Say what you will about the creative usage of physics in the Dead or Alive series, but Team Ninja’s fighting game franchise has not been without its creative bosses. Of course, they can all be home runs. Such was the case in the final boss of Dead or Alive 4, Alpha-152.
Alpha-152 is basically a clone of the character Kasumi. That is, a clone made entirely out of sentient, super-powered Jell-O. Dead or Alive: Dimensions clarifies things a bit by stating that she’s actually the powered-up form of Kasumi Alpha, the twisted, non-Jell-O clone that appeared in Dead or Alive 2. But yeah, Jell-O clone.
And the disappointment doesn’t stop there. Fighting game bosses tend to be a notorious bunch. Bred from the genre’s roots in arcades, a lot of bosses tend to be difficult in blatantly unfair ways. Whether that be the use of full-screen super attacks that are nigh impossible to defend against or an AI that is programmed to react in specific ways to button inputs. In Alpha-152’s case, it’s a Get Out of Combo Free Card. Launch into a combo, and she’s likely to teleport right out of it and into a position where you’re a sitting duck.
Like the worst fighting game bosses, Alpha-152’s design forces the player to abandon the normal strategies that the game otherwise encourages. To avoid launching into combos, and only deal a few quick hits before backing off to guard against her inevitable retaliation. Facing her in the time trial mode of Dead or Alive 4 is especially painful, as without a doubt, she’s wrecked more of my trial runs than any other opponent due to the number of times I’ve had to retry that fight.
Regardless, she’s not the worst I’ve ever fought. I’d argue that Shao Kahn from last year’s Mortal Kombat reboot was far, far worse in the above respects. That being said, Alpha-152 was easily the worst thing about Dead or Alive 4 unless you simply abhor Halo. Strangely, I didn’t find her nearly as bothersome in Dead or Alive: Dimensions, but that may just be because I knew well enough what to expect from her this time.
But yeah. A Jell-O clone? That’s the best that Team Ninja could come up with? Did they spend too much of the budget licensing Aerosmith music to have the resources for something better? Does Tomonobu Itagaki have a dessert-based fetish that we would really all be better off not knowing about?
The world may never know.