Dead or Alive 2 Review

For Dreamcast

By Contributing Writer Jimmy Payne

Rating: Awesome
   I expected to be amazed by Dead or Alive 2's graphics, but I also 
expected to slowly get tired of the gameplay. Surprisingly, Dead or Alive 2 
keeps delivering fun week after week, and that's quite an accomplishment 
considering the fact that it doesn't have anything resembling Soul 
Calibur's mission mode.
   Dead or Alive 2's polygonal character models don't look like polygonal 
character models; they look like real people.  Besides the characters 
themselves, their clothes also look amazing.  I was skeptical when I read 
in previews of this game that the characters' clothes are impressive, but 
they really are. They move and even react to the environments realistically, 
which makes the game as a whole seem all the more real.  The characters' 
facial expressions are also excellent (even better than the ones in Soul 
Calibur).  Simply put, it's mind-boggling to think about just how detailed 
this game is.
   As great as the graphics are, Dead or Alive 2's greatest characteristic 
is its originality.  I initially dreaded the possibility that it would be 
just like most other fighting games, but it's actually a very fresh and 
unique experience.  For one thing, Tecmo gave the game original moves 
rather than simply copying Tekken like most fighting games these days.  
Unique camera angles at certain moments make even the simplest moves look 
pretty cool.
   Another thing that makes Dead or Alive 2 unique is the fact that there 
are no ring-outs.  This alone is a very nice variant on the standard 
fighting game formula, but Tecmo took it one step further by making it 
possible for characters to be knocked off one area and on to another.  I 
can imagine how the transitions between arenas could be somewhat awkward, 
but it's actually done very well in the form of mini cut-scenes.  Even in 
the arenas that you can't be knocked off of, you can still be thrown up 
against the walls, which looks even more brutal than it does in Power Stone.  
The actual designs of the arenas mix the graphical beauty of Soul Calibur 
with the terrain effects of Virtua Fighter 3tb.  
   The much-hyped tag feature of the PlayStation 2's Tekken Tag Tournament 
is available right now in Dead or Alive 2.  At any time, you can press a 
button and quickly switch control between the two characters that you 
picked before the fight.  During the brief period in the transition when 
both characters are on the screen at the same time, you can perform 
devastating combos.  
   Best of all, the character on the sidelines slowly regains health over 
time, which adds to the strategy of the game immensely.  You have to switch 
characters at just the right moments and try to keep both of them alive, 
which is a lot more strategic than partaking in an endless series of 
one-on-one battles. 
   Yet another positive aspect of Dead or Alive 2 is its cool story 
sequences.  Soul Calibur features one little conversation with the final 
boss, while Dead or Alive 2 has conversations at the beginning of all the 
fights.  This could have been a problem if the story sequences were similar 
in quality to Sonic Adventure, but they're not.  They serve their purpose 
of giving the game a little bit of character development and keeping it 
interesting at all times.
   The only big flaw in the entire game is the semi-unbalanced characters.  
Some of the bigger characters can completely dominate if they're used 
properly, giving the smaller characters no chance against their stronger 
attacks.  This could have been counter-balanced by changing the speed of 
some of the characters, but for some reason the big characters aren't 
significantly slower than the little ones.  
   I also encountered a glitch that causes computer-controlled fighters to 
perform the same move repeatedly until you lose.  This doesn't happen a lot 
(it has only happened to me about three times), but it's enough of an 
annoyance to make you worry that it could happen at any moment.
   Dead or Alive 2 is unique enough to stand above the crowd of fighting 
games on the market.  The incredible graphics may be what initially draws 
you to the game, but don't think for a minute that incredible graphics are 
all Dead or Alive 2 has to offer.

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