Dead or Alive 2 Ultimate Review (Xbox)

Super Fighting Tits

The fighting game genre exploded with the arcade boom in the early 1990’s thanks to the overwhelming success for Capcom’s Street Fighter II. Since then, many companies have tried to recapture the same thunder and copy whatever successful formula Capcom’s game had. Tecmo’s answer was to make the game more simple yet keeping it robust, make it 3D like Sega’s Virtua Fighter and add in a secret ingredient: large amounts of sex appeal.

Enter Dead or Alive, the textbook example of a game with ludicrous breast physics.  In the origianl arcade version of Dead or Alive 1,  even the slightest motion any of the female characters took would send their frontal globes bouncing like they’d been operating a jack hammer naked.

Obviously the game was a hit. In 1999, a sequel was produced adding even better “visuals” and tuning the gameplay to make the experience even better. Soon after, console ports began to materialize, each one better than the last. In 2005, Tecmo revised Dead or Alive 2 once again on the most powerful console at the time, the Xbox, and made Dead or Alive 2 ULTIMATE. What makes the Xbox version the ultimate version? read on and find out.

Story

As a fighting game there’s really no story at all, but I suppose it’s vaguely about a mysterious fighting tournament held by the oh-so-mysterious DOA-Tech, and a menacing evil tengu threatening Japan. What are a bunch of extremely well endowed young ladies and a few dudes including Ryu Hyabusa from Ninja Gaiden to do but enter the tournament and kick ass?

Graphics

Not surprisingly, the main appeal of the Dead or Alive series are the visuals. Since 1999, the visuals for each successive port of Dead or Alive 2 have increased, making the Xbox version by far the more advanced.

The fully 3D Stages showcase incredible, life-like detail that make the static 2D stages of other fighters seem amateurish in comparison.  There is a waterfall stage set in China, a beautiful aquarium,  a safari in Africa, a disco hall, and many more. Each locate really just blows everything other fighting games have to offer.

As great as the locales look though, the main *ahem* attraction are the character models, particularly of the various ladies. Each of the females have dozens of outfits you unlock by playing more and more of the game, with the final outfits being as skimpy as possible, often just being bikinis. There’s nothing like two girls in bikinis kicking each other’s ass atop a snowy mountain, all the while with the breast physics in full swing. Tecmo sure knew their audience!

Given the fact that it’s on the original Xbox, you might be concerned that the game doesn’t look that great now, but your concerns would be unjustified. DOA2:U looks in my opinion even better than the Xbox 360’s Dead or Alive 4, though the two do look rather similar.

Audio

Surprisingly, Dead or Alive 2 has a rather good soundtrack. The opening cutscene for the game plays AeroSmith’s Dream On and all of the original music is fun to listen to, if not a little silly. Of particular strangeness is the names of many of the songs. Tina’s theme for instance is called “YES OR YES”. One of the coolest parts of the sountrack is that there are dance/trance remixes of every song that play randomly int he disco/trance stage.

As far as the voice acting goes, the only voice track is in Japanese, but the subtitles translate what is needed to know and honestly, I couldn’t image the DOA girls in English. Don’t get me started on the DOA movie…

As per usual, here’s my favorite track in the game, Ayane’s theme played with the trance stage remix.

Gameplay

Dead or Alive 2 Ultimate is a fighting game with simple controls and require serious skill for mastery. You will use the typical street fighter motions to move around, and there’s 360 degree turning like in the Soul Calibur series. One of the coolest aspects to Dead or Alive is environmental damage, where you can punch, kick or throw your opponent in several really cool stages. For example, you can knock your opponent through stain glass in a church, down a flight of stairs on the Great Wall of China, of even off the cliff of a snowy mountain! All of these attacks do major damage and might be a little overpowered, but goddamn are the fun to look at.

As the game roster is 70% female, you’ll soon realize the girls in the game aren’t as weak as most female characters in various other fighting games. Katsumi and Ayane are both kunoichi (female ninjas) and move about lightening fast but are relitively weaker than slower characters like Hitomi, Helena or Lei Fang. Once again, it’s a beatiful ballance…as long as you pick from the chicks.

All of the male characters are much slower and just can’t compete with the speedy kunoichi or even the other mildly speedy ladies. Then again, you don’t play Dead or Alive to play as a dude.

Of course like any fighting game, the game really shines in multiplayer.There was Xbox Live support once upon a time, but since the original Xbox Live is no longer supported, call up a friend plug in a second controller and enjoy multiplayer the way it was meant to be played – lag free, 12-year-old free and still with all the banter you’ll want.

Control

The controls for Dead or Alive 2 Ultimate are pretty much standard fighting game fare. You have just three basic attacks: Punch, Kick, and Free, which is Guard/Throw/Reverse. Learning to master when to attack, guard, throw or chain a reversal is the key to winning matches against tougher A.I and skilled players.

Left Stick/D-pad: Movement
Right Stick: No Use
LT: Moves camera slightly
RT: Free and Kick together
A: Throw
B: Kick
X: Free
Y: Punch
Black: Free and Punch and Kick together
White: Punch and Kick together
Start: Pause
Back: Cancel menu choices

On the most basic level, Dead or Alive 2 can be played with just the Y and B buttons. The others are only occasionally used by more skilled players. This means that Dead or Alive 2 is much more friendly to novice gamers would might tend to button mash than many other fighting games. Even so, there’s a significant amount of depth to the fighting system that will make the game far from boring to expert fighting game fans. It’s a great ballance very few fighting games achieve.

Frustration

Dead or Alive 2 Ultimate has a ton of things to unlock, from customs to even a developer interview. In order to unlock everything, you will be required to beat the single player game multiple times with every character on every difficulty. As some characters are just not as good as others you will find it’s somewhat of a chore to have to play to unlock extra costumes for some of the male characters that are just slow and useless. It doesn’t help that Katsumi and Ayane both have a total of twenty different outfits, eightteen of which need to be unlocked. In fact, all the female characters have many more costumes than the male characters do. Oh Tecmo.

Availability & Price

The best news of all is that Dead or Alive 2 Ultimate can be found extremely cheaply for often $6 or less. It was even packaged with the Sega Saturn version of Dead or Alive 1! Dead or Alive 1 isn’t NEARLY as good, but hey, it’s free and who doesn’t love free?

History

Dead or Alive 2 was first released for arcades in 1999. It quickly became noted for it’s graphics and devotion to detail for the girl’s breasts. It was soon revealed that Tecmo had written a physics engine just for the ladies juggy region. Of course, the game became a smash hit.

Within a year, console ports began to show up for the Dreamcast and PS2, with several revisions to add in small tweaks. In 2001, Tecmo announced Dead or Alive 3 exclusively as a launch title for Microsoft’s Xbox, a very unpopular choice in Japan. Nevertheless, the game sold well worldwide and when Xbox Live was proven to be a success, Tecmo began development of a enhanced remake of Dead or Alive 2 that would incorporate Dead or Alive 2. When the game arrived in 2004, fans were unexpectedly pleased to learn that by far the most popular character in DOA3, Hitomi, was going to be added into the DOA2 Ultimate character roster.

In Japan, Dead or Alive 2 was sold as Dead or Alive Online, advertising that for the first time, Dead or Alive 2 was playable over the internet on the original Xbox Live. In 2009, Microsoft discontinued service of Xbox Live for the original Xbox, thus forcing any stragglers in the community to switch to the somewhat less impressive Dead or Alive 4. From what I remember of the online content, Dead or Alive 2 Ultimate was a fairly decent fighting game to play online with no batches of extremely terrible lag. Of course, it’s still fully playable with a friend on the other end of the couch, so don’t count this one down yet!

Original Advertising

I tried my best to find the best version I could, but this is all I could come up with. Enjoy!

Overall

Good

  • Even now, Dead or Alive 2 Ultimate is one of the best looking fighting games of all time, and no, its not just because of the girls.
  • Simple to learn, difficult to master fighting system that is more casual friendly than even Street Fighter, but isn’t so watered down hardcore gamers will hate it
  • Can be found on the cheap
  • dem tits

Bad

  • As with most fighting games, some characters are overpowered while others are underpowered. Not nearly as unballanced as say, Marvel Vs Capcom 2, but it’s still kinda noticeable
  • Even after countless revisions of the same game, the male characters are more or less an afterthought.

Conclusion

Dead or Alive 2 Ultimate is by far my favorite 3D fighting game. As we still await the shaky future of Dead or Alive 5, Ultimate retains its namesake and remains both the best in the series and one of the best looking, most enjoyable games on the original Xbox. It’s also fully compatable with the Xbox 360, so there’s really no excuse for not giving this one a go.

Some of the character costumes are…questionable…, but even without all the obvious sex appeal, Dead or Alive 2 is still a great fighting game, and Ultimate is by far the best of the many versions out there. Go pick it up.

One final note is that this is a great game to cue up at a party. It’s pick up and play, looks awesome even now, and has the sex appeal to attract just about anyone. Even some girls like this game, and that‘s an impressive statement.

Data

Platform: Microsoft Xbox, also playable on Xbox 360

Genre: Fighting

Original Release Dates: October 26, 2004

Developer: Team Ninja

Publisher: Tecmo

Also from the developer: Ninja Gaiden Black, Ninja Gaiden 2, Dead or Alive 4, Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball

Game Length: ~35 hours

ESRB: M. dem tits.

Buy, rent or skip: Buy if you can, pirate if you must, but damnit, just play it!

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2 Responses to “Dead or Alive 2 Ultimate Review (Xbox)”

  1. Nice review, nice photos, and it’s good to see a great game get some love. This one dropped in price pretty quickly, so I think a lot of people must have missed out (they probably thought “2” would be worse than “3” and “4”… the fools!)

    • satoshimatrix Says:

      Yeah it’s true. Dead of Alive 2 Ultimate is by far a better game than Dead or Alive 3 and arguably even better than Dead or Alive 4. At this point even I’m not sure how I’ll fall on DOA4 when I review it.

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