Dead or Alive 1 Ultimate (2004)

by Christopher
6 minutes read


Featuring the Sega Saturn version of Dead or Alive and an enhanced Dead or Alive 2 remake, Dead or Alive 1 Ultimate (2004) offers fans a definitive experience with improved graphics, gameplay, and online multiplayer. It remains a highlight in the series’ legacy.


Dead or Alive 1 Ultimate stands as a significant milestone in the Dead or Alive series, offering fans and newcomers alike a comprehensive package that combines classic gameplay with modern enhancements.


“Dead or Alive 1 Ultimate” (DOAU), released in 2004, is a compilation of fighting games developed by Team Ninja and published by Tecmo for the Xbox. This compilation includes an enhanced version of the original “Dead or Alive” game from 1996 and a remade version of “Dead or Alive 2” from 1999.

The enhanced version of “Dead or Alive 1” in DOAU is essentially identical to its original Sega Saturn version. It features smoothed graphics but lacks the additional content received in the later-released North American PlayStation version, such as the characters Bass or Ayane and extra costumes. This version is generally considered more of a collector’s disc than for its content.

On the other hand, “Dead or Alive 2 Ultimate” is a remake created after the debut of “Dead or Alive 3”. It takes elements and mechanics from both its original iteration and successor. The action of 3D-axis movement is as free-formatted as DOA3, and Hitomi is now a playable character, albeit outside story mode. Other elements have been kept intact from DOA2. These include higher damaging counters than in DOA3, environmental hazards not warranting a knockout on a character, and a counter mechanism that is much harder to execute. Despite being able to freely move on a 3D axis in the Ultimate version of DOA2, most moves cannot be sidestepped as in DOA3 and other 3D fighters.

DOAU marks the first game in the series to be a compilation. It contains a high-resolution edition of the Sega Saturn version of “Dead or Alive”, and an enhanced remake of DOA2 which utilizes a new graphics engine and offers “Dead or Alive 3” game mechanics, new game content, and the inclusion of Hitomi as a playable character. The game offered online multiplayer capabilities, making the compilation among the first fighting games to offer online play.

DOAU received generally favorable reviews from critics who praised the games’ online functionalities. On December 16, 2006, both games became backwards compatible with the Xbox 360. On November 10, 2021, both games were made available to download on Xbox Live worldwide. On November 15, 2021, both games were added to the list of backward compatible games for the Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S.

“Dead or Alive 1 Ultimate” is a testament to the evolution of the “Dead or Alive” series, offering both a nostalgic look back at the original game and a fresh take on its sequel. With its enhanced graphics, new game mechanics, and online multiplayer capabilities, it provides a comprehensive and engaging gaming experience for fans of the series and newcomers alike.


While maintaining the original roster, Dead or Alive 1 Ultimate introduces Hitomi, adding depth to the already diverse lineup of fighters. Each character is uniquely designed with their own fighting styles, backstories, and motivations, contributing to the game’s dynamic and engaging combat system.


The gameplay in Dead or Alive 1 Ultimate is notable for its fast-paced action, strategic depth, and the seamless integration of new mechanics from Dead or Alive 3. The enhanced remake of Dead or Alive 2 within the compilation also introduces online multiplayer, allowing for competitive play against opponents from around the world.


Dead or Alive 1 Ultimate is a testament to the enduring appeal of the Dead or Alive series. By blending classic elements with modern innovations, it delivers a fighting game experience that is both nostalgic and forward-looking.

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