Christmas Day in 1996 was a special year for Hitbox Gaming. After tearing open an entire stocking of presents containing pairs of underwear (thanks mum), toothbrushes and the traditional, annual Lego set, a loud and excitable quartet of boys were herded into the sitting room for the main event.
After waiting for what seemed like hours for their three year old sister to open her electric quad bike, the boys were each given the corner of a sizeable box to open. A shared gift? Not something that comes naturally to a group of four boys but if their parents were willing to endure the inevitable arguments that came with a shared Christmas present, then it must be special.
As they opened the present, the brothers all realised just how special that gift was when the word “PlayStation” was unveiled. Two controllers, 10 games; the dad must’ve had to dip very deep into his pockets for that. Among those 10 games was something that immediately stood out for the action-film and wrestling obsessed Hitbox Gaming: Tekken 2. Having only played Eternal Champions on the Mega Drive, Tekken 2 was mind blowing and countless hours were spent perfecting moves and combos in the game.
Fast forward 20 years and the now fully grown Hitbox Gaming is a proud owner of the PS Vita. As you’ll have noted from the review of the system, the Vita has a huge catalogue of PS One classics to choose from, among these are both Tekken 2 and its predecessor Tekken.
£3.99 and 20 minutes later, the game was fully installed on the Vita, ready for a reasonably long journey to see the family at the weekend.
Like a fine wine, it’s gotten better with age
Aside from the overwhelming nostalgia and glee you feel when you play one of your all-time favourites on a handheld, there’s always something that stands out with the PS One classics on the Vita: the gameplay. Unlike so many other emulated experiences, the Vita consistently looks and feels as good as the original, even with those rose tinted glasses you’re often so fond of.
Tekken 2 is no exception, and 20 years on it hasn’t shown the signs of age that are clear in games like G-Police. It’s obviously not the ground-breaking 3D spectacle that it was two decades ago, but like watching a black and white film, Tekken 2 is of an era and it still holds up.
Whether you’re a button masher or you spend hours meticulously perfecting a 10 move combo, Namco’s beat ’em up still gives you the same joy as it always had. The quick, arcade gameplay is perfectly suited to the pick up and go style of the PS Vita and the sheer number of different characters gives players the depth to keep coming back for just one more fight.
One thing that really stands out is the sound. The game’s 90s synth-filled, arcade soundtrack takes you back to a simpler time in gaming and creates a strong sense of nostalgia, but when you plug in some headphones it becomes something else entirely. The difference between a decent pair of headphones and the speakers on the 14″ CRT television you probably had in your bedroom when you were younger, is enormous. Every grunt, thwack, bassline and dying scream is delivered the way it should have been 20 years ago.
King of Fighters
As the journey came to an end, Hitbox Gaming had to fight a pretty strong urge to turn around and do the whole trip all over again. With the PS One Classics, Sony has done such a good job in emulating not just the games but the feeling you had when your first played them 20 years ago. You’ve only got to look at Final Fantasy VII on iOS to see how easy it is to do a poor job when porting a game to a new platform.
After two decades Tekken 2 still stands above many other fighting games and for £3.99 it is one the best value for money beat ’em ups you can buy today. For Hitbox Gaming, Tekken 2 is still the King of Fighters and it ‘s still got plenty of fight left in it.