" It involves cloning, evil empires bent on destruction, super ninjas, the Olson twins, and other such things of great evil. "
Title: Dead or Alive 3 by Tecmo
Format: XBox Fighting Game
Reviewing Monkey: Chimpan-A
The Hype: The long awaited XBox launch title and sequel to the acclaimed Dead or Alive 2. Pick your character and get to it, fighting against other characters in a battle to the death! Or at least until the screen says KO. Or you punch the guy next to you… Either way, lets see how this game stacks up.
What This Monkey Thought...
Graphics: Okay, first off, the graphics are absolutely gorgeous. These are great graphics. The problem? They're only subtly better than the PS2 DOA2 Hardcore. Granted it is better, a little bit smoother, and a little bit cleaner. It will simply take a really close look to be able to tell that. There are some new things to look at though, some new levels, and some new characters. And compared to other fighting games out there the graphics are still incredible. The girls still look curvaceous as ever ("She kicks high"). DOA maintains the graphics crown. 4 out of 5
Sound: The battle sounds are fine- appropriate thwacking, bopping, and bashing sounds. Running into walls sounds excellent. One level has a crowd watching in on your match, and the roar of the crowd at appropriate moments is a great touch. The music is pretty good, and makes a great compliment to the action on screen. A performance by Aerosmith for the opening theme will likely pass you by. It's probably not going to stick with you too much, but good nonetheless. The voicework is all in Japanese, and there's no option to change it. Which, in this day and age, is pretty damned inexcusable. 3 out of 5
Game Play: If you played DOA2, then you know exactly what's going on here. It is exactly, and I mean down to the last button, the same. Of course, the system is part of the reason why DOA2 was so popular, the other part being high kicks. DOA3 features a great combat system of attack and counter attack. A counter-master will beat a combo-master every time. The system is friendly enough that you can make a certain amount of progress through simple button mash, but again, if you don't have counters down, you're dead. We've basically got a few new characters going this time for your fighting pleasure. Single player is pretty much just practice for when your friends come over, and is only really marred by the ridiculously hard end boss. I mean really, who the hell gives the boss projectile weapons in a game about punching and kicking? And you thought Tengu was hard. Once you beat him, you get a cinematic. Some of which make the whole game worth buying (do the words "Shower scene" perk anybody's interest?). Overall the game performs excellently. And if you've played DOA2, then you know exactly how it plays. 4 out of 5
Level and Environment Designs: The levels were another part of previous DOAs that made them so incredible. Multi-tiered levels, interactive environments, it was all there. It's back with a vengeance. The environments look gorgeous, as they should. The tiers on some levels have been enhanced greatly. For instance, one level has an infinite drop. You can just keep kicking people off the edge until they die. Another level has two separate drops. Bash them through one window, you get one level; bash them through another you get a different level. Not all the levels are tiered, mostly the multiplayer ones. Why won't they give us tiered levels in multiplayer? What did we do to be denied this? 4 out of 5
Multiplayer: This here is where the game shines, and as a fighting game, it's where it should shine. Taking on human opponents has always been the lifeblood of fighting games. This game does not disappoint. With up to four players in a tag battle, you've got one hell of a party game here. Of course, you had one with previous iterations of DOA as well. The game performs well under multiplayer conditions, no slowdown, or any other ugliness. Multiplayer might have been that much cooler with tiered levels, but as is, it's a great game. 4 out of 5
Replayability: I played DOA2 Hardcore for somewhere around 200 hours. Why? Well, first off, it's a fun game, with a great combat system. Secondly, there were about a bazillion costumes to unlock. Seven or so per character. I therefore, in a dedicated fashion, played the game for hours upon hours on end to unlock every single costume. Here is where DOA3 falters. There is one hidden character, which is actually just a character from the last game. His character was changed from the old game so they threw in the old version of him. Apparently because this game wasn't enough like the old game already. There are some palette changes on a variety of costumes, and some different costumes selectable for characters by hitting the right button. There are maybe four unlockable costumes in the game. All of this means that once you've seen the end cinematic for all the characters, you're pretty well done. There's just not that much to come back for when not playing multiplayer. Multiplayer should keep pulling you back for a while though, so the game doesn't suffer as long you've got monkeys around to play with you. 3 out of 5
Story/Dramatics: It's a fighting game. We start off not expecting a story, and when we don't get one, we aren't disappointed. There actually is a back-story to the game. It involves cloning, evil empires bent on destruction, super ninjas, the Olson twins, and other such things of great evil. Yes, the plot is as convoluted as that sounds. If you can follow along, there are some interesting tie-ins. Such as the new character Christie's job is to both guard and kill veteran character Helena. Of course, all stories in fighting games revolve around fighting, so that's what you're mostly doing. Basically, ignore the story; it's better for your sanity.
Instructions and Learning Curve: : If you played DOA2 Hardcore, then you know how this game works. Throw the instructions out the window. If not, it may take you a little while to get past the button mashing stage. Countering takes some real practice. The instruction manual gives a move list, but the names of the moves are all in Japanese, so you'll never remember them. In sparring mode, you're given the "exercise" option, which lets you go through all the character's commands. A great tool for learning what you're doing. 3 out of 5
Installation and Real System Requirements: It's a launch title and it looks great. I'd even say it's a little bit better than what the PS2 can do. Is it pushing boundaries on the XBox? Who knows, we'll have to wait a bit to see how this stands out, but I have to question how much it's actually riding the envelope. Load times are nice and swift, no slowdown I could see (at least that wasn't for the specific effect). 3 out of 5
|Okay, you're looking at what I just wrote. You're seeing all those fours, and you're thinking, "Why am I only seeing three monkeys leering at me happily?" It's because, in short, DOA 3 isn't really offering us anything new and certainly doesn't do anything to push what our latest and greatest video game system is capable of. True, what it does offer is done pretty well...But it really amounts to a port from the PS2 that is spending a hell of a lot of time resting on its laurels. And that just doesn't get you better than a three.|
The Good: Awesome fighting system, incredible graphics
The Bad: Just a port of DOA2 Hardcore with absolutely nothing to push it on the Xbox.
The Overall Ugly: A great game if you don't have its predecessor to compete with. Otherwise, go for a different game.
What it's Worth: Eh, 20-35 bucks.