Dead or Alive Ultimate Xbox
Developed by Team Ninja
Release Date: Out Now
They thrilled us with great graphics and a great fighting system on the Xbox Launch almost three years ago and they disappointed us with a poor Beach Volleyball game almost two years ago. Thankfully though the Dead or Alive team are back again doing what they do best, fighting. The lamentable Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball aside the Dead or Alive series has been a big success for Tecmo and Dead or Alive Ultimate gives Xbox gamers the chance to experience the delights of the first and second game in the series.
With two games in the box, each on its own disk, you're not short of modes to play. Dead or Alive offers are Arcade, Time Attack, Survival, Kumite (you have a choice of fighting 30, 50 and 100 opponents individually with the aim being to defeat them as quickly as possible) and Training. Dead or Alive 2 offers, DOA 2 Story, Time Attack, Survival, Tag Battle, Team Battle, Versus and Sparring (essentially the practice/training mode) and Watch (where you watch two CPU controlled players battle it out). Most Dead or Alive fans would probably have been content with the games being bought to the Xbox but Tecmo have gone one step further and have added Xbox Live support for both games. DOA Online offers 1 on 1 and Tag-Team battles. Tournaments can be created and Survival and Kumite modes are also included. Tecmo have enabled a virtual queue system where the players (up to 8 in total with 2 playing and 6 watching) can watch the current fight taking place whilst they wait to fight the winner. As well as making this feel like an arcade experience it also allows you to check out the fighting style of your prospective opponents. Hearing gamers will enjoy being able to talk to each other but this is one feature that deaf gamers will miss out on. You can just set up fights for you and a friend though if you prefer a more traditional Xbox Live experience.
Although there are two games in this Dead or Alive compilation if truth be told most gamers will concentrate on Dead or Alive 2. It looks and plays so much better than the first game that the difference is quite amazing. Dead or Alive has 8 fighters on offer including favourites such as Kasumi, Ryu Hayabusa and Lei Fang. Dead or Alive 2 on the other hand has 15 fighters. In addition to the aforementioned favourites you also have Ein, Ayane and 3 unlockable fighters which is much more satisfying. The control feels much more fluid and responsive. I honestly found it difficult to go back to the first game after playing Dead or Alive 2. That said though gamers who played didn't own the first game will appreciate being able to play the game although it has to be said that apart from the online mode Tecmo haven't really done that much with the original game in the series whereas Dead or Alive 2 has been superbly enhanced.
Let's be honest here. Although Dead or Alive 3 was a great fighting game the thing that wowed most gamers was the look of the game. The graphics were stunning and it's debatable as to whether their quality has yet been surpassed in any console game. Dead or Alive and its sequel though were created for other consoles. Dead or Alive appeared on the PSone and SEGA Saturn whilst its sequel appeared on the Dreamcast and PlayStation 2 so obviously their graphical quality is going to be nowhere near as good as the third game on the Xbox. Thankfully though the games as they are in Dead or Alive Ultimate have been enhanced and whilst the original game still seems poor (and it has to be said very basic) by the graphical standards of the Xbox; the sequel definitely has that Dead or Alive 3 look about it. The environments the fights take place in (which are partially destructible) look superb and the character models are once again brilliant. The famous boob bouncing physics are once again in full swing, looking very realistic indeed. In fact it's difficult to find fault with the visuals in Dead or Alive 2.
Just like Dead or Alive 3 the games are both deaf gamer friendly. The speech in Dead or Alive 2 is actually Japanese so all of this receives English subtitles. This basically means you'll be able to fully enjoy the movies in the game's story mode. For the most part though there is little in the way of speech in the games (particularly Dead or Alive) so you'll have no trouble enjoying the game. Of course during an Xbox Live game communications are made verbally which means deaf gamers will be at a disadvantage and you have to wonder why text communication support (and support for a keyboard) has not yet been added to the Xbox Live service. Let's hope that in the future that full communication support for deaf gamers is added to the Xbox Live service and the games that use it.
Dead or Alive Ultimate is a must for fans of fighting games as it not only allows them to play enhanced versions of the first two games in the series but also gives them the opportunity to take the Dead or Alive experience online. Whilst it's great to have the two Dead or Alive games bought to the Xbox I think most gamers will only be concerned with playing Dead or Alive 2 because it's so much better than the original game in just about every department. The lack of improvement to Dead or Alive is by no means a disappointment though and the package as a whole will be a must have for fans of the fighting game genre.
Overall Game Rating: 8.5/10
Dead or Alive Ultimate is a great compilation for fans of the fighting genre. The enhancements to Dead or Alive 2 are superb and it looks and plays great. Dead or Alive still looks like a very old game though. That said fans of the series will appreciate the Xbox Live features in both games.
Deaf Gamers Classification:
(Click the letter or here for details)
What little speech is in the game is subtitled. You won't be able to communicate in Xbox Live modes however as it's voice communications only.