Dead or Alive 2

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This article is about the video game. For the Japanese film, see Dead or Alive 2: Birds.
Dead or Alive 2
Dead or Alive 2 Coverart.png
Japanese Dreamcast cover art
Developer(s) Team Ninja
Publisher(s) Tecmo
Director(s) Tomonobu Itagaki
Producer(s) Tomonobu Itagaki
Yasushi Maeda
Designer(s) Hiroaki Matsui
Katsunori Ehara
Programmer(s) Takeshi Kawaguchi
Hiroaki Ozawa
Composer(s) Makoto Hosoi
Series Dead or Alive
Platform(s) Arcade, Dreamcast, PlayStation 2, PlayStation Network
Release date(s) Arcade
  • JP October 16, 1999
January 2000 (Millennium)[1]
  • NA February 29, 2000
  • EU July 14, 2000
  • JP September 28, 2000 (Limited Edition)[2]
PlayStation 2
  • JP March 30, 2000
  • NA October 26, 2000 (Hardcore)
  • JP December 14, 2000 (Hardcore)
  • EU December 15, 2000 (Hardcore)
PlayStation Network
  • JP August 22, 2012 (Hardcore)
  • NA March 24, 2015 (Hardcore)
Genre(s) Versus fighting
Mode(s) Up to 2 players simultaneously (Arcade),
Up to 4 players simultaneously (Dreamcast/PlayStation 2)
Cabinet Upright
Arcade system Sega NAOMI
CPU Hitachi SH-4 @ 200 MHz
Sound Yamaha AICA @ 45 MHz
Display Raster, horizontal orientation,
24-bit colour

Dead or Alive 2 (Japanese: デッドオアアライブ2 Hepburn: Deddo Oa Araibu 2?, abbreviated as DOA 2) is a fighting game in the Dead or Alive series. It debuted in arcades in 1999 and was later ported for the Dreamcast and PlayStation 2 in 2000. It had also several enhanced editions and was remade for the Xbox as part of Dead or Alive Ultimate. Two PlayStation 2 versions of Dead or Alive 2 exist, one released only in Japan, titled Dead or Alive 2, and an updated version, titled Dead or Alive 2 Hardcore.


A fight in DOA2 on the Dreamcast

The gameplay of DOA2, and all subsequent Dead or Alive games, borrows heavily from the Virtua Fighter series, but makes some key changes that drastically changes the way Dead or Alive is played in comparison to Virtua Fighter.

In DOA2, the basis of the entire fighting system is the circular relationship between three types of moves: holds, throws, and blows.The other defining feature of DOA2, aside from holds/throws/blows, is its stun system. In DOA2 many attacks upon hitting will inflict a stun on the opponent. While stunned, the opponent cannot attack, and cannot guard, but they can hold. If the attacker lands a non-knockdown, non-launching attack while the opponent is stunned, the opponent will be re-stunned in a new way, depending on what attack was landed. A major difference between DOA2 and other fighters is in the safety and non-punishability of attacks, both upon hitting and upon being blocked. Most blows in DOA2 can be punished on hit and block by each character's faster throws, making blow-based offense very risky. In addition to the normal rules of juggling, each character also fits into a specific weight category, which affects how the character responds to being launched and being juggled.

In DOA2, sometimes battles will occur on either water or ice; when a character is on such a surface, all non-knockdown, non-launching attacks will induce a stun on any successful hit. Walls and falls in the middle of stages are everywhere in DOA2. Many stages are also multi-tiered: to get to other areas of the stage, one character must be knocked off a ledge and fall into the next area; these falls deal usually fairly high damage, but cannot knock the opponent out.


Unlockable characters are in italics and cannot be used in story mode or in the arcade version.


Development and release[edit]

The graphics and gameplay were enhanced and based on a better game engine, which allowed the characters and stages to appear less angular and more detailed. A popular and commonly discussed feature, one credited to Tomonobu Itagaki, was the level of graphical detail Tecmo put into the animated breasts of the female characters, as Tecmo went so far as to create a physics engine dedicated entirely to the animation of the female characters' breasts.

Dead or Alive 2 used the song "Exciter" by Bomb Factory in its opening sequence. Also used as a background track was "Deadly Silence Beach" and "Clumsy Bird". Both tracks can be found on the self-titled mini-album Bomb Factory and on the Dead or Alive 2 Soundtrack.

Itagaki and his team were only given two months initially to produce the first PS2 port. At the end of this, one of his managers asked to borrow a copy to play, but instead sent in to a production factory. Itagaki was upset by not being able to finish the game on his own terms and fell into a depression during which he briefly considered quitting the industry.[3][4]

Two soundtrack CDs were released in 2000 by Wake Up in Japan: Dead or Alive 2 Original Sound Trax (KWCD-1001) and Dead or Alive 2 Original Sound Trax and (KWCD-1004). Several Japanese guide books for the game were published by SoftBank (Dead or Alive 2 Perfect Guide, Dead or Alive 2 Perfect Guide Dreamcast Ban, Dead or Alive 2 Hard Core Perfect Guide) and Dengeki (Dead or Alive 2 Kōshiki Kōryaku Guide, Dead or Alive 2 Kōshiki Kōryaku & Girls, Dead or Alive 2 Hard Core Kōshiki Kōryaku Guide).[5]

Dead or Alive 2: Hardcore[edit]

Itagaki and Team Ninja were still dissatisfied with the release versions of DOA2, and continued enhancing it on both the Dreamcast and the PS2 markets as they worked towards their vision of the ultimate fighting game. On October 26, 2000, Tecmo released a last major update titled Dead or Alive 2: Hardcore for the PlayStation 2, which was based on the Japanese and second update of DOA2 for Dreamcast, featuring new playable characters, new stages and extra costumes, and introduced the "Gallery" option.

The Hardcore release was finally the complete game Itagaki had envisioned at the time, featuring many changes compared to its predecessor:

  • Characters, pictures and moves were altered to appear more realistic, lessening the anime look.
  • Some fighting animations were elaborated upon and some were cut.
  • New stages were added (eight more than the Dreamcast update).
  • More character outfits were added.
  • Survival mode now only took place in the "Danger Zone" arena.
  • Overall gameplay speed was increased. The entire game, including cut scenes, runs at a full 60 frames per second (in the Dreamcast version, the game runs at 60 frames/second, while the cut scenes ran at 30).
  • A special "Items Collection" feature and menu section was added to appeal to video game collectors. New artworks were added compared to the first update.
  • A CG Gallery section, featuring renders of the female characters, was added.
  • The player history files were enhanced and now included statistics on how often the player used each character and tag battle pairing.
  • Several special moves were added, but left undocumented.
  • English voice-overs were added in the U.S. and European PlayStation 2 versions, in addition to the original Japanese voice-overs.

Tecmo also followed up on the release of DOA2: Hardcore in the USA and Europe with the release of DOA2: Hard*Core in Japan. This last version saw some minor updates, including new cut scenes, a few new costumes, and a new turbo speed option. As a result, 11 different versions of DOA2 were released; the first two were for the arcade market and the others were home versions. The Dreamcast version has been updated two times, first for the European market with new stages, costumes and cut scenes, and the second time for the Japanese market with a Limited Edition cover art featuring Kasumi and Ayane on the cover along with a Standard cover art version with Kasumi, Ayane and Lei-Fang on the Cover. (seen above) Ironically enough the "Limited Edition" cover art became so sought after due to the false assumption that it had extra content, making the standard Japanese Dreamcast cover art version less common to find. This updated Dreamcast version featured two new playable characters, two new stages, stage multipart extensions, new costumes, new cut scenes and the "Gallery" option was introduced. This edition was later updated with eight new stages, some new costumes and extra gallery artworks and released as Hardcore edition on the PlayStation 2. The new release extended the success of DOA2 in North America and Western Europe, and Dead or Alive became Tecmo's flagship series.

The first PlayStation 2 versions for North America, Europe and Japan were updates of the Dreamcast editions, with a few new cut scenes, costumes and stages added on each localization. Comparing the first and the last home versions of DOA2, namely the Dreamcast American edition and the Japanese Hardcore edition, shows many improvements including an enhanced gameplay and a doubled number of stages and costumes. Even with all the changes, Itagaki was still not happy with Hardcore. He is quoted as saying in the DOA 3 booster disc video, "They wanted a launch title in 3 months. I needed 4."


Review scores
Publication Score
Dreamcast PS2
AllGame 4/5 stars[9] 4/5 stars[10]
Edge 8 / 10[11]
Famitsu 32 / 40[12] 34 / 40[13]
Game Informer 9 / 10[18]
GamePro 5 / 5[14] 5 / 5[15]
Game Revolution B+[16] B+[17]
GameSpot 9.7 / 10[19] 8.9 / 10[20]
IGN 9.4 / 10[22] 8.7 / 10[23]
PSM 81%[24]
Arcade 5/5 stars[25]
DC-UK 9 / 10[26]
Dreamcast Magazine 28 / 30[27]
Electric Playground 9.4 / 10[28]
Gaming Age A-[29] A-[30]
Aggregate scores
GameRankings 91.4%[6] 87.4%[7]
Metacritic 91%[8]

On release, Famitsu magazine scored the PlayStation 2 version of the game a 34 out of 40.[13] Famitsu scored the Dreamcast version a 32 out of 40.[12]

Dead or Alive 2 brought more than $2 million profit in sales.[31] In 2010, ranked it as the ninth top fighting game of all time, "perhaps most important for introducing Itagaki's famous breast physics engine."[32]


Dead or Alive Ultimate is a remake of DOA and DOA2 for the Xbox with a greatly improved graphics engine. As it was created after Dead or Alive 3, it takes elements and mechanics from both its original iteration and successor. The action of 3D-axis movement is as free-formatted as DOA3, and Hitomi, as well as Gohyakumine Bankotsu-bo are now playable characters (albeit outside story mode), but other elements have been kept intact from DOA2. The biggest set of changes instituted in Dead or Alive Ultimate are online play over Xbox Live and the inclusion of slopes, which are a type of environmental hazard.


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ Fletcher, JC (February 9, 2011). "Itagaki's depression-fueled Armageddon/Aerosmith bender". Joystiq. Retrieved February 9, 2011. 
  4. ^ Kohlerl, Chris (February 9, 2011). "Itigaki: Tecmo Tricked Me Into Releasing Dead Or Alive 2". Wired. Retrieved February 9, 2011. 
  5. ^ "Dead or Alive 2". Arcade Gear. Retrieved 2014-01-19. 
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^ Edge, issue 84, pages 80-81
  12. ^ a b ドリームキャスト - DEAD OR ALIVE 2. Weekly Famitsu. No.915 Pt.2. Pg.43. 30 June 2006.
  13. ^ a b プレイステーション2 - DEAD OR ALIVE 2. Weekly Famitsu. No.915 Pt.2. Pg.56. 30 June 2006.
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^,8326,2470780,00.html
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^
  23. ^
  24. ^ PSM2, issue 1 (October 2000), pages 82-85 (published 1 September 2000)
  25. ^ Arcade, issue 22 (August 2000), pages 62-64 (published 17 July 2000)
  26. ^ DC-UK, issue 13
  27. ^
  28. ^
  29. ^
  30. ^
  31. ^ Icons: Dead or Alive (television program).
  32. ^ Top 25 Fighting Games of All Time, UGO, July 11, 2010.

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