Dead or Alive (video game)

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(Redirected from Dead or Alive 3)

Dead Or Alive is a video game series from Tecmo. The story and characters are the creation of Tomonobu Itagaki the game was developed by Tecmo's Team Ninja.



Itagaki was dissatisfied with the way modern games were played. He missed the old arcade style of play and had another vision for the fighting genre. He worked at game company Tecmo for a long time and was given the opportunity to make a fighting game to be called Dead or Alive. In 1996 the first Dead or Alive was released as an arcade-only game in Japan.

In 1997 Dead or Alive was ported to the Sega Saturn and released in the United States and Europe. It had been a success in Japan, but not in the West, perhaps because of Tekken, which was already a popular fighting game series for the PlayStation.

Then, in 1998 the PlayStation version of Dead or Alive was released. It had a lot of new graphics and much was changed as the game continued to develop. Sales were brisk.

Dead or Alive 2

Two years later in March 2000 Dead or Alive 2 was released for the Sega Dreamcast. The graphics and gameplay where enhanced and built with a better game engine. The game and the famous stages were less angular and more detailed for the 3D environment. The story was a true narrative sequel to the first game. Much attention was paid to the detail Tecmo put into the animated breasts of the female characters, a feature credited to Itagaki himself. This feature helped the game become very popular, especially in Japan.

Tecmo continued enhancements to the game because Itagaki and Team Ninja where still dissatisfied with it and continued working on the vision that they had for the ultimate game. A few month later in December they released an update called DOA2 HARD ・ CORE for the PS2. This was the game Itagaki until that time had in mind. It featured many changes compared to its predecessor.

  • Characters, pictures and moves where somewhat changed and made more realistic
  • The throws into walls, and falling from cliffs effects where modified and extended. Some were removed
  • More costumes were added
  • Survival mode now was only in the Danger zone and not in other levels
  • Faster Gameplay
  • A special "Items Collection" added for hardcore gamers as well as some CG pictures.
  • Updated Records file with character percentage and tag battle percentage.
  • Extra, undocumented special moves

It was a great success, but this time, also in North America and Western Europe. Dead or Alive became the Tecmo flagship title.

In 2001, Dead or Alive became DOA and was matched with Tekken Tag Tournament and was widely played in Japan. Tecmo meanwhile, was busy creating another sequel to Dead Or Alive 2. At that time Microsoft approached them with a deal to create the next title for their recently developed Xbox. The Xbox video game console was still in development and Microsoft needed exclusive games for it. One of the main focuses was on the fighting game genre just as the Tekken series was for the PlayStation. The deal was successful and Tecmo decided to make the next game called Dead or Alive 3 exclusively for the Xbox to the frustration of Sony who also sought for a deal and knew the Dead Or Alive series had great potential.

Dead Or Alive 3

Microsoft made a deal with Tecmo to make Dead or Alive 3 an exclusive Xbox game while the Xbox was still in development. This deal fits in the development history and the stances made by Tomonobu Itagaki to always target the next DOA game at the most powerful console available.

In 2001 the release of Dead or Alive 3 was announced in Japan and released first in the US to coincide with the American Xbox launch. An updated version of Dead or Alive 3 was then released with their respective Japanese and European Xbox launch which both occurred several months later. It was a great success. The game had graphics that had never been seen before in a fighting game. Also, the famous "Tecmo gameplay" with the use of the simple "Kick" "Punch" & "Hold" buttons made it easy to learn. The story, however, had nothing to do with DOA2 whatsoever but some new elements, mainly focused on the DOATEC corporation itself, were added, evolving the story somewhat. Many were also impressed by the performance of the Xbox console. Another reason for the success was that it could compete with some of the very good games that Sony and Nintendo's consoles already have.

Dead Or Alive 4

Although little information is known about this title, Itagaki has confirmed that it is currently in development for Microsoft's next generation foray, the Xbox 360. In a recent interview with Famitsu Xbox, he remarked that he spends 99% of his time on DOA 4, showing the importance he places on living up to the fans relatively high expectations of the series. Mere weeks later on May 12th, 2005, the first screens of this title were leaked on the internet via the message boards. Although there was some inital confusion over what particular system the screens could be associated with due to a perceived lack of graphical prowess, sources have confirmed that the console in question is definitely the Xbox 360.

Recent developments

In 2003, Team Ninja released Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball, also known as DOAX, and Dead or Alive Ultimate (DOAU) which was known as Dead or Alive Online before the name change. This compilation contains the Sega Saturn version of DOA1 and a remake of DOA2 using the DOAX graphics engine, Dead or Alive 3 game mechanics, the move set from the original Dead or Alive 2, and new game and story content. Xbox Live support for both games makes this the second online console 3D fighting game release in America and Europe (Mortal Kombat: Deception was the first) and the first online console 3D fighting game in Japan.


  • Ayane (DOA1, DOA2, DOA3, DOAX, DOAU) A kunoichi with murderous motives. She takes part in DOA to take on Kasumi.
  • Bass Armstrong (DOA1, DOA2, DOA3, DOAU) A professional wrestler who wants to stop his daughter Tina from winning the DOA Tournaments. Appears to be inspired by Hulk Hogan.
  • Bayman (DOA1, DOA2, DOA3, DOAU) A former Russian commando who joins the DOA 3 tournament to retaliate against Donovan for the attempt on his life by a sniper.
  • Brad Wong (DOA3) A man who joins DOA in search of a riddle from his old master Chen, who told him to "bring the legendary drink called Genra". After three years of wandering on his journey he finds himself in a fighting tournament.
  • Christie (DOA3, and DOAX) A British assassin who wants to take Helena on and keep an eye on her.
  • Gen Fu (DOA1, DOA2, DOA3, DOAU) An old martial arts master, he fights in DOA to obtain money to cure his sick granddaughter, Mei Lin. After DOA 2 however another sum of money was needed and so he joins again in DOA3.
  • Hayate/EIN (DOA1, DOA2, DOA3, DOAU) Kasumi's and Ayane's brother. He was captured in DOA1, after which his memory was temporarily lost. This was done with the magic and hypnotism of the Tengu possibly during his time in the German forests. He joined DOA2 in order to find out more about himself. After DOA2 his memory has been restored and he returns in DOA 3 as the leader of the Mugen Tenshin Style.
  • Elliot (DOA4)
  • Helena (DOA2, DOA3, DOAX, DOAU) A French young woman. She is the daughter of Fame Douglas, former leader of DOATEC. She joins DOA2 in search of the murderer of her mother and joins DOA3 in order to find the truth about the conspiracies within DOATEC.
  • Hitomi (DOA 3, DOAX, DOAU)A young girl who wants to show her fighting skills at the tournament.
  • Jann Lee (DOA1, DOA2, DOA3, DOAU) A young martial arts expert who joins the Tournaments to show his superior Jeet Kune Do fighting abilities, and in the meantime, defeat evil scum in the form of Tengu and Genra. The character design was probably inspired by Bruce Lee.
  • Kasumi (DOA1, DOA2, DOA3, DOAX, DOAU) A runaway shinobi (ninja) in search of her lost brother Hayate.
  • Kokoro (DOA4)
  • Lei Fang (DOA1, DOA2, DOA3, DOAX, DOAU) A Chinese young woman who joins the tournament to test her skills against Jann Lee.
  • Leon (DOA2, DOA3, DOAU) Made a promise in the desert to his dead wife. She said that he was the strongest person in the world, so he joins the DOA Tournaments to fulfil her expectation.
  • Tengu (DOA2, DOAU) is a mythological creature from Japanese folklore. In DOA2 he wants chaos to reign over the world but is stopped. He can be played as an extra character and has some some new moves and a new outfit. His name was stated as "Bankotsubo" but he is more commonly known as simply "Tengu".
  • Tina Armstrong (DOA1, DOA2, DOA3, DOAX, DOAU) The daughter of Bass Armstrong, she wants to win the Tournament to become a famous model.
  • Ryu Hayabusa (DOA1, DOA2, DOA3, DOAU) A ninjutsu expert and good friend of Hayate. Originally from the Ninja Gaiden series, in DOA2 he comes across his lost friend and kills the Evil Tengu. He also joins DOA3 to again fight evil, this time in the form of Genra, another evil being created by DOATEC.
  • Zack (DOA1, DOA2, DOA3, DOAX, DOAU) An American fighter who joins the DOA Tournament for no other reason than to win big, big cash. He is very similar in appearance to Dennis Rodman, who even voiced the character in DOAX.


Many fans have been annoyed with Tecmo's treatment of the series and are not happy with the amount of hype surrounding it. Some feel Tecmo view it as a big moneymaker wanting to milk the franchise for all it is worth. Concerning Dead or Alive Ultimate, most DOA fans already have both original games so some believe there is no point in remaking these games. Tecmo claimed this was to familiarise Xbox DOA3 players with the older DOA versions but some current DOA fans see it as an attempt to get more fans and money.


Besides the criticism there is also optimism. Tecmo has always surprised their fans with their games. Every new game has been seen by some was better than the predecessor. Some fans believe that Tecmo has reinvented the fighting game genre in console games and that they have a good eye for innovation, design, storyline and game play.

But it's not the graphics and gameplay that are of the most important to the fans. The mystery of their DOA characters and their stories also matters to some fans. Some fans of the series hope that these mysteries will never be revealed.

Current DOA updates/progress

  • The next game in the DOA series is currently Dead Or Alive Code Cronus which is NOT DOA4 according to Itagaki. Although there was some speculation that both were one in the same game. This title is still a mystery. Itagaki has confirmed that DOA4 will focus on the story of Helena. The story begins when Helena takes over the DOATEC as it's second chairman. Besides that some fans have speculated that there might be some childhood secrets revealed about some of the characters. Word has it that the word “Code” stands for revealing more details about some characters. It is not known how much will be revealed and what will come back for it. Notice that these are still rumours.

[2002 tokyo Game Show]

In July 2003 Tomonobu Itagaki has made the following statement: “Code Chronos will not be a fighting game. We have been expanding the Dead or Alive franchise as you know and this will be another expansion. I hope that you will like it.”

This means that the DOA series is drastically going to change. We have seen this with the appearance of Ayane in the action game Ninja Gaiden also from Tecmo. And DOAX which is not a fighting game but a beach volley video game. What these changes will involve is unknown.

  • Itagaki has also announced that we can expect a Dead Or Alive Extreme Beach Volleyball 2.


  • It is confirmed that Impact Pictures is currently working on a movie based on Tecmo's Dead or Alive series of fighting games. Plot details are obviously scarce at present, but since the movie license includes Dead or Alive: Xtreme Beach Volleyball as well as the traditional fighting games in the series, the movie will unsurprisingly involve a fighting tournament on an exotic island with ample volleyball facilities.

[April 2003]

Game releases in series

External Links



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