Tekken Advance

Coming off the momentum of the arcade and PlayStation 1 and arcade smash hit, TEKKEN 3, TEKKEN Advance was the first-ever portable version of the series. Released only for the Gameboy Advance, the controls are simplified for the Gameboy's buttons layout... one button for punch, one for kick, one trigger for throw, and the other trigger for sidestep. To state the obvious, characters are lacking a large portion of their movesets from TEKKEN 3. However, TEKKEN Advance also takes some inspirations from TEKKEN Tag Tournament, featuring some of the characters' moves from TTT1 and even 3-on-3 Tag Battles (in addition to normal 1-on-1 bouts). Even the character select icons (below) are based on the renders from TTT1.

Tekken on Gameboy Advance? Yikes.

TEKKEN's overall gameplay mechanics are were drastically dumbed down for the GBA port... and as a big fan of actually playing TEKKEN, that hurts. It's almost unplayable. As a GBA game, I suppose it's not completely horrible? However, as a representation of what TEKKEN is (a really great 3D fighting game), TEKKEN Advance is a mere shell of its source material, but might have surprising polish in certain places when you look closer. There are some decent combo possibilities, but they're completely unlike the arcade and PS1 counterpart. With that said, TEKKEN Advance doesn't really feel much like TEKKEN at all, sadly.

Tekken Advance is rough... roooooough.

Graphically, there's not a whole lot going on... but considering the time period, and by GBA standards, I suppose you could say the graphics are, dare I say... decent? You've got your flat 3D texture mapped rotating floor, cut & paste background image, and super-pixilated 2D sprites which were ripped straight from the 3D character models in TEKKEN Tag Tournament. I think the GBA looks best when it uses clean cut 2D sprites... rather than translating something that was originally made with 3D polygons. I can appreciate the effort in smoothing out the TEKKEN models, but the end result really doesn't impress.

So is this game trash? No, it's not complete trash. The sound is actually fairly decent considering the system, and the 3-on-3 tag mode is fairly interesting and entertaining. They certainly tried to pack as much into the game as possible. Somehow, they even fit in Nina and King's chain throws by using weird cutscenes (which look completely terrible, but still, they're in the game somehow). As bad as it is, somehow it's actually impressive Namco attempted such a ridiculous translation in the first place.

"Silly GameBoy... Tekken is for PlayStation."

If you want to play TEKKEN... I recommend you play it on any other system besides Gameboy Advance. But for historical value, somehow I'm glad this insane port of TEKKEN exists just to show how far video games and TEKKEN have come (which makes me feel very very old). Thankfully, Bandai Namco eventually released far more playable portable versions of the series in the coming decades, including: TEKKEN: Dark Resurrection (PSP), TEKKEN 6 (PSP), and TEKKEN 3D: Prime Edition (Nintendo DS).


Page Updated: September 29th, 2022
Developer(s): Namco
Publisher(s): Namco
Designer(s): Yasuhiro Noguchi
Platform(s): Gameboy Advance
Release Date(s): Dec. 21st, 2001    
Jan. 28th, 2002     

Mar. 29th, 2002 
Characters Jin Kazama, Hwoarang, Forest Law, Eddy Gordo, Ling Xiaoyu, King, Nina Williams, Paul Phoenix, Yoshimitsu, Gun Jack, Heihachi Mishima

Featured Video:

Related Games: TEKKEN 3, TEKKEN Tag Tournament, TEKKEN 3D: Prime Edition, TEKKEN: Dark Resurrection, TEKKEN Hybrid, TEKKEN Revolution, TEKKEN, TEKKEN 2, TEKKEN 4, TEKKEN 5, TEKKEN 5: Dark Resurrection, TEKKEN 5: Dark Resurrection Online, TEKKEN 6, TEKKEN 6: Bloodline Rebellion, TEKKEN Tag Tournament 2, TEKKEN 7, TEKKEN 7: Fated Retribution, TEKKEN 8, Street Fighter X TEKKEN, Guilty Gear X: Advance Edition, The King of Fighters EX: NeoBlood, KOF EX2: Howling Blood, Street Fighter Alpha 3 Upper

Gameplay Engine  4.5 / 10
Story / Theme  6.0 / 10
Overall Graphics  4.5 / 10
Animation  4.0 / 10
Music / Sound Effects  7.0 / 10
Innovation  4.0 / 10
Art Direction  5.0 / 10
Customization  2.0 / 10
Options / Extras  2.0 / 10
Intro / Presentation  3.5 / 10
Replayability / Fun  2.5 / 10
"Ouch" Factor  5.0 / 10
Characters  6.0 / 10

 4.6 / 10



Final Words:

Bottom Line: If you want to play TEKKEN... I recommend you play it on any other system besides Gameboy Advance. Back in 2005, a friend of mine who also played TEKKEN 5 with me at the arcade, let me borrow his Gameboy Advance one time to try out TEKKEN Advance...

After attempting to play TEKKEN Advance for about 5 minutes (probably less than that), I gently placed my friend's cute portable system down on the nearest table, as a tear ran down my cheek... from laughing. There's one thing I learned that day: TEKKEN Advance is one of the only TEKKEN games in existence that's "not for me". It's funny that this game even exists. Gotta give Namco credit for trying.

FUN FACT: TEKKEN Advance released the same year as TEKKEN 4 (and nearly half of a year after TEKKEN 4). In 2001, I was much more interested in playing TEKKEN 4 at arcades (and continuing to enjoy TEKKEN Tag Tournament 1, of course). That said, there is no possible way someone like me could've enjoyed anything about TEKKEN Advance at the time. Simply put, it was way too much of a downgrade.

Perhaps one day I'll decide to torture myself and try playing TEKKEN Advance again on an emulator or something. Maybe it's better than I remember and worth revisiting for a few laughs.
~TFG Webmaster | @Fighters_Gen

FOLLOW    ON: