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Eight fighters remain from all over the world and have come together to determine who will be the world's top fighter. They are: Kazuya Mishima, son of Heihachi Mishima who is at the head of the Mishima Corporation; Paul Phoenix, an aggressive American who would like to settle a score with Kazuya; King, a kind young man who becomes a powerful wrestler when he wears his mask; Nina Williams, a trained assassin who is fast and deadly; Jack, a military cyborg that was originally developed as a shock weapon; Marshall Law, a master of the martial arts and would like to start his own fighting school; Michelle Chan whose father was killed by Heihachi's people; and Yoshimitsu is a robot in the form of a Ninja swordmaster. Each one of them have their own specific reasons for entering the contest such as revenge or just to earn fame and fortune.
Upon starting the Tekken CD-ROM you will be able to play with a small version of Galaxian while the game is loading. I thought this was great because it had been quite a while since I had played with the game back in the arcades. Only eight levels of the Galaxian game are available and once you get bored with it you can press start to play the game you originally intended to play, Tekken.
The gorgeous introduction will present to you each of the eight characters in full screen rendered 3D animation. You'll see the characters training for the contest, running through the wilderness, or just riding their motorcycle.
The in-game graphics are not as great as what is shown in the introduction, but they are still of a superior quality. I would place the quality half way between Virtua Fighter I and II on the Sega Saturn. The polygons are almost not visible except for a few square points here and there. Character movements are exceptionally well done resembling real human movements and positions. Many special moves can be found and make the game very interesting to play as you discover new techniques. Just to give a small example, you'll be able to pick up your opponent and throw them down on the ground, or pick them up with your feet and flip them over you, pounding them into the ground. When hitting your opponent, special lighting features will appear shaped like a small cloud showing whether your attempt was blocked or if you succeeded in weakening them. The colors will be white when blocking, green and yellow when wounding, and you'll even see a pink/purple color that indicates use of a special move.
The background graphics are from different areas around the world ranging from Fiji to stadiums and Monument Valley. The majority of the background is in rendered 3D graphics with the distant background in 2D. Fighting will take place with trees, rocks, grass, stones, and even snow all around. When the sun is setting, the whole fighting area will be red from the sun and your characters will have shadows. You'll even see the sun setting in background.
Music for each fight is provided in harmony with the area the fight is taking place. Sometimes it will be fast paced and other times it will be desolate. The characters scream in pain and yell throughout the fights. Human voices are heard for announcements such as round one, final round, you win and continue.
The game defaults require you to win two fights of 40 seconds in length for each opponent. This can be changed in the options menu where you can also select the level of difficulty from easy to very hard. Two types of background music are available, key configuration can be changed, and you can choose whether you are allowed to switch characters at the continue prompt. The number of continues are unlimited. In a two player game, the number of wins a player has can be shown either with a number or with fruits.
Playing the game is quite exciting both against the computer or against a friend. The artificial intelligence is very well done and you actually have to defend yourself while you fight. Learning all the special moves you can will help you immensely in improving your fighting technique. At the end of a fight, the last few moves will be played back in slow motion which can be very awe-inspiring when they include special moves such as throwing your opponent.
When you complete the game by winning the fights against the eight fighters and two bosses, an animation sequence will be shown of your player after the competition. For instance, when Kazuya wins against his father Heihachi, the ultimate boss, he picks up his father and drops him over a cliff smiling with contentment.
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