Tekken is one of the earliest 3D fighting game franchises, with the first game applying many of the concepts found in Virtua Fighter by Sega.
As with many fighting games, players choose a character from a lineup, and engage in hand-to-hand combat with an opponent. It is primarily a competitive two-player series, but a human player can fight an AI-controlled character for practice or amusement.
Tekken differs from other hand-to-hand fighting games in some ways. Traditional fighting games are usually played with buttons which correspond to the strength of the attack, such as strong punch or weak kick. Tekken, however, dedicates a button to each limb of the fighter, making learning special attacks more of an intuitive process. The player could watch the animation on screen and figure out the appropriate command (if the character kicks low with their right leg, the move is likely to be executed by pressing down and right kick, or a similar variation). Traditional fighting games, such as Street Fighter, involve inputting commands as rapidly and accurately as possible, whereas Tekken slows the action down, emphasizing rhythm, strategy, and deception over speed.
By default, there will be two rounds of combat. However, the players have a choice from one to five rounds, as well as options for the time limit of each round. If the winning character retains all his or her health without the time having run out, the announcer will say, "Perfect!" If the winning character is near knock out, the announcer will call, "Great!". Occasionally, both characters will be knocked out simultaneously, and the announcer will call "Double K.O." If the time limit for the round expires, the character with more health will be declared the winner. If one does not exist, the round will be a draw. In other cases, the announcer will call "K.O." when one character is triumphant.
In the game, the name of the location was displayed in the bottom right corner of the screen. The locations included Angkor Wat, Szechwan, Monument Valley, Chicago, Kyoto, Fiji, Windermere, Venezia, Akropolis, King George Island, and Chiba Marine Stadium. (However in later Tekken games the location names were removed)