Dead or Alive Dimensions

June 2, 2013

DOA Dimensions Box Art

Dead or Alive Dimensions for the Nintendo 3DS is an excellent addition to the Dead or Alive Series and a great handheld fighting game. I’ve had a lot of fun with the game and love being able to take one of my favorite fighters with me anywhere I go.

This game is a great entry game for anyone unfamiliar with the characters or the story who wants to know what has happened in the past games. The story mode takes you through the series history from the beginning and you play as multiple characters through it, learning about each of them.  The only thing about the story mode that I really didn’t like was the cutscenes that used static character models.  They could be a bit jarring.  As a fan of the NES Ninja Gaiden games, one surprise for me was that Irene Lew showed up in the story mode.  I didn’t know if she’s appeared in any of the new Ninja Gaiden games (I’ve only played some of Ninja Gaiden black, though I plan to play all of the new Ninja Gaiden series), but I was happy to see her here, though I wish her design had more similarities to her original one.  I did find out she apparently appeared in the 2008 Ninja Gaiden 2 using the name Sonia.  I would definitely be interested in Irene appearing as a playable character in Dead or Alive at some point.

DOA Dimensions Irene Lew

Irene Lew’s design in DOA Dimensions

 

In addition to the story mode, called Chronicle, the game has a lot more to offer.  Arcade mode allows you to play through against a series of opponents with the character of your choice.  Survival mode lets you play through against unlimited opponents until you are defeated.  Tag Challenge lets you fight in a team with an AI partner against other computer controlled teams.  Free play lets you choose your character, opponent and stage and play against the computer.  Training mode of course lets you train with each character.  Local play allows you to play against someone locally and Internet play allows you to play against other people online.  Throwdown lets you play against fighters that you have picked up from other players with StreetPass.  Showcase lets you look at figurines of the characters you have collected, create diorama scenes, and take 3D photos.  3D Photo Album lets you look at 3D photos you have taken of characters.  Fight Record lets you view your stats for your player record.

DOA Dimensions Shiden

Shiden in DOA Dimensions

 

The character selection in Dead or Alive Dimensions is impressive.  The game has twenty-six playable characters, including bosses from all the entries of the series.  The game also marks the first and only game so far in which you can play as Shiden, the father of Kasumi and Hayate and Raidou’s brother.  He doesn’t appear on the character select screen, but is selectable by holding L and X when selecting random.  You can choose two other costumes for him by holding R and X or L, R, and X altogether when choosing Random.  The other playable characters besides Shiden are Kasumi, Ryu Hayabusa, La Mariposa, Tina, Bayman, Helena, Zack, Leon, Gen Fu, Jann Lee, Hitomi, Hayate, Ayane, Genra, Kasumi alpha, Ein, Leifang, Eliot, Brad Wong, Kokoro, Christie, Bass, Alpha-152, Tengu, and Raidou.  Most characters have several costume options and there was also free DLC available for the game that added new costumes for a lot of characters.  Unfortunately I think that DLC is no longer available.

The game controls well and really is a lot of fun, with a lot of options and characters.  If you have a 3DS and are a fan of the Dead or Alive series, I highly recommend it.

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More Dead or Alive to talk about, and more

October 5, 2012

Today I was thinking about this blog site and that I hadn’t used it in a very long time.  There have been many other fighting games released since I abandoned this project, and I’d love to talk about them.  Maybe the recent release of Dead or Alive 5 inspired me, since I focused on it a lot here.  And there is also Dead or Alive Dimensions to talk about.  As I mentioned a long time ago here, I believe that these games did benefit from Itagaki not being involved.

Anyway, I’m planning to start using this space again and to stick with it this time, so we’ll see what happens.  I do really plan to go beyond Dead or Alive this time, continuing my discussion of Fatal Fury games, sharing my love of Street Fighter (including discussing the 25th anniversary box I got a week before DoA5), talking about crossover games, and beyond.  There are even several fighters I’ve never played that I probably should (Blazblue, for example) and others I have little experience with that I should get better acquainted with (Guilty Gear).  This weekend or next week I’ll start back up beginning with Dead or Alive: Dimensions.

Fatal Fury

May 10, 2009

The first Fatal Fury introduces us to three characters who will return in all of the games in the series:  Terry Bogard, Andy Bogard, and Joe Higashi.  Terry and Andy are brothers, who have returned to South Town to get revenge against Geese Howard for the murder of their father, Jeff Bogard.  Joe Higashi, from Japan, is in South Town for the King of Fighters tournament hosted by Geese and becomes friends with Terry and Andy.  You may recognize the name King of Fighters frIom the King of Fighters series of games also by SNK.  The name was originally used for the tournament in the Fatal Fury (Garou Densetsu in Japan) games, before it became the team fighting tournament.

Joe, Terry, and Andy

Joe, Terry, and Andy

In the first Fatal Fury game, the only playable characters are Terry, Andy, and Joe.  The game does have an interesting co-op feature where two players can fight together against the opponents.  After each successful victory, then player one and two fight each other, though.  This continues until the fight with Billy, and you cannot play co-op against Geese.  The game also includes multiple planes of fighting which didn’t exist in other 2d fighters at the time.  Characters can move into another plane in the background of the stages.

Throughout the game Geese makes comments on the advancement of the fighter you are controlling.  The story, as I told, is fairly straightforward and simple.  Terry and Andy want revenge on Geese for killing their dad, and Joe comes along as a friend.  They fight in the tournament and upon reaching Geese, he is killed by the hero.  Or is he?  (he’s not dead and comes back later, though technically I believe they intended for him to die in the first game).

Geese

Geese

The actual gameplay is not very good.  This is a game I only play because it introduced Terry Bogard, my favorite fighting game character.  It plays better than the first Street Fighter, but not close to as good as Street Fighter 2.  The game introduces a lot of interesting things to a fighting game, though (like co-op play and multiple planes that I mentioned), but future games would ultimately turn out to play much better, especially when Real Bout Fatal Fury came along (though the Fatal Fury characters ultimately play best in the King of Fighters series, where they truly shine, as well as the Capcom vs. SNK series).

Well, I’ve finally gotten this posted, and it only took me three months after I promised I would.  Of course, I still don’t even know if anyone reads this blog.  Fatal Fury 2 will be coming up next, when I get around to it.

Lazy?

February 8, 2009

And I still have to update the blog.  After talking with some fellow Nintendorks on X-box Live tonight while playing Halo 3, I realized this blog looks like I’m just REALLY into Dead or Alive, and I am into them, but there are a lot of fighting games I’m into more, and this blog wasn’t designed by me to solely focus on the DoA games.  I’ve just had some trouble ever feeling like turning my PS2 on to play through all of the Fatal Fury games, but I’ll be taking care of that soon.
Expect the blog for Fatal Fury to be written within the week.  When I start getting into Fatal Fury and the King of Fighters games, then you’ll really see which fighting game series I’m nearly obsessed with.

Uh oh

December 4, 2008

I realize that I’ve completely neglected the site, and it is now December.  Of course, I also realize that I don’t know if anyone is even reading anyway.  Regardless, I will continue my journey.  I will begin discussing the Fatal Fury games in the next week, as I’ll be done with school and can focus on playing and discussing them.  I hope to pick up some readers by then.  In any case, get ready to hear about my favorite fighting game characters.

Fatal Fury Garou Densetsu

August 14, 2008
Joe, Terry, and Andy

Joe, Terry, and Andy

I first truly discovered the character of Terry Bogard when watching the anime movie that was based on the Fatal Fury games. The movie, though, only had some characters in common with the games and was an original story. There were two OVAs that were done which were based closely on the first two games, but also had things completely unrelated to the games (Lily comes to mind; the made up Lily who was Terry’s romantic interest in the first OVA, not Billy’s sister). In any case, I will be discussing those when I’m through discussing the games.

I had seen this anime movie at some point during High School. When I began college at Augusta State University, ASU had an arcade next to the cafeteria, and I spent a lot of time there. The reason I spent a lot of time there was because the arcade had an MVS cabinet and one of the games in it was The King of Fighters 99′. I immediately chose the Fatal Fury team (Terry, Andy, Joe, and Mai) because I was familiar with those characters from the movie. I loved KoF 99, and I grew to learn about other characters in the game (including Blue Mary, the only love interest Terry has ever had in the games storyline). I eventually learned more about the background of Fatal Fury and who these characters were and how they related to each other. I was hooked.

I ended up discovering the Fatal Fury OVAs at Game Quest and rented them, which was my first time watching those. I liked them a lot (I still do, but less now since I think they could have been done much better) but never really played the Fatal Fury games yet. On vacation in Florida I discovered an MVS cabinet at Perkins and it had Real Bout Fatal Fury 2, so that was probably the first Fatal Fury I really got a chance to play and remember playing. Since then I’ve gotten copies of Fatal Fury, Fatal Fury 2, and Fatal Fury Special for the SNES, a copy of Fatal Fury 3 on the PC, a copy of Fatal Fury on the Wii’s Virtual Console (which is a direct port from the Neo Geo version), Garou: Mark of the Wolves on the Dreamcast (which is a great game), and Fatal Fury: Wild Ambition for the Playstation (this is a 3d Fatal Fury game). I’ll be playing all of those during this blog expedition through the world of Fatal Fury.

Fatal Fury is the name that was given to the series for it’s release outside of Japan. Why? I don’t know. I’m not sure where the Fatal Fury name comes from, and I should probably try to find that out some time. What I do know is that the name of the series in Japan is Garou Densetsu. Garou Densetsu means Legend of the Hungry Wolf. If you read that, then you know where I get my online name from.

Blue Mary

Blue Mary

I love the characters from Fatal Fury very much. Although the King of Fighters games are better fighters than the Fatal Fury games, and more fun, without the Fatal Fury games a number of King of Fighters characters wouldn’t have come into being. In fact, the tournament in the Fatal Fury games is called The King of Fighters, so without Fatal Fury there would be no King of Fighters.

Over the next couple of weeks I will discuss these games and the anime based on them. I love all the main characters of the series very much, but especially Terry Bogard. He is my favorite character from any fighting game ever, and he’s the reason that I started wearing Converse Chuck Taylor All Star shoes.

Terry and his pet monkey, Ukee (SNK mascot before Terry)

Terry and his pet monkey, Ukee (SNK mascot before Terry)

The Future of Dead or Alive

August 4, 2008
Eliot

Eliot

This year a lot of people began to believe there wouldn’t be another Dead or Alive after 4 or another Ninja Gaiden after 2. This was because Itagaki, the man who was in charge of Team Ninja’s work on the two series, quit his job at Tecmo because he was never paid some money that he was promised. However, Tecmo has said they are working on games in these series still, and I believe they can make DoA 5 just fine with Itagaki. In fact, I believe him not being involved my help the series to evolve.

One thing I can say for sure is that I hope there is not another DoA Xtreme game. Those games caused a mockery of the Dead or Alive series, in some regards. Their focus on the women and on their sexuality caused people not to take DoA seriously as a fighting game, when in fact it has a deep fighting engine that isn’t easy to master. In fact, it is on par, if not deeper, than the fighting of Soul Calibur games. A lot of this comes from the now complex reversal system, which no other 3d fighting game has. Not that I’m attacking Soul Calibur, I love it, but most of the time when people insult DoA I’ve seen them point towards Soul Calibur. Let’s face it, Soul Calibur isn’t any better about their portrayal of sensuality or use of sex appeal (ex. Ivy, Taki, etc.).

Anyway, back to Dead or Alive and it’s future. I do think DoA 5 needs to keep a lot of things that have been successful so far. Like it or not, I believe that the sex appeal of the games should stick around. I do like the fact that the males in the fighting games still always outnumber the females or are equal to them. It’s interesting, since most people who argue about DoA being overtly sexual only talk about the girls (and it really doesn’t apply to all of them) and forget that there are playable male characters. In fact, Ryu Hayabusa of Ninja Gaiden fame is probably one of the strongest characters in the games. In any case, sex appeal has been used in fighting games for almost as long as they’ve existed, even as far back as Street Fighter II. Also, because DoA’s sex appeal was inspired by Mai Shiranui, I have a soft spot for it’s existence in DoA.

The ability to knock characters from room to room or from one plane to another also has to stick around. However, I think it needs to be taken farther. In the past, when playing in tag matches, you could only play in the special enclosed arenas, instead of on any stage. I think this is dumb, and in future games, I’d like to see the ability to play the tag matches on any of the stages. This will be important for one of my main desires for the future of the series that I’ll be mentioning later.

Another important aspect of the games has been the characters and their relationships to each other. I think this should be expanded even more, and that they should evolve some of these relationships further. For example, making Jann Lee and Lei Fang officially a couple and bringing Kasumi back to her village and restoring her place there. I think all the characters who have appeared so far need to return in DoA 5 (except the bosses), and we need to expand the roster by at least 4 characters. I’m not sure if the Spartan Nicole could return, unless Bungie gave permission again, but if she did, she should once again only appear outside of the story mode.

I would also make sure there was plenty of replayability by including a lot of unlockables. In DOAU2, there are 20 costumes for most of the girls. I’d want DOA5 to accomplish more by including 20 costumes for each character (with an easier way to unlock them all than just beating the game each time, like item collecting in Survival was used in DOAU2). I’d also like a cinematic opening for DOA5. DOAU2 had one, as did DOA3 (If you unlocked the booster disc on DOAU2).

How would I handle the story from here? As of DOA4, DOATEC has been destroyed, and Donovan was most likely killed by Hayabusa. All of the fighters definitely survived. I wouldn’t accept Donovan as a boss in the game, because it could end up compared to Donovan’s use in the DOA movie, and we wouldn’t want the comparison. I think the easiest thing is to make it official that he was killed when Hayabusa destroyed that Helicopter in the main DOA4 ending. They could easily invent another member of DOATEC who would restart DOA or carry out some unfinished plans of Donovan’s. For example, what was Donovan planning to do if he did assassinate Helena and was rid of all of the Douglas family? This could be explored.

For the story of the game, I’d like to do something different, that other fighting games have done before. I would like the main story of the game to be a tag fighter. This is why the tag battles would need to be on any stage. Games using multiple characters on teams have been done for a long time (King of Fighters, Marvel vs. Capcom, Capcom vs. SNK, Tekken Tag, etc.) and there has been a tag mode in all of the DOA games since DOA 2. The tag modes have always paired characters together, and sometimes these pairings changed between games (ex. In DOA2 Helena and Gen Fu were paired, in DOA3 Helena and Christie were paired, in DOA4 Christie was paired with Bayman and Helena wasn’t paired with anyone). Some pairings I would keep the same as in 4, but others I would change. I would have each of the cinematic endings involve both of the characters from the team.

I would like to return Gen Fu to the story mode. His granddaughter is fine now, so I think his motivation should merely be to fight alongside his student, Eliot, in the tournament. This would pair Gen Fu and Eliot together. Eliot’s goal for entering the tournament again could be to improve his skills and to prove himself to his master.

I’d like to see something REALLY interesting with Kasumi in DOA5. I would like her to be on good terms with her village again, having returned and having been forgiven by Hayate, who is in charge of the village now. I’d like her partner to be Ayane. From the DOA2U opening, we see that Kasumi and Ayane were once friends as children. After the events of DOA3 (Ayane not killing Kasumi when she could have and letting Kasumi go to see Hayate) and DOA4 (Ayane stopping Kasumi from approaching the DOATEC building as it’s destroyed) we see that Ayane most likely doesn’t hate Kasumi anymore. In fact, I’d like them to be on good terms and begin working towards a friendship again.

Hayate I would simply pair with Ryu Hayabusa. They are supposed to be best friends, so I think it could work out well. Hayate of course would be involved in order to seek out the new threat of DOATEC and Hayabusa would be eager to help him as his friend.

I’m most interested in expanding things with Lei Fang and Jann Lee. I would keep them together as a team (they have been since DOA2) and I would make it official that Lei Fang finally defeated him in DOA4 (she’s been trying to beat him since DOA1, I figured she deserves to catch a break). Also, as i mentioned, I’d set them up as a couple, because out of all of the characters in DOA, they are the only ones that could be made a believable couple at this point, though an argument could be made about Hitomi and Hayate. As there are no couples in DOA, I think it would be good to make them one, as it adds another relationship type to the game that does not yet exist. And romantic relationships are always intriguing, even in fighting games. I know I’m always interested in the ones going on in the King of Fighters games.

Tina I would keep paired with La Mariposa, as she was in DOA4. They are both wrestlers and I think they would work out well as a team. Plus I really liked their wrestling ending in DOA4. I’d like to see Tina change in some way as a character, just because she’s been around since the first DOA and has the same basic story in every game. Pairing her with La Mariposa could help add depth, since Lisa actually has past ties with DOATEC and was involved in the project with Ein.

I do think that Leon should return to DOA as a character in story mode. I would pair him with Bass for the next game. I have thought it would be interesting if Rolande somehow turned out to be alive and was part of DOA5, and that Leon would meet her during the course of the story, but I also think her actually staying dead would be fine, too. Still, I think if Leon was investigating something regarding Rolande it could add something more to his character, because ever since DOA2 it’s just been him trying to be the best because of her dying words. I think he could use some more depth somehow, just something to make him more interesting. I think Bass could use something new as well, but I’m not sure what. Or it could be him trying to stop Tina from following some other dream he thinks is crazy.

Bayman and Christie I would pair as a team, but only because I don’t see them working well with anyone else. They could both be hired for an assassination and be working together towards that goal, since they are both assassins.

Kokoro, now knowing she is the half-sister of Helena, should be paired with Helena, I think. It would be good to see their interaction throughout the game and Kokoro learning something about her family. Also, it would be good for Helena to form a bond with Kokoro, since she has no other living family.

I think Brad Wong and Zack should team up, just because they are both funny characters. I think it could make for some interesting chemistry. Either that or add Zack’s girlfriend as a fighter and as his partner.

Unless I’ve screwed up, this just leaves Hitomi. Perhaps she could be paired with Brad Wong if Zack had his girlfriend. Or, if not, then perhaps her father could be added as a character and she could team with him, or some other character.

In any case, those are just a few thoughts I had on the future of Dead or Alive. I also think adding a character creation mode could be cool, but a lot of that is because I’ve been playing a lot of Soul Calibur IV this week, and the character creation in it is awesome.

DOA: Dead or Alive (the movie)

July 25, 2008
DOA movie poster

DOA movie poster

The first time I watched DOA I had downloaded a torrent of it and watched it. It was bad. Not as bad as the Street Fighter movie, but it was bad. When I was in Augusta last week I bought a copy of DOA for 7 bucks so I could show my friends. Jud and I watched it one night and then another night Nathan and I watched it while we played Advanced wars (we didn’t really pay attention to the movie). In any case, I’m ready to talk about this movie in detail now. I’m going to spoil the movie, in case you really really wanted to see it and be surprised or something.

Ryu Hayabusa???

Ryu Hayabusa???

I’d like to begin by listing the few things I believe this movie actually did right. First of all, it did follow a few key elements of the Dead or Alive games (which is more than I can say for the Street Fighter film). First off, Kasumi leaves her village to find out what happened to her brother. However, there is something wrong with the way it is in the movie, because her village is now a palace and she is a princess. Also, instead of sneaking out in the night, she makes a huge elaborate escape involving a large number of palace guards and Ayane. Still, they did use the plot point that she escapes from the village.

Second off, Donovan is involved in the story and he did have Bayman murder Fame Douglas. I’m amazed that they actually got this right. Of course, Bayman is treated more like an accomplice of Donovan and not just an assassin, and Donovan never attempts to have Bayman assassinated.

The movie even shows a scene where Ayane is sent by a guy who I assume is Genra to go and assassinate Kasumi, since she is now a traitor.

Another thing that was done right is that they throw in a volleyball scene in reference to DOA Xtreme Beach Volleyball. It’s a nice reference to the fact that they made a couple of side-games with the characters.

Also, some of the fight scenes are decent.

Ayane threatens to kill Kasumi if she leaves

Ayane threatens to kill Kasumi if she leaves

That doesn’t sound so bad, right? They followed some key points of the game at least, right? True, but the amount of things that are just completely wrong and out of character far outweigh the few good things about the movie.

So as the movie begins we see a palace, which is completely wrong. In the games, the Mugen Tenshin ninjas reside in a small village, not some huge palace. We see Kasumi sitting on a throne. Now, Kasumi should be young and pretty. I can understand not using someone with Kasumi’s actual age (she’s only 17 in DoA4), but they still should have someone attractive. Now, Devon Aoki is in good shape, but her face bothers me. Some people would disagree with me, but there is something about it that isn’t attractive. I think it’s her nose. And her chin. Also, she has Japanese, German, and English in her. They could easily have found a full Japanese girl to portray Kasumi. In any case, we’re stuck with Devon for the duration of the film.

Soon after we first see Kasumi, she is approached by a guy trying to convince her that her brother is dead and she shouldn’t leave the village. He also claims to be Hayate’s best friend. Wait a minute, this guy is Ryu Hayabusa from Ninja Gaiden? Why is he in Kasumi’s village/palace dressed like he belongs there? He’s not a member of their clan. Anyway, Ryu turns out to be decent later, but his characterization is a little whiny when it shouldn’t be at all. Kasumi is determined to leave.

As she begins to head into the middle of the guards, she is confronted by Ayane (who doesn’t even look asian, but at least has purple hair that doesn’t look bad), who tells her she will have to hunt her down if she leaves. Kasumi also tells Ayane she’s going to look for Hayate and that she knows Ayane loves her brother (for those who’ve read the other blogs, in the games, Ayane is the half-sister of Kasumi and Hayate. They all have the same mother). Ayane also tells her if she leaves she’ll be a Shinobi (which Hayabusa also told her), but this is wrong. She’s already a Shinobi, because it’s another word for ninja. This word is misused in the film to mean a runaway ninja, when there is actually a word that could be used to mean that (nukenin). After an elaborate fight/escape, Kasumi jumps over the palace walls, and apparently the palace is at the top of a huge mountain. Kasumi removes her robe and has been wearing a hanglider thing underneath that she uses to glide away. It IS as ridiculous as it sounds. She then receives a shuriken invite to participate in DOA.

DOA poster of Tina

DOA poster of Tina

Next we are introduced to Tina on her yacht. Tina is portrayed by Jaime Pressley, and it’s one of the only roles in the film that was well cast and is actually portrayed well. Anyway, she talks to her dad, Bass, on the phone and then some asian pirates show up on another boat and Tina beats them up. She then receives her invite to DOA.

Christie

Christie

Christie is introduced next. Holly Valance makes a decent Christie. However, she is characterized more as a thief, even though they say she is an assassin (it’s never shown at all in the film, though, and she’s never a thief in the games). Also her personality in the film is much too cheerful and she is too nice to the other girls. By the end she is even friends with them all, even Helena (when in the games, she is the assassin who killed Helena’s mother). She also doesn’t use her correct fighting style in the movie. She escapes from some cops at a casino and her partner Max (who is totally made up for this film. I have nothing against the actor, Matthew Marsden, since he was the sniper in Rambo and it was awesome) watches her escape. She receives her DOA invite as she escapes.

So after being introduced to these three females who are going to hold the focus of the film, we see all the characters on a plane flying to the island where DOA is to take place. There is an island owned by Zack used in the Xtreme games, but the fighting games don’t take place on an island. Still, this isn’t too bad. On the plane, we see several characters who we won’t see much of, but who look the part, like Lei Fang and Gen Fu. Unfortunately, Gen Fu’s hair and facial hair look rather fake, when I think it could have been done better. Lei Fang should be more attractive, but it doesn’t matter as she won’t even be on screen for a total of 5 min.

While on the plane, everyone sees a video where Helena welcomes them and tells them they have to jump from the plane and parachute down. Oh, and Helena is rollerblading around and looks like a California teenager. She has no hint of a French accent (it is referenced that she got a tattoo in Paris, but there is no hint that she is French). She also isn’t an opera singer. She is completely out of character, with the exception that during her first fight she appears to actually use her fighting style from the games.

Once they are all on the island, they have a time limit to reach a certain point, but the movie only follows Kasumi, Tina, and Christie’s journey there. They decide that they have to work together (which leads to Christie’s first uncharacteristic moment) and they make it to the top of this tower they are climbing. Kasumi almost falls and sees Ayane and knows she has been followed. This whole scene includes ridiculous wire work that was unnecessary to use, and I now wish they wouldn’t use wire work in martial arts films anymore. Anyway, everyone makes it.

Tina in a costume nearly accurate to the games

Tina in a costume nearly accurate to the games

Next everyone gets a physical, which includes being injected with nanobots that track their fighting abilities. They are all given bracelets that show them who their next opponent is supposed to be, and they can fight them anywhere. Some nerdy character, Weatherby, is introduced (portrayed by
Steve Howey, who also plays Reba’s son-in-law on Reba) who is in charge of the computers and has a crush on Helena. He works for Donovan, and worked for Fame Douglas before that. Like Max, he was made up for this movie.

The fights begin, with a number of the characters being eliminated (Eliot, who isn’t the British fighter he should be, in fact, I think it’s a girl in the movie. Brad Wong, who’s hair in the film looks horrible and we never see him drink. Lei Fang and Jann Lee both get eliminated in the first round, and we hardly see any of Jann Lee, and none of his Bruce Lee moves, etc.). The only minor film character that makes it past round one is Gen Fu, and we never see his second round fight. Both Bayman and Leon also pass round one, but they are both used as villains. During the first round, Ryu Hayabusa wears an outfit very similar to the one from the new Ninja Gaiden games, but he doesn’t ever wear a ninja hood or mask in the film, unfortunately. He’d have actually looked the part if he did. He later just wears a blue ninja outfit (again, no hood or mask), so we don’t see this one again.

There is a special plot in the film for Christie and Max, where Max (who somehow got invited in to DOA and passed the first round by faking an injury) tells Christie he’s there to rob the place, and that Helena is the key (she has a tattoo with the clue to the vault and the passcode to get in to it). Christie and Max work together in this, and they are also shown to be romantically involved.

After a flashback that shows Hayate (who looks close to the character) save Kasumi and get invited to DOA, Kasumi asks Donovan about her brother, who had entered DOA the previous year. Donovan tells her that Leon killed her brother in the tournament. Donovan sets things up for her to face Leon next in the tournament. Kasumi wins. Interestingly, they actually break through walls and stuff, which references the games well. However, Kasumi wears pants with her most recognized costume. This is odd, because in the volleyball scene later, she does wear a bikini, so I don’t know why this choice was made.

Kasumi vs. Leon

Kasumi vs. Leon

This fight scene also had some ridiculous wire work. They could at least make it not look completely fake.

Tina and her father fight after this scene. Kevin Nash is decent as Bass, but the over-protective characterization isn’t as present as it should be. Tina wins the fight.

Bass vs. Tina

Bass vs. Tina

There is a volleyball scene, as I mentioned. Helena and Christie play against Tina and Kasumi. During this scene Ryu goes to investigate and has some cool fight scenes against guards. Then he gets captured. Ayane pops the volleyball with a shuriken when the score is tied and Kasumi goes to fight her. They fight in this bamboo forest but the fight is interrupted by Tina and Christie, and Ayane escapes.

Also during the party/volleyball scene, Weatherby approaches Helena and they talk, leading to the eventual forced relationship between these characters. Despite how much I hate the fact that they ruined Helena’s character in the film, the actress in the role is attractive. I wonder if she could have portrayed Helena properly if the script had been done correctly.

Helena poster

Helena poster

After this Tina and Zack are supposed to fight, and they decide to wait until after the party (which is why there was a volleyball break). It’s a decent fight scene, and Tina wins. Zack had been hitting on her up to this point until she embarrassed him at the hot tub (during Kasumi and Leon’s fight), and then he’d been insulting her. After the fight he tells her that he thinks she’ll win.

Tina vs. Zack

Tina vs. Zack

I do have to say that Zack is characterized well in this film, and the actor looks the part, so it was good to see that got him mostly right. I do think he should have been a little less serious, as he is in the games.

The last tournament fight in the film is between Christie and Helena. Christie wins and discovers the tattoo (and memorizes it) to get into the vault. She passes on the info to Max.

Christie vs. Helena

Christie vs. Helena

This leaves Hayabusa (who is missing), Kasumi, Tina, and Christie left in the tournament. Kasumi goes to find Hayabusa and Tina and Christie insist on coming. This scene also reveals that Kasumi has some feelings for Hayabusa, which irritates me. Mainly because in my mind the only relationship with Ryu involved is with Irene Lew from the original Ninja Gaiden games. However, as you’ll see, all the main characters are in relationships by the end of the film, except Tina.

Anyway, the girls all get captured and Donovan reveals his plan to download their fighting abilities and sell them for a high price to buyers. At the same time Weatherby has revealed the truth to Helena (that Donovan had her dad killed and about downloading fighters abilities) and Helena has to fight off guards after Donovan sends them to kill Weatherby and Helena.

Donovan releases Hayate who he’s kept in good fighting shape to show off the downloaded abilities to the buyers. Hayate has been shaved and no longer looks like Hayate, which sucks. He also uses some crazy fighting style that Hayate has never used as Hayate or as Ein. After he beats Hayate, Hayate is thrown off the tower to be saved by Ayane, and they share a passionate incestuous kiss. Donovan starts the download to the buyers.

Weatherby stops the download of the program to the buyers after he and Helena escape. He also works on freeing Kasumi and the others. Donovan comes to stop Weatherby and fights Helena, but Helena loses, even though her abilities weren’t downloaded. Weatherby is knocked out, but frees Kasumi, Tina, Christie, and Ryu before passing out. Donovan starts a countdown to destroy the complex.

Max was in the vault and Bayman stops him (there was an earlier scene with a match between Bayman and Max where Max wins through stupid luck and the scene is retarded so I don’t even want to talk about it). Hayabusa begins to fight Bayman while the girls all fight Donovan, who is super-powered with their fighting skills. He loses his sunglasses (yes, sunglasses) that he had downloaded their skills in to. Kasumi sticks a needle in his neck that freezes him in place and everyone dives out simultaneously and in the same fashion in a ridiculous climatic scene. The place explodes, killing Donovan and most likely Bayman who was left inside.

The pirates that ran into Tina earlier show up and Tina takes over their boat, picking up everyone in the ocean. They all ride back together, Weatherby matched with Helena, Max with Christie, Haybusa with Kasumi, and Hayate with Ayane (which is disgusting for anyone familiar with the characters in the games). Tina is alone. There is then one final scene of all the girls at Kasumi’s palace about to fight all the guards, and it’s absolutely stupid.

The movie has a LOT of faults, but there are a few things that they did get right. It’s not the worst film I’ve ever seen, but as a fan of Dead or Alive, it’s insulting. I honestly believe that with the same budget I could write, cast, and direct a better Dead or Alive movie. I’d focus it just on the story of the first game which would mean less characters and more minor characters getting more screen time. I also wouldn’t add ridiculous subplots, like stealing from DOATEC, which would mean more time for fighting and more time for the story of the games. In any case, it could have been worse. It could have been the Street Fighter movie.

Dead or Alive 4

July 12, 2008
Dead or Alive 4

Dead or Alive 4

Dead or Alive 4 is the best looking of all of the Dead or Alive games and the only DoA fighting game on the Xbox 360. It doesn’t look as good as it could, or as more recent 360 games, but I can forgive that as it was an early 360 game. Make no mistake, it does look beautiful.

DoA4 has the same control scheme as DoA2 and 3, but the reversals have been changed again, and this time the change is awful. This is my only real complaint about the fighting in DoA4. Up/back and block reverses high attacks, back and block reverses middle punches, forward and block reverses middle kicks, and down/back and block reverses low attacks. There are other attacks these will reverse as well. It’s not too different from the past, but because the speed of the fighting has been increased, pulling off any of these reversals, other than by chance, would take an amount of skill I just don’t have (though I was able to do it successfully in previous games). Eventually, I may be able to pull these off.

This change in reversal isn’t an issue when playing with friends, but when playing through the story modes, it is extremely frustrating. Not because you can’t reverse the computer, but because the computer constantly pulls these reversals off with ease, even on the normal mode (there is no easy mode). The normal mode for DoA4 in the story mode is also as hard as the hard mode in previous DoA games, so this is a bit irritating.

However, the game is still fun to play with friends. There are more characters to choose from than any previous DoA game, and everyone from DoA3 has returned, though all of them aren’t playable in story mode. Also, Helena, while playable in story mode, must be unlocked by playing through all the other characters’ stories. Doing this also unlocks the other characters for play in all the modes outside of story mode (except Tengu, who is unlocked by playing through Time Attack with all the characters). Helena’s story mode also contains the full canon ending of the game and the credits, though I’m not sure if this means she won the DoA4 tournament. I’m still unsure who won, but because so much of the focus of DoA4 is on her (though it still focuses on the ninjas) I’m pretty sure it was Helena.

Helena in DoA 4

Helena in DoA 4

In the DoA4 story, Helena has officially taken over DOATEC as she is the daughter of Fame Douglas. Donovan (if you’ve been keeping up, he hired Bayman to kill Fame Douglas and then tried to have Bayman assassinated. He also had attempted to have Helena killed (when her mother took the bullet), and he still works for DOATEC) creates Alpha-152 (a super Kasumi clone, who isn’t playable in the game). Alpha-152 is the cheapest of all Dead or Alive bosses, and thankfully every character doesn’t face her in their story mode. Also, the Mugen Tenshin ninjas, under the leadership of Hayate, have set out to destroy DOATEC.

All the characters who are playable in story mode have beautiful cinematic endings. However, some of them have nothing to do with what the character has done in the game at all. For example, Kasumi’s ending involves her dreaming she is a mermaid. Tina’s ending does have something to do with her, because it’s about her succeeding in her new life goal, that of being a rock star. Other endings show pieces of those characters involvement in the final ending (Helena’s ending), such as Ayane’s ending which shows her and Hayate escaping and destroying part of DOATEC. I wish Kasumi’s ending would have shown her involvement in the end.

Helena’s ending is the longest, as well it should be. It’s a great ending that shows Kasumi fighting her clone, Ayane and Hayate fighting their way out, Helena starting the self-destruct of DOATEC with the intention of dying in the blaze, Ayane stopping Kasumi from making an attempt to go into the blazing building (a sign that the rivalry between Ayane and Kasumi is at an end), Hayabusa destroying a helicopter (presumably containing Donovan), and (after the credits) shows Helena being saved from death by Zack. I was very glad they made this epic ending to show what the ending of the game was. I do wish there had been a cinematic opening for the game, though, like the one in DoA Ultimate 2 and DoA 3 (when it’s unlocked).

And now, on to the characters of DoA4.

Kasumi is still an outcast and still on the run. She’s pretty much the same character she has been throughout. I do hope there is a DoA5 and that it will bring Kasumi back into her clan, so that issue can be resolved.

Ryu Hayabusa is the only member of the Hayabusa clan. He joins with his friend Hayate to bring down DOATEC.

Kokoro is one of the new characters in DoA4 and she is in the story mode. She has trained to be a geisha, but she also has trained in Ba Ji Quan and wants to enter DoA4. Her mother, Miyako, is worried about her entering. She is Japanese and, as mentioned, is an apprentice geisha who fights in the Ba Ji Quan style. She likes Japanese fruit cocktail, sweet red-bean soup, and playing the piano. During the story mode, like the other fighters, she has special scenes with some of the characters. One of her scenes is with Helena, who knows Kokoro’s mother. This is because Miyako was another of Fame Douglas’ mistresses, and so Kokoro is Helena’s half-sister. Kokoro’s ending just shows her geisha training and shows her having become a geisha. It’s a very beautiful ending, though it doesn’t go into any detail of her fighting in the tournament or of her relationship to Helena.

Kokoro

Kokoro

Hitomi returns in her second official appearance in DoA4. Her dad has become ill and their training hall is in financial trouble. She enters DoA in search of Ein, believing he can help. The final boss for Hitomi is Ein (which can’t work with the canon of the game since Hayate has had his memory since he regained it in 2 and he is taking down DOATEC as head of the Mugen Tenshin in DoA4) but finishing Hitomi’s story mode does unlock Ein for play in the other modes.

Brad Wong is back from DoA3. After his search for a legendary drink called Genra resulted in him finding a monster in DoA3, he’s begun to just wander around looking for people to fight. In his ending he drinks something strong enough to send him on what appears to be an acid trip. It’s pretty funny.

Eliot makes his first appearance. He is a 16 year old British High School student who is the only apprentice to Gen Fu. Gen Fu has no need to enter DoA as his granddaughter is well now, but Eliot enters in search of answers about who Gen Fu chose him as his successor. Eliot fights with the Xing Yi Quan style and he likes tea (especially herbal or oolong tea) and playing the harmonica. I didn’t think I’d like Eliot at first, but I found him to be an interesting character, and enjoyed his reliationship to Gen Fu. His ending shows his past training with Gen Fu and ends showing him and Gen Fu’s little granddaughter, which is the first time she has been shown, I believe (she may have appeared in Gen Fu’s DoA3 ending, but I haven’t seen it yet, since I haven’t played that game through with everyone yet). Playing through with Eliot unlocks Gen Fu in the other modes.

Eliot

Eliot

Bass is back to stop Tina in her pursuits outside of wrestling. He discovers through the course of the story mode that Tina plans to become a rock star now.

Zack Island has sunk and Zack is back in DoA. He’s decided to climb the DOATEC Tritower.

Jann Lee is back purely for the fight.

Lei Fang is back to try and defeat Jann Lee. I love Jann Lee and Lei Fang and I hope that a future DoA will expand more on them.

Tina returns and has been successful as a model and as an actress. Now she has set her sights on becoming a rock star, and is back again to fight in the Dead or Alive tournament.

La Mariposa is probably my favorite of the new characters in DoA4. She was actually first introduced in DOA Xtreme Beach Volleyball as Lisa, but this is her first appearance as a fighter. She is a masked wrestler, a luchadora, and her fighting style is Lucha Libre, of course. She loves apple pie and scuba diving and is American. In the game we discover she worked for DOATEC, and in fact was a scientist who worked on the Epsilon project (the one that involved Hayate). She is, though, the one who released Hayate for unknown reasons. Most likely it was because she was against the experiments. While her nationality is American her skin is dark, but I always thought, and still do, that she is either just very tan or she is latin-American (I definitely lean more towards her being Latina). I think Zack is the only actual black character in the series, because Lisa doesn’t actually appear to be black, though some people believe her to be. In either case, though, she’s awesome, and I really like the capoeira moves she has.

La Mariposa/Lisa

La Mariposa/Lisa

Bayman is still after Donovan for attempting to assassinate him after he succeeded in killing Fame Douglas.

Christie has been working close to Helena at Donovan’s request. During a scene between Christie and Helena during the story mode, Christie reveals to Helena that she is the one who killed Helena’s mother (not Ayane). She reveals this with the intent of killing Helena.

Ayane is back to help Hayate destroy DOATEC.

Hayate is back, as mentioned, to lead his ninja to destroy DOATEC.

Helena has taken over DOATEC in order to learn what really happened to her parents.

That covers the characters that are playable in the story mode, but as mentioned, there are others playable in the other modes.

These characters are Ein, Gen Fu, Leon, Nicole, and Tengu. Of these characters, only Nicole is new.

Nicole is a Spartan, like Master Chief, from Halo. She doesn’t actually appear in any Halo games, but she looks much like Master Chief and was a result of Bungie letting Tecmo and Team Ninja use a Spartan in DoA4. I believe they originally wanted to use Master Chief himself but weren’t allowed to actually use Master Chief. Nicole even has a stage that is unlocked when she is, that is based on Halo. I was disappointed that all of her alternate costumes are just different colored Spartan outfits, and none of them show her without the helmet.

Nicole vs. Nicole

Nicole vs. Nicole

Well, that covers Dead or Alive 4, the last of the Dead or Alive fighting games. I still have 2 more Dead or Alive blog posts to make, though. One will cover what I would like to see in a future DoA installment and another will cover my thoughts on the Dead or Alive movie. Yes, there was a movie made based on these games, and yes, it wasn’t very good. Surprisingly, they did get some things right in the movie, though (not much) and it was better than the Street Fighter movie, at least.

Dead or Alive 3

July 11, 2008
Dead or Alive 3

Dead or Alive 3

Dead or Alive 3 does not look as good as Dead or Alive Ultimate 2, but there is a good reason for that. DoA3 was made before the Ultimate version of 2, so DoA2U had an advantage. DoA3 does look better than the first version of DoA 2, make no mistake. It contains the same modes as DoA2U (except it has no online mode), but there aren’t as many costumes to unlock. What’s more, they cannot be unlocked through story mode, so I had to look up how to unlock them. Thankfully, DoA2U contains the booster disc for 3 (if you unlock it) which adds extra costumes for the characters and an opening cinematic for the game. Unfortunately, I still haven’t unlocked that. Ein is an unlockable character in the game, and is the only extra character available.

Helena vs. Gen Fu

Helena vs. Gen Fu

One thing DoA3 has that DoA2U didn’t have is cinematic endings for each of the characters. This is the first game to have these (they return in DoA4). Kasumi’s ending shows her running from assassins sent to kill her (which she is constantly doing). Ayane’s ending shows her after she has defeated the boss with his body burning up. Ryu Hayabusa’s ending shows him cooking fish and someone shooting an arrow with a message at him. Zack’s ending shows him going to Vegas to gamble with his winnings from the tournament. Hitomi’s shows her at her father’s dojo before leaving to fight. I haven’t yet played through and watched all of the other endings yet, but I’m sure they are all character related and express something about the character.

The control scheme remains the same as in DoA2 (and stays the same in DoA4). This is something most fighting games have in common, that once they find a good control configuration for their game, they stick to it for the other games in the series. Reversals in this game are handled differently than in DoA2U. It remains truer to reversals in the first version of DoA2, with up/back and block used to block high attacks, back and block used to block middle attacks, and down/back and block to block low attacks.

All in all, the game does improved on DoA2, but DoA2U improves on DoA2 and 3, and DoA2U is a better game overall. Still DoA3 is a good game, and it covers an important story arc for the characters within the game. Ayane is the winner of the Dead or Alive 3 tournament, and she defeats Omega in the end. Omega is actually Genra, Ayane’s foster father, who has been transformed by DOATEC.

And now it’s time to discuss the characters of Dead or Alive 3.

Kasumi is the same, of course. She is still constantly on the run from those who would kill her for being a “traitor”. She enters the tournament to see her brother, Hayate, who she hears will be participating.

Ryu Hayabusa returns in order to defeat Genra.

Hitomi makes her first appearance in Dead or Alive 3. Her mother is Japanese and her father is German. She’s studied karate at her father’s dojo since she was a little girl. She wants to fight in DOA to test herself against others, and her father has finally agreed to let her join. She is an 18 year old High School student and likes sachertorte (German chocolate cake) and cooking.

Zack has spent all his money from the last tournament (I guess he got some prize money from it, though he didn’t win) and enters to get more money so he can go to Vegas.

Gen Fu returns. He also apparently got money from the last tournament for his granddaughter, and she has been getting better, but she needs one more operation to cure her. He enters again for the sake of his granddaughter.

Brad Wong makes his first appearance in DOA3. His master, Chen, sent him in search of a legendary drink named Genra, and so he ends up in DoA. Brad is a Chinese Bohemian who uses the Zui Ba Xian Quan fighting style (which is a drunken fighting style). He likes drinking (of course) and games of Go and the Chinese fiddle.

Brad Wong

Brad Wong

Tina returns and continues to seek fame. She did debut as a model after the last tournament, and now she wants to be an actress.

Bass returns to the tournament, and is now retired as a wrestler. He enters again to stop Tina from winning, and isn’t happy that she now wishes to be an actress and wasn’t happy with her modeling. He wants her to stay a wrestler.

Leon returns, still seeking to be the best for his deceased love, Rolande.

Bayman returns for the first time since the first game (not counting DoA2U, where he isn’t playable in the actual story mode). Donovan is the man who hired him to kill Fame Douglas. Donovan is a member of an anti-Douglas movement within DOATEC. Donovan sent a sniper to kill Bayman after Bayman completed his task, but Bayman stopped the sniper. He has entered DoA3 to confront Donovan.

Jann Lee is back to fight. That’s pretty much it.

Lei Fang is back to try and beat Jann Lee, since he defeated her in the last tournament. She is determined to win.

Christie is another newcomer to DoA3. She is an English assassin who uses the She Quan fighting style. She likes tomato juice and driving. Christie has been hired by Donovan to watch Helena.

Christie

Christie

Helena is involved again as she is the only living relative of Fame Douglas (at least until another is revealed in DoA4). She was captured by Donovan’s faction of DOATEC and challenged to win the tournament.

Hayate makes his first DOA appearance as himself (his first appearance was as Ein) and his moves are no longer of the karate style. He has all of his memory back (which he lost when DOATEC captured him for Project Epsilon) and uses his Mugen Tenshin style Ninjitsu Tenjin Mon. He is a ninja again, and since he is no longer cripple, he has been made the leader of the Mugen Tenshin style. He enters the tournament in order to defeat Genra. His hobbies are now listed as Iaido and zen.

Hayate

Hayate

Ayane is now the strongest in Hajin Mon, and she learns that Genra was captured by DOATEC and changed with their Omega project. Learning what has become of the man who raised her, she decides to enter the tournament to defeat him and end his suffering. She is the official winner of the tournament and succeeds in defeating Genra. So to recap: Kasumi wins DoA, Ryu Hayabusa wins DoA2, and Ayane wins DoA3.

It’s interesting to note that in DoA3 Ayane defeats Kasumi, but lets her go to see Hayate. She no longer seems interested in killing Kasumi, only focusing on Genra, so perhaps her hatred of Kasumi is no longer present. This becomes more apparent in Dead or Alive 4.