Try as they might, Tecmo can't shake the stigma that the Dead or Alive series is a second-grade fighter compared to the Virtua Fighters and Tekkens of the world. I don't think they care about that though, since the DOA series is one of the best selling titles on the Xbox, and is making the company a ton of cash in the process. Not content to rest on their laurels, Tecmo has stretched its resources to its limit when developing Dead or Alive Ultimate, a stopover title while Team Ninja works on Dead or Alive 4. Combining the first two Dead or Alive titles into one package, DOA Ultimate is an incredible, value-packed title that any Xbox owner should purchase.
DOA is essentially the Sega Saturn version of Dead or Alive 1 and a completely revamped version of Dead or Alive 2. I say revamped because just about everything has been changed in the game, making it similar to the second game, but a completely different beast of its own. Dead or Alive's counterholds are now back to their original settings from the arcade version of Dead or Alive 2, which four levels to choose from. The damage has also been upped to DOA2 levels as well. Some characters have received new or revamped moves. Check out Leon or Bayman's forward throw while fighting in water to see what I mean. Hitomi from Dead or Alive 3 has also made the roster, but fans of Brad wong or Christie will be disappointed that they are not here. Perhaps Tecmo will release a booster pack in the future to include them.
A couple of new things have been included in Dead or Alive 2 that makes it a lot more enjoyable than previous games, although not more complex. Slope throws are new throws that occur when you are close to a slope. Several stages have them, and some of the animations that are used for the throws are simply hilarious! People have seen Zack's snowboarding slope throw, but what about Bass' running powerbomb or Jann-Lee's bulldog throw? The second addition to the game is the inclusion of low ceilings, which makes some characters (like Hayabusa and Ayane) more dangerous.
While no real technical additions were made to the game, DOA2U still has a great dynamic feel to it. I've made the comparison before when writing about past DOA games, but Tecmo's fighters are akin to a rock concert, whereas Sega's Virtua Fighter is a chess match. Both can be enjoyed by the same person, but simply at different times. The thing is that the game needs to be fun, and DOA is definitely that.