Dead or Alive 2
|Dead or Alive 2|
Japanese Dreamcast cover art
|Producer(s)||Tomonobu Itagaki |
|Designer(s)||Hiroaki Matsui |
|Series||Dead or Alive|
|Platform(s)||Arcade, Dreamcast, PlayStation 2|
January 18, 2000 (Millennium) 
|Mode(s)||Up to 2 players simultaneously (Arcade) |
Up to 4 players simultaneously (Dreamcast/PlayStation 2)
|Arcade system||Sega NAOMI|
|CPU||Hitachi SH-4 @ 200 MHz|
|Sound||Yamaha AICA @ 45 MHz|
|Display||Raster, horizontal orientation, |
Dead or Alive 2 (Japanese: デッドオアアライブ2 Hepburn: Deddo Oa Araibu 2, abbreviated as DOA2) is a fighting game in the Dead or Alive series, developed by Team Ninja and published by Tecmo. It debuted in arcades in 1999 and was later ported for the Dreamcast and the PlayStation 2 in 2000. Several enhanced editions of the game were released, including the updates Dead or Alive 2 Hardcore and Dead or Alive 2 Hard*Core.
Dead or Alive 2 improved upon the graphics engine of its predecessor by using Sega NAOMI hardware and on the gameplay system by including many new features, leading to critical acclaim and strong sales. In 2004, DOA2 was remade for the Xbox as part of Dead or Alive Ultimate.
The gameplay of Dead or Alive 2, and all subsequent DOA fighting 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 the game, aside from holds/throws/blows, is its stun system. Many attacks can inflict a stun on the opponent; those stunned cannot attack or guard, however 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 was 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, fights can 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 the game. 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.
Other notable features included introducing CG cutscenes in line with the plot, replacing the original "Danger Zone" areas in stages with fully interactive ones, allowing players to juggle each other into walls, propelling characters from landmarks for more damage (the first game to implement this feature was SNK's Samurai Shodown 64), and upon completing the game, presenting the player with (sometimes ambiguous) endings for each character using the game's standard engine.
Dead or Alive 2 features a total of 14 playable fighters, plus the unplayable Kasumi X. Two of them are unlockable and cannot be used in story mode or in the arcade version. The ten returning characters from the first DOA game are Ayane, Bass Armstrong, Bayman (unlockable), Gen Fu, Jann Lee, Kasumi, Leifang, Ryu Hayabusa, Tina Armstrong, and Zack. The four newcomers are Ein, Helena Douglas, Leon, and Tengu (unlockable boss).
Set less than a year later after the original tournament, a tengu known as Gohyakumine Bankotsubo, or just Tengu, threatens the human world's peace and stability. Kasumi's brother Hayate, previously injured by Raidou, returns from being an unwilling subject of DOATEC's bio-weapon experiment Epsilon as "Ein". Eventually, Ryu Hayabusa (from Ninja Gaiden) defeats Tengu, winning the tournament.
Development and release
The graphics and gameplay were enhanced and based on a better game engine than the one used in the first game, 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.
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 (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).
Nine different versions (excluding DOA2 Ultimate on Xbox and the two PSN releases) of Dead or Alive 2 were released: two for the arcade market, and the others were home versions. Tomonobu Itagaki and Team Ninja were constantly enhancing the game for both the Dreamcast and PlayStation 2 as they worked towards their vision of the "ultimate fighting game".
The Dreamcast port was first released in North America on February 29, 2000. It was identical to the arcade Millennium update release, but added the usual Versus and Sparring modes, as well as Team Battle Mode. This version also featured a simplified hold system, which would become standard for the rest of the series. Unlike home ports of the first Dead or Alive game, there were no unlockables in this release. Dead or Alive 2 was the only game that Tecmo published on the Dreamcast.
Dead or Alive 2 was released on March 30, 2000 as a launch title for the PlayStation 2 in Japan. This version added new stages (Crimson, Koku An and Prairie) and new unlockable costumes. The game engine ran using Field Rendering instead of Frame Rendering, thus it appeared much more aliased than the Dreamcast ports. This version was buggy and prone to lock up in Versus mode. Itagaki and his team were only given two months initially to produce the first PlayStation 2 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.
The European Dreamcast version was released on July 14, 2000. This version included the costumes from the Japanese PlayStation 2 version, but not the new stages. It also added new costumes for Zack and Tina, which pay homage to The Shadow Man and his love interest from the Shadow Man series. Acclaim developed the Shadow Man video game and published Dead or Alive 2 in Europe.
The Japanese Dreamcast version (known as the Limited Edition) was released on September 28, 2000. Cover art featured Kasumi and Ayane, along with a standard cover art version with Kasumi, Ayane and Leifang. The most notable addition was that Bankotsubo and Bayman were now unlockable, playable in all but Story Mode. The new stages from the PlayStation 2 version were not included, in favor of new versions of Burai Zenin and L's Castle stages from the first game. This version also added Sparring mode for Tag Battle, Watch Mode, the User Profile System, online play, more costumes to unlock, and a Gallery Mode with character renders.
On October 25, 2000, Tecmo released DOA2: Hardcore for the PlayStation 2 in America and Europe, which was based on the Japanese second update of Dead or Alive 2 for Dreamcast. This version was featuring new playable characters, new stages, extra costumes and introduced the "Gallery" option. The Hard*core 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, while others were cut. New stages were added (8 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, and the entire game (including cutscenes) now ran at a full 60 frames-per-second (in the Dreamcast version, the game ran at 60fps, while cutscenes ran at 30). A special "Items Collection" feature and menu section was added to appeal to video game collectors. New artworks were added, and 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 voiceovers were added in addition to the original Japanese voice overs. Kasumi can be unlocked as a trainable 'monster' in Monster Rancher 4 by going to the Shrine, and inserting the DOA2: Hardcore disk in the PS2.
Tecmo followed up on the release of Hardcore in the USA and Europe with the release of DOA2: Hard*Core in Japan. This last version saw some minor updates, including new cutscenes, a few new costumes, and a new turbo speed option. This was the last Dead or Alive game to be released for a Sony system as well as the last one to be released for the arcades, as the series became exclusive to the Xbox until the release of Dead or Alive Paradise and Dead or Alive 5 respectively.
In August 2012, a software emulated version of DOA2: Hard*Core was made available as a downloadable game on the Japanese PlayStation Network. The North American version was released to PlayStation Network in March 2015.
Dead or Alive 2 received critical acclaim and was a commercial success. It brought more than $2 million profit in sales. As of 2016, DOA2 is considered one of the best Fighting games in the genre.
At release, the Dreamcast version was met with critical acclaim, while the PlayStation 2 version received positive reviews. It was praised for its graphics, cutscenes, and gameplay.
GamesRadar+ included the game on their list of best Dreamcast games, stating that "Dead or Alive's first sequel used separate graphics engines for its fighting and cut-scenes, allowing for unprecedented graphical fidelity." In 2010, UGO.com ranked it as the ninth top fighting game of all time, "perhaps most important for introducing Itagaki's famous breast physics engine."
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 Tengu 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.
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