Name: Dead Or Alive 2 (81.54% in 13 votes)
Release date: 2000
Reviewed by: KurenaiJiku
First off, if you don't like busty, incredibly sexy females then you probably won't like this game much. But if you're just a fighting game fan, then this game might be for you anyway. Dead or Alive 2 is the sequel to DOA1 which attempted to do battle with the infamous Virtua Fighter series. Now, it's in a totally different catagory and although not as popular as the Virtua Fighter series, Dead or Alive 2 is a strong fighting game for the Dreamcast.
Featuring incredibly graphics, an easy to learn fighting system, beautiful and sexy girl...er...a large character cast, and huge arenas to do battle in, it pits face to fact competition with the invincible Soul Calibur. Soul Calibur's strength lay in every catagory; graphics, gameplay, extras, plots, modes and features, a large cast of characters, arenas, etc. It was an incredible game and if Virtual On didn't exist, I think Soul Calibur/Edge series would be the series I would be all over. Dead or Alive 2 attempts to pull loyal Soul Calibur fans and put them to the psycho paced fighting engine of DOA2. The game doesn't have as many modes, nor does it have as many extras; at least none that have been found yet. This is it's weakness, but all areas are strong enough to make it a game equal to Soul Calibur.
The gameplay's essence is surrounded around one thing; counters. Gone are the days of combo in, defend, repeat. Almost any move in the game can be countered and a powerful throw, choke, grab, or combo can be performed in turn. You can even counter inbetween your opponent's combo to grab the enemy's limb and do whatever your character's counter move is. This allows much faster paced combat, and can sometimes even eliminates "cheaping". However, I believe after a certain point of skill in a two player game, it'll be a matter of who counters first. Why? Well, suppose player 1 does a combo, player 2 counters. Then player 2 does a combo, player 1 combos, then so on and so forth. Whoever attacked first will probably lose; assuming that both players countered successfully and inflicts the same amount of damage in their counters. Of course, this is extremely rare as countering can be extremely difficult and requires a "true fighter's" intuition sometimes. To counter, you need to press your directional pad and the "free button" (which is also the block button) at the same time; this will have your player attempt to grab the opponent's limb. It gets pretty complicated as there is high, low and medium attacks. Depending on what attack your opponent performs, you'll have to counter accordingly; high counter for high attacks, medium counter for medium attacks, so on and so forth. So it becomes an act of recognizing your enemy's attacks and guessing what he/she will do next. For the person performing the combo, his/her job is to perform a combo which will be unpredictable enough so that the enemy will have to keep guessing what the their opponent's next move is. The moves performed in the game are so fast anyways that you can't see them coming.
This type of system allows for much more "realistic" gameplay, but can get quite tiring in single player. That's why Temco; the Ninja Gaiden guys, decided to include a commonly used versus mode, and a very, very fun tag team mode. I'll skip versus, survival, single player, and time attack mode since those are pretty straight forward. However, tag team is of a different nature and definitely adds flavor to the game. You can basically choose from two characters and go at it with another pair of characters; sounds normal right? Marvel VS Capcom this is not, as you and a friend can go at it on opposing teams or on the same team. That's right; team up on the same team against the computer, another player, or even four players at the same time. Well, you might think; "Hey that means it's going to be a very slow game right?" Again, Marvel VS Capcom this is not, as in tag team mode you'll really have to think what your partner's thinking to play effectively. Each partner can switch instantly practically between characters to perform tag combos and tag throws which do incredible damage. Most of the time this is the only way to win efficiently and sometimes win at all. If you don't work with your partner during tag combat, the computer will probably kick your butt, or another pair of players probably will. Tag team in DOA2 is something you really have to see for yourself.
The problem in DOA2 is that there is very little features and extras relative to Soul Calibur. There are different character models and costumes to choose from, but there isn't anything to unlock when you beat the game. Perhaps there is something unlocked when you play the game enough, but so far this is the most disappointing thing for people who play the game. In Soul Calibur, I was throughly impressed time and time again when I looked back at all the extras and things to do. In DOA2, the gameplay, graphics, and stages shine like the top games of the Dreamcast. Yet it lacks in ultimate value for single player homies. Still, this isn't a reason not to get the game.
Graphics are right up there. There isn't anything that isn't lighted, modelled and shaded beautifully. Did I miss something? Sure, fully textured models is something that is somewhat missing from the characters. Temco did a good job of texturing stages, and some parts of the characters, but much of the body parts were left out. I wish they would have added more texturing as it would have brought out a much more full look to it. Currently, it maintains a very Anime-ish look and I am guessing this is what Temco wanted rather than a realistic look.
Sound could have used a boost though. Music blows my mind away as techno hybrid rock pumps through the entire soundtrack and maintains a very upbeat, fast paced combat and environment. Though the actual sound effects during combat could have been fixed up a bit more; nothing to be angry about though. Voices are all in Japanese and are clean as a CD audio; there are even togglable English subtitles for those Japanese impaired.
As for the more asthetic side of things, I found the differentiating styles of martial arts that each character had weren't really defining. I liked the fact that Soul Calibur had very different styles of play for each character. In DOA2 though, after you learn one character's gameplay you learn many of the other characters as well. This shortens the replayability of the entire game, but it does make it easier for fighting newbies. It isn't a design flaw though, I believe it was Temco's intention which is fine with me. I just like a lot of variety because when I play through all the characters, I enjoy attempting to master all of the play styles.
Overall, DOA2 is an incredible game for parties and get togethers. It somewhat lacks as a single player game, but the fun is still there. Of course there are bouncy appendages on the frontal side of the upper bodies for the females, but the characters in general are somewhat appealing after some exposure to the game. For hardcore fighters, pick this game up but I can assure you that it'll only last you a couple of weeks. If you're a newbie to the fighting genre, then this is the game to start on first as it's very easy to learn and very intuitive.
Graphics (technical) - 4.8/5
Graphics (creative) - 4.8/5
Sound (technical) - 4/5
Sound (creative) - 4.5/5
Technical Gameplay - 4/5
Fun Factor - 5/5
Diversity of Features - 3.5/5
Story - 3.5/5
Overall Value - 4.8/5
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