Tekken 3 was released in March 1997 (even if the titlescreen says 1996).
The title of this game translates from Japanese as 'Iron Fist 3'.
This is the first Tekken game which has 3-D backgrounds. Namco's Tekken 3 production team used one of the most advanced motion capture apparatus and facilities at its time for the highly life-like movements, moves, actions and reactions of the 3-D characters. They also used some of the very famous and active personalities of different martial arts styles from all over the world, like, for Eddy Gordo's Capoeira style of fight they got the services of Master Marcelo Pereira of 'Capoeira Mandinga'. And for Hwoarang's Taekwondo style of fight they got the services of Hwang Su-Il of 'Japan International Taekon-do Federation, and several other martial arts institutes.
Namco's production team motion captured each and every move to create such an in depth game, that was also one of the most higly anticipated fighting game for the last few years. After Tekken 3, its followers like Tekken Tag, Tekken 4 and Tekken 5 got more and more depth, life-like impression, and the element of giving more fun (and addictiveness to its players).
The word Tournament on the 'You are the Champion!' background is mis-spelled in the Japanese version as 'Tounament'.
Most of the characters like Jin, Law, Julia are the children of the characters from the first Tekken games.
In the Sound FX there is the announcer voice for Jun Kazama, Kazuya Mishima and Sake meaning these characters could have been in the game but weren't added to the final version.
There are 21 different characters, but Anna, Tiger and Panda play identical to Nina, Eddy and Kuma respectively. In total, excluding Anna, Tiger, Panda and Mokujin, there are 17 characters with different moves.
With a cheat enabled sometimes you can face Jun and a new character, Sake (pronounced Shaa-Ke). In fact Jun has a graphic for the VS. screen and a name tag for the energy bar. Uses Nina's body and Jin's moves Sake only has a name tag. Uses Yoshimitsu's body and Jin's moves, and a blank VS. picture. You can play with them with the code enabled. You'll have to find the value which the cpu uses to select your character. The value for Jun is 17 in Hex that will be (11). After you've played with Jun or Sake in the game you can see Jun and Sake in the Percentage Screens which appear in the game randomly when nobody is playing. Jun has got her Percentage Page's thumbnail but sake uses Paul's thumbnail. In the same way, after you've played with Jun and/or Sake you can see them in the EDS screen from the Dip-Switch menu. It looks like Namco was putting Jun and Sake but then stopped working on them for some purposes (explained below) :
1) According to the story Jun gets killed by Ogre (the god of fight). So if they would've put her they couldn't put Jin in the game as he probably looks of the same age of his mother. That doesn't apply to TekkenTag which has both Jin and his mother Jun, because TekkenTag does not have any storyline and the idea is to put all the characters from previous games (some of them were even dead).
2) Sake was rather populating the game as the game had already got 20 characters at that time. Namco's production team probably didn't had much time to re-do the whole code for character selection so they buried the two raw characters in an as-is condition forever...
A cameo of this game seen is in the 2000 movie 'Dude, Where's My Car?'. A "Tekken 3
" cabinet can be briefly shown in the arcade scene.
Wonder Spirits released a limited-edition soundtrack album for this game (Tekken 3 arcade soundtrack 001 ex - WSCAX-10001) on 18/07/1997.