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Developer: Tecmo OPTIONS: S.SHOT
No.1   No.2   No.3
Distributor: Sony 1-2 Player
Game Type: Beat-em-Up Memory Card
Review Date: July 1998 Analog (Dual Shock) Pad

Setting the Scene

As if the PlayStation didn't already have enough fighting games for its
system, here comes another one to add to the mix.

Dead or Alive is a beat-em-up based on Sega’s Model 2 arcade board.
It’s the translation of a Model 2 game and as such is eagerly
anticipated by many, just to see how the conversion went.
The game plays and feels very much like Sega’s own Virtua Fighter 2 game
and offers PlayStation gamers perhaps their only chance to play this style
of Beat-em-up on their system.

Let’s jump in and find out if DOA has what it takes to distance itself from
the rest of the fighting game pack.


Dead or Alive is a one or two player beat-em-up style fighting game.


The graphics in Dead or Alive are very well done.  The movement of the
characters is very smooth and the level of detail in the texture mapping
is excellent.  The characters don’t blend together, polygon seaming is
minimal and the collision detection is great.

Each character has their own little fight ending animation and dialogue,
and the knockout replay is definitely exciting.  The best part here is
the women characters.  All of them are very well endowed and the
jiggling is sure to please all the hornball male players out there.

The backgrounds are just your average two dimensional fighting game
backgrounds but there are plenty for each fighting mode and lets face
it, the important part is the fighting, and it looks great.  DOA also
comes equipped with a rather nice CG opening that is up to the standards 
of recent releases.

I didn’t think it had the flash or pizzazz of the Tekken series, but the
graphics are solid and definitely 3rd generation material.

Sounds and Effects

The sound effects are pretty good but nothing to get too excited about.
When you connect with a punch or a kick it sounds as it should.

The fighting sounds work well but the music does little to get your
blood pumping.  Definitely not Tekken quality but it gets the job done.


Each player starts with three costumes and more become available as you
beat the game with a monstrous total of 84 costumes!  Extra
configuration options are also unlocked as well.

The game itself is played out in an invisible ring type environment.
Ring Outs are identified by the flashing floor blocks that surround the
ring.  While fighting is still allowed outside of the ring, if a player
gets thrown or dropped into this "danger zone" the game is over.

From the main menu screen you can jump into the Game Config and
customize your game settings like the life gauges, time limits,
difficulty, button config and breast bounce on/off.  You can also
configure the audio and view the various records.

The button scheme is kept pretty simple with one button each for punch,
kick, and hold.  Don't let that fool you though, you can string together
combinations for some rather impressive moves.  I had one character
bouncing around in the air for a good ten minutes!  Actually I'm just
kidding but you get the point - the combo system is pretty damn good.

Each character also has their own special "throw" attack.   Proper
execution of this command doles out some nice damage and lays out your
opponent for a bit, especially when thrown out of the ring boundary and
into the danger zone.  Of course there is also a counter combination to
get you out of being thrown, but if that's too late and you are already
getting chucked you can press the directional button UP and may mange to
land on your feet instead of your backside.

The responsiveness of each fighter is lighting quick.  You will not be
able to use the excuse that the characters are sluggish, only the fact
that you are too slow.

Survival (fight until you lose) mode and Kumite (100 battles) mode make
for exciting one player action while the Team Battle and Versus modes
are a lot of fun with a friend.  Other modes like Tournament and Time
Attack are your typical arcade type modes and add to the overall game
enjoyment.  Dead or Alive also includes a training mode in which you can
use the computer as a punching dummy that doesn't fight back.   I
thought this was a great way to master a players moves, and there are a
lot of moves to learn.  There is also a Danger Zone mode in which the
entire ring becomes a danger zone.  One fall and your history!

The game also moves along at a very rapid pace.  It’s not uncommon for a
fight to last only around 10 seconds or so. You get in there, knock the
stuffing out of your opponent and then move on to the next battle.   The
load times between fights are pretty quick too.  Overall the game keeps
up a pretty frantic pace.

All in all I had a great time playing this game, and for someone that is
anything but a fighting game junky, that's saying a lot.

Value for Money

With eight different modes and nine players to start with (plus two 
unlockable characters) you definitely won’t tire of this game quickly.

DOA is a very different kind of fighting game than most PlayStation
owners are used to.  While the initial button mashing will get you into
the action and win you some bouts, a good deal of time is required to
really understand the fighting system and master all of the
characters.  This in itself lends well to the replay value of this

Overall, the multiple costume changes are a nice change of pace, but I
would like to have seen another half dozen characters or more.  I
believe it would have added even more value to an already interesting
GRAPHICS: 18/20 If you are a fighting game fan this one won’t disappoint you. If you are like me and don’t play fighting games too often, this one will definitely grab your attention, especially in 2 player mode.

Great graphics and decent sound effects really make this game fun. With all those different modes, reasonable number of characters, 84 different costumes, and hundreds of moves, I don’t know how this game could get boring. I definitely recommend adding it to your library.
SOUND: 5/10
VALUE: 17/20

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