Archive for the ‘Fighting Games’ Category

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.

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 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.

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.

Dead or Alive 2

July 10, 2008
Hitomi vs. Tina

Hitomi vs. Tina

Dead or Alive 2 was the first game I ever played in the series. As I’ve previously mentioned, I first played it on the Dreamcast on a demo disc. Later I bought the game for my Dreamcast, and I loved all of it. I’m going to be discussing Dead or Alive Ultimate 2 for the Xbox 360 here, though, and it is the definitive version of Dead or Alive 2.

First of all, the graphics have received an update for DoA2U when compared with the Dreamcast release of DoA2. This is wonderful. The game looks great in motion and the characters look better than they did in DoA2. When compared with the first DoA, there is a huge step forward in graphical ability and even in the levels.

In the first Dead or Alive, as I spoke of in my last blog post, the levels were all flat with a danger zone outside of them. Those days are over with Dead or Alive 2. The levels are all very different, from a high bridge to a clock tower to an opera house. Not only that, but most of the levels have multiple sections, and you can knock an opponent from one to another (for example, you can knock someone off of a tower on the Great Wall down onto the Wall, or through the clock in the clock tower to a lower level). This adds great dimension to the game.

You can smash the snowman with your opponent!

You can smash the snowman with your opponent!

Control wise, the game is great. There are 4 main buttons for fighting: Punch, Guard, Kick, and Throw (which simulates pressing punch and guard together). There are multiple combinations to put together in the game, and the ability to reverse attacks (back and block against a middle punch, forward and block against a middle kick, up/back and block against a high attack, down/back and block against a low attack). The reversals are a little different from the Dreamcast version (I believe back and block reversed everything) but it does add some variety to the reversals without getting too crazy (I’m looking at you, DoA4, but we’ll get to that later this week).

I didn’t cover the modes of play in my talk on Dead or Alive, but that was mainly because I didn’t feel like playing the original too much when this superior game was available. In DoA2U there are several game modes to choose from. There is a story mode, which lets you choose and character and play through their DoA2 story. There is a versus mode to play against a friend in singles battle or tag battle (note: DoA2 adds the tag battle feature in which characters can fight together in teams of 2. They can be mixed any way, but there are set teams that can perform special tag moves, instead of the generic ones offered to mixed teams). There is a tag battle mode, where you and a friend can battle through against the computer. There is a survival mode, which lets you play single or as a tag team, and you fight against opponents until you are out of life. There is a team battle mode, where you can battle in teams (up to 7 fighters) in a Tournament. There is a sparring mode to learn how to fight with different characters. There is a watch mode that lets you pick up to 4 computer controlled fighters to watch battle it out (I’ve never used this and would be bored by it). There is also a mode that lets you record fights and rewatch them. Also DoA2U is online through Xbox Live, though I’m not sure if original Xbox games work on Live through the 360 (DoA1U can also be played online).

Each character in DoA2U has been given a large number of costumes to choose from. The girls have anywhere from 13 to 20 costumes, and the guys have 6 to 8. Each character begins with just 2, and playing through the story mode will unlock the costumes for most characters (but you do have to play at different difficulties). If you beat the story mode with all of the characters, you unlock Tengu, the final boss, as a playable character. If you have a Dead or Alive 3 save on your Xbox (or 360) you can unlock Bayman (who originally only missed DoA2) and Hitomi (who made her debut in DoA3). There are FAQs all over the internet that can tell you how that is done (just beating the story mode with a specific character for each of them).

Survival mode, can solve the hassle of beating story mode over and over and over to unlock the costumes though. After you’ve unlocked the 3 extra characters, you can then go into survival and play through to unlock all of the costumes. To do this, you have to collect the 66 survival items. Every opponent you beat drops and item throughout survival and you can pick it up. Each character has 3 items that only drop for them. The best thing to do is play survival for every character, and by the time you do that, you’ll have all of the first page items. When you get 50 wins in survival (in one playthrough) you will get the medal item which is the last item for page one.

This unlocks page 2 of the items, and you need to just play through and get 1 more new character specific item for each character. This unlocks every costume in the game. For unlocking all the costumes, you also unlock a CG gallery, a DOA Icons episode, and the Booster Disc for DoA3 (if you have the DoA3 save on your Xbox, this adds new costumes to DoA3 as well as a cinematic opening to DoA3 that the US version doesn’t normally have). Although I haven’t gotten the second page items yet, I’m working on them so I can have the extra content for DoA3.

This game has a lot to offer DoA fans and it’s definitely worth owning as a fan of the Dead or Alive franchise. DoA2U also has a very nice opening cinematic that shows Kasumi and Ayane as children, and apparently they were friends when they were younger. It also shows Raidou with Ayame (the scene alludes to the rape that happens, which isn’t shown if you were worried about that), it shows Ayane being told by Ayame that she is her daughter, it shows Raidou injuring Hayate, and Kasumi leaving the village and Ayane being told to go kill her. It’s a great opening that tells the whole background to the main characters (set to “Dream On” by Aerosmith…I’m not kidding).

And now for the part where I talk about the participants of DoA2 and share their stories:

Kasumi is still the runaway shinobi she was in the first game. After she defeated Raidou she was kidnapped by the Super-Human Development Project and cloned (there is a stage in the game filled with clones of her in glass tubes). She did escape from captivity or was released. All of her other info, such as her favorite food and hobby, remains the same, of course.

Ryu has come to the Dead or Alive 2 tournament to fight Tengu who came from the dark world to the human world. Ryu Hayabusa is the winner of the DoA2 tournament, and he is the one who defeats Tengu. So for those keeping up, Kasumi is the official winner of the first game, and Ryu Hayabusa is the official winner of the second.

Gen Fu is back, and wasn’t able to get the money needed to help his granddaughter during the first DoA tournament. So he’s back again trying to save his granddaughter’s life.

Helena is a new character introduced in DoA2. She is a French Opera singer. Her fighting style is Pi Qua Quan, she likes Blanc Manger and walking her dog. Helena is the illegitimate daughter of Fame Douglas (head of DOATEC for those keeping up).  Her mother was one of his mistresses.  While singing at an Opera house with her mother, an assassin attempted to kill her, but her mother took the bullet. Her father was already dead (I assume killed by Bayman during the first DoA). She discovers that the death of her parents is linked to DoA and so she enters the tournament.

Tina Armstrong is pretty much the same, except now she has blond hair. She just wants to get famous.

Bass Armstrong joins the tournament with DoA2. He is Tina’s father. He is an American wrestler who resembles Hulk Hogan in the nWo days. In the ring he is a heel (wrestling term for bad guy). He likes sautéed chicken and touring and training Tina. He doesn’t like that his daughter uses her sex appeal to gain fame. He enters DoA to keep an eye on his daughter and to try and stop her from winning.

Zack is back. He entered again for public attention and for the prize money.

Zack

Zack

Leon is an Italian mercenary soldier. His fighting style is Command Sambo and he likes pizza and planting potted plants. He is a wanderer always looking to build his strength. The love of his life, Rolande, died in his arms. Her dying words were, “The man I love is the strongest man in the world.” This is why he strives to be as strong as possible.

Jann Lee returns once again. Not much new to say about him.

Lei Fang is back, as well. She returns to the tournament with the desire to defeat Jann Lee, as she was unable to in the first tournament.

Ayane makes her debut as a fighter in the series. She is Japanese and uses the Mugen Tenshin Style Ninjitsu Hajin Mon. She is a kunoichi and likes marrons glaces and aesthetics. In my post on DoA1, I mentioned that she is the half-sister of Kasumi and Hayate. She has entered the tournament to seek out and kill Kasumi, as she was ordered by her (non-biological) father, Genra. This game sets up Ayane as Kasumi’s rival. Ayane also greatly admires Hayate.

Ein is a Japanese (it says unknown, but we find out who he is fairly easily with some story playthrough) karate fighter. He likes sushi, sukiyaki, and breaking beer bottles. He suffers from amnesia and is seeking answers to his past. Here’s a hint, he is Hayate.

I’ve mentioned that Hitomi and Bayman are in this game, but they are just guest characters and there isn’t really information on them, as they aren’t in this tournament.  However, when Ein woke up with amnesia, he learned karate at Hitomi’s father’s dojo.

Tengu is the name used for the final boss, but that is really more what he is than who he is. His name is Gohyakumine Bankotsu-bo. I can understand why they just use Tengu. He murdered the leader of the Tengu and broke the Tengu rules, and so was cast out to the human world. Ryu Hayabusa defeats him, so everything is ok.

Ryu Hayabusa

Ryu Hayabusa

Dead or Alive

July 8, 2008
Dead or Alive Ultimate Box

Dead or Alive Ultimate Box

To begin Dead or Alive, I will go to the beginning and play the first game.  I will be playing the version of Dead or Alive 1 from the Dead or Alive Ultimate collection for the Xbox.  But first, some background.

I first became interested in the Dead or Alive series when I played Dead or Alive 2 for the Sega Dreamcast.  I played a demo of the game first, and when I realized that Hayabusa in DoA2 was Ryu Hayabusa from Ninja Gaiden, my interest in the game quickly grew.  I bought a copy of the full game and played through it.  I really enjoyed the fighting styles represented, as well as the ability to counter any punch or kick with a simple command of the back direction+block.  There were only 4 buttons to utilize: Punch, Kick, Block, and Grab.  While those controls were simplistic, they could be combined in several different combinations along with the directions to bring about several different combos and grab moves.  And visually, the game was very appealing, not just for the girls (who all look great), but the levels and all of the characters looked very nice.

Since I’m tackling DoA1 right now, I’ll go over the story of the first game.  Kasumi is the main heroine of the game, and she is desperate to learn the truth about what happened to her brother, Hayate.

The parents of Hayate and Kasumi are Shiden and Ayame.  Shiden is the leader of the Mugen Tenshin ninja clan.  Shiden’s brother, Raidou, raped Ayame, which led to the birth of Ayane, making her the half-sister of Kasumi and Hayate.  Ayane is raised by Genra, who takes her into the Hajin Mon sect, which assists the Mugen Tenshin ninjas.

Hayate is attacked and crippled later by an assassin (Raidou) and Shiden won’t talk about what happened.  Because Hayate can no longer become the leader of the clan, Kasumi is left with the responsibility.  Instead, she secretly leaves her village in search of the truth of what happened to her brother, making her a runaway ninja.  After she runs away, she is considered a deserter, and Ayane is sent by Genra to kill her.  All of these Ninja characters are Japanese.

Ayane actually isn’t officially in the first Dead or Alive game.  When it hit arcades she wasn’t a playable character and in the first port on the Sega Saturn, she was included as a practice dummy.  However, in the second port of the game, on the Playstation, Ayane can be unlocked as a fighter.  Ayane also is told by Ayame at one point that she is her daughter.

In any case, that is the background that begins the central story of the Dead or Alive games.  I will be discussing each of the characters involved, but first, let me talk about the actual game a bit.

If you’ve played any other Dead or Alive game, going back and playing this first one is a bit of a shock.  It looks nowhere near as good as the second game.  However, that is definitely excusable, as it’s an older game, and it was the first 3d fighting game made by Team Ninja of Tecmo.

Our playable characters in the first Dead or Alive game are Kasumi, Jann Lee, Lei Fang, Bayman, Tina, Ryu Hayabusa, Zack, and Gen Fu.  Raidou is the final boss and an unlockable character in the game.

First of all, like I said, this game doesn’t look as good as the others.  Here is a screenshot (taken from IGN):

Tina and Lei Fang

Tina and Lei Fang

When I post more from the other games, you’ll see what I mean about the graphics of the first game.  Still, the graphics aren’t going to make me not play it.  After all, I play a ton of old games.

The first game has no block button, only Punch, Kick, and Hold.  I believe Hold is used for reversals, but can be pressed together with punch for grabs.  I’m playing with Tina actually right now, and she is slightly different from her future versions (in the first DoA, she is a brunette).  She is still, however, a tall girl and a wrestler, and has the same characterization, I believe.

I just finished a playthrough with Kasumi.  The game is good as their first 3d fighter.  However, there are no endings shown for completing the game.  However, according to the official storyline, we do know that Kasumi won the first Dead or Alive tournament, faced Raidou, and apparently killed him.  However, since she left her village, she is a runaway and cannot return.

One interesting thing about the game is that the stages are rather small, and all comletely flat (much different than all of the sequels).  Also, outside of the small fighting area is a danger zone which, if you get knocked into it, you take extra damage and there is an explosion.  This is something that later would be added to the walls of some of the Dead or Alive stages in the sequels.

One of my favorite things about the Dead or Alive games is the ability to reverse the moves that are used against you.  In Dead or Alive Ultimate, pressing the hold button reverses high and mid attacks and pressing down and hold reverses low attacks.

So I’ve told you about Kasumi and why she gets involved in the tournament, and we also know that she won the tournament and defeats Raidou.  Now let me tell you about some of the other characters, and a little more about Kasumi.

The DoA tournament was begun by Fame Douglas, the leader of DOATEC (Dead or Alive Tournament Executive Committee).

Kasumi is Japanese and uses the Mugen Tenshin Ninjitsu style of fighting.  Her favorite food is Strawberry Millefeuille (I have no idea what this is) and her hobby is fortune telling.

Jann Lee is Chinese, and uses the Jeet Kun Do fighting style.  In this way, he is like Bruce Lee.  Of course, he learned Jeet Kun Do because he was inspired by Bruce Lee, so it makes sense.  Jann Lee was orphaned at a very early age when his parents died.  He began to study Jeet Kun Do to replace his feelings of loss and eventually fought just to fight.  He heard about the Dead or Alive tournament and entered to prove himself to be the strongest fighter.  He works as a Body Guard for a living (later I believe he is a Bouncer).  His favorite foods are apparently Hamburgers and Grapefruits and he likes watching action movies.

Lei Fang is Chinese and she uses the T’ai Chi Quan fighting style.  She is a student who loves karaoke.  Her favorite food is almond jelly.  Years ago she was about to fight off a gang of street fighters single handedly, but a boy wearing a dragon emblem broke in to “rescue” her.  She hated this, was angry someone thought she couldn’t handle herself, and was determined to find out who this was (here’s a hint: It was Jann Lee, who becomes the object of her affections).

Bayman is interesting because he was in the first game, but unlike EVERY other character from the first DoA, he was not in DoA2, but did return for 3 and 4.  He is a Russian assassin who uses the Russian Commando fighting style.  He enjoys collecting fire arms and chess.  He also loves beef stew.  Much like Batman, his parents were murdered in front of him as a child, but not by a criminal.  They were murdered by an assassin under an order of martial law.  He served in the Russian military and as a special agent.  He is posing as a contestant in the tournament, while he’s actually there under orders to kill Fame Douglas.

Tina Armstrong is an American Professional Wrestler.  She loves seafood, video games, and cycling.  Her father is Professional Wrestler Bass Armstrong, and he is her trainer and supporter.  Tina has attempted to quit wrestling but her father doesn’t want her to.  He was able to convince her to take on the world.  Tina’s real aim in life is to be discovered by Hollywood.

Ryu Hayabusa is a Japanese ninja using the Hayabusa Ninjitsu style.  He is also an antique shop owner (seriously).  His favorite food is sushi and he likes mountain climbing and fishing.  The instruction book says he met his love, Aileen (This is Irene Lew from the original Ninja Gaiden games, but this is the last we’ll ever hear of her from Tecmo, unfortunately.  They seem to have erased her from existence now), and found peace but he decided to begin fighting again when he heard his best friend’s sister, Kasumi, disappeared.  He received an invitation to the Dead or Alive tournament and entered.

Zack is an American who practices the Muay Thai fighting style.  He is a DJ who loves ice cream.  His hobby is pool bar, which I assume means he hangs out at pool bars a lot.  Zack is used as a comedic character in the series, but he is a great fighter, and a strong competitor.

Gen Fu is Chinese, and the oldest character involved.  His uses the Xinyi Lihue Quan fighting stle, and is a used bookstore owner.  He likes mabo tofu and chinese painting.  His granddaughter, Mei Linn is very sick, and he fights in the tournament in order to help save her life (I believe for the money).

One interesting thing to me is that Dead or Alive has become known for the DoA girls, and in the first game, of the eight playable characters, there were only three girls.  Itagaki claims to have been inspired by Garou Densetsu (Fatal Fury in America) and the American fighting game, Mortal Kombat.  He says he took the fast gameplay and sexual appeal from Fatal Fury (I don’t understand that, as the first female playable in the Fatal Fury games was Mai Shiranui, who wasn’t in it until Fatal Fury 2, so I assume he meant the series as a whole.  I still don’t get how he got the sexual appeal of DoA from Fatal Fury) and he based being able to knock people off of landscapes from Mortal Kombat.  There is more information about how he became head of the DoA project and about his inspiration available on the wikipedia page for Dead or Alive.

Next time I’ll be talking about Dead or Alive 2, which was my first game in the series and possibly the best game in the series, at least in my opinion.  I’m still not sure how I feel about 3 and 4.

Kasumi from Dead or Alive Ultimate 2

Kasumi from Dead or Alive Ultimate 2

Ready? Fight!

July 8, 2008

I posted a blog on my myspace page revealing my intentions to start a blog page in which I would discuss and review fighting games, one of my favorite genres of video games. As I begin this great adventure in video game journalism, or blogging, I will be sharing personal stories about my experience with these games and about which characters I personally love.

I am going to begin by spending this week sharing what I can about the Dead or Alive series, as it currently has my interest. Keep checking in to see my views on the series this week, and at the end of the week, I will review the bad movie adaptation of this video game series, DOA: Dead or Alive.

Kasumi

Kasumi