Developer: Team Ninja
Release Date: 10/26/2004
Available Exclusively On
The Good: Much improved graphics, fighting system is still intact, new modes, online play
The Bad: Fighting system is floaty and archaic, visuals now look like wooden blocks, more of an educational piece on the series than something you can play for long periods of time
Dead or Alive wasn’t exactly cutting edge for its time back on the original PlayStation, but the game made enough of an impact due to its sex appeal with its female fighters. Dead or Alive is so basic in fact, that I can’t really recommend this game as something to really get into and master, but more or something to have in a Dead or Alive collection. The combat system is all about holds, counters, and throws rather than fast paced crazy action like Mortal Kombat or Street Fighter. It was a slower paced 3D fighter that was competing with the likes of Tobal, Virtua Fighter, Tekken, and various other 3D fighters of the time.
The story is pretty ridiculous and non-existent at this point outside of what’s in the manual and character profiles, so I’ll spare you the torture. The game actually plays quite well even today with the baseline of the Dead or Alive fighting system we know today. There’re several punch and kick moves along with the counter hold button and throw button. The game feels a bit floaty due to the old engine and physics, but it works. There’s a bit of charm to an old fighter like this. The game also features some of the first interactive stages with “danger zones” around the arena that do extra damage if knocked into.
The game received kind of an HD Remaster for the Xbox. The visuals are cleaned up with new textures and less blocky character models. What we get is an overly smooth almost wooden block look to everything, but it still looks miles better than the original game on PlayStation. This version also adds breasts physics, as if that’s needed for something this ancient, as well as a, flew of new modes and online play. Even with all these modes, I can’t see myself playing for more than 30 minutes at a time because the newer DoA games just make this one feel so stiff and archaic.
With that said, DoA 1 Ultimate feels like a nice bonus with DoA 2 Ultimate which is the far superior game. If you never played the original game you’re not missing much, but it’s nice to dabble in if you’re a hardcore fan.