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Fever Pitch: Tekken 6 holds its own but holes remain 

Tekken 6 holds its own but holes remain

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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 gamestores and places-where-I-have-credit. Yet that lovely red boxed game had been sent for review by the 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, okay 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 no-more mentioned red-boxed Wii title to keep multiple players busy, it's a shame that Tekken 6 has figured out the single-player campaign of an arcade-style fighter, 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 fight 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-profile 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 very quickly. It's fun. Slightly feverish.

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.

Tekken 6 ★★★✩✩

Rated Teen; PS3, 360

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