January 1, 2001
The original Dead Or Alive was released on the Playstation around 3 years ago now and came under some criticism for the "bounciness" of a specific part(s) of the female anatomy. Even with this "effect" the game was brilliant in its own right and sold enough copies for Tecmo to decide to develop a sequel on both the Dreamcast and Playstation 2. The Dreamcast version was released here in mid August while the Playstation 2 version was released in mid-December. This is the first true indication of the power of the Playstation 2 against the Dreamcast as the games are more or less identical.
Dead Or Alive 2 has a total of 12 characters to choose from including 5 girls and 7 guys. As with all fighting games each fighter has his/her own abailities but in general the guys have more strength while the females are more agile. The object of the game, in case you've been asleep for the last 20 years, is to defeat your opponent using a variety of moves and attacks. In fact, each character in Dead Or Alive 2 has over 100 different moves to master which includes throws, punches, kicks, blocks and reversing attacks. This is one deep fighting game.
Playing Dead or Alive 2 is one of the most enjoyable times you will have sitting in front of your Playstation 2 (or Dreamcast for that matter). The action is fast and the combo's are frantic yet this is the type of game that can be picked up and played in a few minutes or devoured over several weeks to discover every minute detail. Unfortunately, if there is one deficiency it may be the games longevity. There are only 12 fighters in total and there is nothing similar to the excellent museum mode from Soul Calibur which increased the longevity of Namco's title immensely.
There are plenty of game modes in Dead or Alive 2. As well as the standard 1 on 1 vs mode the developers have included some 2 on 2 and 3 on 3 action with up to 4 human players competing at a time. If there are only 3 people in the house, the CPU will control the extra character. The game also includes a sparring mode which is useful to practice your moves before moving into the serious fights. However, it's the survival mode that is worthy of mention with the object not only to see how many people you can defeat, but also earn as many points as possible through combo's and pickups that are dropped around the ring.
As you can probably tell the graphics in Dead Or Alive 2 are simply stunning. The fighting arenas are huge and vary greatly in their design and scenery. Some of the arenas are split into several different levels which you can knock your opponent over the edge and down to the next level (this also inflicts significant damage to them). The animation on the fighters is near perfect and their fluidity is unmatched. Tecmo have even been kind enough to include a 60Hz mode for those who have a TV capable of displaying at the higher refresh rate. The 50Hz mode however, is equally impressive. While the game does have borders the development team have sped up the gameplay to match the NTSC version. If only more developers would take as much care with their products as Tecmo.
Sound in Dead Or Alive 2 also contains a few surprises, not least of which is the very heavy metal style of the intro. It is definitely not what you expect from a Japanese fighting game which is usually littered with pop/dance music. Unlike the Dreamcast version however the voices are now dubbed in English and range from quite convincing to laughable. Sound effects are suitably meaty for a fighting game with body blows sounding particularly painful.
So which is better the Dreamcast or Playstation 2 version? That's a tough call. The graphics are generally better in the Dreamcast version although the number of game modes, options and variety of levels in the Playstation 2 version manages to give it the slight edge. On either system this game totally rocks and should be in your collection. Tecmo has done a magnificent job with this game and the series can now be classed as one of the classics beside Street Fighter, Virtua Fighter and Tekken.