Dead or Alive 2 (1999)

by Nish
6 minutes read


Dead or Alive 2 elevated the fighting game genre with its strategic combat system, stunning graphics, and innovative stage design. It remains a defining game that introduced mechanics and features that have become genre standards.


Dead or Alive 2, a landmark fighting game from 1999, innovated the genre with its dynamic combat system, interactive environments, and compelling narrative, delivered through cutting-edge graphics and immersive CG cutscenes.


“Dead or Alive 2” (DOA2), developed by Team Ninja and published by Tecmo, is a fighting game that debuted in arcades in 1999 and was later ported for the Dreamcast and the PlayStation 2 in 2000. It is the second main entry in the Dead or Alive fighting series.

The game’s plot revolves around the aftermath of the murder of DOATEC’s founder and CEO, Fame Douglas. His death led to a shift in the purpose and significance of the Dead or Alive tournament. The world has become chaotic in the absence of his charisma and leadership.

The new promoter of the tournament is more than a corrupt mastermind. He is a man of pure evil, whose involvement in the tournament has brought a sense of terror to the world. This resulted in the infamous Tengu disaster that occurred at the end of the 20th century.

The plot also focuses on the evil tengu, Gohyakumine Bankotsubo, who escaped from the tengu world into the human world. The climax of the disaster is about to begin with a roaring battle.

The basis of the entire fighting system in Dead or Alive 2 is the circular relationship between three types of moves: blows, throws, and holds. Blows beat throws, throws beat holds, and holds beat blows. The other defining feature of the game is its stun system. Many attacks can inflict a stun on the opponent; those stunned cannot attack or guard, however they can hold.

Dead or Alive 2 improved upon the graphics engine of its predecessor by using the Sega NAOMI hardware and on the gameplay system by including many new features. This led to universal acclaim, strong sales, and it is considered as one of the greatest fighting games of all time.

In 2004, DOA2 was remade for the Xbox as part of Dead or Alive Ultimate. On August 22, 2012, DOA2: Hard*Core was made available as a downloadable game on the Japanese PlayStation Network. The North American version was released on the US PlayStation Network on March 24, 2015.

The game was followed by Dead or Alive 3 in 2001.

“Dead or Alive 2” is a significant entry in the fighting game genre, with its unique gameplay mechanics and engaging plot. The game’s narrative, which centers around the chaos following the death of a prominent figure and the emergence of a new evil, provides a compelling backdrop for the intense fighting action. The game’s legacy continues to influence the genre, demonstrating the enduring appeal of its innovative design.


The game features a diverse roster of fighters, each with unique styles and abilities, fitting into different weight categories that affect their combat dynamics. Character development is enhanced through CG cutscenes that align with the game’s plot.


DOA2 emphasizes the tactical interplay between attack types, environmental strategy, and character-specific mechanics. Its innovative features include multi-tiered stages, interactive elements, and a complex stun system that encourages strategic combat.


Dead or Alive 2 stands as a seminal title in the fighting game genre, remembered for its contributions to gameplay depth, environmental interactivity, and narrative integration. Its legacy continues to influence the development of fighting games.

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