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Dead Or Alive 3

Team Ninja



1 - 4


It has finally arrived. Itagaki-san's latest epic fighter has hit consoles and we've got the definitive review for you to feast your eyes on.

It's a real shame what has happened to Dead or Alive 3. Tecmo's (and Team Ninja's for that matter) classic Xbox fighter has gotten shredded by the larger percentage of the press for being to dry, not adding anything new to past games of the series, and for being a graphical show at best have all been reasons cited for DOA3 not quite living up to its hype of being an A-list title for the new system. While some other members of the gaming press may not be very fond of the title, I do not fall under that category. Dead or Alive 3 rocks in a big way, everyone who loves video games should buy this masterpiece. Is it a system seller? You bet your ass it is.

What can be said about the graphics? They're incredible. Extraordinarily detailed environments envelope excruciatingly lush character models. The multi-tiered levels add a completely new and foreign level of depth to the genre and a seamless transition from each tier is absolutely amazing to watch. Interactive levels are still available from the past DOA titles. You'll see walls break down in rock and snow levels, making indentions and changes in the layers of snow in the winter environments, and other damaging additions that can really sway the match in one way or the other. Take for instance the Japanese streets: these can be accessed by plummeting down through a stretch of fluorescent lights which not only poses an amazing level of damage to the player, but also displays an amazing level of graphics to the player. Needless to say DOA3 pushes an amazing amount of polygons in every single on if its levels and can truly flex the power of the Xbox to its viewer. Watch out Halo, there's a new kid in town. And yes, the ladies in the game are… vibrant.

"Is it a system seller? You bet your ass it is."

Gameplay is the aspect that has come under the most ridicule from the press. The lack of an extensive story mode is a bit of a disappoint and will turn some of the gamers who were looking for an extensive back story away from this amazing game which is a real shame. Each of the 16 available fighters comes complete with roughly six stages of fighting. Each stage consists of only one round of fighting and only one of the six stages contains a character that will advance the story and the history of the character that you portray. Once you complete the game for each character, a task that took me about two hours to complete (that's being very generous), you'll be shown the real treat of the visual portion of the game and that is the prerendered video. Some of the most detailed character models that you'll ever see spring forth from the end movies for each participant. All of the movies are then stored in the theater option of the main menu for you and your friend's viewing pleasure. While the story may be short that is by no means the only fun to be had in the game.

The addition of a tag battle mode has added hours of replay value to the game for me. I've never been much of a fan of fighting games but the tag battle mode in Dead or Alive 3 is truly an amazing feature. Performing a throw to your new on screen combatant has never so good. A simple tap of the black button will execute a regular tag move (simply bring in the new character), however special button combos will execute some very damaging blows to your opponents. While on the sidelines your resting character will regain some lost health, which can be a very affective strategy when in the heat of a tough battle.

The controls of the game are fairly straight, following in the path of past Dead or Alive titles. Y performs a standard punch, B a standard kick, and A the typical grab move which allows you to throw your opponent or simply snap some bones in one of the game's many hold moves. X allows you to perform a block, white initiates a punch and kick combo, and black is strictly used for tagging your ally in a tag match. Of course the standard attacks are rarely utilized by themselves - the real fun in the combat system comes in performing backbreaking combinations.

Every character comes complete with their very own fighting style. Ranging from standard karate to an odd variation of drunken fighting which is quite amusing to watch. Fighting styles are very indicative of the speed and severity of the attacks your character will perform. Say for instance you are playing as Tina whose style of fighting is wrestling. Her moves will inflict more damages than most other character's, but she is a bit slower than some of the quicker fighters like Hayabusa who utilizes a modified style of Ninjutsu. Each character has got tons of moves to be carried out, from the tradition directional pad direction plus a action button all the way to the six, seven, or eight button combinations needed to devastate your opponent. My personal favorite combo move involves kicking the opponent into high into the air, jumping and pile driving them into the ground below. This move is especially fun on one of the multi tiered levels as the characters health if virtually crippled thereafter.

"DOA3 rocks you, me, and anyone else who plays this game."

The sound in the game is a bit of a mixed bag. The effects of punching and kicking and the grunts and the groans of an intense battle are all well and good, but the cheesy Japanese music could've been altered for the American release. The dialogue is also a big disappoint as anyone who doesn't speak the standard Japanese of this game's origin will be completely lost if the ability to read has suddenly escaped them. The sound isn't really bad, it just isn't very good either.

DOA3 comes complete with a fairly extensive offering of modes to play. Survival (offered in single and tag modes), Team Battle (select up to six fighters to compete against a CPU selected six), Versus Mode (you and a friend can battle it out in tag or single battle mode), practice mode and a very unique watch mode are also included in the DOA3 experience. While some people may still be complaining about the length (or lack thereof) in the story mode, I still found the rest of the game very enjoyable and am still having a good time with the title to this very day. [Is that why you're a week late with the review? - Ed.] The extra costumes and extra character also present a fun little challenge to unlock.

While some critics may be experiencing a bit too much criticality when it comes to Dead or Alive 3, I for one loved the game. Graphics are great, control is impeccable, sure the story mode is short but the amount of fun that you and your buddies can have more than makes up for it. Itagaki-san, you've still got your touch.

Gamer X
Likes Christie because of elegant clothing selection… really he does.

Dead Or Alive 3: The Scores













The Final Word:  DOA3 rocks you, me, and anyone else who plays this game. The graphics alone warrant a purchase just to show off the power of the Xbox to your pals, the added bonus of the gameplay actually being fun is icing on the cake.

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