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Dead or Alive 3

Developer: Team Ninja | Publisher: Tecmo
Players: 1 to 2 Player Game | Release Date: 11/14/01 | Genre: Fighting

All along here at CV-Games, I have made no secret about my love for the Dead or Alive series. So naturally, when I heard about DOA3 for the Xbox, I was excited. However, there was a point when I wasn't sure about getting the Xbox, but in the end DOA was too tempting and I caved. The Xbox launch has come and gone and I can firmly say that I have not been disappointed.

The first thing everyone will notice about Dead or Alive 3 are the incredible graphics. Using the power of the Xbox, Team Ninja was able to convey a sense of realism never before seen. The clothes on the fighters are intricately detailed and textured so fine that you can almost feel them. Also the background environments are incredible. The forest floor is covered with leaves that swirl about in the action and the trees around you continue to drop leaves throughout the fight. This is an incredible detail that really makes a difference in how good the game looks. Add to this the fact that the characters are well animated with smooth, flawless movements and you have one heck of a visual package.

The sound in DOA3 is solid, though I preferred the opening theme from Bomb Factory in DOA2 to 3's Aerosmith tune. The rest of the music is compromised of several funky beats and mystical ninja-ish tunes. The sound effects in the game are great. When you land a devastating blow to an opponent, there is nice, low BOOM sound. The character voices are nicely done as well, and most of them sound the same from DOA2 so you don't have to be annoyed by a change in a character's voice (except for Kasumi).

The same tried and true gameplay returns with a few improvements such as new moves and a more timing-oriented counter system. The counter system is great and gives the series an edge on competitors because you don't have to be a master of the game to pull one off, and while DOA3 is a little less giving than 2, it's still not to difficult to counter an opponent. DOA3 offers most of the same game modes as the tag battle mode and team battles both make a return. You also still have the time-attack mode and the survival mode, both of which will test your skills. Fans of old school fighters will have to look elsewhere for their hadoken energy blasts; DOA3 is strictly hand to hand combat. Each fighter has real-life fighting style that they use in the game. One of my favorites is Helena's Pi Qua Quan, a graceful yet deadly style that looks absolutely beautiful on screen. Jackie Chan fans will also recognize the infamous "Drunken Boxing" style that is used by newcomer Brad Wong. Dead or Alive 3 also offers a new Theater mode which allows you to watch a character's ending movie once you have completed the game with that fighter. These movies are simply stunning and once again show the power the big black box.

DOA3 also gives us a few new fighters to choose from. Bayman is an assassin who fights just like Leon. Christie is also an assassin, but her fighting style relies more on speed than brute force. Brad Wong (mentioned above) brings a unique fighting style to the ring that is just plain fun to watch. Then there's also the ever-so-pleasant Hitomi who, with her blend of power and speed (and good looks), has quickly become one of my new favorites.

Dead or Alive 3 is an amazing game, but it is not without its faults. The biggest one is the game's final boss. DOA2 veterans will remember how dumb the Tengu was, but he's nothing compared to this guy. DOA3's boss is the king of cheap and everytime you knock him down you'll take damage as well unless you jump. The game also decides to be stupid for no apparent reason and switches to an ultra-crappy camera angle for the final fight. However, as frustrating as it first appears to be, once you get a strategy down, this guy is a wuss; it's just that it sucks while you try to find your strategy. I suppose the game's lasting appeal could also be questioned. While there's more than enough here for fans, casual players may find the replay value somewhat limited. The multi-player is great if you and your buddies hook up for some tag team battles, but other than that, there's not a whole lot there.

If you're itching for a fast-paced fighter, then look no further. DOA3 is quite possibly the best fighter ever made (and in my opinion, it is). If you've played the previous installments in the series, then you pretty much know what to expect, but the new additions go a long way in improving the game, and the graphics are second to none. If you shelled out 300 bucks for an Xbox, then you owe it to yourself to play this game.

By Ryan Schaefer - 01/09/02
ESRB Details: Mature Sexual Themes, Violence

Screenshots for Dead or Alive 3

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