End bosses in fighting games have always been a hassle, but none have been quite the crotch-kicker and stun-gunner as Jinpachi Mishima from Tekken 5. If his name sounds or looks familiar, it’s because you’ve met and played as his offspring and his offspring’s offspring throughout the Tekken series so far; he is Heihachi’s father, Kazuya’s grandfather, and the great-grandfather to Jin Kazama. Also, please note that he is possessed by an evil force, which explains the teethy mouth in his stomach and purple smoke aura. Or maybe it doesn’t. Really, who bothers with the fiction these days in any Tekken games? It’s all about the throws and air juggling.
Now, I’m not a crazy huge fan of fighting games, mostly because I have no one to play against anymore. Computer-controlled opponents can only do so much, and they generally only become challenging when they start using cheap tactics that always feel unjust. In the past, I’ve really enjoyed the black sheep of the genre, like Bloody Roar and Star Gladiator. Obviously, I played a bit of the two big boys, but Street Fighter always felt too sluggish to me, and Mortal Kombat was the type of game I enjoyed watching in arcades more than playing. But I will always come back to the Tekken franchise as my first true love when it comes to punching, kicking, and side-stepping.
So far, Tekken 5 is pretty cool. Character movement is swift and accurate, and there’s a bunch of new characters–well, for me–to try out. Also, and this part is absolutely insane, you can play the arcade versions of previous Tekken games, making this, perhaps, the greatest collection of Iron First tournament titles this side of silly. My only gripe though, and it’s a big one, is that the final boss is wickedly cheap. Like to the point that it feels completely unfair. Jinpachi is able to launch a number of unblockable moves that take away a large chunk of your health, as well as the ability to stun you no matter what move you are doing. Screw animation priorities. Oh, and one of his moves heals him while damaging you. Fun times, people.
At this point, I’ve beaten Tekken 5‘s story mode five or six times, unlocking the very same amount of hidden characters. However, each fight against Jinpachi has varied considerably, and I know that I just barely got out alive when using Steve Fox and Craig Marduk against him. Things were much easier when using fighters that had range or a lot of powerful kick moves, like Christie. For a lot of the fights, it is a mix of endurance and luck, as well as avoiding that fireball he tosses your way. But some fights, if the wind isn’t blowing your way, can end in a matter of seconds, considering how much damage Jinpachi does. And yes, for the record, I’m playing on the easiest of difficulties, with settings for one round and 30 seconds–that’s how hard he is to battle. Cervantes from Soul Edge, Seth from Super Street Fighter IV, and Galactus from Ultimate Marvel VS. Capcom 3–they seriously have nothing on this demonic fart-knocker.