Dead or Alive (series)
|Dead or Alive franchise|
Logo of the series since Dead or Alive 3
|Platforms||Arcade, Saturn, PlayStation, Dreamcast, PlayStation 2, Xbox, Xbox 360, PlayStation Portable, Nintendo 3DS, PlayStation 3, iOS, PlayStation Vita, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Microsoft Windows|
|First release||Dead or Alive
|Latest release||Dead or Alive 5 Last Round
February 17, 2015
In addition to its innovative countering system, the franchise is arguably as well known for its cast of busty female characters and the animation of their breasts. This aspect of the game's popularity led to the creation of the spin-off game Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball and its sequels, where the women and their sex appeal play a more focal role than it does in the core Dead or Alive series.
The series was created by Tomonobu Itagaki when he became a programmer for Tecmo—which was in need of a hit to boost sagging game sales. In this vein, Itagaki made a wager with the head of the company, assuring the president he would create a video game that would garner a competent fan base. Because of the wager, Itagaki named the series "Dead or Alive" to demonstrate the series' fail or succeed status and proceeded to form a division in the company named Team Ninja.
Itagaki's inspiration for the series derived from the Fatal Fury series in Japan and the Mortal Kombat series in America, with DOA's fast gameplay and sexual appeal drawn from the former series, and the ability to knock opponents off landscapes from the latter. His stated reasoning was: "I wanted to do something that would attract people's attention as I worked on the DOA game. Of course, DOA is known for its bouncing breasts. Well, I didn't come up with that idea originally. I actually got the idea from one of SNK's 2D fighting games Garou Densetsu. Of course, when I applied it to a 3D game, it was almost too much for people. And of course, it hurts to fall off from high places in DOA, but the idea came from Mortal Kombat. In the case of Mortal Kombat, the 2D fighter, the character falls off and he simply dies. That ends the game. That's it. But we figured it would be more interesting to have the character continue to fight after the fall. And that's what we did." When asked how he wished the series would contribute to the fighting genre, Itagaki replied: "I want people to remember DOA as a game that was very aggressive and combative. As to [...] how it contributed to the fighting genre – I look at it as something similar to how sushi was released in this country and became mainstream. You know, like, some people like graphics, some people like animation, some like flashy character design and so forth. Through DOA, we want to reach out to those people and become somewhat of a mainstream game."
Before his departure from Team Ninja, Itagaki stated in 2006 that he had the first play concepts in mind, but in a 2008 interview he said about the Dead or Alive series: "This is another area that my closest colleagues and I all agree that we were able to achieve the definitive fighting game with DOA4. So we're not looking to extend the series at this point." In a released statement on June 3, 2008, Itagaki announced his resignation from Tecmo (July 1, 2008) due to business troubles with then president of Tecmo, Yoshimi Yasuda. Itagaki stated that this would unfortunately lead to the end of production for the game and its series. However, Tecmo replied with the announcement that Team Ninja would not be dissolved upon Itagaki's departure, stating that both the Ninja Gaiden and Dead or Alive franchises would remain in production and that some projects were already underway.
Ninja Gaiden connectionAfter Tecmo's classic (but long dormant) Ninja Gaiden series was revived in 2004 by Tomonobu Itagaki and Team Ninja, they began linking it back with Dead or Alive, setting the franchises within the same universe with overlapping characters and events. As it was a complete reboot of the series and didn't continue the canon of any previous Ninja Gaiden titles, the developers were free to do with the universe and its characters as it saw fit, and so the game was implemented into the DOA universe by being set up as a prequel to the first DOA. In addition, Ninja Gaiden protagonist Ryu Hayabusa, who had already been on the roster of every DOA fighting game since the beginning, plays a major role in that series' overarching storyline, which has been fleshed out during the development of the subsequent Ninja Gaiden titles. As the repayment of including Hayabusa in most of Dead or Alive games during a development of Ninja Gaiden reboot, they are allowed to include the character Ayane and Kasumi in most of Ninja Gaiden games. Conversely, several characters from DOA have roles in the rebooted Ninja Gaiden series (which currently stands at six games, including four main entries and numerous ports of the first, third and fourth games with added content), initially only appearing during story sequences but becoming fully playable characters in special modes in later games. Rachel and Momiji, characters originating from the Ninja Gaiden series, appear in Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate, an updated version of Dead or Alive 5.
One of the series' most innovative additions to the genre is its countering system. Beginning with the original Dead or Alive, players could tap the guard button and a direction corresponding with the anticipated attack, which would do a powerful counterattack. Counter holds must be timed correctly and match the direction of the attack being countered.
Like other modern fighting games that attempt to emulate real life martial arts, DOA's input system is designed so controls correspond game character's actions; if the character moves forward with a punch, the controls most likely would include the punch input and pressing forward on the directional pad.
The series controls also make the instances of speed and simplicity more congruent with the focus of timing and combos in mind, as the commands for basic attacks are widely considered more straightforward than most video games. There is only one button for punch, kick, throw and guard, with the player rarely having to combine more than two different input schemes together at a time.
In Dead or Alive 2, the series implemented its tag fighting system, allowing characters to switch back and forth for combo attacks and even attack simultaneously when timed correctly. The tag mode also included special throws unique to certain pairs of characters and allows for the participation of four players, something not common in the genre.
PlotThe Dead or Alive series depicts several skilled martial artists in a worldwide competition named the "Dead or Alive tournament". DOATEC (Dead or Alive Tournament Executive Committee), a massive corporation with unknown motives, holds the fighting competition in arenas ranging from the North Pole to the Amazon rain forest.
- Dead or Alive, the first game in the series, introduces the characters and their reasons for entering the tournament. For example, Zack enters for profit. Kasumi, a runaway female ninja, enters the tournament to seek revenge against Raidou who crippled her brother Hayate. In the end, the strict laws of ninja society prevent Kasumi from returning to her village, and she became a hunted fugitive. Kasumi won the first DOA tournament.
- Dead or Alive 2 is set less than a year later. Here, a tengu known as the Gohyakumine Bankotsubo threatens the world's peace and stability. Kasumi's brother Hayate, previously injured by Raidou, returns from being a subject in DOATEC's bio-weapon experiment Epsilon. New fighters include Ein, Helena Douglas and Leon. Eventually, Ryu defeats Tengu and thus wins the tournament.
- The third game, Dead or Alive 3, takes place shortly after Ryu Hayabusa's defeat of the Gohyakumine Bankotsubo. This game's plot concerns DOATEC's secret goal to produce the ultimate fighter, called the Omega project. Through Epsilon and Alpha stages, DOATEC wipes the ninja Genra's memory and turns him into the vicious Omega. A third tournament is held to test Omega's abilities. In the end, Ayane defeats her former master and wins the tournament. The game introduces four more fighters, Hayate, Hitomi, Brad Wong, and Christie.
- Dead or Alive 4 again explores DOATEC's attempts to create the ultimate bio-weapon, which is a powerful clone of Kasumi created by the Alpha project. The various fighters discover the true nature of DOATEC and set out to stop it. Helena wins the tournament and decides to give the title to Zack.
- The fifth game, Dead or Alive 5, follows the last game's series of events and the explosion DOATEC's tri-tower. Set two years later, DOATEC is newly reformed with Helena still in control and Zack appearing to be in employ. Jann Lee beat Hitomi in the last round of the tournament, thus winning the tournament.
|Title||Release||Arcade||5th Gen||6th Gen||7th Gen||8th Gen||Handheld||PC|
|Dead or Alive||1996-11||Arcade||Saturn, PS1||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|Dead or Alive ++||1998-11||Arcade||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|Dead or Alive 2||1999-11||Arcade||N/A||DC, PS2||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|Dead or Alive 2 Millennium||2000–01||Arcade||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|Dead or Alive 2: Hardcore||2000–10||N/A||N/A||PS2||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|Dead or Alive 2: Hard*core||2000–12||N/A||N/A||PS2||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|Dead or Alive 3||2001–11||N/A||N/A||Xbox||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball||2003-01||N/A||N/A||Xbox||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|Dead or Alive Ultimate||2004–10||N/A||N/A||Xbox||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|Dead or Alive 4||2006-01||N/A||N/A||N/A||X360||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|Dead or Alive Xtreme 2||2006–11||N/A||N/A||N/A||X360||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|The Girls of Dead or Alive: Blackjack||2009–??||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||iOS||N/A|
|Dead or Alive Online||2008-10||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||Win|
|Dead or Alive Paradise||2010-03||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||PSP||N/A|
|Dead or Alive: Dimensions||2011-05||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||3DS||N/A|
|Dead or Alive 5||2012-09||N/A||N/A||N/A||X360, PS3||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|Dead or Alive 5 Plus||2013-03||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||PSVita||N/A|
|Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate||2013-09||N/A||N/A||N/A||X360, PS3||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate: Arcade||2013-12||Arcade||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|Dead or Alive 5 Last Round||2015-02||Arcade||N/A||N/A||X360, PS3
Main seriesDead or Alive has spawned five main sequels which have continued the storyline and six overall. Of the six games in total, four of them focus on the fighting genre of gameplay. This number excludes the numerous updated editions, ports and remakes of each title.
Dead or Alive
Dead or Alive 2
Dead or Alive 2 has spawned the most upgrades and remakes in the series to date, with the original arcade version and North American Dreamcast version serving as the starting point. When the PlayStation 2 was launched in Japan, a DOA2 port was released for it as well. Although this version was considered graphically inferior to any of the previous versions, lacked the 4 player Tag Team feature, and was never released outside of Japan, it did include extra backgrounds and costumes. The extras from this version were then included in the belated Japanese Dreamcast release, which was available in both Regular Edition and Limited Edition versions. Another remake was released in October of that year for the PS2 in North America, titled DOA2: Hardcore. This version provided improvements larger in scope than any previous franchise entry. It expanded the unlockable costumes, amended graphical problems prevalent in the Dreamcast versions, added new game modes and included English voice acting. (Dead or Alive 2: Hardcore is one of the only installments in the series with the ability to switch between English and Japanese voice acting.) After this, a final version of DOA2 was released in Japan dubbed Dead or Alive 2: Hard*core which was essentially the North American/European version but with a few extras; it was considered the most up to date version until the Xbox version.
In 2004, after the release of Dead or Alive 3, Team Ninja once again remade DOA2, this time for the Xbox system. In the planning stages, this new game was named Dead or Alive Online for its addition of online support. On January 14, it was renamed to Dead or Alive Ultimate and promised fresh content, additional characters and an upgraded version of the original Dead or Alive for the Sega Saturn. According to Tecmo, the name change was due to the opinion that "Ultimate would more accurately describe the feeling players feel upon experiences with the game".
Dead or Alive 3
Dead or Alive 4
Dead or Alive: Dimensions
Dead or Alive 5
Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball
Dead or Alive Xtreme 2
Dead or Alive Paradise
The Girls of Dead or Alive: BlackjackThe Girls of Dead or Alive: Blackjack is a 2009 casino video game and the only game in the Dead or Alive series to be released for the iOS. This game features Kasumi as the main character of this game. Like the DOA Xtreme series, players must win the blackjack without going over 21. With going over 21, the game is over. The game's sales were suspended on the App Store on February 22, 2010.
Dead or Alive: Code Chronos
Dead or Alive Online
|Dead or Alive||(PS) 83.92%
|Dead or Alive 2||(DC) 91.37%||–|
|Dead or Alive 3||(Xbox) 86.19%||(Xbox) 87|
|Dead or Alive 4||(X360) 85.49%||(X360) 85|
|Dead or Alive 5||(Vita) 86.20%
|This section requires expansion. (April 2013)|
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