Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball
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|Dead or Alive
Xtreme Beach Volleyball
|Series||Dead or Alive|
|Release date(s)||NA January 22, 2003
JP January 23, 2003
EU March 28, 2003
Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball (Japanese: デッドオアアライブエクストリームビーチバレーボール Hepburn: Deddo Oa Araibu Ekusutorīmu Bīchi Barēbōru?, abbreviated as DOAX) is a beach volleyball game by Tecmo released in 2003 exclusively for the Xbox. The game is a departure from the rest of the Dead or Alive series which otherwise consists of fighting games. It also marks the first game in the series to have a Mature rating due to the very revealing swimsuits featured in the game and the suggestive poses the women present themselves in (which can be viewed and zoomed in on from almost any angle, as controlled by the player). Its sequel, Dead or Alive Xtreme 2, was released on November 13, 2006, exclusively for the Xbox 360. The next sequel, Dead or Alive Xtreme 3, is currently in development for the PlayStation 4 and the PlayStation Vita.
In the main story mode, players select a woman to play as for the duration of their two-week period. Since the volleyball matches in the game are always two on two, the player automatically begins with a partner. Each day, players can select one activity in the morning, one in the afternoon, and one in the evening. While players do have an opportunity to simply relax during these time periods, they are generally used to either court new partners, or to challenge existing partnerships to a game of volleyball. Winning a match provides money which can be used to buy swimsuits and accessories, either for oneself, or as gifts to bestow upon the other women. Alternatively, players can also earn money through gambling at a casino located on the island.
Playing volleyball is done primarily through the use of two buttons, one designated for spiking and blocking, and the other for receiving or setting. As many of the actions happen automatically (e.g., jumping up to spike the ball), the game forces the player to focus on timing; a poorly timed press of a button results in a weak hit or a smash into the net. While it is possible to manually direct one's partner towards or away from the net, she will generally move to cover whichever area the player has left empty. The game is one of the few to make use of the analog sensitivity of the face buttons on the Xbox controller, with a softer touch allowing one to barely hit the ball over the net.
In addition to the core volleyball mechanic, the game features a relationship system between the various women on the island. Through gifts and skillful play, players can induce other characters to increase their esteem and positive feelings toward the character being played. A positive relationship with one's partner can translate into better performance during a volleyball match, while strong relationships with the other women leads to opportunities for new partners. Conversely, negative feelings from a partner can lead to missteps on the court, or can lead to gifts being thrown away unopened.
All money carries over between vacations, so that unspent Zack bucks can be used by a different character selected on the next play-through. Similarly, all swimsuits acquired by a given character remain with that character for all future play sessions. Since each character has access to a different set of swimsuits at the shop, the majority of suits for each character can only be acquired as gifts.
Zack gambles his winnings from the Dead or Alive 3 tournament at a casino. In the process, he hits the jackpot, earning a ridiculously large sum of money. The money is used to purchase a private island, which he promptly names after himself ("Zack Island"). He then invites the women from the previous tournament (along with one newcomer — his girlfriend) to his island under the pretense that the next Dead or Alive tournament will be held there. The women arrive and after discovering the truth, namely that it was merely a hoax, decide to make the best of the situation by spending two weeks vacationing on the island.
At the end of the two-week time period, the ladies depart, leaving only Zack and his girlfriend Niki on the island. Shortly thereafter, a volcano, previously thought to be inactive, spontaneously erupts, threatening to destroy Zack's island. In the chaos, Niki escapes using Zack's jetpack. Zack survives the volcanic eruption, but the island itself is completely destroyed. While not part of the game itself, Zack's later Dead or Alive 4 ending shows the pair robbing an ancient tomb and escaping with a truck filled with gold, suggesting a possible financing source for a sequel. In the sequel, it is confirmed that this is indeed the source for financing "New Zack Island".
In order to suit the lighter, more playful nature of the game, the Dead or Alive characters' previous rivalries were reduced to just a general dislike in this title. As a result, even characters who would normally try to kill each other (such as Ayane and Kasumi, or Christie and Helena) can become fast friends through a brief exchange of gifts.
The playable characters consist of seven females from the previous Dead or Alive titles, plus Lisa, who makes her first appearance in this title. Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball is the only time Dennis Rodman voices Zack in the DOA series. Although Zack is not a playable character, he does appear in both the beginning and ending movies of the game, with small appearances throughout the game. His girlfriend, Niki, appears only in cutscenes. As such, the volleyball players consist of:
- Ayane – Japanese ninja and rival (as well as half-sister) of Kasumi.
- Christie – British assassin and automobile enthusiast.
- Helena – French opera singer fond of walking her dog.
- Hitomi – German high-school student and aspiring chef.
- Kasumi – Japanese runaway ninja who enjoys fortune-telling and origami.
- Leifang – Chinese college student with an interest in aromatherapy.
- Lisa – American stock broker and amateur surfer.
- Tina – American wrestler and daughter of Bass Armstrong.
Each of the playable characters has her own likes and dislikes (documented in the game manual), which influence how likely she is to accept or be impressed by certain gifts. Favorable gifts include those based on her favorite food, favorite color, and hobbies.
|Is This Love||Bob Marley|
|"How Crazy Are You"||Meja|
|"Come On Over Baby (All I Want Is You)||Christina Aguilera|
|"Move It Like This||Baha Men|
|"Turn It Up"||Raja‑Nee|
|"Do It"||Spice Girls|
|"I Want Your Girlfriend To Be My Girlfriend Too"||Reel Big Fish|
|"The Kids Don't Like It"||Reel Big Fish|
|"Jesse Hold On"||B*Witched|
|"If It Don't Fit"||B*Witched|
|"This Is It"||Innosense|
|"Brazilian Sugar"||George Duke|
|"Give Me A Reason"||Aswad|
|Lovin' You||Janet Kay|
|"Sweet and Deadly"||Big Mountain|
|"Fe Real"||Big Mountain|
Reception and controversy
A certain amount of controversy erupted following the announcement and subsequent release of the game. It was criticized for laying a thin veneer of respectability and legitimate gameplay over simply watching lusty, scantily-clad women with large, bouncing breasts jog, roll around in the sand, scoot across tree trunks, and other suggestive activities. Nonetheless, many reviewers were impressed at the depth of the volleyball game, as well as with the high quality of the visuals and animation. As a result, review scores ranged from quite mediocre to very high, resulting in the averaged ratings of 74.24% at GameRankings and 73/100 at Metacritic. In its review, Edge focused on the game's unusual social, rather than adversarial, focus. Maxim gave the game a score of eight out of ten and stated that "The sharp graphics and advanced jiggle physics will no doubt prick the interest of lonely gamers, but surprisingly, the game's volleyball action is pretty solid. And that's the most important thing... right?" Entertainment Weekly gave it a B and said, "It's kinda difficult not to get caught up in this goofy title, as you use your v-ball winnings to buy shoes and skimpy clothes for your fellow beach bunnies." However, Playboy gave it a score of 74% and said, "As long as you know what you're in for, DOA: Xtreme Beach Volleyball can be a mildly entertaining collection of digital diversions with, at the very least, the best-looking virtual women to grace a video game."
In the first ever Spike Video Game Awards in 2003, Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball won in the category Best Animation. In 2006, GamesRadar ranked gravure scenes in the game to be one of the 100 greatest gaming moment in history. In 2011, FHM included on the list of six games "that shamelessly used sex to sell".
In the April 2003 edition (issue #165) of the videogame publication Electronic Gaming Monthly, the magazine revealed a "nude code" for DOAXBV, as an April Fools' Day joke. The magazine promised readers they could play the game with the girls topless, in an unlockable nude mode. Upon discovering the nude code was a hoax, many readers sent angry letters to the magazine, despite the fact that such jokes and hoaxes were an annual tradition for EGM. Shortly after the game's launch, a community of hobbyist hackers reverse engineered Dead or Alive Extreme Volleyball texture system, allowing users to modify textures of the player character models. This quickly led to users replacing the already revealing swimsuits with high detailed nude textures include genitalia and pubic hair for all in game characters. This resulted in fully nude anatomically correct female characters that would lounge about and play volleyball with full breast and buttocks physics intact. In January 2005 ninjahacker.net was taken to court by Tecmo for breaching the Digital Millennium Copyright Act by reverse engineering aspects of the game, as well as Ninja Gaiden and Dead or Alive 2. The company was seeking between $1,000 and $10,000 for every skin swapped over the community website.
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