Dead Or Alive 2
Developer: Team Ninja | Publisher: Tecmo | Release Date: 2000 | Genre: Beat ‘Em Up | Website: N/A | Purchase: Amazon
When a world leader named Fame Douglas was assassinated at the end of the 20th century, it caused chaos and panic among the populace. As he was also the sponsor of the first “Dead or Alive” tournament, it came as a shock when a second tournament is announced.
The new promoter is an evil man called Tengu who was not only responsible for Douglas’s death, but has more sinister plans in store for the world. All of this boils down to twelve characters from all walks of life getting together and beating the tar out of each other. Why they felt the need to have this elaborate and confusing reason to do so is a mystery, but you don’t need to know anything about the goofy plot to enjoy the game.
For a long time the Tekken series has reigned as the premier fighting games on Sony hardware, but with this game Tecmo may just have beaten the masters. Dead or Alive 2 moves at a speed that makes Tekken 4 look like an asthmatic snail and its heavy emphasis on counters gives it a unique feel. Graphically the game is no slouch either with smoothly animated characters and sharp visuals. Small touches like characters clothes and hair moving in the wind lends the game a vibrant look. The elaborate costumes available (mostly for the females) are also pretty cool. These costumes are not easy to unlock and with only two secret characters this game is a lot stingier than Tekken when it comes to dishing out extras.
Not that there is a lack of things to do. With story, time attack, survival, tag and team modes available it will take you a long time to master this game. It can be deceptively simple too with only a punch, kick and block button to worry about. Then of course there is the “free” button that can be used to pull off all manner of throws, blocks & counters. These moves are very dependent on timing which means it will be very tricky for you but CPU opponents on higher levels will pull it off with ease.
This is quite annoying but easily remedied by battling against other human players. The rock/paper/scissors style fighting engine is not going to be everyone’s cup of tea as it lends itself too easily to random button mashing but makes for a nice change nonetheless.
The English voice-overs are as terrible as you’d expect, but there are some nice tunes and solid sound effects. Controls are also very smooth and responsive, especially compared to Tekken 4.
DOA2 is not the kind of game to get if you want loads of characters all with pretty rendered endings and an interesting plot. If, however, you are looking for a fast and addictive fighter that’s easy to learn, but hard to master then this is the game for you.
*Review originally written in 2000*