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 Dead or Alive 2 Huy Nguyen  

If you remember the first Dead or Alive then you probably only remember one thing. The first Dead or Alive is well known for its infamous “jiggle factor” and for attracting thousands of high testosterone teenage males. The game was able to include new innovations to the populated fighting genre, but it didn’t have enough to compete with big brawlers such as the Tekken series. Luckily, Tecmo went out to develop a sequel based on the same fighting engine with graphics and game play that would satisfy the most demanding gamer. 

Dead or alive 2 originally hit the arcades with stellar graphics powered by the Naomi board. The Dreamcast shares the same architecture as the arcade board and it would’ve been a crime for Tecmo not to port it for the home console. Dead or Alive 2 has the necessary ingredients to catapult itself to be one of the best Dreamcast fighters right up there with Namco’s masterpiece, Soul Calibur.  The graphics in this game are simply astonishing. It rivals some of the best games on Dreamcast including Soul Calibur. Saying that this game was arcade perfect is an understatement. The graphics are not only virtually identical to its arcade counterpart, but seems to excel to even higher levels on the Dreamcast. Characters are highly sharp and detailed. Hair and clothing flow when they catch win. Fighting is not only fast paced, but smooth and realistic. The game runs at a consistent 60 fps, a standard for most DC games. The essence of a fight sequence is filled with realistic facial expressions and interaction with the background. Fighters truly respond to each opponent’s attack. A female kicks a guy in the crotch and he’ll grab it and grimace in pain. Punch an opponent’s face and watch their neck snap back. This makes for a very life like battle. DOA 2’s gameplay places much emphasis on the strategy of reversals. Knowing how to reverse is key to the game. While it is an interesting and innovative factor to the fighting genre, it can easily turn a match into a game of excessive reversing. It’s a big nuisance at times because it takes a lot away from the opponent’s energy gauge, more than you would expect. A beginner player can easily button mash his way to  victory with a succession of reversals. But a true expert can learn to reverse at the most demanding situations. Also unlike most fighters, DOA 2 characters interact with the backgrounds. Knock opponents through walls and even off rooftops. Using the background for advantage can result in even more damage to your opponents. To summarize it in one sentence, playing DOA 2 is like acting a scene straight out of an action packed Hong Kong fighting movie.

And let’s not forget the true stars of DOA 2, the females. Like its prequel, this game is sure to draw a lot of attention from the teenage male crowd. The ahem… well-endowed supermodel like females in the game sport revealing outfits and even kinkier moves. And once again, the jiggle factor continues its tradition and is prominently displayed throughout the game.  Sound is well above average. Don’t expect anything revolutionary but it was very appropriate. The soundtrack consists of rock with heavy emphasis on bass and guitars to the fast paced techno beat. It does get boring after a while, but it fits the game nicely.  Moves are very hard hitting with a very high impact sound. The punches really sound like they hurt. No other game has captured this so well. The standard grunts and moans for each character aren’t disturbing.  This game is pure entertainment. It’s another great game to utilize Sega’s genius idea to include four controller ports right on the system. Grab your three closest friends, go to the 4-player tag team mode and  enjoy multiplayer heaven. What makes it so great is that it’s fast paced and doesn’t suffer from any bit of slowdown. Characters switch on the fly a la Marvel Vs. Capcom. It’s even possible to get your partner in for tag team combo mayhem. The only fault in this mode was that Tecmo was only able to enable one stage for this mode, probably due to graphic constraints. Otherwise, it’s one of the many gems of the game. 

One would expect an arcade port to be loaded with extras for the home console. No luck here, Tecmo decided to unlock character costumes right from the beginning, but that’s it. A mission mode or couple of mini-games would’ve been nice. I’m guessing Tecmo is saving this for add on or possible some extras for the Japanese version or the PS2. Whatever the case, it doesn’t take too much away from Tecmo’s star studded masterpiece.  While I enjoyed DOA 2’s addicting reverse strategy gameplay, colorful characters, gorgeous graphics, and even more gorgeous females, this game is just a notch below Namco’s mammoth title. When it comes to having an in-depth fighting engine and awesome gameplay, Namco has got those areas all covered up. 

Dead or Alive 2 was a heavy anticipated title and fans who have waited will discover that it was worth it. Tecmo has delivered in all categories and has proven itself again as a respectable and reputable video game company.

Game Faqs
2 Players
Graphics 10.0
Gameplay 9.5
Sound 8.0
Replay Value 7.5