Dead or Alive (video game)

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Dead or Alive
DOA flyer.jpg
European arcade flyer
Developer(s) Team Ninja
Publisher(s) Tecmo
Director(s) Tomonobu Itagaki
Katsunori Ehara
Takeshi Kawaguchi
Producer(s) Tomonobu Itagaki
Yujin Rikimaru
Yutaka Koga
Designer(s) Motohiro Shiga
Artist(s) Hideyuki Kato
Shinichiro Komori
Yasushi Nakakura
Writer(s) "ASAMIN"
Composer(s) Makoto Hosoi
Series Dead or Alive
Platform(s) Arcade, Sega Saturn, PlayStation
Release date(s) Arcade
Sega Saturn
  • JP October 9, 1997
  • JP March 12, 1998
  • NA March 31, 1998
  • EU July 1, 1998
PlayStation Network
  • JP December 10, 2008
Genre(s) Fighting game
Mode(s) Up to 2 players simultaneously
Cabinet Upright
Arcade system Sega Model 2
Display Raster, 496 x 384 pixels (Horizontal), 8192 colors

Dead or Alive (Japanese: デッドオアアライブ Hepburn: Deddo Oa Araibu?) is a 1996 fighting game by Tecmo and the first entry in Team Ninja's long-running Dead or Alive series. It was released first in arcades, followed by home ports for Sega Saturn (Japan only) and Sony PlayStation (all regions) in 1998.


The gameplay of Dead or Alive was unique at the time of its debut because it featured different choices in gameplay than other 3D fighting games (at least at the time).

Its most defining features were its speed and countering system. Dead or Alive put an emphasis on speed, and relied more on simplistic commands and reaction time. Furthermore, its countering system was the first in the fighting genre to utilize different commands that corresponded to each type of attack. There are two kinds of holds, an Offensive Hold (OH) and a Defensive Hold (DH). The latter are executed by holding back or forward on the directional pad along with the guard input to either force away or counter-damage an opponent.

The game also introduced an environmental system of the "Danger Zones" that surround the outer edges of the fighting arena (depending on the options, it can also completely consume it) and can send a character in the air so the opposing player can execute a juggling air combo. However, this can be avoided with a Ukemi (defensive roll).



The game's playable characters are Ayane (PlayStation version only, Kasumi's half-sister), Bass Armstrong (PlayStation version only, Tina's father), Bayman, Gen Fu, Jann Lee, Kasumi, Leifang, Raidou (boss character, unlockable, Ayane's father), Ryu Hayabusa, Tina Armstrong, and Zack.


According to Tomonobu Itagaki, he was dissatisfied with the way modern fighting games were presented at the time, he missed the old arcade style of play and had another vision for the fighting game genre.[citation needed] Having worked for Tecmo for a long time, Itagaki was eventually given the opportunity to develop a fighting game.[citation needed] The game, the first Dead or Alive, was released in 1996 as an arcade game for the Japanese market. It had been a success in Japan, but not in the West.[citation needed]

The original game, which ran on the Sega Model 2 arcade board, had polygonal modeled backgrounds. The Sega Saturn conversion uses bitmaps and parallax scrolling in the same fashion as the Saturn version of Virtua Fighter 2.


The original version of Dead or Alive was released in arcades in 1996, utilizing Sega's Model 2 arcade board[1] (it was also the first time Sega licensed their hardware to a third-party company; in this case, Tecmo). It was later ported to the Sega Saturn in Japan on October 9, 1997. The game was never released for the North American nor European Sega Saturn consoles. It was released in the United States and Europe for the Xbox on October 26, 2004, and February 18, 2005, as part of Dead or Alive Ultimate.

On March 12, 1998, Tecmo released Dead or Alive for the PlayStation in Japan. This version included two new characters (Bass and Ayane), a different graphics engine, a slightly revamped fighting engine and new background music (BGM). The PlayStation version was released in North America on March 31, 1998, and later in Europe on July 1, 1998.

Tecmo also released Dead or Alive++ for the arcades in Japan. This version was based on the PlayStation version with an even slight updated gameplay that later expanded for the sequel, Dead or Alive 2.


Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings 84% (PlayStation)[2]
83.92% (Saturn)[3]
Metacritic 84/100 (PlayStation)[4]
Review scores
Publication Score
AllGame 4/5 stars (PlayStation)[5]
GameSpot 7.3/10 (PlayStation)[7]
6.8/10 (Saturn)[8]
IGN 8.5/10 (PlayStation)[6]

Dead or Alive was met with a positive reception. In 2011, Complex ranked it as the seventh best fighting game of all time.[9]


In 2004, Tecmo released Dead or Alive Ultimate, a revamped version of the Sega Saturn version on the Xbox along with an updated version of Dead or Alive 2 in the same package. It was basically the original game ported to the Xbox, making graphics smoother, sound from stereo to surround, and adding Xbox Live online gaming. This game along with Dead or Alive 2, Ultimate became the second fighting game with online play.


  1. ^ "The History of Dead or Alive". IGN. 2004-08-02. Retrieved 2007-10-08. 
  2. ^ "Dead or Alive for PlayStation". GameRankings. 1998-03-31. Retrieved 2013-12-22. 
  3. ^ "Dead or Alive for Saturn". GameRankings. 1997-09-10. Retrieved 2013-12-22. 
  4. ^ "Dead or Alive for PlayStation Reviews". Metacritic. 1998-03-31. Retrieved 2013-12-22. 
  5. ^ House, Michael L. "Dead or Alive - Review". Allgame. Retrieved June 5, 2013. 
  6. ^ "Dead or Alive - IGN". 1998-03-27. Retrieved 2013-12-22. 
  7. ^ MacDonald, Ryan. "Dead or Alive Review". GameSpot. Retrieved June 5, 2013. 
  8. ^ Jeff Gerstmann (2013-10-10). "Dead or Alive (1997) Review". GameSpot. Retrieved 2013-12-22. 
  9. ^ Peter Rubin, The 50 Best Fighting Games of All Time,, March 15, 2011

External links[edit]