Dead or Alive 2
“Wow, look at the jiggle! And the gameplay to back it up!” That was one of the first things I said when I played this on the Dreamcast demo disc. Numerous rentals occurred thereafter, and eventually I buckled and bought the game. Soon though, the Dreamcast was on its way out, PS2 was coming in, and the Dreamcast got traded off for what looked like greener pastures. But the grass isn’t always greener on the other side of the fence, and now I don’t even have a PS2, but a Dreamcast I do have. Just recently I got my baby back, that baby being DoA 2. Having never played the first DoA, I can’t compare between the two, but I can say this: this game kicks ass.
DoA 2 isn’t one of those games that relys on story to progress the game; no DoA 2 focuses on great gameplay to keep you entertained. The game features a solid cast of 12 different fighters that each have their own style. For example, the pro-wrestler Tina fights much different than Hayabusa, whom is a ninja. As you progress through the game you tend to get comfortable with a specific character, which in my case was Kasumi, a female Ninja. One character really bothered me though, and that was Zach. He seems to be wearing a bra…not that there’s anything wrong with that…maybe he got lost in Tina’s closet…Each character has a different costume or two that they can wear during battle, so you can change the appearance of most fighters at least a little bit.
The Story Mode is one of the main modes of the game, and while a fun little mode the actual “story” that accompanies it is pathetic. I have absolutely no idea what the whole point of the story was, as it was never really mentioned. The story progresses as such: First, there is a small clip of you talking to another fighter. This part makes no sense, as often the characters refer to the past battles and such with each other, battles I know nothing of. Then, you battle. After your victory, you see another seen involving you and a different fighter. Repeat the steps until you fight Evil Tengu, a giant flying tree-man. Usually things with “Evil” in there names kick ass, such as Dr. Evil and Evil Dead. Tengu does not deserve to be in the same breath as those two though. Tengu is a repetitive move bitch. Fortunately as long as you stay close to him he can’t do anything.
The Story Mode grew old really fast, and I was in the mood for something a bit different. Enter the games Survival Mode, a mode which is similar to Pacman in a few ways. No, there aren’t blips to gather, but there are foes, and they’re unrelenting. They never stop coming until you are dead. Fortunately when they fall, they drop items like Hamburgers and similar items that you can pick up and gain health and points. This mode is definitely where the fun is at, even though you’re only competing for the high score. Oddly enough, Zach dropped lipstick once. To each his own.
Outside of Story and Survival Mode, the game has a generic Time Attack mode which is actually pretty fun. It’s nearly exactly like Story Mode, just the annoyingly confusing cut scenes are removed, and you have only forty seconds to defeat your opponent. While this may sound like a lot of time, it really isn’t, and it requires you to learn the moves of your fighter inside and out. I found that the manuals explanation of them wasn’t enough for me, but the games built in Sparring Mode really did a lot.
The multiplayer is where the game really shines though. “Man, I could play this all day” was what a friend said as we started playing our 8th tag match. Tag team Mode is the best multiplayer mode easily. One player fights while the other regains health, and so too does your opponent. Battles often come down to whoever can land the last hit, and it was all very exciting. Versus Mode is pretty cool, but nothing too elaborate.
The really cool feature incorporated in DoA 2 is the choices in play style. While I’ve hated games like Virtua Fighter 4 because it was so demanding in terms of learning all the moves that you actually couldn’t get into the game and enjoy it. Fortunately DoA 2 can be played as a pure unadulterated button-masher. There’s nothing like randomly pushing buttons and winning. It makes you feel better than computers. Of course, you can learn all the combos as well, and there is a pretty good stable of moves you can perform, all which respond perfectly and quickly.
Graphically, DoA 2 will go down in history as one of the most impressive Dreamcast games. The fighter models all are incredibly animated, though the girls are a bit…disproportioned. The moves are all incredibly fast, and the camera is never at an odd angle or anything. The best parts though are the environments. You can throw other fighters (or get thrown) through certain things like windows and railings and fall down to new areas that are in some cases completely different than the previous area. In other arenas, there are barriers up and if you kick someone into them a huge explosion will occur, resulting in a massive loss of damage that looks spectacular.
The audio in DoA 2 is a mixed bag. The music, which fits the theme of the game I suppose, is just adequate. It’s rather indescribable really, a kind of funky techno-punk-pop-rock that you don’t really notice while playing. I’m sure if it were gone though I’d complain. The fighters all speak in Japanese, even the Russian ones, which continues to irritate me to this day. The translation is ass though. Fighters say the stupidest “taunts,” such as “How dare you swindler!” God…
Overall, DoA 2 is a wonderful fighter for the Dreamcast, and any fighting game fan should make sure they add this one into their library if it isn’t already in there. DoA 2 is a button-masher with class, something that other games simply wish they could be. Pick it up at any price, even if it is one of the most expensive Dreamcast games around still.
Nine out of ten