Archive for the PSOne Category

Tekken Intro Retrospective

Posted in Fan Service, Fighting Games, Game-related Events, Gaming, My Stuff, PS2, PS3, PSOne, PSP, Tekken, Tekken 6, Xbox360 on October 12, 2009 by thelonegamer

Over it’s 15 or so years of existence, the Tekken franchise has seen many traditions that fans have come to depend on. One of those cherished traditions is the Awesome CG Intro. Every home version of the Tekken series has always had an exciting opening cinematic whose quality pretty much shows the state of CG quality at the time. Here’s a look back at the many Tekken intros that have graced our screens and consoles over the years.

Tekken Intro on the PSX.

Okay, let’s just be frank. Even back then… Tekken wasn’t the prettiest of games. The art style was offbeat but it had its appeal. The PSX version got a new CG intro that showed off the main roster of fighters in various situations, with nothing much about any storyline. It hasn’t aged well but I have to say there’s a nice nostalgic feeling whenever I see it.

Tekken 2 Intro on the PSX.

Things got cooler in Tekken 2’s pretty slick PSX Intro. It was a step up from the previous game, with the art style becoming more comely and softer, characters and backgrounds getting a lot more detail and personality.
The most striking part for me, of course, was the start of the intro, with the familiar yet a lot more detailed figure of Heihachi Mishima clawing his way up the cliff he had been dropped from at the end of the previous game… like a horn-haired Sadako climbing out of the well. After that, the usual montage of character moments would roll, set to some pretty awesome techno music. One gripe of mine is Nina’s bit- from an assassin under fire in the first game suddenly she’s lounging around in some parlor and stroking her (really badly-done, even then) hair… couldn’t they have given her something more exciting to do? Anyway, surely the best bit was the Sub-boss roll call towards the end, culminating with a creepy Kaz posing with Angel. Though the visuals and animation are again pretty dated, this is still a pretty cool intro by any standard.

Tekken 3 Intro on the PSX.

When I first saw Tekken 3’s intro, my eyes popped out of their sockets. The CG quality of the intro (and the many character endings) was a huge leap from the previous game, incorporating highly-detailed character models, dynamic camera angles, moody effects and lighting with lots of action. The Tekken 3 intro probably made a lot of fans think that a Tekken CG movie would be a good idea. Even today it looks impressive.
The music was catchy and cool, the overall mood dark, with lots of shadows and gritty imagery, book-ended by the emerging threat of Ogre and Jin Kazama being scarred with his trademark tattoos. Tekken 3 introduced a whole new cast of fighters who would become more or less the mainstays of the saga today, and laid the foundations of the plotlines that still rage at present.

Tekken Tag Tournament’s Intro on the PS2.

Ah, Tekken Tag Tournament… the ‘lost’, non-canon just-for-fun chapter with all characters Tekken. As the first PS2 Tekken, this martial arts mash-up came with a pretty awesome, if brief, intro, the graphical quality looking worlds above the previous game thanks to the PS2’s power. The CG was more realistic than ever and showed off several characters; once again Nina is relegated to a silly nose-powdering segment while Bryan guns down some goons and Lei Wulong engages in a high speed police chase. The two missing majors from Tekken 3, Kazuya and Jun, show up here, each looking quite great despite their respective apparent demises.

Tekken 4 Intro on the PS2.

Once again boasting some impressive-looking CG, the Tekken 4 intro was a big leap from previous intros, now boasting even more detailed and advanced character models and animations than ever, plus with actual speech and dialogue. It was shorter than usual (the smaller roster probably contributed to this), focusing mainly on the main storyline while introducing the new challengers. Overall, this felt more personal and a smaller story than the usual big tournament type of feel.

Tekken 5 Intro on the PS2.

As the intro to the series’ return to form, Tekken 5‘s Opening had a lot riding on it… and thankfully, it delivered. No other Tekken intro before or since had so much crammed into Tekken 5’s cinematic prologues. We get Heihachi and Kazuya vs an Army of Jacks in a pretty awesome battle, the seeming death of a series’ mainstay, and a rockin’ parade of action vignettes showing pretty much every fighter having his or her time in the limelight, all set to the entertainingly crass ‘Sparking’ song. Best of all, Nina is in action and not powdering her nose or adjusting her bra this time. Yeah, Asuka’s riding around on a bicycle instead of kicking butt as she should, but man, she rode it off the Tokyo Tower. Fun, fun and more fun from beginning to end.

Tekken 5 Dark Resurrection Intro on the PSP/PS3.

The pseudo sequel/arcade upgrade Tekken Dark Resurrection eventually made it’s way to consumer versions (PS3/PSP), and as such demanded a new CG intro. The DR Intro was pretty slick, boasting slightly better CG quality than Tekken 5 (it had been a while since Tekken 5’s PS2 release, after all). The stars of the show were easily the debuting Lili Rochefort and Sergei Dragunov, though a few choice fighters also made appearances. The best thing about this intro for me though is seeing Asuka Kazama in her P1 outfit in a prerendered cinematic.

The Tekken 6 intro.

We’ve all seen the Tekken 6 intro by now, I think. Presented in state of the art pre-rendered CG, the T6 intro is more dramatic and somber to reflect the current storyline of world-strife and chaos. Not everyone is shown again, focusing more on the newcomers and some select fighters. The lavish, life-like detail of the characters plus the impressive production values of the scenes shown has a grand, big budget feel that will surely interest gamers into the story even if it doesn’t quite get the blood pumping.

So what’s the Best Intro in the series so far? I’d have to go with… the Tekken 5 Intro. If we could only choose one opening to represent the series as a whole, T5’s rousing and slickly-animated montage of action and character coolness, plus the amazing Mishima-Jack battle encapsulate pretty much all the fun and over-the-top style of the franchise; from cool poses and hard-hitting punches to rocket launchers blazing away and supernatural heavies awaiting in the wings- this had it all. Yeah, the song was cheezy, but it was fun as heck regardless.

I really don’t see the series ending anytime soon… surely more Tekkens and more intro movies will be coming in the years ahead, so perhaps someday we’ll have another retropsective. Till then, enjoy the intros and get ready for the next battle!


Retro Gaming Cheeziness: Battle Arena Toshinden 2

Posted in Fan Service, Fighting Games, PSOne on July 6, 2009 by thelonegamer

When Intros Attack!

I came across this video lately and it just brought back so many memories. It’s the CG intro to Battle Arena Toshinden 2, one of the early 3D fighters on the original Playstation back in the mid-90s. I remember getting this fighter alongside the original Tekken for PSX, and, well… while the gameplay was floaty, imprecise and awkwards, it at least gave us this pretty funny intro.

I mean, how can you beat live-action versions of your fighters to spice up and pad the game? It really looks pretty ridiculous now, but back in the day I’m sure that a lot of us went OOOOOH and AAAAAH at the flesh-and-blood Sofia and Ellis… or not. Actually, this intro was pretty cheesy even back then, heheh… Anyway, BAT2 wasn’t horrible, relatively, and it did give me some entertainment then. Nice to see this bit of videogame history now, I guess. Moving on, then…

Remembering Xenogears

Posted in Gaming, My Stuff, PSOne, Retro-gaming, RPGs on May 7, 2008 by thelonegamer

It may be hard for me to fathom this nowadays, but back then, in the days of the PSX, I wasn’t a Hardcore Casual Gamer. I was a HARDCORE Gamer. Back then, it was par for the course to spend days on a game, hours on end, with just the minimum of sleep, food and human companionship required. There were games that consumed me to the core, so much that every waking moment spent away from the console still revolved around the titles that made gaming so sweet.

One of my most cherished RPG titles of all time is, without a doubt, Xenogears. This Square RPG wasn’t as big as FFVII (it came sometime after, and was even mentioned by Cloud Strife in-game) but let me say that any Xenogears fan will swear on their deathbed that the experience of playing this title was sublime.

Set in a world where martial arts and mammoth robots existed in everyday life, the player took the role of Fei, a young man who soon embarks on a journey to discover the secrets behind his violent and strife-ridden world. On the way he’ll meet the love of his life- and of his past lives- friends and allies who will stand by him to the end, horrors and tragedy, betrayal, war, science, magic, false gods and more. But even with the complex, twisting storyline, I remember never being lost- it was like playing or living a marvelous anime series, with you in the pilot’s seat. The story was amazing, the presentation awesome with anime cutscenes and great music (though some of the english voice-acting was off-sync) and dramatic moments that will stay with you forever.
You just know you love a game so much when you care deeply about the characters- I truly cared for the members of my party- but Xenogears pushed the envelope to eleven when I found myself worrying about the fate of a side character- a very minor side character at that- after a planetwide crisis ravages the world (don’t worry- the character, a kind nurse who helped Fei out in his time in a gladiatorial arena, came out fine). Man, I didn’t just play Xenogears… I lived it.

Coupled this with addictive gameplay with the coolest characters (my favorites were Sitan Uzuki after he picks up his sword again, and Billy the gun-toting priest). Could you say bad-ass and kicking ass? Xenogears let you do it in style.

Yeah, these days we have Xenosaga, but it just isn’t the same. If there’s a game that should be given a remake treatment, along with FFVII this should be one. Xenogears is GOLD, and the generations of gamers who missed this gem who consider themselves RPG or anime fans owe themselves the pleasure of getting a PSX and playing this game. It’s that awesome.

Man, those where the days.

Crisis Core’s Teasing Secret Ending

Posted in Action Adventure, Gaming, PSOne, PSP, RPGs on September 19, 2007 by thelonegamer

Here is a secret ending video found at the end of FFVII Crisis Core for the PSP. It’s basically the opening of FFVII, just rendered in Advent Children/Crisis Core quality CG. The ending line, ‘To be continued in Final Fantasy VII’ both points to the classic game, and to a possible remake (which I know every FFVII fan is yearning for). I’d love to see the whole game again. Mind you, it wouldn’t be enough to just redo the game with AC graphics and CG. I’d need to have new stuff, like updated options and interface, new cinematics, voice acting and perhaps an Advent Children-time chapter playable with Cloud and company taking on the Remnants. None of this is confirmed yet, of course, but that may change depending on how much fans want it. Believe us, Square, we WANT this. A remade FFVII is a license to print money. There’s a whole generation since the original game came out that missed the whole shebang. And another generation that wants to feel the magic again. So cough it up, already!

Oh, and non-believers in FFVII and those who think FFXII is a better game can go get bent. Heh.