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.



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.