Replay Value: 8.7
Tecmo's Dead or Alive fighter debut on the PS oh, around the time Tekken 3 was released on the console. DOA was unique for its reversal system and mostly known for its busty babes. Underneath that lied an excellent brawler that was ready to take on Tekken 3 for the fighting crown. Tecmo's succession was great, they developed a smooth playing game, that had a lot going for it. DOA eventually wasn't able to compete against Namco's fighter, Tekken 3 may excelled over DOA in more ways than one, but for a first time Tecmo did a very good job of putting a very decent fighter on the market. Since then Tekken 3 has been holding the crown, until yesterday it was passed down to Tekken Tag Tournament. For those who didn't know, DOA2 was never intended to be published on PS2, for the US that is. Sega and Tecmo signed an eight month contract that will keep Tecmo from shipping a PS2 version of DOA2, like I said the contract was only US bound, and it restricts Tecmo from publishing the PS2 title for eight months. Those who say that DOA2 will never be made on PS2 are dead wrong, Tecmo has taken the Millennium edition of DOA2 and directly ported it over to the PS2. This version only features new costumes and an extra mode I believe. TTT and DOA2 were released on the same day, and it seems like Tecmo is yet again stepping up to the plate, but is it a hit or miss?
For the most part, the visuals in DOA2 are a hair's width below TTT's. Before I head into any of that I just want to warn parents who are thinking of picking this game up for either the Dreamcast or a Japanese PS2: Dead or Alive 2 features a little nude scene in its intro, along with that there is lots and lots of bouncing cleavage. So those who don't want their children playing a game like that should stay away from DOA2, or else little Billy will get ideas. Now that that is out of the way, lets talk detail. Character detail is incredibly impressing, characters move very fluidly just like they would do in real life, and that is because the game uses motion capturing, a lot like TTT. If you read my TTT review, you may remember me saying that stages are definitely the best designed in DOA2, because they grant you the freedom of moving almost anywhere. In DOA2 you literally send somebody flying off a building, an iceberg, a roof, even throw them through glass until they plummet to the ground below. To sum it all up, all the stages in DOA2 are fully interactive. Jagies are not even the problem anymore, like TTT, in DOA2 you can also hardly see any sign from the lack of anti-aliasing.
If you all want to know what version is better looking, I'd have to say the PS2 version is. The game's cut scenes run at a full 60 frames, while DC's port runs at 30 frames. The action overall is smoother and faster on the PS2, but the character detail is identical. Run two versions together and I guarantee you will not see the difference. DOA2 also sports some great lighting effects, you'll know what I mean when you see the game in action. The weather plays a role on how the clothing on the fighters move around. If you are in the Iceberg stage, you do notice that there is a blizzard, but what you may not notice is your characters hair and clothing being effected by the weather. That was a great step by Tecmo to provide the gamer with more realism. The visuals are definitely a work of art in DOA2, Tecmo spent and put a lot of effort into making DOA2 one of the best eye candy experiences ever.
Dead or Alive 2's gameplay is a breath of fresh air. The game is by far the most insane fighter on the market, things like throwing people off buildings and watching them plummet 50 stories down is an incredible feat. Of course the action doesn't end there, it may sound farfetched but the fighter left on top will actually jump down and follow the one who just fell to his near death, after the fighter lands the other character (who by now has twenty concussions) is just about getting up, with about 5% of his/her life left. The PS2 version of DOA2 requires you to beat the game with a character to get a new costume, but the DC version doesn't. Like any other fighter out there right now, DOA2 also has a tagging feature. That doesn't excite me as much as the gameplay mechanics do, the game's combo system is great, it is fairly hard to master and believe me once it is you'll be very happy with yourself.
What DOA2 lacks is some variety, although its stage design is the best the genre has seen, the 12 characters sort of bring the replay value down a bit. TTT has 36, in fact its no secret that the average fighting title should have at least 15 fighters to pick from. Nothing really plagues the gameplay, but the Story mode is quite weak and should be renamed to Single Player. There may be some interaction between fighters but that doesn't really make the mode a story at all. DOA2's final boss this time is Tengu, he is basically your average boss, fairly cheesy at times while always open to take a hit. DOA 2 has seven modes of gameplay, the Story Mode, Time Attack, Team Battle, Tag Battle, Survival, and Sparring (Training). Remember, Dead or Alive 2 is the first PS2 fighting game that uses the DVD ROM format. The game takes time to master, combos are a lot of fun to pull out, and since this game has a punch, kick, block and throw button, there aren't many combinations to memorize. During tag battles, fighters who have a bond together (i.e. Bass and Tina) can perform double attacks on an opponent, and that takes an excruciating amount of life. Dead or Alive 2 is an excellent fighting game, it is unique and currently it stand on the same platform as Tekken Tag, congrats Tecmo!
DOA2's sound is great, the language is Japanese therefore I couldn't understand a word that the fighters said. The soundtrack is a mix of Rock, a little bit o' Techno and some Japanese samurai style songs. The explosions and hits all sound spectacular, this is some hard hitting stuff we are talking about. There is a music player in the options menu for those who are interested.
The controls are very simple, if you read the end of the paragraph on gameplay, you'll know the basic layout, but aside from all that DOA2 also lets you fight with the analog sticks (finally!). It is about time that a developer made use of the analog stick(s) in a fighting game, you basically use the sticks for roaming around the areas. Unlike TTT, DOA2's gameplay is 3D based, while Tekken's is 2D based. Although Tekken may be a 3D fighter, the action is one sided and is qualified as 2D, on the other hand a brawler like DOA2 is all 3D, the action is all 3D and so are the interactive objects and backgrounds.
Dead or Alive 2 and Tekken Tag Tournament are both wearing crowns. Under my rule I have decided to have a duplicate crown and make one for Tecmo's fighter, because it sure deserves it. Dead or Alive 2 is definitely a gamer's dream come true, the environments (as I said before) are a real breath of fresh air. Almost free roaming action makes DOA2 one of the greatest fighting games ever, the ability to throw someone off an iceberg, or building is fantastic. If you have a PS2 already, you should definitely get Tekken Tag and Dead or Alive2, you will not regret the decision.