Dead or Alive (video game)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
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
November 26, 1996[1]
October 16, 1998 (++)[2]
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 the Sega Saturn in Japan, and later for the Sony PlayStation in all regions.


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.

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).


A runaway kunoichi known as Kasumi enters the Dead or Alive tournament to seek revenge against Raidou. who was responsible for crippling her brother Hayate. However, Kasumi's decision to leave the village violates the strict laws of the ninja society, and as a result she becomes a hunted fugitive.


Debuting in the Arcade Version:

Debuting in the PlayStation Version:


During the mid 90's, Japanese gaming company Tecmo were in financial trouble. Seeing how popular Sega's Virtua Fighter series was in Japan at the time, the management asked Tomonobu Itagaki to create a similar game to Virtua Fighter.[3]

Itagaki was a fan of Virtua Fighter, but he wanted Dead or Alive to stand out among the competition. This included a stronger a emphasis on being provocative, as Itagaki believed entertainment needed both sexuality and violence to truly be entertainment.[4] All the animations in the game were created using motion capture.[5]

The original game, which ran on the Sega Model 2 arcade board, the same arcade board that Virtua Fighter 2 ran on, 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 quality of the Saturn game was the best."

—Series Director Tomonobu Itagaki[6]

The original version of Dead or Alive was released in arcades in 1996. The game utilized Sega's Model 2 arcade board,[7] and was also the first time Sega licensed their hardware to a third-party company; in this case, Tecmo.

A Nintendo 64 port was rumored, but did not come to fruition.[8] It was later ported to the Sega Saturn exclusively for the Japanese market in 1997. The Saturn version would eventually be released in the United States and Europe for the Xbox as part of Dead or Alive Ultimate.

In 1998, Tecmo released Dead or Alive for the Sony PlayStation in all regions. This version included two new characters, a different graphics engine, a slightly revamped fighting engine, and new background music. Tecmo also released Dead or Alive++ for the arcades in Japan which was based on the Playstation version. 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 83.92% (Saturn)[9]
84% (PS1)[10]
Metacritic 84/100 (PS1)[11]
MobyRank 88% (Saturn)[12]
81% (PS1)[13]
Review scores
Publication Score
AllGame 4.5/5 stars (Arcade)[14]
4.5/5 stars (Saturn)[15]
4/5 stars (PS1)[16]
CVG 5/5 stars (Saturn)[17]
4/5 stars (PS1)[18]
EGM 30.5/40 (PS1)[19]
Famitsu 31/40 (PS1)[20]
GameFan 280/300 (Saturn)[21]
Game Informer 7.75/10 (PS1)[24]
GamePro 19/20 (Saturn)[22]
17/20 (PS1)[23]
GameSpot 6.8/10 (Saturn)[26]
7.3/10 (PS1)[27]
IGN 8.5/10 (PS1)[25]
Consoles + 95% (Saturn)[28]
Sega Saturn Magazine 92% (Saturn)[29]

Dead or Alive was a commercial success, helping Tecmo pull in a profit of 9.2 million dollars in 1996 and saving the company from bankruptcy. [30] The Saturn version would go on to sell 161,658 copies.[31]

The game was also a success critically as well. Sega Saturn Magazine described it as "an incredible beat 'em up both technically and visually, even getting close to beating Sega's own-brand VF games."[32] In 2011, Complex ranked it as the seventh best fighting game of all time.[33]


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 one of the first fighting games with online play.


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ "The History Of TECMO - Dead or Alive". YouTube. Retrieved 1 January 2016. 
  5. ^ "Wanted: Dead or Alive". Maximum: The Video Game Magazine (Emap International Limited) (7): 86–87. June 1996. 
  6. ^
  7. ^ "The History of Dead or Alive". IGN. 2004-08-02. Retrieved 2007-10-08. 
  8. ^
  9. ^ "Dead or Alive for Saturn". GameRankings. 1997-09-10. Retrieved 2013-12-22. 
  10. ^ "Dead or Alive for PlayStation". GameRankings. 1998-03-31. Retrieved 2013-12-22. 
  11. ^ "Dead or Alive for PlayStation Reviews". Metacritic. 1998-03-31. Retrieved 2013-12-22. 
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^ House, Michael L. "Dead or Alive - Review". Allgame. Retrieved June 5, 2013. 
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^ Electronic Gaming Monthly, 1999 Video Game Buyer's Guide, page 122
  20. ^
  21. ^ GameFan, volume 5, issue 12 (December 1997), pages 24 & 112-113
  22. ^ GamePro, issue 114 (March 1998), page 100
  23. ^ GamePro, issue 116 (May 1998), page 82
  24. ^
  25. ^ "Dead or Alive - IGN". 1998-03-27. Retrieved 2013-12-22. 
  26. ^ Jeff Gerstmann (2013-10-10). "Dead or Alive (1997) Review". GameSpot. Retrieved 2013-12-22. 
  27. ^ MacDonald, Ryan. "Dead or Alive Review". GameSpot. Retrieved June 5, 2013. 
  28. ^ Consoles +, issue 71, pages 180-181
  29. ^ Sega Saturn Magazine, issue 30, page 67
  30. ^
  31. ^
  32. ^
  33. ^ Peter Rubin, The 50 Best Fighting Games of All Time,, March 15, 2011

External links[edit]