If you’ve been a PAL gamer for more than ten years, you’ll know that we went through a sort of Dark Ages. For the longest time, games came to our region almost a year after they were released and the US and Japan, and usually in an inferior form – running at PAL 50Hz without being recoded to run at the right speed, meaning they ran slowly. A lot of games suffered from this, including Tekken Tag Tournament, which we couldn’t enjoy the way it was meant to be played.
But now, we can. Tekken Hybrid is an interesting little bundle made up of three very enticing parts. The main course is a glorious, full-speed, widescreen, high definition version of Tekken Tag Tournament. It’s clearly an upgraded port of the old PS2 version and it still contains the PS2 modes and options – including the Tekken Bowl mode, where you pick your favourite character and play a bowling mini-game which is more addictive than you’d allow yourself to believe.
Apart from that, it’s TTT as we know. You pick two characters to form a tag-team and tackle the game’s various modes to prove your skills. You might have to downgrade your expectations a bit, though. The game was released a decade ago and some of your favourite characters might have less than half the moves they currently do. But it’s kind of cool in a way, it forces you to use old moves and perhaps rediscover their virtues that you might have forgotten over time. If you’ve got enough controllers, you can play up to four players – two vs. two – which is one of the best times you can have with a console, I promise you. There are also some trophies to be collected, but no online modes, though. Sorry.
The second attraction is the Blu-ray feature film, Tekken: Blood Vengeance. This is a full-length movie that you can view in 3D if you have the required TV, which sets the stage for the upcoming Tekken Tag Tournament 2 game. If this is true, then the Tekken story has grown even more retarded than I remember. The fights are pretty good, but it’s full of cringe-inducing voice acting and doubly cringe-inducing anime clichés of the worst kind that will have any sane person rubbing their temples before long. It does look pretty, though, and the Japanese have gotten a lot better than I remember at CG animation. It makes for an entertaining diversion but I can’t see even the blindest Tekken fans calling it a good film.
The cherry on top is Tekken Tag Tournament 2: Prologue, a little teaser for the upcoming game that rabid fans can tear into while they wait for the full release. It has four characters available: Ling Xiaoyu, Alisa Bosconovich, Devil Jin and Devil Kazuya, complete with their new outfits and new moves. Unfortunately there is no Practice Mode and, sadly, no Command List (well, I couldn’t find one) in this little teaser game, so if you want to find out what’s new you’ll just have to experiment. I found two new moves for Ling Xiaoyu so far, and one move I’m relatively sure is new for Devil Jin – but it’s been so long since I used him in Tekken 6 I can’t be sure.
With all this, it’s quite a nice little bundle here, but I’m not sure how many people outside of the serious Tekken fan circles will be interested. Just know what you’re buying – a re-released, decade-old game, a small teaser of an upcoming game and a brainless but entertaining movie. Oh, and by the way, it may come on a Blu-ray disc, but it installs both games to your hard drive, so make sure you have at least 4GB free space if you want it.