Tekken Tag Tournament is the fourth installment in the popular Tekken fighting game series. It, however, is not canonical to the Tekken storyline. The game was originally available as an update kit for Tekken 3. Tekken Tag Tournament was originally for the arcade before a release to the PlayStation 2. The arcade version operated similarly, but ran on a 32 bit graphics engine like Tekken 3. It received upgraded graphics when it was ported to the home system. It, along with Tekken 4 and Soulcalibur II, was re-released in 2008 as a part of Namco Classic Fighter Collection. A sequel has been announced named Tekken Tag Tournament 2.
Tekken Tag Tournament, being the first Tekken title for the PlayStation 2, featured vastly detailed graphics and improved quality music. It was also notable for having the largest character roster in the series until the release of Tekken 6, boasting an extravagant 39 characters, all returning from the previous installments in the series, save for Unknown, the boss character, and Tetsujin, a costume swap for Mokujin. Unknown is similar to Mokujin in that she can replicate other fighting styles, but she can also switch styles by clicking the right analogue stick. Both Unknown and Tetsujin have only appeared in this game. Finally, its most important feature is its tag system. A player selects two characters and may tag out between them to utilize special combos and throws. Characters can be tagged out to recover energy, but if one character is KO'd, the round ends. When in Team Battle mode, the fights are also tag fights unless there is one person left on a team where they will fight alone.
Tekken Tag Tournament included a minigame called "Tekken Bowl", that challenged the player to use a team of characters to play a bowling game. Depending on the player's selected character, different attributes would be placed into effect in the mini-game. For example, Bryan Fury has a powerful roll due to his super strength, and he can use a targeting system to make more accurate shots because of his cybernetic enhancements. A physically weaker character like Xiaoyu would have a much less powerful strike, but would be easier to control when placing the spin and amount of force on the ball. Strong characters who accidentally bowl at the maximum strength find themselves shooting across the lane with the ball still attached.
Tekken Tag Tournament, being a non-canon game, features no storyline. It is more of a compilation of the Tekken series giving fans the opportunity to play as almost every character in the series up to that point, including many of those that had apparently been killed off in the main Tekken storyline. Of all the returning characters, Kazuya Mishima was the most heavily promoted, since he featured prominently on the game's cover art and promotional material, despite his absence from the previous entry in the Tekken series (he would return in Tekken 4). When Arcade mode is completed, a real-time ending is shown over the credits for the main character (i.e. the first character chosen when selecting the two fighters). The exception to this is Unknown's ending, which is a FMV.
- Alex (unlockable, alternate costume for Roger)
- Angel (unlockable, alternate costume for Devil)
- Anna Williams
- Armor King
- Baek Doo San
- Bruce Irvin (unlockable)
- Bryan Fury
- Devil (unlockable)
- Eddy Gordo
- Forrest Law
- Gun Jack
- Heihachi Mishima
- Jack-2 (unlockable)
- Jin Kazama
- Julia Chang
- Jun Kazama
- Kazuya Mishima (unlockable)
- Kuma (unlockable)
- Kunimitsu (unlockable)
- Lee Chaolan (unlockable)
- Lei Wulong
- Ling Xiaoyu
- Michelle Chang
- Mokujin (unlockable)
- Nina Williams
- Ogre (unlockable)
- Panda (unlockable, alternate costume for Kuma)
- Paul Phoenix
- Prototype Jack (unlockable)
- Roger (unlockable)
- Tiger Jackson (unlockable, alternate costume for Eddy Gordo)
- True Ogre (unlockable)
- Wang Jinrei (unlockable)
- Tetsujin (unlockable, alternate costume for Mokujin)
- Unknown (unlockable only in PS2 release)
The only absent characters in the game that were playable in previous entries of the series are: Marshall Law, the original Jack, King I, Kuma Sr., Dr. Boskonovitch and Gon. Boskonovitch, however, makes a cameo appearance in the Tekken Bowl mode as a spectator.
Arcade and console version differences
The arcade and console versions of Tekken Tag Tournament differ slightly. The arcade version ran on a 32bit engine, utilizing the graphics engine of Tekken 3. These graphics were ran using the Tekken 3 PCB board, based on the PlayStation hardware. The console version ran on a highly updated engine, utilizing the PlayStation 2's graphics processor. The game doesn't run on a 32bit engine, yet on a new and updated engine highly similar to that found on Tekken 4. BGMs differed too, as the console version had new updated tracks, whilst the arcade version was based on MIDI tracks with an instrumental backing. Unknown is not playable on the arcade version, yet the character is on the PlayStation 2 version. The arcade version also allowed played to only select the alternative colours that have been added to the costumes although the artwork of some characters shows their normal coloured clothes. There are also crucial differences concerning the playability of the characters. Some moves or attacks are much more efficient in arcade version than in console version and viceversa. The arcade version of Tekken Tag Tournament has never been played on consoles before, but the arcade versions of Tekken 1, 2, and 3 have been played on Tekken 5.
Tekken Tag received positive reviews with critics. GameSpot giving it a 9.6 out of 10. It has an aggregate score of 85 on Metacritic. IGN gave it an 8.7 out of 10 praising its graphics and character moves. In 2007, IGN listed Tekken Tag Tournament as the 23rd best game on the PlayStation 2. As of 2008 PSM states Tekken Tag is regarded as the best intallment in the series. In an article by GamePro Tekken Tag Tournament was praised for its visuals stating such things as, "The fighting backgrounds were also astounding-especially Eddy Gordo's stage where you could see individual blades of grass!"
Tekken Tag being the only game in the franchise with the unique Tag style has remained a popular choice for fans despite its age. There is a growing trend for fans to gather for organised Events. These events are played up using a Pro Wrestling style of promotion, including nicknames and hype videos. Fights are determined based on Rankings and has led to official Rankings pages showing up on various sites.
A sequel for Tekken Tag, titled Tekken Tag Tournament 2, was announced at the Tokyo Game Show 2010 on September 18, 2010. The game will expand on the previous game's tag mechanics, allowing for more flowing tag combos and combined moves, inherit some gameplay mechanics from Tekken 6, and feature characters from more recent Tekken games. It has currently been announced for a Japanese release in Summer 2011, with other regions and platforms yet to be announced.
- Tekken Tag Tournament for PlayStation 2 at GameSpot.com
- Tekken Tag Tournament for Arcade Games at GameSpot.com
- Tekken Tag Tournament Box Art for PlayStation 2 at GameSpot.com