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Popular 3D fighting game franchise created by Itagaki Tomonobu who worked on the franchise until Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball 2 and developed by Team Ninja. The franchise is their most well known creation. The original game debuted in arcades in 1996 and is something of an oddball in the franchise. It featured a ring out system and literally explosive square arenas; if one of the fighters is knocked away from the center of the arena, but not outside of the ring, they will explode upon hitting the ground and launched into the air. Some characters like Lei Fang and Tina Armstrong looked different from their later designs. However, the series' famous jiggle physics were present and it was also one of the earliest 3d games to incorporate jiggle physics.
Dead or Alive 2 codified most of the elements associated with franchise and characters like Tina and Lei Fang would develop their iconic appearances. Subsequent games have followed the format established by this game. It featured a counter system and interactive, multi-tiered environments where players can for example knock each other out of a window and continue the fight below. Ring-outs were completely removed from the franchise.
Besides the default one on one matches, the series also has a tag team mode, which was introduced in Dead or Alive 2. Tag team matches are limited to arenas with few environmental changes, but tag team fights include special moves that can only be done with two characters at the same time. A tag team match ends with one player's fighters are all taken out or time runs out.
Like fellow 3d fighting game series Tekken, most of the characters are regular human martial artists who use martial arts styles based off of real life ones. Although the fighters in the series are extremely sturdy, the only characters who have superpowers are the ninjas and final bosses.
The series is notably fanservice heavy, which is most evident in its non-fighting spinoffs, Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball 1-2 and the PSP Dead or Alive Paradise. All of the playable female characters, except Dead or Alive 5's Marie Rose, have large breasts. The female characters are, for the most part, significantly more popular than the male characters and feature more prominently in the advertising for this series, even in the early games when the male characters outnumbered the females.
It takes place in the same universe as the Ninja Gaiden games whose hero Ryu Hayabusa also appears in Dead or Alive. Ayane and Kasumi from Dead or Alive have also made appearances in the Xbox Ninja Gaiden games with the former acting in a supporting role and the latter in a cameo. As of Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate, Momiji and Rachel from the XBOX Ninja Gaiden games have also joined the series roster.
The first four fighting games were remade with Dead or Alive Dimensions for the Nintendo 3DS in 2011. It retells the stories of the first four games, tying their stories together more closely, and the game uses levels that were featured in Dead or Alive 2-4 as well as a few new levels. The story mode differs from past games in that the game requires the player to play as a character who functions as one of the main characters of the story arc. It uses the same fighting system that was introduced in Dead or Alive 2, even in the sections of the game that retell the original game. None of the original game's stages are featured in the game as well. The story mode also functions like a an extended tutorial mode in a way as the game explains the game's mechanics while the player battles his/her opponents. It also includes Irene Lew with a new design in the game's narrative though she is not a playable character, tying the Dead or Alive games more closely to the Ninja Gaiden games.
The series has included guest fighters/references to other games starting with Dead or Alive 4 which included Nicole, a female SPARTAN, and a stage based off of Halo. Dead or Alive Paradise had Rio from Super Blackjack, Dimensions has a stage based off Metroid and a cameo by Ridley, and Dead or Alive 5 has Akira Yuki, Sarah Bryant, and Pai Chan from Virtua Fighter.
Dead or Alive 2 and 3 also made use of music by Aerosmith.
There was also an unofficial online Dead or Alive game (not to be confused with the DOA Online mode in Dead or Alive 4 or the online mode of Dead or Alive 5) made by Chinese Dead or Alive fans that utilized stages from Dead or Alive Ultimate which was released in 2009, but the servers closed down in 2010. However, Russian DOA fans have formed an unofficial private server.
It also been adapted into an English language film and is one half of the popular fan made crossover Dead Fantasy.
The games have no relation to the Miike Takashi films of the same name or any work called Dead or Alive.
Introduced in DOA1
Games in series:
Queen's_Gate Kasumi appears in a card set but she is not playable in the Queen's Gate video games.
Dead_Fantasy fan-made crossover
Halo_(game) DOA4 has a SPARTAN named Nicole as a playable character and a Halo stage.
Metroid DOAD has a Metroid stage
Virtua_Fighter Akira, Sarah, and Pai are guest fighters in DOA5
Super_Blackjack Rio appears in DOA Paradise
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