Dead or Alive 2

STORYA great leader was killed at the end of the 20th century. His name was Fame Douglas, and he was renowned as the sponsor of the legendary Dead or Alive World Combat Championship. Since his death, and in the absence of his charisma and leadership, the world has become chaotic. Yet something appears to be transpiring. Amid this chaos, it is announced that the "Dead or Alive Championship 2" will be held. However, Douglas's passing has taken with it the purpose and significance of the tournament. Even worse, the promoter of "Dead or Alive Championship 2", who is fond of conflicts and jealous of the string, is responsible for Douglas's death. The new promoter is more than a corrupt mastermind, but a man of pure evil. His involvement in the tournament has brought a sense of terror to the world, resulting in the infamous Tengu disaster that occurred at the end of the 20th century. The climax of the disaster is about to begin with a roaring battle.

Dead or Alive 2 Character Selection Screen

Dead or Alive 2 was originally released on October 19th, 1999 in Japan arcades, running on Sega's NAOMI arcade system. The arcade version features 12 playable characters, Story Mode and Time Attack. Survival Mode and Tag Battle could also be unlocked with a code via the service menu. An update to the arcade version entitled DOA2: Millennium was later released in January 2000, making Survival and Tag mode available from the start and adding new school uniforms for Kasumi and Ayane. This would be the last arcade installment of DOA until the release of DOA5: Ultimate, thirteen years later.

Tecmo and Team Ninja's second installment to DOA brings forward an innovative step in the 3D fighting genre (one that would later become one of the defining aspects of the series) - "Multi-tiered" stages. Arguably the main draw of DOA2 is the fact that the fighters have the ability to knock each other off of high areas / platforms, or slam their opponent straight through a guardrail or wall, only to continue fighting on a lower level. Although it's completely unrealistic to survive such a fall and continue fighting like nothing happened, the concept of multi-tiered stages offers some uniquely flashy gameplay... and something the fighting genre hasn't really seen thus far. From smooth character models to impressively detailed backgrounds, DOA2's polished graphics engine also provides plenty of next-gen eye candy. And yes, the overly-exaggerated "bouncy boobs" effect has returned from the first game. One can't say it's not entertaining, at times.

Tina Armstrong with a juggle and wall hit.

Team Ninja fleshed out DOA's character designs visually and evolved their original movesets quite a lot from the original game. DOA2 also adds Story Mode into the mix, which can be summed up as a handful of short (and sometimes awkward) cutscenes. While the DOA cast is certainly a "shiny" group of people, their personalities still leave a lot to be desired. To put it bluntly, the girls of DOA seem to be more interested in showing off their boobs than fighting. (Was this game designed by men with one-tracked minds)? All of the fighters of DOA have fairly decent fighting styles, but their overall designs, movelists and fighting styles pale in comparison to the likes of other 3D fighters, in my opinion. Tekken Tag Tournament's characters, for example, offer a lot more diversity and authenticity as fighters. Some of the featured martial arts styles of DOA2 aren't represented as well as they could be (and many fan-favorite martial arts are sorely missing).

gameplay in general is respectively solid. The in-game action also flows noticeably smoothly (possibly even a little too smoothly), offering a unique visual experience as a 3D fighting game. Returning from DOA1, the famed Counter System has returned. Even a novice player can easily pull off counter "throws" with ease... and on that note, I'd say the counter system is a bit overly easy. There's a high counter and a low counter, and "9 times out of 10" if you attempt a counter, you'll likely succeed if you have even the most basic level of reflexes. Indeed, this gimmick hurts DOA2 in high level play, making battles pretty repetitive. 

Behind you Ayane! ...Kasumi is creepin' on ya.

I'd even go as far as saying DOA2 teaches some poor fighting game fundamentals, simply because counters in other 3D (and 2D) fighting games will suddenly seem "way too difficult" for players used to DOA mechanics. Counters do look pretty cool however, especially since each character has his or her own unique hard-hitting throw techniques. There are also some cool combo possibilities in DOA2, but when counters can be used at any time and so frequently, the actual gameplay becomes a bit monotonous and overly dependant on countering.

Gen-Fu is not having a great day.

In the Dreamcast version of DOA2 (released Feb. 29th, 2000), players can fight 1-on-1 via Story Mode or try out the entertaining Tag Battle Mode which allows for 2-on-2 tag team fighting (enabling some ultra cool tag team throws). The Dreamcast version also introduces Team Battle, Sparring, and also features a surprisingly addicting Survival Mode. About a month later, DOA2 was released on March 30th, 2000 as a launch title for PlayStation 2 in Japan. The Japanese PS2 version adds 3 new stages (Crimson, Koku An and Prairie) along with some new unlockable costumes. Unfortunately, the PS2 version was inferior to the Dreamcast version due to lower resolution, more aliasing, and bugs / freezing issues within Versus mode. DOA2 was eventually succeeded by the sequel, DOA2: Hardcore.









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Page Updated: April 28th, 2024
Developer(s): Team Ninja
Publisher(s): Tecmo
Designer(s): Tomonobu Itagaki
Platform(s): Arcade, Dreamcast, PS2  (As DOA2 - Hardcore)
Release Date(s): Oct. 19th, 1999           Arcade
January 2000               Arcade - DOA2: Millennium update
Feb. 29th, 2000        
Mar. 30th, 2000            PS2
July 14th, 2000            Dreamcast
Sept. 28th, 2000 
Characters Ein, Leon, Kasumi, Ayane, Lei Fang, Tina Armstrong, Bass Armstrong, Zack, Hayabusa, Helena, Gen Fu, Jann Lee, Tengu

Featured Video:

Related Games: Dead or Alive 2: Hardcore, Dead or Alive, Dead or Alive 3, Dead or Alive 4, Dead or Alive 5, Dead or Alive 5: Ultimate, Dead or Alive: Dimensions, Dead or Alive 6, Last Bronx, Virtua Fighter 3, Soul Calibur, Soul Calibur 2, Tekken Tag Tournament, Tekken 4

Gameplay Engine  8.0 / 10
Story / Theme  6.0 / 10
Overall Graphics  9.5 / 10
Animation  9.5 / 10
Music / Sound Effects  7.0 / 10
Innovation  8.0 / 10
Art Direction  7.0 / 10
Customization  7.0 / 10
Options / Extras  6.5 / 10
Intro / Presentation  8.0 / 10
Replayability / Fun  8.0 / 10
"Ouch" Factor  9.0 / 10
Characters  7.0 / 10

 8.3 / 10

 Review based on Dreamcast version    


Final Words:

I played the original DOA1 at arcades for only a short while, but I greatly and unexpectedly fell in love with the Dreamcast version of DOA2. (I originally rented the game and soon decided I needed to add it to my Dreamcast fighting game collection!)   DOA2's Survival mode was really fun, and those tag-team throws never seemed to get old.

While Dead or Alive 2 wasn't the most technically sound fighting game out there in 1999-2000, it was definitely a unique and an entertaining next-gen 3D fighter for its time. The counter and combo system offered an intuitive system that any 3D fighting game player can easily get into. The cool stage designs in particular was one of the most defining aspects of the game, in my eyes.

Overlooking some of the unrefined gameplay quirks, DOA2's animation quality was top stuff for the time, especially the collision animations that bring the ouch factor. The variety of cool tag-team throws are also quite satisfying to discover, which vary depending on your team. I remember trying to get some of my TEKKEN and SoulCalibur friends into DOA2 on the Dreamcast - and we had fun playing it for a while (although our local arcade didn't have the game).

While DOA2 has its strengths, the small character roster and overall "weird" artistic vibe of the game lead to my eventual boredom with the title. If the dev-team put more emphasis on authentic martial arts and likeable character designs (and less emphasis on boob jiggle physics), DOA2 might've retained my interest for longer period of time. At the end of the day, DOA2 was still a fun and accessible 3D fighter for its time - and probably one of the best installments of the series.
~TFG Webmaster | @Fighters_Gen

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