What do you get when Tecmo decide to do like Nintendo and make a sports game based on characters from one of their most popular franchises? The answer is Dead or Alive Xtreme Volleyball.
A bit of Dead or Alive history
For anyone who has been living under a rock for the past 9 years Dead or Alive is a fighting series that started out in the arcades as a Virtua Fighter clone and was ported to the ill-fated Sega Saturn in Japan and later got a release on the Sony PlayStation in the West in 1997 or 1998 with Ayane as an unlock able fighter. A few years after the first Dead or Alive Tecmo threw a little love Sega?s way again with the Dreamcast release of Dead or Alive 2, and once again the console failed. They then ported it to the PlayStation 2, which brings us to the third installment Dead or Alive 3 released on the Xbox at launch over here and in the US. Now we have Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball...
Welcome to Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball.
So that is the first few Dead or Alive games and this one is the most recent.
It's called Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball, but that name is a bit misleading as there isn't really anything "Xtreme" about it. Maybe they're talking about the music being... Well best not to go there. The game takes place on an island Zack bought after winning the Dead or Alive 3 Tournament and winning big at a casino. He somehow tricks all of the Dead or Alive girls into thinking the next DOA is being held on said island. So that is the basic story out of the way.
Once you start the game you'll be greeted by Lisa; she?s the new girl or if you play as Lisa, Tina is waiting for you on the island. She will show you around the shops starting with the Accessory shop where you can buy items such as sun tan lotion, hats, and visors to dress up your girl.
Then it is onto the sports shop for some 'lovely' swim suits there is even a swim suit called 'Morgan' in there somewhere and yes, I?m worried by that too. After you?ve been doing a bit of shopping you can go to Poolside and pan around your girl a bit with the camera using the right joystick. This place is also home to a mini-game simply called the Hopping game. It is basically just a way to configure the controls to your liking but you still earn money from it to spend on items the you can also chain hops together to get more Zacks from it. At pool side you can also 'take a rest' basically this is just another way to have a get a look at your girl unfortunately it doesn?t go very far, so I'm guessing Tecmo were trying to give the male fans what they want but at the same time avoid turning it into a full blown hentai game.
When you finally get around to the Volleyball part of the game it?s evening of Day 1. One game lasts 14 days so there's plenty of Volleyball to be played. The Volleyball is basic at best and plays like an arcade game rather than a Volleyball sim as Tecmo have opted to make a simpler version of volleyball so it appeals to more people. In this Volleyball game even if you lose the match you still get 100 Zacks to spend, and the money you get from spiking the ball, spiking gives you 1000 Zacks and spiking the ball is also the best way to score points in the Volleyball game. You get a lot of Zacks from playing Volleyball.
After the first Volleyball match you'll head to the hotel. You will get at least one present each time you come here from Zack, who doesn?t turn up again until the end of the game anyway. This is also how you unlock a lot of the bonus stuff in Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball like the Ninja Gaiden Trailer there are also Gameplay movies from Dead or Alive 2 and 3. While you are at the hotel you can also check out a casino; it features Roulette, Blackjack, Poker, and slot machines featuring pictures of the Dead or Alive girls, and what more could you want? After playing in the casino it?s off to bed and seconds later it is morning this is a good time to make a new play list for the radio if you haven't already.
A few days into the game if you lose a few volleyball matches your partner will lose interest and you will have to find a new girl in the morning, this is where it turns into a dating game. Finding a partner in this game is easy enough though, just by looking at their favorite foods in the manual to find out who likes what food for example, Lei-Fang likes Chinese desert. Now if only we had manuals like that in real life.
I almost forgot this game has a multiplayer mode too, Only two players can play together though which is a bit of a let down for anyone looking for four player action. This leads me to believe this game was originally intended for the PlayStation 2.
That covers all of the game modes.
The Graphics in Dead or Alive XVB are really a mixed bag, on one hand all of the back grounds look nice with all of the effects you would expect; the girls leave holes in the sand when the fall over, the girls skin even gets darker as the days pass by, and the girls all look great on the Xbox hardware.
There is this one thing though for some reason all of the games seem to be based around the same model in the volleyball game so they move the same in the volleyball matches. They all jump the same, fall the same, and run the same.
Then the is the camera, it swings when you?re playing to keep the focus on the ball. While this isn?t a bad idea it doesn?t help when you have to move your girl to the right every time a new match starts just so you can see her, yes the camera starts at a angle instead of letting you see the whole court or to start with.
Now it's also interesting the way they've avoided turning this game into a hentai. You see there is a so called 'nude cheat' this is a real trick you can do at Poolside with a visor and slightly see through swimsuit, but it replaces the nipples with stars it looks pretty funny too and the girls aren?t really naked.
This is where Tecmo really confused me as to the target audience for this game, you seethe default music is a collection of bands like B*Witched, bands that generally teenage girls like and most guys stay away from. Why then is it in a game of this nature? To their credit if you can stand the music long enough to try playing with it, it does seem to suit the Gameplay. Most of you will probably just change the play list at the in game radio station. A good soundtrack can really make this game a lot more fun to play. Most but unfortunately not all of the speech in this is Japanese with subtitles the only exception to this is Zacks voice which has some bad voice acting on behalf of Dennis Rodman. There was a lot of hype surrounding that idea but he failed to live up to it quite badly.
I can't stop playing this game.
This game is one you can play over and over to collect all of the swim suit and items for each girl and there are a lot of swim suits to collect. To save you buying the same swimsuits twice by pressing X on the suit your girl will tell you if she's seen it before, it also works with the other items from the accessory shop this is very helpful indeed. I have become a bit addicted to the game already and have clocked up 69:50 on the clock. Yes, you read it right 69 hours and 50 minutes. I'm still not tired of this game either.