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Gameplay 9.0
Graphics 9.8
Sound 8.0
Value 9.0
Distributor: Microsoft
Review Date:
March 2005
Andrew B


Dead of Alive: Ultimate

The deadliest and sexiest fighters to ever grace the XBox have once again returned in Tecmo's Dead or Alive: Ultimate that is definitely one of the nicest and most playable fighting games around on the console at the moment. Although Tecmo haven't raised any gaming stakes in this current version, Dead of Alive: Ultimate brings gamers a few new experiences that includes online support (XBox Live) and also the original Dead of Alive game that is really a walk down memory lane.

The gameplay of the Dead of Alive: Ultimate (DoA:U) is extremely reminiscent of the previous game, if not identical and once again the various styles of combats and blocks have returned in of the most graceful fighting that is not only visually impressive but is also a joy to watch. DoA:U also contains a vast variety of manoeuvres such as throws and blocks that can be flawlessly implemented with the combat system of the game from kicks to punches and also a plethora of air attacks.

Another impressive thing about DoA:U is the extremely fast gameplay that can see a match completed in just a matter of seconds. Sometimes it all has to be done by knowing where the right buttons are on your controller and memorizing combos so you can pull them off really quickly. Or other times you may even just button mash like most new players and still stand a chance because nobody else will be used to the different type of tactics. Environments play a big part in the game as you can also throw enemies off ledges, into walls or animals that causes extra damage. It should also be mentioned that some of the environments even contain breakable objects for that extra touch of realism.

Dead of Alive: Ultimate also contains a variety of different gameplay modes that includes tag team battles, time matches, versus matches, regular team battles, and story mode have nicely been implemented into the title.  Unfortunately you won't find too much there in the story mode as it is way too short, and the AI can be pretty easy to defeat. Thankfully DoA:U makes up for this in a big way with the introduction of the series to XBox Live. This really takes the gameplay to a new phase and players can also compete in a variety of different online games in player vs. player matches.

Another interesting feature of the online mode is that players can also select the difficulty of their prowess, so you won't be seeing professional Dead of Alive players kicking the absolute living daylights out of new players. Apart from the online content, DoA:U also contains a variety of hidden characters that must be unlocked and also a variety of different costumes for your favourite DoA:U fighters.

Graphically, Dead of Alive: Ultimate is easily one of the most impressive fighting games on the market at the moment and with that said, the character models look quite simply phenomenal. Match that with some impressive looking background graphics and also various 3D environments and you truly have one of the most awesome looking games around.

Musically, DoA:U contains the song "Dream" by Aerosmith as its theme song which really helps immerse the player into the DoA:U environment and match that with a variety of in game sound effects and it's almost as if you are watching a bad Hong Kong action movie. With that said, all the voice-overs are all done in Japanese which isn't bad because it adds a touch of authenticity into the game, well unless you're playing as one of the American or Russian fighters, because then it just sounds weird.

In conclusion, Dead or Alive: Ultimate doesn't add all too much to innovating the genre from a single player gameplay point of view as it's still the same old fighting style as the other games. But where DoA:U does succeed in innovating is with the online play, it's fun fast and furious and it's coming from a fighting game. It's not a normal thing to see fighting games being played online, but DoA:U could very well make it a big thing. It's done with an easy and user friendly interface so it won't discourage the average person.

Dead or Alive: Ultimate may help with a revolution, not in gameplay but in the online component. Although DoA:U isn't a breakthrough from a gameplay point of view, it is still a fun, beautiful and exciting game to play. However where it really succeeds is with the online portion of the game, it has the same fun gameplay as the rest of the game except you can now face more challenging opponents as opposed to predictable AI. If you like fighting games and you have an Xbox, Dead or Alive: Ultimate is the place to be. Last but not least, DoA:U does contain the original Dead or Alive, although an interesting play, it's unfortunately nothing compared to the lush graphics and futuristic gameplay of Dead of Alive 2... a must game for all fighting fans or for those that want to experience the genre.


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