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Monday, June 9, 2014

Interest Monday - Dead or Alive Series

I've been putting this off for a while (almost a month!). But it's summer vacation, I love video games and E3 just started. I really want to get this out to you because that's how much I care!

Dead Or Alive 3 XBox CoverScan (Hires 300dpi)

My older brother introduced me to DOA2 then gave me DOA3. I took to it more easily than Street Fighter & Tekken (and much later on Soul Calibur, King of Fighters, Mortal Kombat and Injustice) due to each of the buttons being devoted to one action. It was probably due to having a block button rather than a directional block. Had I been exposed to the other titles much sooner, maybe my conclusions would be different. Unfortunately I never really got into 4 due to the game's control scheme throwing my rhythm out the window. I'm hoping that 5 brought back the beloved aspects of the series.
DOA was the first game that introduced me to the concept that fighters can have backstories beyond their countries of origin, arts and even the competition itself. Unlike Street Fighter and Tekken, which often saved their backstories to the intro and ending cutscenes, DOA puts their scenes throughout the game even if it's something as simple as fighter's banter. It's little additions like that that make a difference between a generic game and a dynamic playing style. The characters have different motivations for why they join the competition in the first place - from chasing down an enemy to settling a personal matter.  If anyone has protest on these characters, they can be overruled because these stories can hit you in the feels when played right.

For example, I love Ayane's story from DOA3 because she had everything against her - she was born of a demon lineage, with her half-brother Hayate looking down on her in scorn out of duty rather than genuine feeling. She's suspected of a murder she didn't commit. Even though she has Ryu Hayabusa and her half-sister Kasumi backing her up, she's really on her own. She even has to kill Genra  who turns out to be her father corrupted by DOATEC's technology out of personal honor. Yet she gets the job done and wins the tournament despite the personal costs. Many others stick out for me but I remember the tears I had watching Ayane's story.

Love it or hate it, you can't deny Dead or Alive was graphically innovative. It was my first exposure to the 3D fighting genre on a console (the other being Power Stone) and I took a double dose of it. The game also brought in the concept of world interaction. From hitting a wall to a height switch in the level, it demonstrated that games and fighting can be dynamic and adaptable to the circumstances in front of you. Power Stone brought in the physical aspect while DOA had the environment. Injustice has been the only game so far that has brought the two elements together. (If there are more, leave some comments. I'm expanding my collection at the moment.)

Of course the game series has not gone without criticism and controversy - scandals at the game's development, the boob physics, Ayane and Kasumi's age omissions among many others. But I still stand by it because at the end of the day, it's about having a good gaming experience. I'll save controversy for another post. I'd personally rather avoid it - I'm all about happiness after all. It does come with the territory though... Oh well.

My Favorite Characters- I love to play a lot more than what I'm listing but these are the ones I turn to the most.
  • Ayane (Ninjutsu, DOA3 Tournament Winner) - Already explained my reasons above. Also, she's cool like that. My big bro beats me up with her all the time though...
  • Christie (She Quan) - I know she's one of the bad guys. But she's way too much fun to leave on a shelf. Her hands have a snake-like style to them and it matches her occupation perfectly.
  • Helena (Pi Gua Quan, current president of DOATEC) - She has the most fighting combinations in the DOA series to date and she can fight forwards AND backwards! Fun fact - she's also an operatic soprano.
  • Hitomi (Karate) - Her punch really packs a punch (pun intended). Her devotion to her art is rather relate-able too.
  • Kasumi (Ninjutsu, DOA1 Tournament Winner) - She's the easiest to play and has another interesting backstory in the game. Also, is it just me, or does the DOA tournament have a ninja bias?
  • Lei Fang (Tai Chi Chuan) - A college student who does tournaments for fun? Without stressing about tuition? Sign me up! Her outfits are amazing too. I pair her up with Helena when I play tag. Plus, her DOA3 ending is just sweet.
  • Ryu Hayabusa (Ninjutsu, DOA2 Tournament Winner) - Temco paid a subtle nod to Ninja Gaiden by adding him in DOA2. But obviously his retro popularity can't keep him down. Even in a fighting game, he still takes the cake with his powerful Izuna Drop move. If played right, you can do up to 80 damage points (possibly more if you aim for the right hazard). He's my all-time favorite character and I pair him up with Kasumi when playing tag.
Thanks a lot for reading and listening to my show. Tune in for episode 12 for a longer, smarter and more dynamic show! :)

<3 TM

EDIT (7/25/14): DOA and Power Stone were a couple of 3D console gaming exposures. Another significant one was Killer Instinct on the 64 (at least in terms of the fighting genre).

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