Dead or Alive 4 (also known as DOA4) is the fourth main installment of the Dead or Alive franchise, and the eighth installment overall.
Developed by Team Ninja and published by Tecmo, it was first released exclusively for the Xbox 360 in Japan on December 29, 2005, and was later released to other countries throughout 2006. It was originally slated to be a launch title for the Xbox 360, but was delayed until more than a month after the console debuted.
As the direct follow-up to the 2001 title Dead or Alive 3, Dead or Alive 4 introduced three new characters to the main line-up of regular fighters, as well as many multi-tiered and interactive fighting arenas, and a gameplay system that, in some ways, differed greatly from previous installments.
A sequel to the game, Dead or Alive 5, was released in 2012; about seven years after the release of Dead or Alive 4.
The main plot continues with the war between the Dead or Alive Tournament Executive Committee, and the Mugen Tenshin clan. After Ayane successfully defeats DOATEC's last creation, Omega, Hayate returned to the Mugen Tenshin clan, taking over the leadership. Now leader, he goes on a quest; to put an end to DOATEC, for all the suffering it has caused to the world. He is accompanied by Ayane and Ryu Hayabusa; Kasumi, though reluctant, is dragged into the events herself as she follows her brother.
Dead or Alive 4 has a grand total of twenty-two playable characters, 5 of which are unlockable by completing different tasks in-game. Below is a list of all the playable characters in the game.
Returning playable charactersEdit
- Kasumi, a nukenin who everyday must overcome a vast number of trials to survive. This time around, Kasumi's new clone, Alpha-152, is about to be unleashed onto the world, and Kasumi must now prepare for the next epic battle of her life and defeat it.
- Ryu Hayabusa, the man known as the "Super Ninja" whose extraordinary exploits and incredible ability are well known. Now, having heard reports of his best friend Hayate's rise to arms, Hayabusa lends his sword to the destruction of DOATEC.
- Hitomi, a karateka whose family's dojo is in financial trouble due to a sudden illness which befell her father. Now needing to rebuild the dojo, Hitomi enters the tournament to find Ein, the only one whom she believes can help.
- Brad Wong, a master of zui ba xian quan who for three years has been searching for the illusive liquor "Genra" at the request of his master, Chen. Though he has been searching for such a long time, Brad still continues to wander around to find the wine.
- Bass Armstrong, the undefeated pro-wrestler and the father of Tina Armstrong. Though always teaching his daughter the true worth of wrestling, Bass has grown tired of Tina's so-called "flashy crap" and has entered the tournament yet again to take her on and teach her the importance of pro-wrestling.
- Zack, a Muay Thai boxer whose resort island has sunk to the bottom of the ocean. Now all that remains is a mountain of debt, one hundred times the size of the original investment. Zack must now enter the tournament and climb the DOATEC Tritowers.
- Jann Lee, a master of Jeet Kune Do who is always searching for a show-down and enters the tournament once again to fulfill his need for a fight.
- Leifang, a young woman who is described as a "tai ji quan genius". Six years ago, Leifang was saved by Jann Lee from a gang of street fighters. Haunted by this memory ever since, Leifang has committed herself to reach the highest plateau of ability, all so that she may one day defeat Jann Lee and prove that she can exist in the same world as him.
- Tina Armstrong, a young woman whose natural talent and special training by her father, Bass, have made her a well-established superstar in the world of women's pro-wrestling. Always following her motto, "success breeds success", Tina has been amazingly successful at both her modelling and acting career, and now looks towards achieving her new dream: to become a rock star.
- Bayman, the man personally responsible for the assassination of Fame Douglas. The man who gave Bayman the assignment, Victor Donovan, attemped to repay him by hiring a killer to shut the assassin up. The now vengeful Bayman is determined to infiltrate the DOATEC Tritowers and will not leave until he has Donovan's head.
- Christie, an assassin who was hired in the previous tournament by Donovan to serve at Helena's side, then assassinate her. Failing to kill her in the end, Christie now has a strong fixation for Helena and won't allow anyone else but herself to kill her.
- Ayane, the leader of the Hajinmon, the dark side of the Mugen Tenhsin clan, and the younger half-sister of Kasumi and Hayate. Although being a kunoichi prodigy, Ayane is doomed to the shadows because of her cursed birth. Whilst having an intense hatred towards her sister, Ayane has strong feelings towards her brother. This time around, Ayane has pledged her entire existence to the task of assisting Hayate in his plan to destroy DOATEC.
- Hayate, a young shinobi and the eighteenth leader of the Mugen Tenshin clan. No longer being able to look away from DOATEC's orgy of indiscriminate violence, Hayate has now ordered his brethren to eradicate DOATEC with the cleansing flames of justice.
New playable charactersEdit
- Kokoro, a young girl currently training to become a geisha. Though she enjoys her lessons, Kokoro's heart and soul truly belong to her ba ji quan, and despite her mother's worries, she enters to the tournament to test herself.
- Eliot, the only apprentice of the legendary "Immovable Fist," Gen Fu. Having doubts about himself and questioning why Gen Fu chose him as his successor, Eliot enters the tournament to find out if he has the right to carry on Gen Fu's legacy.
- La Mariposa, a luchadora who hides her past and true identity underneath her flamboyant costume. La Maripsoa rose like a comet to the peak of stardom only a short while after her debut, and has never lost a match.
- Ein, a karateka suffering from amnesia, and the man who Hitomi seeks out in the tournament. In actuality, Ein's true identity is Hayate, which he regained at the end of the second tournament.
- Gen Fu, a master of xinyi liuhe quan and the teacher of Eliot. With Mei Lin's recovery and her medical bills paid off, Gen Fu no longer enters the tournaments.
- Leon, a mercenary who had seeked to fulfill the last words of his lost love, Lauren. Receiving a spiritual blessing from Lauren at the end of the previous tournament, Leon no longer enters the tournaments.
- Helena Douglas, the illegitimate daughter of Fame Douglas, who has sworn revenge after losing both her father and her beloved mother, Maria, to a whirlwind of conspiracy. Now, she has chosen to throw herself into the storm by assuming the mantle of the president of DOATEC.
- SPARTAN-458, a SPARTAN-II super soldier from the year 2552 who has now ended up back in the 21st century due to a semi-stable "bubble" in the space/time continuum.
- Tengu, also known by his real name Bankotsubo; an evil being who was stopped by Hayabusa in the second tournament after creating chaos for mankind.
- Alpha-152, the final stage of the human weapon series Project Alpha, a group of hyper clones created from Kasumi's DNA by the evil genius Donovan. Having just been born, Alpha-152 is immaculate; she is a blank state, and precisely because of that the combat instincts that have been imprinted on her psyche are able to be activated mercilessly without exception.
- Anne, a mysterious woman who was murdered at gun point by an unknown person.
- Maria, a world-class soprano singer and the mother of Helena. Before the second tournament, Maria sacrificed her own life to save her daughter from an assassination attempt.
- Mei Ling, the granddaughter of Gen Fu and who before the fourth tournament, was severely ill with a rare disease. Now fully recovered, Mei Lin enjoys a happy brother-sister relationship with her grandfather's apprentice, Eliot.
- Miyako, the mother of Kokoro and who mysteriously knows all that there is to know about the criminal underground of DOATEC. Despite her worries, Miyako allows her daughter to enter the tournament.
- Muramasa, a legendary weapon smith and shop owner who has aided Hayabusa in the past. This time around, Muramasa is working at the Seaside Market as a simple market vendor.
- Niki, the girlfriend of Zack who helps out her boyfriend in his ventures for more money.
- Story Mode - A single-player mode which offers the player to play through a number of rounds with a character and learn their backstory through cutscenes. Most Story Modes end with a battle against the game's main end-boss, Alpha-152 or another "personal boss", followed by an ending cutscene. Not all characters have stories.
- Time Attack -A single-player challenge where the player must defeat a set amount of opponents in the shortest possible time.
- Survival Mode - Another single-player mode, in which the player must defeat as many opponents as possible.
- Team Battle - Two teams of characters fighting each other, with a total of 8 characters on each side. Teams fight one-on-one, and members tag in when someone is knocked out.
- Free Play - A simple one-on-one battle, in which the player can play against another player or a computer-controlled AI.
- Tag Battle - The player creates a two-man team to try and defeat another. Only one member per team can be in the right at any one time, and they can only be swapped out with a tag move. The player can play against another player or a computer-controlled AI.
There are six unlockable characters in Dead or Alive 4. Helena is the only unlockable character that is playable in all the gameplay modes, with the others characters not being playable in Story Mode.
|Ein||Clear Story Mode with Hitomi|
|Gen Fu||Clear Story Mode with Eliot|
|Leon||Clear Story Mode with Zack|
|Helena Douglas||Clear Story Mode with all the characters|
|SPARTAN-458||Clear Story Mode with Helena|
|Tengu||Clear Time Attack Mode with all the characters, including the unlockables|
As well as new characters joining the cast, the game has a number of updates in reference to previous titles:
- The counter system has been tightened, making the window for counters shorter. and more difficult to execute.
- The amount of damage that counters inflict has also been changed; in Dead or Alive Ultimate, the counters were rather damaging and in Dead or Alive 3, the amount was much less, relying on players to strike or throw more to defeat their opponents. In Dead or Alive 4, is a more balanced amount of damage taken.
- Characters' move lists have been vastly updated.
- Characters now emit cries of pain when hit, much like other fighting games that came before it.
Following its release, two updates were made available for the game, one of which altered the characters' stats to even them out in regards to power.
On May 12, 2005, the first screens from the game were leaked on the internet via the elotrolado.net message boards. The first official screenshots, in-game demos and cinematics were presented by Microsoft at press conferences with the game originally slated to be a launch title for the Xbox 360.
However, the game was delayed many times before eventually being released on 29 December 2005, more than a month after the console debuted. Famitsu Xbox editor-in-chief Munetatsu Matsui pointed to Dead or Alive 4's absence as a launch title as the main factor behind the slow sales of the Xbox 360 in Japan.
Since Dead or Alive 4 release, a demo version of the game has been avaliable for free download via Xbox Live. While the demo showcases the final version of the game, it is a very limited version and only a handful of the features are accessible, while the rest are locked down. Only Versus Mode and Time Attack are playable, there are just five stages avaliable, and only Kasumi, Hayabusa, Brad, Tina, Eliot, and La Mariposa are playable. Some of the settings are also locked-out.
On its release, Dead or Alive 4 received generally very positive reviews, with a score of 85 out of 100 from Metacritic, based on 76 reviews.
IGN gave the game a 9.0 out of 10, calling it "a move in the right direction for the series," and praised the fighting system as "deeper and more sophisticated." They also praised the look of the game very highly, saying that "one is hard pressed to argue that Team Ninja's final version of Dead or Alive 4 isn't one of, if not the best, looking game on the juvenile system thus far." However, they did note that "the characters have made a significant graphic jump in design above their predecessors," and while "good looking," they felt "more of an amplification of the previous roster's clean looks than a major shift or advancement."
Gamespot awarded the game a score of 88%, with only a couple of negative comments regarding "a few graphical flaws," and some problems with the online mode. The website calls the online lobby system "cute but feels needlessly tacked on," but still praises the online system as providing a "near-limitless challenge for competitive players." Thye also praised the game's "finely tuned, fast-paced fighting action" and "Gorgeous presentation."
However, Jolt Online Gaming UK gives the game an average 6.5/10, calling the single player mode "an exercise in frustration and joypad throwing." They also state that the online mode "is probably best locked away and only spoken of in hushed tones when you think no one who isn’t in the know is listening."
Eurogamer also gave Dead or Alive 4 an average score of 6 out of 10, stating while the graphics are "nice" and the gameplay system "is certainly better than DOA3's, and almost up there with DOA2," they found the online and single-player modes "flawed to the point where they're simply not enjoyable in any way."
Since its release, Dead or Alive 4 has sold 1.2 million units worldwide.
- See: /Production credits
- Command lists
- Dead or Alive 4 Original Sound Trax
- Fighting quotes
- Item collection datasheet
- Promotional artwork and wallpapers
- In an interview with Famitsu Xbox, Itagaki remarked that he spent 99% of his time developing Dead or Alive 4, while only sleeping 40 minutes in four days.
- Dead or Alive 4 was featured in the 2012 edition of the "Guinness World Records: Gamer's Edition" for being the first retail game on the Xbox 360 to have "zero point achievements".
- Dead or Alive 4 was included in the Championship Gaming Series and World Cyber Games.
- The cover for Dead or Alive 4 features the greatest amount of characters out of any of the game covers, with a total of twelve characters. The people missing from the cover are Hitomi, Brad, Hayate, Leifang, Bayman, and the unlockable characters.
- Besides the spin-offs, this was the first main game that was rated M for Mature.
- After Dead or Alive 4 in the story of Warriors Orochi, Hayabusa and Ayane had been sent to the Warrior Orochi's realm.
- Besides Spartan-458, who is a guest character, Kokoro, Leon and Tengu are the only characters who did not serve as bosses in the Story Mode.
- Dead or Alive 4 was briefly referenced in one of the strips for The Boondocks, as an Xbox 360 game that Riley was supposed to get for Christmas, but his threats to "Santa" (actually his grandpa) resulted in his grandpa getting it.
- ↑ Elotrolado.com - "Primeras imágenes de Dead or Alive 4" (Spanish)
- ↑ Fileplanet - "Dead or Alive 4 E3 2005 Trailer"
- ↑ Gamespot - "DOA4 delay déjà vu"
- ↑ BBC News - "Slow start for Xbox 360 in Japan"
- ↑ Metacritic - "Dead or Alive 4"
- ↑ IGN - "Dead or Alive 4"
- ↑ Gamespot- "Dead or Alive 4 Review"
- ↑ Eurogamer - "Dead or Alive 4 Review"
- ↑ IGN - "Team Ninja's Tomonobu Itagaki Is Sad"
- ↑ Dead or Alive World - "DOA Guinness World Record"