Dead or Alive
Last Updated: 3/13/2011 Developer(s): Team Ninja Publisher(s): Tecmo Designer(s): Tomonobu Itagaki Platform(s): Arcade, Sega Saturn, Playstation Release Date(s): 1996 (Arcade)
October 9th, 1997 ( Saturn)
March 12th, 1998 ( PS1)
March 31st, 1998 ( PS1)
Characters: Lei Fang, Kasumi, Ayane, Tina, Bass, Zack, Hayabusa, Gen Fu, Jann Lee, Bayman, Raidou
Related Games: Dead or Alive 2, Dead or Alive 2: Hardcore, Dead or Alive 3, Dead or Alive 4, Dead or Alive 5, Dead or Alive: Dimensions, Virtua Fighter 2, Fighters Megamix, Last Bronx, Mace: The Dark Age, Star Gladiator, Toshinden 2, Soul Blade, Tekken 3, Tobal No. 1
Gameplay Engine 7.5 / 10 Story / Theme 6 / 10 Overall Graphics 9 / 10 Animation 7.5 / 10 Music / Sound Effects 4.5 / 10 Innovation 7 / 10 Art Direction 5 / 10 Customization 9 / 10 Options / Extras 8.5 / 10 Intro / Presentation 6.5 / 10 Replayability / Fun 7 / 10 "Ouch" Factor 7.5 / 10 Characters 6 / 10 BOTTOM LINE
7.2 / 10
Review based on PS1 version Final Words: Team Ninja made a considerable impact to the fighting genre with the first DOA, giving 3D fighting game fans an alternative to Tekken 3. You could say the gameplay was a bit more stiff than Tekken 3, but DOA was a fun PS1 game for a while. The unlockables added a ton of replay value at least! However, the music & sound effects may have been the Dead or Alive's biggest flaw... I remember the music particularly annoying me quite a bit. ~TFG Webmaster
REVIEW: The original version of Dead or Alive was released in arcades in 1996, utilizing Sega's Model 2 arcade board and was the first time Sega licensed their hardware to a third-party-company in this case, Tecmo. This brand new 3D fighter looked a lot like Sega's Virtua Fighter 2, and presented a roster 8 selectable martial artists. Dead or Alive was ported to the Sega Saturn only in Japan, and in 1998, a Playstation version was created which had many differences from the original versions, including reworked graphics, new moves and also a ton of extras: including 84 unlockable character costumes!
DOA started off with only 3 girls... boy did that change.
The gameplay engine was comparable to Sega's Virtua Fighter, using only 3 buttons (punch, kick, and hold). However, DOA was a considerably faster game than Virtua Fighter and relied more on simplistic commands and reaction time. The gameplay system features the ability to use reversals and counter your opponents moves quite easily, but still requires good timing.
DOA's countering system was the first in the fighting genre to utilize different commands that corresponded to each type of attack. The other unique (and somewhat odd) aspect of the gameplay is the "danger zone," which surrounded the outer edges of the fighting arena. When a character came in contact with the danger zone, they would be sent flying into the air which created an easy combo possibility for a skilled opponent. The main flaw about the gameplay is the lack of a sidestep, which has become a staple among 3D fighters on the market.
Almost looks like VF2 at a quick glance.
Dead or Alive became quickly well known for it's silly animation of the breasts of the female characters, which are comically large and slowly bounce up and down whilst the character was fighting... it was a pretty entertaining effect for the time. The character designs of DOA weren't terrible, but definitely lacked originality, personality and "innovative" fighting styles to fighting games. This trait kinda stuck with the series unfortunately.