Tekken 3 (鉄拳3 Tekken Suri?, lit. Iron Fist 3) is the third installment in the Tekken fighting game series. It was originally released in March 1997 in arcades, and for the PlayStation in mid-1998. A simplified "arcade" version of the game was released in 2005 for the PlayStation 2 as part of the Arcade History mode featured exclusively in Tekken 5. The PlayStation version is considered by some as one of the greatest games of its genre. It is also considered the best game in the entire series by both fans and critics.

It was the first game released on Namco System 12 hardware (an improvement to the original two Tekken games, which used System 11). It was also the last installment in the Tekken series to be released for the original PlayStation.     


Set sixteen years after the second King of Iron Fist Tournament, the story starts with Jun Kazama, who has been living a quiet life in Yakushima with her young son, Jin, whose father is Kazuya Mishima.

Heihachi Mishima, meanwhile, has established the Tekken Force, an organization dedicated to the protection of the Mishima Zaibatsu. Using the company's influence, Heihachi is responsible for many events that have ultimately led to world peace. However, while on an excavation in Mexico, a squadron of Heihachi's Tekken Force is attacked and vanquished by a mysterious being. The only surviving soldier manages to relay a brief message to Heihachi, describing the perpetrator as an "Ogre" or a "Fighting God". Heihachi and a team of soldiers investigate, with Heihachi managing to catch a glimpse of the culprit. After seeing the Ogre character, Heihachi's long-dormant dream of world domination is reawakened. He seeks to capture Ogre to use him for this goal.

Soon after, various martial arts masters begin disappearing from all over the world, and Heihachi is convinced that this is Ogre's doing. In Yakushima, Jun starts to feel the presence of Ogre approaching her and Jin. Knowing that she has become a target, Jun tells Jin about Ogre, and instructs him to go straight to Heihachi should anything happen. Sometime after Jin's fifteenth birthday, Ogre does indeed attack. Against Jun's wishes, Jin valiantly tries to fight Ogre off to protect his beloved mother, but Ogre brushes him aside and knocks him unconscious. When Jin reawakens, he finds that the house has been burned to the ground and that his mother is missing and most likely dead. Unbeknown to Jin, as soon as Jun disappears, a part of Kazuya's Devil which had sought to posses Jin in his mother's womb, returns and is able to possess him, now that he no longer has Jun's protection. Devil brands Jin's upper arm in the process.

Driven by revenge, Jin goes to Heihachi and tells him everything. Jin begs Heihachi to train him to become strong enough to face Ogre again. Heihachi accepts and proves to be a reliable teacher to Jin.

Four years later, Jin grows into an impressive fighter and master of Mishima-style Karate. On Jin's nineteenth birthday, the King of Iron Fist Tournament 3 is announced, and Jin prepares for his upcoming battle against Ogre. He is unaware, however, that Heihachi is merely using him and the rest of the competitors as bait to lure Ogre out in order to capture him.

Eventually, the tournament leads to the final confrontation between Jin and the God of Fighting. Ogre is able to transform into a much more powerful "true" form. Jin emerges the victor and Ogre completely dissolves. Moments later, Jin is gunned down by a squadron of Tekken Forces led by Heihachi, who, no longer needing Jin, finishes the job personally by firing a final shot into his grandson's head.

However, Jin, revived by the Devil Gene within him, reawakens and makes quick work of the soldiers, turning his attention to Heihachi and literally smashing him through the wall of the temple. Heihachi survives the long fall, but Jin, in mid-air, sprouts black, feathery wings and strikes Heihachi one last time. He then flies off into the night, leaving his bewildered grandfather staring after him.


Tekken 3 maintains the same core fighting system and concept as its predecessors but brings many improvements, such as significantly more detailed graphics and animations, fifteen new characters added to the game's roster, more modern music and faster and more fluid gameplay.

Perhaps the most noticeable change from the Tekken 2 fight system is movement reform - whereas the element of depth had been largely insignificant in previous Tekken games (aside from some characters having unique sidesteps and dodging maneuvers), Tekken 3 added emphasis on the third axis, allowing all characters to sidestep in or out of the background by lightly pressing the arcade stick (or tapping the controller button in the console version) towards the corresponding direction.

Another big change in movement was that jumping was toned down, no longer allowing fighters to jump to extreme heights (as was present in previous games), but keeping leaps to reasonable, realistic heights. It made air combat more controllable, and put more use to sidestep dodges, as jumping no longer became a universal dodge move that was flying above all of the ground moves. Other than that, the improved engine allowed for quick recoveries from knock-downs, more escapes from tackles and stuns, better juggling (as many old moves had changed parameters, allowing them to connect in-combo situations, where they wouldn't connect in previous games) and extra newly-created combo throws.

Tekken 3 was the first Tekken game to feature a beat 'em up mini-game called Tekken Force, which pitted the player in various stages against enemies in a side-scrolling fashion, similar to Capcom's Final Fight or Sega's Streets of Rage games. If the player succeeds in beating the minigame four times, Dr. Bosconovitch would become a playable character (granted that he is defeated first). This was continued in Tekken 4 and succeeded by the Devil Within minigame in Tekken 5.

There is also a minigame called Tekken Ball, similar to beach volleyball, where one has to either "charge" a ball (hit the ball with a powerful attack) to hurt the opponent or try to hit the ball in such a way that it hits the ground in the opponent's area, thus causing damage.


List of moves by character that can be performed in Tekken.

See: Tekken 3 Move Lists


Returning characters
Anna Williams (unlockable)
Heihachi Mishima (unlockable)
Lei Wulong
Nina Williams
Paul Phoenix
New characters
Eddy Gordo
Forest Law
Jin Kazama
King II
Ling Xiaoyu
Bryan Fury (unlockable)
Gun Jack (unlockable)
Julia Chang (unlockable)
Kuma II (unlockable)
Mokujin (unlockable)
Ogre (unlockable)
Panda (unlockable, acts as a costume swap for Kuma)
Tiger Jackson (unlockable, acts as a costume swap for Eddy Gordo)
True Ogre (unlockable)
Bonus characters
Doctor Bosconovitch (unlockable)
Gon (unlockable)
Armor King I (cameo in-home console intro, and King's ending)
Doctor Abel (cameo in Gun Jack's ending)
Jane (cameo in Gun Jack's ending)
Jun Kazama (cameo in Arcade intro)
Kazuya Mishima (cameo in Arcade intro, and Eddy's ending)
Marshall Law (cameo in-home console intro, and Forest Law's ending)
Michelle Chang (cameo in Julia's ending)


Stage Character
Tiger Dojo Tokyo Jin Kazama
Carnival Ling Xiaoyu
Taekwondo Dojo Hwoarang
Grassy Land Eddy Gordo/Tiger Jackson
Martial Arts Dojo Forest Law/Kuma II/Panda
Punk Alley Paul Phoenix/Bryan Fury
Hong Kong Street Lei Wulong
Skyring King II
Laboratory Courtyard Nina Williams/Anna Williams/Gun Jack
Forest Yoshimitsu/Mokujin
Mexican Temple Heihachi Mishima/Julia Chang
Ogre's Temple Ogre/True Ogre
Junky Mansion Doctor Bosconovitch
Beach Island Gon
High School Jin Kazama (alternate) / Ling Xiaoyu (alternate)


New Modes

There are two new game modes present in the game:

  • Tekken Ball: Here the player plays a game of beach ball using and punches to direct the ball to the far end of their opponent's side. The mode has three balls to choose from, no unlocking is required but the mode itself has to be unlocked. The Beach Ball is listed for beginners and does 60% damage, the Gum Ball is listed as expert and does 80% damage, and the Iron Ball is listed as Grand Master and does 100% damage. 
  • Tekken Force mode: The player takes a chosen character through a side-scrolling mini-game, fighting against the Tekken Force military in four stages. At the end of each stage is a boss character from the playable roster. The boss the player fights against in each stage depends on which character the player chose, with the exception of the fourth stage where the boss is Heihachi Mishima.


Aggregator Aggregate score
Magazines from the Past 97%
(25 reviews)[1]
Publication Review score
Arcade 5/5[2]
Computer and Video Games 5/5[3]
Edge 9/10[4]
Electronic Gaming Monthly 39/40[5]
Famitsu 39/40[6][7]
Game Informer 9.5/10[8]
GamePro 5/5[9]
GamesMaster 95%[10]
GMR 10/10[11]
Official U.S. Playstation Magazine 5/5[12]
Play 92%[13]


Tekken 3/Gallery



  • This Tekken game is notable for having these distinctions:
    • The only game that does not feature Kazuya Mishima and Lee Chaolan as playable characters (Kazuya, however, appears in the arcade opening and in a photo in Eddy Gordo's ending).
    • It features a sound echoing replay; it only happens on the PlayStation version though.
    • It has two minigames.
    • The only game where no Jack model is a default character.
    • The first game to have a Theater Mode outside Japan.
    • Apart from the first game in the series, this entry had introduced the most new characters to the series. It had also introduced the most replacement characters in the series, almost all of whom returned in later games. Notable examples of this include Jin Kazama, Hwoarang and Julia Chang.
    • It is the last game where the round timer is set at 40 seconds by default.
  • If the player puts the Tekken 3 disc into a CD player (or activates the "CD player" function on their game console), the 2nd track will play. The 2:37 song is called "The King Of Iron Fist Tournament 3: Enter The Tekken".
  • Theater Mode is unlocked after beating arcade mode with all ten of the default characters.
  • If the player has any saved data from Tekken or Tekken 2 on their memory card, the player can view any unlocked FMVs from the games while in Theater mode.
  • Tekken 3 is mentioned in the Eiffel 65 song, "My Console".
  • In Paul and Bryan's stage, on the wall a certain piece of graffiti says "Soul Edge", in reference to Namco's Soul series (and possibly the fictional sword itself).
  • Crow, Falcon, Hawk and Owl, members of the Tekken Force who appear in the eponymous minigame in this installment, are playable through the use of a cheat device such as Action Replay/GameShark.
  • Doctor Bosconovitch and Gon appear as secret characters in the console version of the game and do not appear in any subsequent main-series titles. Dr. Bosconovitch does, however, make a cameo in Tekken Tag Tournament's Tekken Bowl mode, and later makes a playable appearance as a DLC character in Tekken Tag Tournament 2.
  • Tekken 3 can be played on C.E.L.M (A School) on Children´s Day.

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