The second installment of the Dead or Alive series (and the sequel to the original Dead or Alive) Dead or Alive 2 updates both the character roster (including mysterious amnesiac Ein, mercenary Leon, and opera singer Helena) and graphics engine while replacing the original "danger zones" arena system with numerous multi-tier arenas of different shapes and sizes (each with their own set of environmental hazards).
Arcade versions of the game features the ability for players to choose from multiple game modes prior to choosing their fighter. Along with the standard arcade mode (called "Time Attack"), the game features a dedicated Story mode (which shortens fights for additional cutscenes), and bonus Survival and Tag Battle modes (both of which must be unlocked by the service operator). It is the last arcade game in the series prior to Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate Arcade later in 2013.
Ports & Updates
The game first received an arcade update (titled Dead or Alive 2 Millenium) exclusively in Japan on January 18, 2000. Along with minor gameplay fixes, this update unlocks Survival and Tag Battle modes from the start and adds additional costumes for Kasumi and Ayane.
The Millenium version was used as the base for the game's ports, all of which add additional game modes and simpler Hold commands. There are six separate versions of these ports:
- The first is the North American release for the Dreamcast, released on February 29, 2000.
- The second is the Japanese release for the PlayStation 2, released on March 30, 2000. This version adds three new stages and new unlockable costumes.
- The third is the European release for the Dreamcast, released by Acclaim on July 14, 2000. Along with the unlockable costumes from the Japanese PS2 version, this version adds new costumes based on the Shadow Man video game.
- The fourth is the Japanese release for the Dreamcast, released on September 28, 2000. This version adds two new stages, new unlockable costumes, a new unlockable character (Bayman from the original game), the final boss as a playable character, and new game modes (including online multiplayer). A bonus Limited Edition release of the game added a CG Gallery mode (featuring rendered photos of the game's female characters).
- The fifth is the enhanced PlayStation 2 port, re-titled DOA2: Hardcore. Released in North America (on October 25, 2000), Europe (by SCEE on December 13, 2000 as DOA2: Dead or Alive 2), and Japan (on December 14, 2000), this version builds on the Japanese Dreamcast release and further improves the graphics engine while adding new stages, new character outfits, and optional English voiceovers (for the North American version only). This version was later digitally re-released for the PlayStation 3 in Japan (on August 22, 2012) and North America (on March 24, 2015).
- The last is the enhanced Xbox port, re-titled Dead or Alive 2 Ultimate and bundled with an enhanced port of the original Dead or Alive as Dead or Alive Ultimate in late 2004. This version features elements and gameplay mechanics from Dead or Alive 3 (including unrestricted side-stepping), improved visuals, a new unlockable character (Hitomi from Dead or Alive 3), and online multiplayer via Xbox Live.
Dead or Alive 2 followed the first one in terms of dangerzones and the tempo of the gameplay, it remained as fast and as twitchy all while improving graphics as well as character roster, and added character abilities. As well as new moves for the characters and the improved graphics Dead or Alive 2 was the first versus-fighting game to include walls on the various stages. Walls would stop you from knocking your opponent out of the ring (ala Virtua Fighter), while still confining the fight to a small area.
The game continued the Rock-Paper-Scissors gameplay from the first title to stand out from the rest of the at the time popular fighting games (Tekken and Virtua Fighter). The Rock-Scissors-Paper system is still in use in the fourth release of Dead or Alive ( DOA4) on the Xbox 360.
In Dead or Alive, they introduced Offensive Holds (OH) which LOOKS like a Regular throw, but plays different. Offensive Holds executed when an opponent would strike you with a regular attack, would avoid the opponents attack and throw them, dealing damage in the process. Offensive Holds however, executed when an opponent would initiate a Regular Throw, would lose to the Throw and as a result you would be taking quite a bit of damage from their Throw. Regular Throws executed when an opponent would strike you with a normal attack would be ineffective, and you would take damage from their blow.
Offensive Holds > Attacks > Throws
Throws > Offensive Holds > Attacks
Attacks > Throws > Offensive Holds
The base game includes 12 playable characters and 1 unplayable boss. Characters who did not return were Bayman and Raidou. Later versions of the game added Bayman as an unlockable character while making the final boss playable (as an unlock). The last Xbox port of the game added a character from Dead or Alive 3, Hitomi, as a unlockable.
- Helena Douglas
- Tengu (final boss, unlockable in the Japanese DC, PS2 Hardcore, and Xbox Ultimate versions and cannot be used in Story Mode)
- Hitomi (added in the Xbox Ultimate version as an unlockable, requires a save file from either Dead or Alive 3 or Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball)