One of Tekken’s more controversial characters here, in the shape of Alex the kangaroo. Er, he’s a kangaroo. And he’s called Alex. Madness! The bird in Tekken Tag Tournament’s bush, as it were, is the brand spanking-new ‘tag’ element.

Instead of playing mano-y-mano (or, erm, womano-y-womano, or indeed mano-y-womano), you now pick two fighters to tag between. You can switch fighters with a deft prod of the shoulder button at any time, whereby your current fighter will step out of the ring for a breather while your partner steps in.

Whilst you can’t expect any WWF-style pile ups (as you can only – for the most part – fight with one of your characters on screen at a time), the trick now is to pick a partnership that will compliment each other’s fighting styles, whilst carefully managing both energy bars. There are a few tag combos when both characters set upon your opponent before switching, but as soon as one of your fighters buys it, it’s game over.

You’ll have met most of Tekken Tag Tournament’s characters before from previous Tekken games, with the move and combo lists extending from where they left off. There are twenty main characters, with fourteen secret ones to unlock each time you complete the game, with the introduction of a brand new character – the spookily-monikered “Unknown”. Her details in the Tekken universe are sketchy (her stats, moves and fighting style are all unlisted). But if her freakish yellow zombified eyes, rotting clothing, and mysterious wolf-like shadow are anything to go by, it’s probably for the best. You certainly wouldn’t want to bring her home to meet your mum, that’s for sure.

Tekken Tag Tournament looks stunning. The polygon count has been upped from the coin-op version, and the characters are as lifelike as you could want. The backdrops are moody, detailed and well animated – lightning electrifies the sky, a boat drifts by with huge sails billowing in the wind, and gangs of youths crowd around to cheer you on. If it’s eye candy you’re after, TTT is an entire Cadbury’s Christmas Selection Box, with a bag of Jelly Tots on the side.

What is a little disappointing – unlike the up and coming Dead or Alive 2 – is that you can’t interact with the backdrops. You’d have thought that the uneven floor on some levels would warrant some stumbles, or that windows would be ripe for crashing through. But still, eh? Background interaction has never been the Tekken way, so who are we to complain? We’ll shut up, then.

And “shutting up” seems like quite a good idea in all. Tekken Tag Tournament is easily the best Tekken game yet, and a perfect example of what the shiny new PS2 is capable of. It’s perhaps not as huge a leap from Tekken 3 as it could have been, but – as the old saying goes – if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Tekken Tag Tournament rules the PlayStation 2 beat-’em-up roost. That is, until something else wants to come and have go if it thinks it’s hard enough.