Dead or Alive has risen to be one of the most popular fighting games, overcoming giants like Viruta Fighter, Tekken, Soul Calibur and others. The Dead or Alive series is over-the-top in almost every way, from outlandish bone-crushing moves, creative multi-tiered arenas, vivid scenery and costumes, and gorgeous women with exaggerated “breast physics”. The DOA babes are probably one of the reasons the series has reached such popularity.
The newest incarnation of Dead or Alive lives solely on the Xbox 360, whose powerful hardware provide some of the best visuals on the console to date. Team Ninja has packed more features and goodies into this release to keep gamers satisfied:
Advanced countering system bring the fastest fighting action ever made for a home console
Experience the DOA online world: from clans, play simultaneously in large groups, play in tournaments and chill out in the interactive DOA4 lobbies
New characters include Kokora, La Mariposa and Eliot, plus the return of DOA3 favorites, Christie and Brad Wong
Master level game design and unbelievable realistic graphics from the legendary development group, Team Ninja
New revealing secrets from the dramatic and competitive world of DOA
Xbox Live system requirements: Paid subscription required for online multiplayer, co-op and some downloads. Some Xbox Live services require additional hardware (headset and camera) and fees.
The heart of every match is a contest between 2 fighters trying to knock each other out with various kicks, punches and combinations. Experienced players can block, counter, and even reverse an enemy’s attacks. The button-mashers are easily found and punished, as an easy counter system is implemented, although it takes timing to know when to execute them. There are nearly two-dozen different fighters available (some are hidden at first) and share similar basic moves.
The arenas stand out as much as the over-the-top characters. Interactive multi-level environments in DOA2, and kept building on this concept. Kick your opponents through windows, down stairs, and even holes in bridges. Also launch them over railings or into traffic, and arena animals like cheetas and dinosaurs.
There are more unlockables than your grandmother’s liquor cabinet!
Picture of controller
Left Bumper: Tag Change (tag battle only)
Right Bumper: Appeal
Y button: punch
X button: Free (hold and guard)
A button: throw
B button: kick
D-pad – controlling characters
Image of character movements scan
Guarding, strikes, throws, evade throws, holds, down attacks, getting up, tag change, tag combos, tag throws, bounce combo, attack opponents while down, jumping over obstacles
Starting the game
Story Mode: Follow your chosen character and aim to complete their story. Your character must battle in a tournament against the computer and beat all the enemies to clear the game and reach the ending story.
Get your bearings by diving into the story mode. Pick a fighter and clock your way through computer-controlled opponents to unlock cutscenes and finally a “movie”. These final movies reveal some of the back-story of the character and can be viewed at any time once unlocked. The computer opponents are easy to beat, even for a button-masher, although the final battle is usually a bit tougher. The endings tend to be amusing. One of the easy ways to unlock a bunch of costumes for your characters to impress your friends in multiplayer. At least you’ll LOOK like you’re an experienced player.
Time Attack Mode: Battle against the computer to clear the game with the best time. A single match consists of eight fights and a tag match five fights. A results screen is displayed when the game is cleared.
Versus Mode: You choose your opponent and the stage in this mode. You can fight against other players or the computer.
Survival Mode: Fight against computer opponents until your health runs out. After each round, your health recovers by a set amount. You receive points depending on your clear time and number of items obtained. Aim for the highest score before the game is over.
Most of the other modes are pretty standard, too, but they're executed very well. Survival mode is one of the best, because the game keeps throwing fighters at you so quickly. The moment you defeat one, the next jumps right into the arena and presses the attack, so you're constantly fighting against a never-ending wave of random foes. The game offers some unlockable achievements based on how many fighters you're able to beat in a row, so you might well find yourself coming back to survival mode the most often among the single-player modes. Time attack mode is also worth playing for similar reasons, and team battle mode is there if you want to try playing with and against different combinations of characters. There's also a versus mode for quickly setting up custom matches against a friend or the computer, and a sparring mode for practicing as all the various fighters.
Can’t keep continuing if you lose a battle,.
Team Battle Mode: Form a tag team of up to seven characters and fight against other teams. You can fight against other players or the computer.
Sparring Mode: You can set the computer’s behavior patterns and practive your moves in this training mode
Sparring mode does a good job of teaching you everyone's moves, though it could have done more to introduce you to some of the complexities of DOA4's gameplay. While anyone can pull off plenty of fancy-looking strings of attacks by mashing the punch and kick buttons, with experience you pick up on a lot of nuances, like the right times to use the four types of reversals, how to recover from critical hits and getting knocked down, the damage potential of the two types of counterblows, various arena-specific tactics, and much more. Dead or Alive may not have always enjoyed the good reputation of longer-running 3D fighting series like Virtua Fighter and Tekken, but today it's at least as sophisticated.
Watch Mode: Watch a computer vs. computer battle. The computer opponents continue to fight it out until you exit the mode.
User Mode: View detailed data on your performance such as win ration and number of battles won.
Battle Viewer: Playback saved replays.
Rankings: View rankings from Time Attack mode and Survival mode
DOA Online: Connect to Xbox Live and take part in network battles against players from across the globe! The following six modes are available in DOA online battles, all of which support 2-16 players (except for Survival, which supports 3-16 players):
Winner Stays : Two players fight at a time. The winning player becomes champion and stays on for the next fight.
Tournament: Fight in t tournament. The winning player is awarded bonus points based on the number of opponents they have defeaterd.
Team Battle: Players split into two teams and fight a team battle. Defeat all the players in the opposing team to win the battle.
Survival: The champion takes on all the other players and aims to defeat the most opponents. Collecting items increases health..
Loser Stays: The opposite of the Knockout Tournament, in this mode the losing player stays for the next fight.
Kumite: Regardless of whether they win or lose the fight, the champion stays to fight the next opponent.
You can choose a DOA Avatar and customize head and body parts to make your own unique character.
Lobby is where the characters participating in the session gather. If you create and host a session, you can use your own Lobby. You can change the furniture in your Lobby in the Customize mode. You can take part in voice or text-based chat using a keyboard while in the Lobby. Press the X button to display an on-screen keyboard and enter text. You can also use a conventional USB keyboard.
Zack’s shop sells parts for your Avatar, furniture for your Lobby and costumes for your character. To purchase these items you will need Zack (Z).
Spend currency (in the amount of points earned from winning fights) to customize your lobby and avatar. Get furniture and enhancements. Can just hang out and chat with other people, or get down to business and fight. Every lobby has a TV set that you can watch the fight without actually joining.
Little lag… but when it’s there it interrupts gameplay. Either it’s a great connection or unplayable. Not anyone’s fault but the player with the bad connection.
Not like these guys need an excuse to get up and fight each other, here is a storyline that’s supposed to make sense of it all.
Soon after the death of its founder, Fame Douglas, the ultranational organization DOATEC descended into a state of corrupt decay. However, it has now received a beautiful successor to its leadership: Helena, the child that Fame Douglas left behind. After losing both her father and her beloved mother to the darkness of consiprace, Helena has chosen to place herself in the middle of the maelstrom in order to put an end to the chain of tragedy once and for all. Meanwhile, the man who holds the true power of DOATEC, Prof. Victor Donovan, has once again locked himself in the Bio Lab Core deep within the dan, dark bowels of the gigantic Tritower as he continues to covet his dream of creating the perfect human weapon. Its code name is Alpha-152 , and it is the result of the ultimate evolution of hyper-cloning technology, birthed from a DNA sample of the Mugen Tenshin Ninja Kasumi. On the other side of the world, the Mugen Tenshin Clan has gathered, a family of Ninjas that have suffered innumerable pain at the hads of DOATEC. The young leader of the clan, Hayate, his heart burning with the desire for revenge, has brough together the most powerful group on Ninjas known to man and given them one simple order:
“DOATEC must be destroyed!”
Now, as the 4th Dead or Alive Martial Arts tournament is in progress, the first feal rumblings of movement from Alpha-152 can be felt coursing through the magnificence of the Tritower complex.
It is at this moment that these two great opposing powers, intertwined by fate, are destined to collide in a cataclysmic inferno of fire and smoke. This is the final battle, the one that will settle everything… At least until the next sequel.
Achievements and Unlockables:
45 archivements in all. There’s even achievements in being a loser!
Unlock Leon: 10 points.
Unlock Gen Fu: 10 points.
Unlock Ein: 10 points.
Unlock Helena: 20 points.
Unlock Spartan-458: 20 points.
Unlock Tengu: 20 points.
Get an Online Bronze Star: Obtained by beating a player with a win streak of 10-14 games. 10 points.
Get an Online Silver Star: Obtained by beating a player with a win streak between 15-19 games. 20 points.
Get an Online Gold Star: Obtained by beating a player with a win streak of 20 or more. 30 points.
Five Online Losses In A Row : Zero Points
Ten Online Losses In A Row: Zero Points
20 Online Losses In A Row: Zero Points
Get an Online Grade of D: Zero Points
Get an Online Grade of E: Zero Points
Get an Online Grade of F: Zero Points
Complete Story Mode with Zack.
Complete Story Mode with Hitomi.
Complete Story Mode with Eliot.
Complete Story Mode with all characters (not including the characters that can't be selected in Story Mode, obviously.)
Complete Story Mode with Helena
Complete Time Attack mode with all characters, including all of the above unlockable characters. You can set the number of rounds per match to one and still unlock Tengu, although you won't get any costumes for playing Time Attack in this manner.
'Except for the threat to my dignity.'
You can unlock costumes for characters by repeatedly playing through either Story Mode or Time Attack with that character. You can play through Story Mode on any difficulty to earn new costumes, but if you play through Time Attack, you have to play on the default settings in order to unlock new outfits. Of course, some characters (Ein, Gen Fu, Leon, Tengu, and Nicole) can't be played in Story Mode; for their costumes, you'll have to play through in Time Attack mode. You can also buy some of these costumes online if you wish.
The following table will let you know how many costumes are unlockable for each character. The number on the right includes the two costumes that are initially usable, so if Bayman has three costumes listed, that means that he only has one unlockable costume. Thus, Tengu isn't on this list; he only has the two costumes he begins the game with.
7 (These are just additional colors for the armor; not full-blown new costumes)
In addition to different costumes, some characters have different hairstyles, which you can choose while selecting a costume. After selecting a character, you'll be able to select the costume; pressing different buttons (either Y, A, X, or Start) to select a costume will cause various styling options to appear. Not every character has styling options, however.
CharacterChanges KasumiPressing one of the different buttons will switch her hair between long, braids, and two styles of ponytail. La MariposaPressing the Y button while selecting a costume will result in a maskless costume. Pressing Y while selecting costume four (which is already maskless) will result in a mask being added. LeifangPressing X or Y will usually result in long hair, while pressing A or Start will result in braids, although these options are reversed for her sixth and seventh costumes. On many of the earlier costumes, including the two initially usable ones, pressing Y will result in glasses being added. You can hold down the trigger or bumper buttons before hitting Y to change the color of the frames. HitomiOn Hitomi's eighth costume, pressing A or Start will result in brown hair; pressing X or Y will result in blond hair.
Each character has their own system voice, which you can use to replace the default system voice in matches from the options menu. To unlock the additional system voices, you need to use them in sparring mode and complete all of their Exercise modes, which will take you through their entire movelist.
There are three hidden stages in DOA4.
Complete Story Mode once with any character.
Unlock all characters, unlock all system voices. (The Tatami is always available for sparring, even at the beginning of the game.)
Show picture and bio of each character.
Put complete moves in another article
Basic moves for each character:
F tap forward
B tap away from your opponent
U tap up
D tap down
F Tap the Free button (X by default)
P Punch button (Y by default)
K Kick button (B by default)
There are also diagonal taps.
Kasumi: She doesn’t rely on brute strength but has a wide away of quick strikes and teleportation moves to catch your enemy off guard.
Ryu Hayabusa: Super Ninja. Some of his moves are more difficult but not that complicated to pull off an impressive-looking move. Many players like him, so everyone is probably familiar with his moves.
Kokoro: A new addition to DOA. Her style is hesitation, throw the enemy off-balance. She is rather difficult to control and her basic moves won’t win any competitions by themselves.
Hitomi: Quick strike karate blows. Very fast and not very damaging.
Brad Wong: The bane of my existence. He is the Drunken Master, and his attacks are very hard to predict. He moves in a way that may look non-threatening until you’re lying on the floor.
Eliot: Another quick character. Combos can deal a good amoung of damage.
Bass: One huge mofo and is the father of Tina. He is an old-school wrestler and his size and strength really put the “smack-down” (pun intended) on opponents.
Zack: He is a DJ / explorer / climber and is an unusual part of the DOA mix. He has mid-powerful combos and is more powerful with his legs. He is a little slower getting his attacks going.
Jann Lee: One of the best characters to play for the beginner. His attacks are fast, he deals a lot of damage, and his combos are easy to access. The button-mashers’ best friend.
Leifang: More technical style of play. Not very powerful, but is able to throw opponents off balance by intercepting and shoving opponents.
Tina: She is a wrestler, and it shows. Her moves include everything you’ve seen on WWF and likes to throw things. Many of her moves include high and medium puches, which are easily countered by an intermediate player.
La Mariposa: Translated into “The Butterfly”… does she sting like a bee? She is a luchadora that wears a mask like all the other Mexican Wrestlers. She uses more strikes than traditional wrestling moves. She has powerful legs and can use the environment to her advantage (if she is against a wall she can use some special moves to use the wall). She has some special moves that can only be used in the roped arena.
Bayman: An assassin and master of hand-to-hand fighting. He is brutal but has mid-level speed and has deadly combinations.
Christie: One of the fastest characters in the game. She has lots of rapid combos and can string small attacks together for ten-hit combos. Easy button-masher.
Ayane: Devastating speed and clever fake-out animations. Strikes a lot and tries to confuse enemies. She can’t teleport like other ninjas, but makes up for it with added speed.
Hayate: Adequate power, good speed and devious tricks. One of the hardest to learn He is quick, like other ninja characters and incorporates flips.
Helena: Difficult to unlock, requiring you to beat story mode with all 16 of the original characters. Quick striker, standard punch is followed by an arm flourish
Ein: Same person as Hayate. Lost memory in DOA2.
Gen Fu: Gen Fu is Eliot’s master, has similar skillsets.
Leon: Bruising punches and combo throws. Very straightforward with little finesse.
Spartan 458 (Nicole/Master-Chief) not as versatile as the other characters. Most of her attacks involve punches. In stark contrast to all the other fighters is Spartan-458, a not-so-hidden character who's basically Halo's Master Chief but with a woman's voice and no guns, and who debatably deserves her own paragraph just because she's got something to do with Halo. She's a neat bonus for Halo fans, who've never seen the Master Chief's signature armor looking quite this rugged or realistic. She's even got her own nicely detailed arena to fight in, modeled after the opening level of Halo 2 and complete with plenty of vehicles you can't drive but can knock unsuspecting victims into. Too bad this statuesque lady is relatively underdeveloped as a fighter, since she just doesn't have as many moves to work with as most characters. One of her grabs, which involves shoving a sticky plasma grenade into the foe's gut, looks amazing. But most of her other attacks are lifted from the game's bigger characters, and she doesn't move or take hits differently than the other fighters despite all that armor. Still, the more fighters, the merrier, as long as there's a balanced lineup in the end. DOA4 seems to accomplish that balance surprisingly well. Though the quicker characters are easier to learn, everybody seems highly viable in the right hands. To put it another way, when playing online through the course of several hundred matches against random live opponents, we were pleased to routinely encounter just about every fighter in the roster, rather than the same several characters over and over. See? We didn't give the whole paragraph to Spartan-458.
Tengu: once the end boss of Dead or Alive, but not so cool in DOA4. Unlocked I fyou beat the game in every character in Time Attack mode.
Alphga-152 : isn’t a playable character, but is the final boss in nearly every story mode. Need to learn to counter often, and she only has a few combos.
The graphics are absolutely amazing and is easily the best-looking Xbox 360 title right now. It’s hard to believe everything is rendered in real time, as it looks like a CG-animated movie on the level of Final Fantasy, the Animatrix,. Etc..
The scenery actually takes part in strategy, and is not just something to look at. Knock people over tables, carts, cars, walls, etc. The atmospheric effects such as light blooming, water reflections, blurring…etc all make everything look photorealistic. Only the velvety-perfect characters and over-the-top moves provide clues that these are not images from reality.
The game has a silky-smooth look to it
At first glance, Dead or Alive 4 might seem like more of the same...with better graphics. The visuals comprise relatively similar looking characters heightened in detail with backgrounds that will make you look twice. But graphics don't a fighting game make. The Dead Or Alive series always has been criticized for its simplistic counter system and lack of depth. Dead Or Alive Ultimate was adept at taking the game online, but didn't provide the long-term fighting experience for which gamers were hungry. Dead or Alive 4 addresses every issue thrown at the previous iterations in the series with varying degrees of success, tackling everything from the counter system to cancels, the ground game, blocks, and interactions with the environment.
But once you get past the button-mashing phase and are finished enjoying the novelty of having a new Xbox 360 game, you'll find the game has changed pretty significantly. The counter system is less forgiving and will definitely challenge fans of the series, especially those fond of DOA3. This affects every other area of the game. The harder characters to master are even more powerful now, and there is more of a ground game, in addition to careful use of the backgrounds. And the online game is definitely improved. The question, however, remains unanswered -- will you like the changes?
Fast load times, 4 seconds. Smooth character animations and fast motion. Blur effects.
Characters are a mixed bag. They look good and are detailed. Silky hair. Easy to become infatuated with female characters (and some men if you’re into that sort of thing). Awesome motion-captured animation. No clipping or melding when they grapple each other, and the animations are amazing. Increased musculature in the models… can see more expression in the faces. Women still look like porcelain dolls and guys like thugs. Character design is an amplification of previous generation.
Background environements are terrific and realistic. Dynamic set of environments, destrictible objects, many breakaway sections, moving backgrounds, and animated creatures and vehicles. Photorealistic. Up-close focus and distance blurring. Water moves with impressive motion Light blooming effects in Vegas.. see reflections in water, puddles on street. Lots of details in environments. Knock enemies over rocks or into cars.
Previously just hurl combos at enemies, master a generous counter system. Some characters were better at slower moves, while others required quick combos. DOA4 adds move count to each character while chinging some moves around, which may annoy fans of the series. Charge, cancel, etc
Counter system will make or break your love of the game. Window of opportunity for counters availability of counter is now halved… from 22 frames available to counter to 12 or less. Greater precision is needed to make a counter, making them harder to pull of. Counters don’t do as much damage. Need to learn the counters. Fights are more subtler rather than getting thru the game by mashing buttons.
Matches last longer because damage isn’t as great.Knocking an enemy off a cliff won’t kill them. Health meter differentiates between character and environmental damage. If already damaged and take environmental damage you will still have some health left.
Game success largely based on ability to counter. If a counter is used against you, you may not use an instant get-up attack like DOA3 allowed. This differentiates those with actual skill over the button-masher.
More diversity in characters and moves. Pros and cons to each character…
Lots of different modes… not just a straight fighting game anymore… lots of stuff to do… Unlockables once you reach certain achievements
45 available achievements spread across all modes. Unlock one by beating story mode, one for playing the game for five hours, another for 10 hours, another for beating timed mode by certain time, etc. Others are unlocked by playing online, like playing 50 matches unbeaten, or surviving 100 matches unbeaten online. You can also earn an achievement of losing 5 times in a row.
Online fighting, lag, features, etc..
DOA4 incorporates a lot of online play features into Xbox Live, and one of the main features of the game. There are a few new characters, many new creative arenas.
Practice using the Sparring feature
Practice in a game this complicated to control is a necessity. Those new to DOA, or even to the fighting genre can be easily overwhelmed by the computer or even an amateur player. The only way to learn on your own was to keep losing or become a game nerd and scour for hints from magazines.
Finally a practice, or “sparring” feature has been implemented that not only allows you to practice your moves on a dummy, but allows that dummy to react. The focus here is to teach you, not humiliate you (that’s what DOA Online is for).
Set the computer up to react in different ways to your attacks:
Com 1st action – sets the action the computer will perform, and will repeat that action until you tell it to do something else
Com 2nd action – what the computer should do immediately after you attack, useful for sparring or holding.
Counter – Every blow you land will result in a counter. You can learn how to react to these counters.
Exercise – run thru the gamut of their moves, and prompts you how to complete them.
Command List – popup list of all combos and moves your character has.
Log Display – what buttons you’re pressing in real time.
Reset Position – Reset back to original positions.
Blocking is much more important when playing online. Most of the AI opponents attack like a button-masher: aggressively closing on you, while implementing little defense. Blocking requires you to learn (with split-second precision) what your opponent is about to do.
Takes a lot of skil to learn, and requires spli-second recognition of enemy moves. You must anticipate the move, then move your d-pad in a corresponding direction while pressing the X button. If done correctly, you’ll immediately avoid an attack and deal out some severe pain to your opponent.
Great audio highlights the presentation, though it too is very similar to previous games in the series. All of the fighters, with the exception of Spartan-458, speak Japanese with English subtitles. It seems as though they should have spoken in their native languages since they hail from all around the world, but the Japanese voice actors fit their parts well. The game's enthusiastic female announcer also does a good job, but in a nice touch, you can replace her with just about any of the game's fighters after you unlock their "system voice" in the sparring mode. More importantly, the effects for punches, kicks, snaps, and slams are all spot-on in DOA4, sounding plenty painful especially when some sort of wall or railing is involved in the exchange. The game also makes surprisingly good use of surround sound, which doesn't have much impact on gameplay but makes a lot of the arenas seem that much more real, what with believable ambient effects happening all around. To top it all off, there's a fittingly upbeat soundtrack to go with the action, featuring memorable themes for some of the characters. And yes, for better or worse, Dead or Alive fans may look forward to more use of Aerosmith in the game's introductory cutscene.
If you like fighting games, then you’ll have nothing but love for DOA4. It has terrific action addictive online play, so many unlockables that you may not get them all. This is the game all future fighting games will be compared to, period. One of the best fighting games delivers its best installment.
Originality 4 While DOA4 builds on the advances of DOA3 and DOA Ultimate, it is only in competition with itself. The varied characters add balance, the multi-tiered arenas are creative, and
Longevity 5 Online play will keep gamers glued to this game for years. New unlockable characters can be explored.
Innovation 5 The lobby idea isn’t new, but meshes gaming culture with online play. New sparring feature allows players to learn the game without mashing buttons.
Graphics 5 Currently the best demonstration of the Xbox 360’s power
Fun factor 5 Extremely challenging, especially against online opponents. There are many unlockable characters with new moves to explore.
5 out of 5
Noteworthy features of the backgrounds… cheetah, etc…