Tekken: Dark Resurrection - Tekken: Dark Resurrection

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The audio efforts deserve just as much praise. I dare say the Tekken style of music isn’t to everyone’s taste, with its blend of heavy guitar, weird oriental noises and blistering dance beats, but Dark Resurrection doesn’t skimp on any of the listed ingredients. Meanwhile, the full range of grunts, roars, screams and the heavy smack of foot or fist on face is as good here as in the best Hong Kong fight flick you can imagine. It sounds utterly fantastic through bass-boosting headphones.


Yet none of this would matter if it wasn’t for one thing: Dark Resurrection plays superbly. The series’ strength has always been its relative simplicity: take two buttons for fist, add two for feet, then mix and match with the D-Pad to pull off moves and killer combos. It still works here, and whether you’re a dumb button masher or a combo-cutting ninja, it’s surprisingly easy to pull off complex moves with ease. For maximum dexterity you might want to play with the PSP on your lap, so you can hit all four face buttons with your fingers instead of relying on your thumbs, but most sensible Tekken players would say the same of the PS2’s Dual Shock 2 controller, and while it’s a little trickier to pull off any diagonals, this shouldn’t adversely affect your play too much.


You may also be surprised to find this is a beat-em-up with hidden depths. Of course, you get the traditional one-player story mode, complete with cartoon intros, the mandatory bizarre storylines – time travel, curses, family drama and sibling rivalry a speciality – and neat CG endings (Anna’s being a particular highlight), but there’s also much, much more. The arcade mode, for example, simulates playing against a series of arcade challengers, with you struggling to hold on and climbing higher and higher up the rankings. More scope for battle comes courtesy of Tekken Dojo, where you work your way through the ranks of several themed dojos, and if you should get bored of that lot, you can always take time out with the bonus games, including a spot of Tekken-themed bowling.


Nor has Dark Resurrection forgotten its roots as the classic before-pub, winner-stays-on beat-em-up. I’ll admit to some slight disappointment at the lack of real-time online play, but instead Dark Resurrection lets you connect up to upload and download packs of ‘ghosts’ which offer a snapshot of a given player’s character roster and play style. This network-friendly sharing actually gives you a reason to customise characters, and you can spend points earned in-game on their looks and wardrobes, changing colours, adding masks or hats, and altering hair styles or colours. I know, it’s sad, but I must admit it’s also kind of fun. And when you have some mates closer by, there’s always good old ad-hoc two-player action, and though I don’t think you’ll ever beat the experience with a gang of mates, a TV and a couple of four-packs of lager, this comes fairly close.


So there you go. Like Ridge Racer or Syphon Filter: Dark Mirror, Tekken: Dark Resurrection shows that you can have an established series hit the PSP without cludges or compromises. Not everyone likes beat-em-ups, and the Tekken name doesn’t sell systems like it used to, but if the idea of another run for the King of Iron Fist title even slightly appeals, this is one handheld offering that you really have to own.


”’Verdict”’


The Tekken renaissance continues, with a masterful handheld effort that shows exactly what the PSP can do when pushed.

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