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Tekken 6 

A flashy, feverish, single-player fighter designed to do decent battle on the online arcade.

click to enlarge All the kids in Tokyo are fighting like this these days.
  • All the kids in Tokyo are fighting like this these days.

I’m not sure if it’s the flu or H1N1 that I’ve got, but I’m doing fine now, thank you. I rather liked the term “Swine Flu,” because right now, feeling better, I’m pigging out. Anyway, it’s about as backhanded as a compliment can get, but one of the best things that I can say about Tekken 6 is that it held my attention in the midst of a flame-bright flu while brawling, head-to-head, one of videogaming’s greatest icons.

New Super Mario Bros. Wii was a game I had every intention of buying. I had even mapped out the game’s encroaching availability at within-ethics-big-boxes, indie game stores and places-where-I-have-credit. Yet that lovely red-boxed game had been sent for review by Nintendo’s PR people a week before it landed in stores, sitting on my doorstep as I stepped into my home for a weekend of what I thought would be a cold, maybe not, OK, maybe it is “The Flu,” and Tekken 6.

I won’t say more about New Super Mario Bros. Wii, other than to say that it redefines co-op. With games like Borderlands and the nomore mentioned red-boxed Wii title to keep multiple players busy, it’s a shame that Tekken 6 has fi gured out the single-player campaign of an arcade-style fi ghter, but neglected to do the same for co-op play.

The game is supposed to feature a downloadable (free? hope so) update this winter that will make the campaign story — which features a Gundam-winged robot fairy schoolgirl and incorporates a fi ght with a big panda bear — a co-op game. Otherwise, the single-player campaign progresses like the cartoon maps of Super Mario Bros. 3 — also used in another high-profi le game this season — but with Tekken characters doing the fighting.

I enjoyed fighting the special enemies — the big juggernauts with tight silver legs and domes of brick-red head armor, like those pop-up He Man action figures. Or the chance to kick the panda bear in the snout. But the meat of the single-player campaign — beefy shirtless action figure dudes in one costume or another — is mainly fun when it gives me a gun to slaughter them. Yeah, a gun in a fighter. It kind of Super Smash Bros.-izes Tekken.

Otherwise Tekken 6, as a fighter, has a slightly sloppy, quick-paced, from-the-arcades rate of progress. Animation is slightly crude. Transitions are missing. Legs go flying in ridiculous directions quickly. It’s fun. Slightly feverish. Collecting chicks from vanquished enemies to restore strength the way that hams used to restore strength in the old Final Fight. Ham. Mmm. Excuse me while I call in sick with Tekken 6.

THE GOOD: So there are coin-gathering jeans and incendiary aviator shades… The customizable features that are available for the online worldwide Tekken brawl avatars are interesting, from the simple to the supernatural.

THE BAD: The shades and costumes and power-ups can’t yet be used in the single-player campaign. Or I couldn’t figure out how to do it. Whatever. Anyway, with online updates, Tekken 6 is healing up too.

THE BOTTOM LINE: A flashy, feverish, single-player fighter designed to do decent battle on the online arcade.

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