The Dead or Alive series was created by Tomonobu Itagaki. It was Tecmo's response to Sega's Virtua Fighter series. At the time, Tecmo was facing financial difficulties but thanks to Dead Or Alive, the game was a smash hit and the company made a huge profit.
The first entry in the Dead or Alive series released on the Playstation, Sega Saturn and of course, in the arcades.
Kasumi’s uncle Raidou, who had been banished from the clan years ago, returns to the Mugen Tenshin village to steal a secret move called the Torn Sky Blast. Hayate and Ayane fight Raidou and Hayate uses the torn sky blast in the fight, thus showing Raidou how it’s preformed. The fight ends with Raidou using the Torn Sky Blast and putting Hayate in a coma. After realizing her brother might never wake up Kasumi abandons the clan to take vengeance on her uncle for what he did to her brother. The clan brands Kasumi a runaway shinobi and tasks Ayane with eliminating her. Kasumi learns that her uncle is involved with a company called DOATEC and enters a fighting tournament they are hosting. Unbeknownst to Kasumi, while she is participating in the tournament the still comatose Hayate is kidnapped. Kasumi makes it to the final round of the Dead or Alive 1 World Combat Championship and faces her uncle. She kills him and wins the tournament. Immediately afterward she is taken captive by the Super-human Development Project.
After the portal to Hell in Mt. Fuji is closed Ayane returns to her clan for a while. While she’s there Raidou also returns to steal one of the Mugen Tenshin secret moves called the Torn Sky Blast. Hayate and Ayane fight Raidou and the fight ends with Raidou using the Torn Sky Blast and putting Hayate in a coma. The next day Kasumi abandons the clan in order to take revenge for her brother. The clan brands Kasumi a traitor and tasks Ayane with eliminating her. Ayane follows Kasumi who has enrolled herself in a new fighting tournament called Dead or Alive hosted by DOATEC, a company Kasumi thinks knows something about the whereabouts of Raidou. Ayane does not enter the tournament and hopes Kasumi will end up in the D column of DOA. The tournament ends with Raidou dead, the still comatose Hayate kidnapped, and Kasumi’s whereabouts unknown.
Dead or Alive was re-released in 2004 alongside Dead or Alive 2 in the Dead or Alive: Ultimate package.
Dead or Alive 2 was released in 2000 for the Dreamcast, Playstation 2 and Arcade. DOA2 was also the first game in the series to have multi-tiered stages, a team mode and replays.
An improved version of Dead or Alive 2 was released in 2001 under the title: Dead or Alive 2 Hardcore for the Playstation 2. This version featured more stages and a visual improvement over the previous version.
While Kasumi is held captive her clone ‘Kasumi Alpha’ is created. Kasumi is entered in DOA 2 and faces her clone. Kasumi defeats the clone and advances. During the tournament she sees Hayate, but he has amnesia and doesn’t recognize her. Later she faces off against Ayane who was sent by her clan to kill the traitor. Kasumi loses the fight and barely escapes with her life.
Less than a year later a second DOA tournament is held and Ayane enters hoping it will lead her to Kasumi. It does, and Ayane defeats Kasumi. However Kasumi escapes before she is killed. Ayane also runs into Hayate who is awake and free, but has amnesia. Ayane also meets Helena for the first time. Helena suspects Ayane could have killed her mother and when Helena confronts Ayane, Ayane doesn’t deny anything. It is later revealed that Ayane had nothing to do with Helena’s mothers death.
After the tournament Ayane returns to the Mugen Tenshin Clan and learns that the man who raised her, Genra, is missing.
Dead or Alive 2 was re-released in 2004 for the Xbox along with Dead or Alive under the name Dead or Alive 2: Ultimate. This version featured more costumes and online play.
Dead or Alive 3 was the series debut on the Xbox and also saw the debut of Hitomi and Brad Wong.
DOA3 is the first entry in the series to feature fully animated CGI ending movies and also featured a menu system that would be implemented in future DOA games to come.
Kasumi joins DOA 3 in hopes to see her brother who has regained his memory since the last time they met. She does find him but the reunion isn’t what she had hoped. Being that Hayate is now the leader of the clan she abandoned, he cannot show lenience towards Kasumi. Kasumi loses early in the tournament and returns to a life on the run from her brothers clan.
Ayane joins in the third DOA tournament in search of Genra. While there she runs into Kasumi, who one again escapes. Ayane reaches the end of the tournament and finds Genra brainwashed and given superhuman powers by DOATEC’s Omega Project. Ayane is the forced to kill the closest thing she ever had to a father. She succeeds and wins the tournament.
Dead or Alive returned to Xbox in the most recent installment in the DoA fighting series. This saw the debut of Kokoro and Eliot along with the return of DOA Online and even Halo unlockables such as a Halo stage and a Spartan playable.
After a vacation Kasumi enters the real DOA 4. While there she discovers that DOATEC has created a new version of Alpha named ‘Alpha-152’ that is designed to be a super-human. Alpha-152 and Kasumi fight while stories above them the tower they’re in is being destroyed by the Hayate and Ayane. Kasumi defeats Alpha-152 escapes with her life before the building explodes.
After a vacation Ayane once again, returns to the Mugen Tenshin Clan. Soon Lisa alerts the clan to a new project DOATEC is working on. Hayate decides that DOATEC must be destroyed and Ayane pledges her life to helping Hayate achieve just that. Ayane and Hayate both enter DOA 4 and succeed in there mission. The tournament ends with DOATEC exploding.
Dead or Alive: Ultimate
Dead or Alive: Ultimate was a special package released in 2004 for the Xbox. This package featured Dead or Alive and Dead or Alive 2, both with online play and leaderboards.
Dead or Alive: Ultimate was a two-disc package. Copies of the game also came with a Kasumi trading card.
Changes in Dead or Alive 1 from the original are only the ability to play against other on Xbox Live and leader boards. Dead or Alive 2: Ultimate, however, featured significant changes. Changes and differences include:
- Improved graphics-- DOA2U sported beautiful, detailed environments.
- Online play dubbed Dead or Alive: Online. The ability to play on Xbox Live was shut down along with the shut down of the original Xbox Live service.
- New Characters: Bayman and Hitomi were unlockable characters. Hitomi could only be unlocked with a DOA3 or DOAXV save file on the system.
- Special behind-the-scenes video was unlockable.
- Songs "Exciter" and "How You Feel" by Bomb Factory were no longer featured in Dead or Alive 2 as the intro music.
- Some event fights in Story Mode were set in different locations.
Dead or Alive Xtreme
Dead or Alive Xtreme Volleyball was released in 2003. The story being Zack invited all the DoA girls to an island, tricking them into thinking they are going to be in another tournament. With the girls tricked after arriving on the island, they decide to relax for a bit on the island. The game consisted of somewhat solid Volleyball game play and cutscenes with the DoA girls doing various activities (swimming, dancing, laying down, etc.). DOAX was praised for it's superb graphics but was criticized for it's repetitive game play and creepy themes. This entry spawned a small series of Dead or Alive beach games.
Dead or Alive Xtreme 2 was released in 2006, having roughly the same story as the first DOAX game. Zack inviting the girls to the island.. tricking them once again. This game not only included Volleyball, but had various mini-games such as Jet Sking, Gambling, various pool games and even a "Butt Battle"..?! DOAX2 also had a focus on partners, meaning you choose a DoA girl to become your friend. You will have to impress her with gifts and swimsuits to increase your friendship. DOAX2 was praised for it's gorgeous graphics but it was lacking in game play. The mini-games were dull and the achievements were proved very difficult.
Dead or Alive: Paradise is the series' return to a Playstation console. Being released on the PSP, DOAP is taking most elements from DOAX2 (such as gambling, mini games and relationships) and adding new features such as taking photos of other girls to create your own photo album and more. DOAP was released to meet negative reception from critics.
The Dead or Alive Xtreme series has been widely criticized for being perverted and being nothing but cheap fan service. The game also leaves some story elements behind. In the DoA story, Ayane's mission is to kill her sister, Kasumi. In the Dead or Alive Xtreme games, it's as if nothing ever happened. Kasumi and Ayane are friendly and for some reason they are not trying to kill each other.
Series creator Tomonobu Itagaki left Tecmo in 2008. He said that production of the Dead or Alive and Ninja Gaiden series' would no longer continue. Since his departure, Dead or Alive: Paradise has been released for the PSP and Dead or Alive: ONLINE has launched in China.
Dead or Alive: 3DS was announced at the reveal of Nintendo's Nintendo 3DS handheld system. Developers who were creating launch titles for the 3DS were listed along with the announcement. Team Ninja was listed and it stated that a Dead or Alive title would be released for the 3DS.
From the screenshots, it appears that it is a Dead or Alive 1 remake. The screenshots show Raidou (the end boss from DOA1), Kasumi, Ayane, and Ryu Hayabusa.
Dead Or Alive: Code Chronos
In 2005, Tomonobu Itagaki stated that Code Chronos will act as a prequel to the Dead Or Alive series focusing its story on Kasumi and Ayane before the first tournament. It was suggested to be an Xbox 360 exclusive. Unfortunately, after Itagaki left Team Ninja in 2008, the development status went unknown. On November 5, 2010, head of Team Ninja Yousuke Hayashi confirmed in an interview that the project "was just at the framework level" and has been "officially cancelled."