Dead or Alive 2 

 Publisher Acclaim
 Genre Beat 'em up
 Players 1-4
 Rumble Yes
 Extras Arcade stick

I’m not going to walk down memory lane this time, it’s straight to the meaty review!  Okay... so I must mention the success that the original Dead or Alive bought along with itself.  If there was ever a discussion about the game, you’d be bound to hear the words ‘bouncy’, ‘did u see those…’ and ‘wow check ‘em out man!’ For those who aren’t following me, Dead Or Alive boasted an unusual of physics that Einstein himself can’t explain.  Cut short, the babes in the game had these over-the-top bouncy boobs that could trigger a ‘quake  no. 9 on the Richter scale.  Male gamers from across the globe were amazed and entertained by this feature, that I must mention, helped the game to sell bucket loads.  So what ‘feature’ do Tecmo incorporate when they plan on a sequel?  That’s right… lets move on.

It’s not all boobs and babes this time round, although the latter does still play a significant role in the game.  Dead or Alive 2 is a 3D beat em up.  It’s not quite your average 3D beat 'em up though; Dead or Alive 2 shines through the genre like a diamond in a sandstorm.  First impressions do last, so the introduction cut scene of the game had to be pretty good and display an image of the game itself.  It does both.  As soon as it starts, you’re welcomed to a sassy looking Kasumi from the original dancing around with her sword executing a chain of moves.  This is a real teaser, as you get to see her deliberately exposed whit panties (is this the new trend?) flashing through the cuts of her costume.  At first I thought that this was a FMV (i.e. movie as opposed to game engine generated).  The graphics are absolutely stunning, there is astonishing detail in the characters and environments!   Kasumi’s hair, costume and dress laces all move independently with her motion, she even blinks.  The first time I saw the cut scene was in our local games shop.  I can tell you that almost EVERY kid in the shop had their eyes glued to the screen; I humorously remember this bloke was having a good stare of Kasumi then his girlfriend interrupted with “it’s just a game..” (I bet she was jealous!).  Talking about interruptions, while Kasumi is teasing the viewer, another character jumps into the screen looking for a fight who Kasumi manages to dodge.  Started has one of several in game cut scenes that have been compiled along with in-game fighting to make this introduction cut scene; which is accompanied which Japanese rock music that fits in perfectly with the on screen action.  I’ll come back to the music in a while.

After drooling over the cut scene, I was quite pleased with the menu displaying the game modes.  I expected perhaps an ‘arcade’, ‘practice’ and ‘2 player’ mode.  What I got was much more than I bargained for;  story, time attack, survival, tag battle, team battle, sparring, versus and the all important options menu. 

The traditional style mode is the story mode where you battle against a line of characters up to the boss, with short cut scenes between fights to build a sort of story; fairly standard so nothing much to get excited about.  The time attack mode is where you aim to clock up the fastest time in beating up a variety of opponents.  In the survival mode, you try and beat as many opponents as you can with your one character.  You get bonuses to heal your health a little when you beat an opponent to make things a little easier.  You can pick a team of characters in the team battle mode to fight an equel amount of opponents.  Sparring mode is a basically a practice mode, where you can practice and your moves or try and master yourself with a character.  Versus is the all-too-necessary 2 player mode that all beat ‘em ups accommodate.  The sharp ones among you may have noticed that I missed the tag battle out, that’s because it deserves a paragraph of its very own…

Before going through the tag mode in detail, I feel I should talk about the gameplay itself.  There are 12 characters in total to choose from, 5 gals and 7 boys.  Okay.. not exactly  boys at 20+ years old!  The fighting style is simple to grasp yet the perfectionists out there’ll be able to master characters inside out.  There are 3 buttons, punch kick and free.  However as the Dreamcast controller has 6 buttons, having just 3 buttons that did something would be a waste.  As some moves can only be performed by pressing multiple buttons i.e. a throw is executed by pressing punch and free together, some buttons on the controller will act as 2 buttons i.e. the A button will perform a punch and free combination.  This makes it easier to control the characters.  The Free button has multiple uses.  It can be used in conjunction with a directional movement to counter an opponents move.  If held down, and a directional button is double tapped then the character will move in 3D instead of jump/crouch.  The analogue stick can however be used solely to move in 3D.  The direction pad can be used like in a 2D game i.e. jump, crouch.   That’s the theory stuff sorted…

Moving onto the battles, I must stress how amazing the graphics are.  The players themselves move very fluidly and realistically; you actually feel like your controlling the characters and not some wireframe.  The detail on the characters is brilliant too, ranging from creases on the costumes to moving hair.  Even though the line up of characters is surpassed by Tekken Tag’s is terms of quantity, each character has been developed thoroughly and they vary from a massive wrestler-style Bass to a sexy and sleek Tina.  Jan Lee is one of the coolest characters, his flying kick move where he sours towards his opponent Ryu style is awesome along with the “waddaaaa” speech!  The battles are very enjoyable to fight in, and are as impressive just to watch.  There are games that almost seem to have turn based battles i.e. A kicks, B punches, A punches back etc, well Dead or Alive 2’s battles offer much more unpredictability and freedom thanks to the well thought out counter system.  By imputing the correct commands, you can grab an opponents offending limb, then while they’re momentarily stuck, you can hit them back with an awesome move ranging from twisting their arm and grounding them to the floor to tossing them into the air and kicking them from there.  Countering can be difficult, and will take time to master, as there are 3 different levels off attack; high, medium and low, and each type requires a different command to counter.  So you’ll have to be quick to input the right command, or better still try and predict their next move; you know that someone who has throw multiple high punches at you is probably going to throw another high punch so you can prepare the counter.  I must admit that even with these counters taking place, the action stills moves very fluidly as each different variation with each character combination etc has been flawlessly programmed!  God I don’t know how long the programmers took programming this game, but man it looks damn good!!

The stages are beautifully rendered.  There is outstanding detail in the varied stages, that range from a church to a snow covered cliff.  Remember the interactive stages in Virtua Fighter?  Well this game expands on that idea with HUGE multi level stages where you can knock your opponents off onto the lower floor!  Celebrate in joy as you callously pound your unfortunate opponent through a stained-glass window to the ground 40 foot below before jumping down after him to kick more ass!  The snow stage is particularly cool, where if you tread too near the edge the ground beneath cracks and both you and your opponent will hurdle to the ice pit below!  Remember the hotspots of the original Dead or Alive where if you knocked your opponent onto a certain area they would rocket up sky high?  Well those have gone, but are replaced with even better features.  Some levels have these explosive walls where if you knock your opponent onto them, you’ll be treated to a spectacular explosion as well as a dime off your opponents health!  You can kick your opponent through a weak gate lining a floor on the same church stage where you knocked your opponent through the window. 

Remember the tag battle I failed to mention before?  Well, it’s totally chaotic and brilliant fun to play.  You can pick 2 players to battle against another 2 players.  The beauty is that during the battle, you can tag your 2nd opponent by pressing the correct button who will jump into the fight and take the place of your first character.  You then carry on kicking ass with this player while your other player sits aside and slowly recovers lost health.  The best time to tag is during a combo; your 1st player starts a combo off and finishes with a move that’ll have your opponent in the air, you then tag your 2nd character who’ll jump in instantly and can be used to juggle the combo on before the unfortunate opponent has the time to fall on the floor.  With some practice, you’ll find yourself juggling and effortlessly tagging your characters to perform some devastating 10+ hit combos!  Even better are the addition of some super tag moves which can have both your players on screen together at once making your opponent’s life a real misery.  Such include Hayate tossing his opponent in the air as Kasumi (his tag partner) will jump in and perform a mid-air throw on the (now feeling sick) opponent.  Did I forget to mention that you can have 4 human players taking control of the 4 characters?  Or that you and a mate can battle against 2 CPU (computer controlled) opponents?  Or If you’re feeling hard then take both your mates on together.  Beware though, tag mode can result in serious misuse of language between you and your mates “you should have tagged me in you d….!” “tag me in you greedy b…!” or perhaps some physical contact “haha you lost.. ahhh!! Stop pulling my eye out.. put the bleeding fork down!!”  Just remember, the Dreamcast controller is not a weapon and should not used against your friend……. Unless he’s just kicked your ass as Tina and can’t stop bragging!  This just shows you how much fun the tag battle mode is when placed with other people.  There is just one stage though which can be fought on in this mode which is prett stupied when they are so many in the game, and playing on the one stage can get a little boring after a while.

So, the bare (get it, bare?) fact remains that this game is whisked with babes in undies wearing clothes out of a lingerie closet.. almost!!  The gravity defying boob aspects have been narrowed down to a more socially acceptable level.  Although for the pervs amongst us, just tell the game via the options screen that you are much older than displayed; this creates the game a little ‘more mature’, some may say the gals ‘grow up’ or whatever.. their boobs bounce more!  A neat feature of the game is the availability of player costumes.  Each character has a range of costumes that can be worn during battle.  They’re not just variations of the same costume with different colours, nope.  They’re well thought out costumes that can send a smooth catwalk model like Tina into an American styled domestic jeans girl.

The music and sound effects in the game are near the best I’ve heard for a fighting game  The music is nicely varied, from the cool Japanese rock to the wonderful tecno.  Forget the bull that it’s repetitive, obviously music repeats itself but you should be so involved in the fighting that you don’t care what’s on behind you.  This music is the business, in Japan people have been buying the doa2 soundtrack CD like free Playboy issues … they love it so much!  The sound effects are good too, if a little unnoticed.  The Japanese speech remains unchanged, which is brill, cuz I’d rather listen to a cute Japanese voice as Kasumi then someone with a posh British accent or whatever.  There are English subtitles for the majority of people who cannot understand Japanese, which is helpful. 

I don’t think that it’ fair to compare this game to Soul Calibur.  This is a all-fist-out combat game, whereas Soul Calibur is a weapons based combat game.  This game loses out in the solo player department, where you’ll be finishing the story mode with your favourite character is less than 10 minutes.  A mission mode like Soul Calibur’s would have been brilliant.  Where Dead or Alive 2 does shine through is with the multiplayer action.  This game is definitely best when played against some mates;  it is really FUN to play, and that’s what counts, right?

Farooq Asif  

Comments, suggestions or questions?



Brilliant characters, super looking battle environments, polished cut scenes, very near to Soul Calibur’s standards.
Sounds 9.0 The music fits the game well.  Varied tracks to suit the different locations; from the orchestral to the trance!  Sound effects are average. Oh yeh.. love the speech!
Gameplay 9.0 Simple to get into yet lots to master, a flawless counter system; this is fighting near it’s best. 
Lifespan 8.5

There’s lots of modes slapped in here, but one player lifespan is a little lacking.  The tag mode is brilliant if you’ve got some mates to play with.


"One of the best beat 'em ups for the Dreamcast that looks, sounds & plays amazing!"

By Andy

Oh yeah! Dead or Alive is back with a bang! After the amazing Dead or Alive for the Saturn and PlayStation, Temco needed to create a sequel! The first was amazing, and the second one is even better! It is the most graphically impressive fighter I have yet seen, and the most playable! I must disagree with Faz on the replay value of the game, however. I do agree that the Story mode does not have a lot to offer (a few more costumes for each character and a couple more stages to win might have been good!).  I have spent hours simply trying to beat my own records in Time Attack or Survival mode, or simply having a battle or two on Tag Team mode! I could play solo for a while! However, the fun really does start when you play with friends! You won’t be able to stop!

You know, I have had this game for a while now, yet every time I play on it, I STILL marvel at the graphics! Something new hits me every time I play (no pun intended)! And the stages are superb! Throwing someone through a stained-glass window or over the edge of a building is very satisfying! And the characters! Oh, the characters! They are by far the most detailed characters EVER! Clothes look like clothes! They act like clothes! They smell… Okay, they don’t smell like clothes (they can’t! It’s only a computer game! Just keep telling yourself that!), but the characters just look and sound amazing! You need this game! Any respectable Dreamcast owner must have this game!

Oh, and did I mention that the DC version has better graphics than the Japanese PlayStation 2 version? (partially due to no anti-aliasing on the PS2) Ha! Tecmo is da bomb!!

9/10 - Oh yes! Dead or Alive 2 is one of the best fighting games of all time! Just buy it; NOW!


>> Download some Dreamcast wallpaper

>> Download Dreamcast MP3s and screensavers

>> Read more Dreamcast game reviews





38 original screen captures by Faz

39.jpg (15649 bytes)

16.jpg (16873 bytes)

29.jpg (24296 bytes)

>>Check out the full set of 38 hi-resolution original screenshots!


>>Download some exclusive Dead or Alive 2 wallpapers!



Click to see the game for yourself:

Compare prices for this game and get the best deal!

Which next-gen console will you support most?
X Box
Game Cube
Playstation 2
I quit gaming!


Please visit our sponsors to help keep our site running



All copyrighted images and names are trademarks of their respective copyright holders.  All original work is copyrighted by Farooq Asif.   Unauthorised reproduction of any material from this site is strictly prohibited.    © 2001