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The fighting series Dead or Alive bounced its way onto the video game scene in the late 90s with releases on the Sega Saturn and PlayStation. Known for bouncing breasts and fighting, Team Ninja and Tecmo teamed up to release a sequel in 2000 for the Sega Dreamcast and PlayStation 2. It had big cups…er shoes to fill how does it STACK up? We set the age limit to 99 for this Dead or Alive 2 review!
Dead or Alive 2 Plot:
Fame Douglas has been murdered. Who is he you ask? He was the organization of the Dead or Alive tournaments. For some reason, his death has sent the world into chaos. Despite this, the second tournament of Dead or Alive is still on. The man behind the second tournament is a mastermind of evil, bringing terror to the world. That terror comes from another dimension in the form of a Tengu, a mythological creature. This tengu is named Bankotsubo and is a mass criminal in his dimension. He escapes to the human world and tries to bring disaster and chaos to Earth.
There are 14 playable characters in Dead or Alive 2, with 12 of them eligible for the story mode. Let’s take a look at the roster of fighters and their history.
Kasumi – She was the winner of the first DOA tournament but immediately after winning she was captured by a mysterious evil company that clones and experiments with the DNA of people to make super-human fighters. They were impressed by Kasumi’s victory over her evil uncle Raidou in the first DOA and have since cloned Kasumi before she was able to escape.
Ryu Hayabusa – He’s a shinobi who vowed to keep Kasumi safe in the first tournament as he was her brother’s friend. Ryu goes on to win the second tournament killing the evil tengu in the process.
Gen Fu – He enters the second tournament in hopes of securing more money to help finance his granddaughter’s mysterious but deadly illness. Her condition continues to worsen after the first tournament.
Tina Armstrong – She has used her sex appeal to become famous. After making it to the finals of the first tournament, she wants to leave the professional wrestling league that she stars in and becomes a supermodel much to the dismay of her father, Bass.
Bass Armstrong – He has grown tired of his daughter being a sex idol and becomes very protective of her. He sets out to stop her from becoming a super-model but his daughter, Tina is able to defeat him in the second tournament.
Zack – He gained fame from the first tournament but wants more money. He enters the second tournament in hopes of making more fans, fame, and money.
Jann Lee – He continues to work on his craft making each strike the most powerful he has ever thrown. He enters the second tournament to test his skills again as a fighter and test the power of his strikes.
Leifang – She seeks out Jann Lee again after he defeated her in the first tournament. She wants to prove to him that she doesn’t need him to protect her and that she is capable of doing it herself. For the second straight year, she falls to Jann Lee in battle.
Ayane – She was an unlockable character from the first tournament and is the half-sister to Kasumi. Ayane went searching for the missing Kasumi only to discover her clone and battle her. She was brainwashed by Genra, who ran the second tournament and set forth to battle Hayabusa and her half-brother Hayate.
Helena Douglas – She’s the daughter of the murdered DOA tournament founder, Fame Douglas. She seeks revenge on whoever killed him and her mother. As a famous opera singer, she was on the stage with her mother when a stray bullet killed her mother instead of Helena. She is somehow mysteriously connected to Project Epsilon who experiments on DNA.
Leon – He is a Russian mercenary who enters the second tournament to prove his dying girlfriend’s words true. As she died, she whispered to him that she loves the strongest man in the world.
Hayate – He’s the brother of Kasumi and half-brother of Ayane. He was crippled before the first tournament by his uncle Raidou but with Project Epsilon experimenting on him, he regained his strength but lost his memory. He is found by Hayabusa who encourages him to fight his sister Kasumi. The fight restores his memory.
Bayman – You can unlock him but won’t be able to play with him in the story mode. Bayman is from the first DOA and succeeded in killing his target, Fame Douglas.
Bankotsubo – He’s the final boss in DOA2. He’s a tengu, a mythological Japanese creature from another dimension. He’s unlockable as a fighter but you won’t be able to play the story as him.
Dead or Alive 2 Gameplay:
I immediately noticed that the controls for the fighters were improved significantly from the first DOA. In the first game, it felt like they inched their way toward each other but in my Dead or Alive 2 review, all movements were much quicker. Even the big boys like Bass and Leon moved with ease instead of inch-by-inch like tanks.
Graphically, I know that I reviewed the first game on PS1, and the second game is on the PS2, but it’s lightyears better on the graphic side of things. The animation is smoother and the texture of the characters is a hundred times more realistic. Yes, even the boobs realistically bounce and move instead of smacking the girls in the face. Speaking of the fun bags that this series is known for, there’s an option to set your age. I looked into what it was for, and I guess the higher the age you set the more bouncy the boobs become. I tested this out, and set my age to 99 during my Dead or Alive 2 review but didn’t notice anything unusual so perhaps they jiggle a little more but I couldn’t tell.
The music for the opening sequence was awesome, I enjoyed the hard rock nod and wish more games used rock and metal. The new Doom series has one of the best soundtracks and was happy to hear DOA2 use some good tunes too. The voice acting is in English this time too. I don’t know if there was a setting in the first game to change the voices to English or not but DOA2 starts in English so I was able to understand what the characters were yelling at each other during the fight and in the cut scenes during my Dead or Alive 2 review.
If you’ve read any of my other reviews from fighting games, you’ll know that I suck at them. For once though, I wasn’t bad at DOA2. I think the difficulty has changed vastly. I was able to beat the game with every character on “normal” mode and did it relatively easily during the Dead or Alive 2 review. The final boss is a joke, Tengu or whatever his name is weak. The key to beating him is staying as close as possible. Don’t let his wings or powerful bursts of wind get to you. I beat him most times on the first or second try with all characters.
I liked that bits and pieces of the story were thrown in during the campaign with each fighter. Instead of watching a cutscene after the final battle, you were given small doses of each fighter’s personality. The overall story was unclear and I had no idea why I was fighting most of the time, especially the final boss who had a stupid introduction. There’s a lot of DOA lore, and I wish they would have incorporated it better into the game, but the banter between characters was entertaining.
DOA2 is the first fighting game that I’ve reviewed that I would go back and play again just for fun. It’s tons of arcade fun and for once it didn’t beat me down every step of the way. It also offers new modes including survival which I played a few times when I completed my Dead or Alive 2 review. It’s fun and offers a different change of pace besides playing the story. In survival, you keep fighting until your health bar is gone. Each fighter you defeat will drop a small item to restore your health.
As far as the actual fighting controls go, DOA2 made it easier to pull off combos and throws. I didn’t counter or block much but I used the direction of my punches and kicks better than in the first game. The environments were interesting to fight in. Instead of the square ring featuring a “danger zone” where you get shocked if you are outside of it, there are destructible levels. You can send opponents flying through windows or fences as they fall 10, 20, or 50 feet below to another floor. It was awesome to pull this off and brought a new level of gameplay to the fight. I focused on sending them through the railing not only to do extra damage but to watch their body fall through different dangers during my Dead or Alive 2 review.
My favorite fighter was still Leifang, her kicks were deadly.
DOA2 along with DOA1 was one of the first games I bought on eBay giving me confidence in buying games from others on the internet.
Dead or Alive 2 Review Score:
A great soundtrack, improved graphics, destructible environments, and more make DOA2 a competitor in the ring. With this installment, it didn’t just make the game about boobs, it made it about fighting.
Dead or Alive 2 scores an 8.3 out of 10.
What would you write for your Dead or Alive 2 review? Who was your favorite fighter to use? What did you think about the final boss? What did you set your age limit to? Let me know your memories and thoughts, I’d love to read the comments!