kazuya was in 1 till you found out he was evil in 2, and Heihachi won Tekken 2, but he was never really a "good guy," so shoehorning Jin into this thing, and aging all the other characters 20 years to do it was like a chemo treatment to the series. Good in its own way but at the same time it killed some of what classic Tekken was.